The 6 Best Alcohol Marketing Strategies to Implement for Your Liquor Store Right Now
As a liquor store owner, you know that standing out in a crowded market can be challenging.
Don’t want to stand outside your store dressed in a bottle of wine costume or sandwich board sign? Good news: You don’t have to! We get it. Competition is fierce, and customers have many options for buying alcohol, including online liquor stores. You also know you must follow strict rules and regulations related to alcohol marketing. It can all feel a bit overwhelming.
But! You can still bring customers to your store with some consistency and a sprinkling of creativity. Marketing is easier when you know your ideal customers and have a plan of action.
By the end of this article, you’ll have a roadmap for creating a successful marketing plan for your liquor store.
From understanding your customer base to utilizing your point of sale (POS) system, you’ll learn how to level up your marketing game and reach your sales goals.
Alcohol Marketing Strategies to Drive Sales
Marketing is essential for any local store. Liquor stores are no exception.
Whether customers are thinking about buying liquor for a dinner party or the Super Bowl, you want your store to be top of mind. How can you do that? How can you set yourself apart?
One way is to keep up with liquor store trends. For example, more consumers are hosting at-home cocktail parties, so you can offer deals on mixers, aromatic bitters, and other unique ingredients.
Other trends include low and no-ABV beverages and ready-to-drink (RTD) cocktails rising in popularity.
Keeping up with trends is low-hanging fruit for any liquor store owner. But to stand out, you need to think outside the box and have your ideal customers front and center.
Note: Before we get into it, look for alcohol marketing regulations. Following regulations not only makes you responsible but also builds trust with customers. Look out for rules around age restrictions, not advertising irresponsible or excessive drinking, health and safety, and social media guidelines.
- Understand Your Customer Base
- Create a Marketing Budget
- Utilize Social Media
- Embrace In-Person Marketing
- Don’t Forget Traditional Marketing Methods
- Use Your POS System to Level Up
1. Understand Your Customer Base
Think about your local area. Observe the people who walk past your store and those who already come into your store. What do they look like? How old are they? Can you find out what they do for a living?
Knowing demographic information helps build your ideal customer base.
You’ll also want to track the buying habits of your best customers. Things like:
- The average purchase amounts
- Frequency of purchases
- Types of products purchased
- Peak buying times
Having a complete picture will inform your marketing efforts from the outset. You can also look at trends again. As well as RTD cocktails rising in popularity, there’s an increasing demand for craft and small-batch spirits.
Related: 5 Promotions to Try For Your Craft Beer Store
Could you form partnerships with local distilleries and run cross-promotions? It’s worth looking into.
Pro tip: Low on time? As a small business owner, you’re likely wearing various hats. If you want to collect demographic information, you could create customer surveys. Ask customers to fill in the survey for a chance to win a voucher or a bottle of wine.
2. Create a Marketing Budget
Yes, marketing is essential. But you need to find ways to maximize your marketing budget, whatever that may be. If you haven’t even set a budget, now is the time. Then you can think about setting goals. For example, you might want to:
- Increase brand awareness
- Drive more sales
- Focus on customer loyalty programs
- Enter new market segments
Whatever your goal, how can you maximize your budget?
Start by allocating funds for various activities. You may invest in social media advertising in an area with a younger demographic. If you get a lot of foot traffic, in-store promotions and displays might be a worthwhile investment.
If your budget is tight, consider cost-effective ways to attract new business. You don’t have to pay for social media advertising. If you’re savvy and creative, you can build an online presence and get your customers to engage with you on various channels.
Email marketing is another budget-friendly tactic. You can offer discounts and coupons to regular customers, keep customers up-to-date on new promotions and product releases, and encourage customers to visit your store with enticing offers.
3. Utilize Social Media
We touched on this, but social media is a surefire way to engage your customers. But which platforms are best for your liquor store? It depends on where your customers hang out.
The younger demographic might be on Instagram. Is your customer base younger?
Most important is having an active presence. Decide whether you’ll post daily or weekly and stick to it. For example, maybe you’ll have a “Cocktail Friday: Weekly Recipe” that customers can look out for and share with their network.
Quality is essential, too. Your brand should shine through and be familiar. Take pride when picking your graphics, colors, and designs, and if you want to show behind-the-scenes footage, be active on Instagram stories.
You might also look into influencer marketing. Local celebrities or public figures can help create brand awareness if you have a larger budget. So too, does sponsoring a local sports team.
4. Embrace In-Person Marketing
If you’re opening a liquor store, you’re probably pretty good with people. Embrace that! Make an excellent first impression.
A clean, organized store is welcoming. Train your staff to be knowledgeable, and hire employees with a natural friendliness.
Perhaps the local community hosts events regularly. You could host an event, wine tasting, or even a regular Thursday night book club with a different wine or spirit each week.
Other options include cocktail-making classes, whiskey tastings, and wine pairings with food.
Note: Check local and state laws to ensure you can serve alcohol in your store at special events.
In-store promotions are an excellent way to introduce new products. Alternatively, introduce local brands with a dedicated display.
You could also offer discounts or rewards for customers who shop in-store rather than online, creating more opportunities to upsell.
5. Don’t Forget Traditional Marketing Methods
Social media not your thing? There are still traditional methods that work, especially for small local businesses. Direct mail, for example. Why not send a postcard with a coupon attached? Or an event announcement?
There are events throughout the year you can take advantage of.
January 17th is National Hot Buttered Rum Day. National Drink Wine Day is February 18th. World Cocktail Day is May 13th. You see where we’re going with this.
As well as direct mail, these events are perfect for social media posts and engagement.
Newspaper and local magazine advertisements are viable options.
Create eye-catching ads and cut-out coupons for promotions. Online advertising and even general social media posts are fleeting; once users scroll past an ad, they’re unlikely to return to it.
Whereas print advertisements can live forever!
6. Use Your POS System to Level Up
This is less of a strategy and more of a tool to help you execute your plan.
Your POS system is a goldmine of data. What can it do? Depending on who your POS system provider is, there are various ways to get the most out of it for your liquor store.
- Record customer purchases and preferences: With a record of purchases for each customer, you can spot brand preferences, orders, and purchase sizes and quantities. You can use this information to personalize promotions. For example, offer a discount on a bottle of wine to customers who repeatedly purchase that brand.
- Look for buying patterns and trends: Use detailed and customizable reports to determine your most popular products, most frequently purchased items, and the busiest times of the day. You can then make informed decisions about inventory management, staffing, and marketing efforts.
- Run loyalty programs: The best POS systems have integrated loyalty program capabilities, so you can offer rewards for repeat customers, track program participation and rewards, and offer exclusive promotions to loyalty program members.
- Discover cross-selling and upselling opportunities: For repeat and loyal customers, you can encourage them to spend more in your store. For example, you could suggest complementary or higher-end products they might be interested in.
- Improved customer service: The more you know your customers, the better you can understand their buying preferences and needs, and the easier you’ll create a more enjoyable shopping experience.
Implement and Track These Alcohol Marketing Strategies With Your POS System
These strategies will help you manage and implement your marketing efforts. You’ll get into a groove and determine what works for you based on location, demographics, and customer preferences.
As well as the many ways your liquor store POS system can help you implement marketing strategies, the best POS systems are customizable and have the features you need right out of the box.
For example, our solution POS Nation for Liquor, has everything you need to market effectively but also process sales and manage inventory:
- Eliminate underage sales with age-restricted product scanning
- Case breaking so you can sell individual bottles and track them easily
- Complex reporting can help you decide if a specific bottle of wine is too expensive to keep on the shelves
- Tax considerations, mix and match pricing, automatic inventory reordering, and more!
If you’re ready to invest in your POS system, schedule a demo, and we’ll walk you through our solution.
Alternatively, if you want to know exactly how we can help you manage your liquor store, check out our free Guide to Liquor Store Inventory Management and take your store to the next level!