Boosting sales and brand loyalty with cellar doors and wine clubs

WINE club membership and cellar door visits are effective methods in boosting sales, brand awareness and building loyalty in Australian wineries.

A national study found wine club members are the most profitable of all Australian cellar door visitors in relation to purchasing incidence, number of bottles of wine bought and total spend.

It also confirmed Australians love visiting cellar doors and are likely to make a return visit within 12 months following their positive experience of the wine, scenery and local food.

The University of South Australia (UniSA) and Charles Sturt University (CSU) study, funded by the Grape and Wine Research and Development Corporation (GWRDC), is examining how cellar doors at Australian wineries influence consumers’ wine-buying behaviours.

“Almost 79 per cent of wine club members purchase wine at the cellar door to take home, compared with 64 per cent of non-club members,” UniSA study leader Professor Johan Bruwer said.

“The average wine club member buys almost seven bottles of wine when visiting a cellar door and spends almost $65 more per visit than the non-club member.

“This demonstrates the importance of increasing a winery’s wine club membership to boost cellar door sales and further build brand knowledge.”

According to Bruwer, researchers found visitors rate their overall experience to the cellar door as overwhelmingly positive, increasing their willingness to try, purchase and re-purchase wine.

“The majority of visitors (53 per cent) indicated they will visit the same cellar door again within the next 12 months and, given that only 40 per cent of the cohort had visited the cellar door before, this is a positive indicator of a growing base of loyal customers,” he said.

Visitors said the most important factors for their enjoyment at the winery were the wine (87 per cent), scenery/natural environment (78 per cent) and local food (58 per cent).

“It is also interesting to note that 75 per cent of visitors spend money at the cellar door and the wine they buy is mostly for at-home consumption,” Bruwer added.

The study also found most cellar door visitors were Australian, with only 6 per cent of visitors from overseas.

“Not only are most of the visitors local, they are also influenced to attend wineries by their own local knowledge and knowledge of the winery brand, with 46 per cent of those surveyed saying word-of-mouth recommendation or informal sources influenced their choice of winery to visit,” Bruwer said.

“Interestingly almost 60 per cent of all visitors are first-timers to that particular cellar door, offering real opportunities to impress consumers.”

Researchers also found the typical cellar door visitor profile is female, a regular wine drinker, highly educated, has a small household and high income and is far more likely to be from an Australian capital city than another country.

The 3,600 cellar door visitors surveyed were mostly regular wine drinkers who drank red (49 per cent), white (35 per cent), and sparkling wine (10 per cent).

In its first stage, the inter-institutional research project covers 79 wineries in 15 wine regions in all six states.

Contacts:

Michèle Nardelli, UniSA. Phone: 61 8 8302 0966. Email: Michele.nardelli@unisa.edu.au.

Abbey Flanagan, GWRDC. Phone: 61 8 8273 0500. Email: abbey@gwrdc.com.au.

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