What do you do on the 7th consecutive day of rain?. Rummage around in places you rarely visit. So I stumbled upon my membership package circa 2005. It included the quarterly wine list at that time. (No, I am not a hoarder, I love my shredder).The WS claret was £4.75 compared to the current £7.50, a price increase of about 60%. That seems reasonable given inflation and tax changes. Then I came across my share payment of £40. It is still the same amount today. Allowing the share price to diminish in real terms should open the door to new members and increase revenue. I know little about TWS strategy but it appears the plan is to let the share purchase become incidental. You could argue it already has. If the share wall around the Society crumbles other things like multiple profiles attached to a member with a share would be more acceptable. So all looks good, or does it?
The change is to a fundamental, so downsides real or imaginary matter. The share wall is part of the differentiation of TWS from its competitors. But it would still retain member shares, its unique history and cultural differences. The only vaguely relevant case study I can think of is the local Co-op, although its origins are at the other end of the social ladder. The Co-op to my mind has survived (an achievement) but not thrived. My parents felt an affinity to the mutual nature of the Co-op which I no longer feel. As a child I can remember the shoppers getting “divi” slips, I am unsure if all shoppers were members. The comparison is not perfect but TWS could unintentionally morph into something else given time. The other unknown impact of removing the wall is on the membership profile. There could be some change but I have no idea if it would be neutral, positive or negative.
This is a wine blog so lets talk blends. We are all a blend between a member and a customer. A change in the blend to less member more customer may not matter so long as the wine, price and service remain good. So why do I have a small twinge of unease?
If this has all been discussed before please point me in the right direction.