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Future-proofing your Wine Society


A strange conclusion to draw. Growing sustainably is what we have done from 1874. Delving into the financial statements online, you will see that we have plenty of cash - it’s how we can invest in new assets and resource in the coming years.


Hehe… you could easily read that as “you may not like all of the new members” rather than the “new initiatives.”


In fact, ties in very nicely with the happy news :+1: :grinning:


Agreed. Nothing in that to suggest it is short of cash, and a quick look at the last accounts would prove the contrary.


On home page - see below, circled in blue - has been there since 26th April.

Edit: Oops! Just noticed you meant the News, not the annual report! Sorry! We include content from the News in our Discovery section, rather than the whole SocietyNews.


Thanks all for the comments. First I can assure you that we are not short of cash. Second, it is quite apparent that we will need to invest in better systems, a better website and additional warehouse capacity. For example, without the ability to tailor communications, I have discovered that we get broadly a 50/50 like/dislike response to most of what we do ! The article was simply to suggest that we will need to be more experimental as we embark on the next phase of The Society’s evolution and to bear with us while we are doing it - the aim is to improve your experience as current and future members - and in doing so we will future proof the business and, of course, continue to “Champion The Joy Of Good Wine”

Congratulations: New Member(s) of the Month

Good to know. Your phrase ‘allow us to invest’ suggested that there might be a constraint on investment.


We are presenting our strategy to The Committee in June, so more to come on plans and investments; but the reality of any strategy is to make clear choices and prioritise carefully. I am very cogniscant of the need for both !


Growing turnover does not always equate to growing cash reserves…in fact, it can sometimes lead to the opposite as working capital is squeezed. Not in this case though!


Thinking about “modernise” and “evolve”; not really the same. If we get a new system we are modernising. But to me evolution implies some change in our nature, for example growing wings. Nothing too alarming about modernising, but if we are going to evolve it raises the question “Into what?”.


Interesting to note that the DB pensions deficit has again reduced significantly and is now less than £1m. Even more interesting is the footnote advising that there has been a move to increase the hedging of interest rate and inflation risk in the liabilities…which makes sense, and something I commented on this time last year…that thread closed now to make way for the 2019 one.

This means that the funding movements in the scheme are likely to become less volatile on a year by year basis, so likely to be less risk to the balance sheet from that source in future, another aspect of future proofing…


That is often said - by many organisations. But actually we need NEW members - of any age. I see nothing wrong in the idea of continuing to appeal mainly to older people, recruiting them as they reach a more mature age. To do this successfully still requires change, but not change that is as radical as that needed to sell to a younger generation.

I wonder if moving towards more “natural wine” is actually one of the things thought to be unpopular amongst oldies. Just for the record, as someone in my early 60s I would very much welcome that move. On the other hand, I think there is something to be said for retailers sticking to what they do well and letting customers find them (something which seems to go against the grain for marketing people). As a member I am not too fussed about TWS’s rather conservative range - I’ll just go somewhere else to buy the more radical stuff.


That is often said - by many organisations. But actually we need NEW members - of any age.

Absolutely too true! Another organisation I belong to has been pre-occupied with getting “young” members for as long as I can remember and has wasted enormous resources pursuing this aim. If people join in their forties or fifties and stay for 20 or 30 or 40 years that’s already pretty good. It doesn’t matter that they weren’t members in their twenties or thirties, even ignoring how little discretionary spending power they may have had at that time.


New member acquisition focuses on all potential members. We will be focussing on lifestyle rather than demographic, meaning that an interest in wine is far more important than age or sex. Interestingly, and perhaps not a surprise, spending increases with age to a point, but engagement starts very young. Lifetime value to the Society is far more important than year by year spend. We utilise mosaic analysis to help us understand our membership better. The highest spending mosaic is 25-35 year old city dwellers, so young or old, the point is engaged membership. I hope that helps !

Pre-AGM Ask Me Anything with three of our Executive Team, 1-2pm

Can you please ask a colleague to check what you write to remove business consultant buzz words? Lifestyle, demographic, engagement, mosaic, for a start.


Nah you’re fine Stevo, keep up the good work.


If that means you/we try to sell to anyone interested in wine, that sounds good to me, but it does not sound like much if a focus. But it there anything more in the term “focussing on lifestyle”?


There is a long answer and a short one. Think you will thank me for the short one ! It means that traditional age or sex based targeting is a lot less relevant than looking at how people live - people in their 50’s 60’s and 70’s live fundamentally differently than they did 20 years ago. It makes our work more difficult in one sense, but ultimately we can serve the original democratic aims of The Society much better. I don’t want to offend my “buzz word” colleague but there is a lot more targeting behind the phrase “an interest in wine”


If that means you/we try to sell to anyone interested in wine, that sounds good to me, but it does not sound like much if a focus. But it there anything more in the term “focussing on lifestyle”?



I kind of suspected this might be the case, but that hunch was based on a survey of one. It would be interesting to see how TWS spending habits change over time, I suspect there may be a rise again following the initial baby/mortgage shock??