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Future aspirations

ideas
strategy
membership

#21

Ah, fair enough.

Though must say, in the few times I used it as an option I had no trouble at all, but having no car definitely renders the whole thing pointless.


#22

Just had a bit of a tough time getting some wines out of reserves (another matter), but delivery slots were either later this week - at an indeterminate time - or next week on a ws van (not ideal but it will do), which I only know works because from experience the driver delivers to me early before I’ve left for work. but otherwise no time.

TWS seems built for people who live in the country with safe places to leave the delivery if not in, or people with a partner always at home. Once my wife goes back to work I might have to rethink how many orders I make, because I can’t guarantee I’ll get them.

I wish they’d offer more flexible delivery slots. Maybe a partner like ocado who have an existing fleet of vans that can be booked by time.


#23

So anyone have ideas to increase membership in the 20-35 year old range?


#24

I think TWS bottomless brunches in London are maybe aimed at that audience. I think its a really good idea and can imagine it is targeting that exact demographic


#25

I did look at gifting one of these to a younger relative (Gosh I sound old!)…not sure if I can actually do that? …and by the time id thought about it, it had sold out!

I liked that it was tutored first and not just a ‘drink fest’!

Would be interesting to see if it met that expectation in terms of demographic etc


#26

These particular events seem to sell so quick - I hesitated last year about booking the Brighton one - but it sold out before I could calculate my age (45, so probably not the ‘right’ demographic anyway :wink: ). Still, it’s a good sign that they are so popular!


#27

I have trouble calculating my age too…must be something about 45 :wink:


#28

45! I wish! :wink:


#29

my thoughts

  • possibly more with the spirits range - for people I know in that age range (the young whippersnappers!) sprits esp whisk(e)y and gin are big spend items as are premium tequila and vodka - perhaps some ‘EP’ cask specials (@Leah would probably be up for that …even fitting the demographic!) …they have the time to wait 10 plus years !
  • need to move with social media etc which I know @Ewan et all are doing a great job with…use of influencers - jury out for me
  • simply getting out to the public at (food) events and festivals - like the show the events team were at over the weekend. let them see the features and advantages and hope they recognise it as a benefit to them

#30

@JamesF I completely agree on the EP whiskey casks.

In tune with trying to make some quirky additions to the “drinks trust” I’d been trying to add a few select bottles of whiskey into the collection and would of LOVED to have done this through TWS and crucially stored it all in the same place.

@Leah - Bottomless brunch you say.

I don’t know how frequently these occur but it would be great if you could almost have a rolling target demographic… 1st Saturday 20-35 year olds (even at an appropriate price point/style) etc.

Look I’m massively for the sound for this event and 100% sign me up for the next one… Every little helps and sounds a fun and great event (especially 21 year old me) but at the same time (and going back to the original post), the event is hardly going to add 20,000… 20-30 year olds to the active member list. And I think that’s probably down to frequency and scale ability of the events (do TWS really want to be in that market from a reputation, liability, risk perspective - my gut feel says no). It’s this trade off between a large proportion (my observation/experience) of TWS wanting to make an impact on this cohort and younger people wanting access to high volume, cheap alcohol… rather than specifically fine wine. Its a really fine line.

I suppose some of the issues come down to:

a) How has the TWS active membership profile changed over the last 20 years - number of members, average ages, average spend etc.
b) What are the targets for TWS membership growth over the next 5 years and constraining factors (e.g. logistics/storage/scale limitations).
c) How do you advertise alcohol consumption in a socially responsible/acceptable way.
d) What is the budget/how much risk does TWS want to take on acquiring new younger members.

Thinking out loud, some of the factors I would (potentially naively) consider to be considerations for a younger demographic (massive sweeping statement alert).

  1. Commitment/membership - I think the mental hurdle of paying a membership fee could be an issue.

  2. Price - I have no facts to back this up. BUT I would argue that supermarkets offer cheaper wine (not better Value). If i compare TWS bestsellers to sainsbury’s best sellers (see below) most of TWs bottles are GBp 6-9.50 vs GBp4-5 on sainsbury’s and that without any multi-buy offers.

  3. Convenience - Buying wine is often an after thought and its a matter of grabbing a bottle on the way to someones house rather than buying a case and working through it. Partly this is a convenience/delivery issue as some have noted, partly its spontaneaty (oh to be able to decide to go on a bender with 10 mins notice) and finally its a cost/working capital issue that most 20-30 year olds don’t want to tie up GBp 50-100 in one go on a case. They have avocadoes and yoga classes to pay for!!

These are probably the biggest hurdles I can think of.

So what are the opportunities where TWS can provide a better service outside of accessibility to just “great value” wines with the ultimate goal of increasing familiarity with the organisation.

  1. Gifts/convenience. You’re always stuck on getting Mum and Dad birthday, christmas and anniversary presents. It would be great to know how successful the Christmas offers are. But perhaps something like a VCP for this could work were a DD is paid monthly and at Christmas a case is delivered for Mum/Dad? Equally making sure TWS advertise basically gift at click of a button perhaps.

  2. Education. I can only speak about being a young guy but age 18-25 I see this scenario unfold fairly regularly. Basically you go on a date and the wine menu gets shoved in your face and you’re trying to look cool, pick something decent, not blow the budget… all while big picture trying to impress the person on the other side of the table. Perhaps offering a “quick course on navigating a wine list could be useful”. For arguments, if you take the top 25 universities (from which you can draw out a direct correlation to income ages 20-30 and disposable income - e.g. could become an active member), That’s ~20 cities. If you can were to run a course/recruit 100 members per city per term that’s 6,000 young members per year.

As I say above, TWS certainly doesn’t want to get into the market of being a drink fuelled party.

Just some thoughts with the goal being to make TWS financially sustainable, lower costs for all members through scale and most importantly share this great society and community with younger members.

( https://www.sainsburys.co.uk/shop/gb/groceries/beer-wine-and-spirits-/top-sellers-340857-44#langId=44&storeId=10151&catalogId=10123&categoryId=340857&parent_category_rn=340854&top_category=340854&pageSize=60&orderBy=FAVOURITES_ONLY|SEQUENCING|TOP_SELLERS&searchTerm=&beginIndex=0


#31

Just by way of info:
Sainsbury’s Top 50 sellers = average price of £6.10
The Society’s Top 50 sellers = average price of £7.90


#32

Thanks for sharing this Ewan; super useful context.

So 23% lower price point before considering regular discounts (e.g. 25% off 6 bottles) plus nectar points etc.

https://www.sainsburys.co.uk/shop/gb/groceries/get-ideas/values/features/buy-6-save-25-percent-terms

Do you have any survey data on how price sensitive that demographic is?

Depending on the size of the target membership TWS are focusing on then the price vs value argument is largely wasted.

I suppose one consideration would be the margin on those top 50 sellers. In the context of volume vs margin vs operating leverage.


#33

The target membership of The Society is people who buy wine at the same price and in similar quantities to our current membership.

Our prices are at our full margin which, while lower than a supermarket’s general required margin, will not be the same on what are footfall drivers / possibly loss leaders (even before regular discounts!).

Our future members are value-, rather than price-sensitive, and know a bum steer when they are being sold one … not unlike members of this Community :wink:


#34

@Ewan

100% agree with what you are saying, and with the ethos of what the society is about - that is not for debate so please don’t misconstrue that.

The topic comes from - the question how do you grow the membership base in the 20-35 age bracket which comes from the AGM and one would assume is a key component of TWS’ long term strategy.

The point of the entire discussion comes from @SteveF’s AGM comments "If we do nothing and try to run our business the way we do today, then we will not be sustainable. "

I suppose the question that your comments raise are:

Do members start as being value sensitive or were they price sensitive? and then therefore do you only want attract them when they become value sensitive?

I can only give my personal view but the answer to this is that I was probably more price than value sensitive when younger with a lower disposable income.

I’ll leave it in your capable hands but the back of the envelope calculations (which is tricky given the lack of disclosure in the accounts and limited knowledge of the business set up) would be that:

  • If you double the number of bottles sold (either by doubling membership or bottles sold per member), then you could probably:

a) Reduce the cost of EVERY wine sold to EVERY member by 5%+
b) Offer a broader selection of wines due to having more active members
c) Offer a broader array of product structures.

All of the above would benefit EVERY member and in no shape or form be in conflict with the ethos of TWS.

These points in turn would make TWS even more popular… allowing further savings/offerings with more members of the British Public could enjoy.


#35

I’m not sure how we got back to the idea of doubling volume again but it’s erroneous to do any calculations on the back of that because it’s an entirely different strategy than sort of growth that’s been talked about by Steve. The challenge is to continue to grow steadily, taking into account natural attrition, and in the face of a changing marketplace and consumer demands. I trust there will have been some thought behind that business plan and reasons why the current targets are single digit rather than triple digit growth.

To your previous point @Byrneand it isn’t easy to get the attention of the younger generation. I wonder how much of that is the same as it always has been (knowledge, interest, disposable income etc) and how much of that is changing times. In either case, there seems to be a lot of agreement that something different is needed to continue steady growth. Lots of debate still on whether 20-somethings are the right target.


#36

Apologies, I was talking about doubling over the next 5-10 years so more like 7-10% growth.

Looking forward to hearing more and seeing the new product and service offerings to drive the growth!


#37

I have pants older than you ! :rofl:


#38

The sweet spot for wine value is, in our experience, £8-15 - this is our heartland. There is no point us competing via cheap wine and discounts - it’s a mug’s game and simply a race to the bottom unless you have the scale of a supermarket to be able to drive footfall with loss-leaders. So new members of The Society, of whatever age, to my mind will be value- and quality-conscious.

This is indeed the kind of virtuous circle we are seeking through our approach.


#39

Saying I was focused on price at 21 as opposed to today (and undisclosed number of years later) were value is more important as my disposable income and general net worth has increased.


#40

So this was the original question… what is the approach and key strategic initiatives?

I may have missed it (apologies if that’s the case) but I don’t think anyone from society staff has elaborated on that in any detail beyond broad comments such as “our strategy is to increase membership”