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Apps Emerge As A Vital E-Commerce Tool At The Retail Tier

March 3, 2020

As online shopping trends upward, beverage alcohol retailers around the country have jumped aboard the app train. They say that the technology is allowing them to better compete in a crowded marketplace, bringing in new customers, and providing improved profits on delivery transactions as compared to those carried out by third-party providers. And customers like the convenience and added perks the apps offer.

“We’re able to give our customers another way to shop with us,” explains Sandra Spalding, director of marketing at Twin Liquors, which has nearly 100 locations in the Lone Star State. “It’s established our online retail channel and has allowed for in-store pickup and delivery.” Since its introduction in late 2018, the Twin Liquors app—which is available on the App Store and Google Play—has been enhanced so that customers can select specific store locations where they like to shop.

“Customer response has been great, as people are excited by the fact that they can still shop with us even when they aren’t able to come into our brick-and-mortar locations,” says Spalding. The Twin Liquors app was developed by City Hive Inc.’s e-commerce platform—which has provided apps for more than 1,000 liquor stores around the U.S.—with input from the retailer on the design and shopping experience configuration.

Jenn Andersen, general manager of Plaza Package Store in Great Barrington, Massachusetts, decided last year that the time was right to market her business beyond the immediate area by using a mobile app. The move has been a big success. “With the app, we don’t have to wait for customers to come to us—we can go to them,” she says. By turning over much of the digital marketing that Andersen previously managed to the app provider, she can now spend more time on the sales floor engaging with customers.

Andersen notes that Plaza’s app had been downloaded “a few hundred times” just three months after launching, and that the number will likely rise significantly when peak tourism season arrives by mid-year. Plaza partnered with Bottlecapps, a beverage alcohol delivery app, last year on both a new website and the mobile app, which is compatible with the store’s p-o-s system. In addition to an initial cost, Plaza pays a monthly fee to the provider for maintenance and upkeep of the website and app, including linkage to the store’s social media sites and text messaging to app users. Market Watch has more on the emergence of mobile apps in the retail tier.—Terri Allan

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