The Importance of a Branding Strategy for Your Liquor Store

The door jingles. A customer walks in and takes a look around at your store. They walk to the back, select a fifth of mid-shelf whiskey, walk up front again and pay. Then they leave, and you never hear from them again.

Sound familiar? If you own a liquor store, this scenario no doubt plays out dozens of times a day. And sure, you’re always going to have a decent percentage of customers who stop by for only one item and never return. Similarly, you’ll always have customers who saw the sign outside rather than tracked you down through a website or over social media.

But where possible, wouldn’t you like to nail all aspects of your marketing, so that no matter where customers are coming from you can get their business? To substantially increase the number of people who come back to your store over and over again? To start upselling walk-ins on merchandise that not only pads out your profits, but advertises your brand for you when you’re not even there?

Of course you would. Below, we’re going to discuss how to do that by building a comprehensive strategy for your liquor store. Instead of running your company on hopes and wishes, this article will teach you how to base it on smart thinking and long-term planning. Let’s get started.

Why Brand Matters

Let’s be real: People like to know what they’re getting. If your customers always know that coming to you results in certain benefits – quality, beauty, reliability – then they will become loyal, lifelong customers.

Your brand is a vehicle for conveying those values to your customers. By using branded merchandise, and employing your brand to build comprehensive digital and physical strategies, you can achieve the customer base of your dreams.

Branded Merchandise

As well as coming in many forms, branded merchandise performs many different services:

  • It makes your store look more attractive
  • It helps customers find everything they need for a party, gathering or gift all in one place
  • It keeps customers thinking of you after they walk away
  • It announces your brand to people who have never even been to your store, when they see friends or family using your merch
  • Simply put, it makes you look professional

Considering all these potential gains, branded merchandise is a powerful weapon indeed. That means it’s crucial that you use it, and use it well.

There are many different approaches to this strategy, but every liquor store at least needs to offer glasses. Not only do they make lovely gifts for the many people who stop by your store to buy for someone else, they can also appeal to people just looking to bulk up their own glassware collection. Choices include:

… and many more.

Customers also frequently need bottle openers, wine openers and cutting boards for slicing into those ripe and juicy limes that so often follow a shot of tequila. For the latter, you might consider the Large Bamboo Cutting Board, the Original Chop Chop Board or the Small Wine Bottle Bamboo Cutting Board … actually shaped like a bottle of vino to please true enthusiasts!

Corkscrew Box Wine Sets work well as branded merchandise, because they’re beautiful on display and also enable customers to open any kind of booze: beer, wine or liquor. Plus, this set comes with a thermometer, which is becoming more important for expert drinkers of tequila and whiskey.

Smaller branded merchandise options include wine charms, key chains or mini umbrellas, if you live in a rainy area and that kind of thing is appreciated.

Of course, there are many other types of branded merchandise as well, such as a huge variety of bags in which to send customers home with their liquor purchases. Whether you need one-bottle bags, two-bottle bags, four-bottle bags or six-bottle bags, they’re all brandable. Plus you can buy in a wide variety of materials, including canvas, jute and leather.

Which types of merchandise you choose will depend on the size and scope of your store and business, what appeals to you and fits your theme, and the kinds of customers you hope to attract every day and during special events. Below, we will discuss a few ways to incorporate branded merchandise into your digital strategy, as well as how to use it to best effect physically.

Digital Strategy

There have been reams of literature written on how to craft an excellent digital strategy, so we’ll cut to the chase. Your basic digital requirements are as follows:

  • A branded website that matches your store branding and contains directions, hours, contact information. Hopefully one day, it can also have an ecommerce component so you can sell branded merchandise online.
  • At least a few social media platforms. Big players right now are Twitter (to connect with crowds), LinkedIn (to connect with other professionals or bigger clients) and Instagram (to model your wares)
  • An email list. This can be attached to a blog, so that your subscribers get a message every time to post, or just be used for newsletters.

These basic ways to keep in touch with your clientele digitally will significantly help widen the scope of your branding and build your business.

Physical Strategy

The words “digital strategy” are a dime a dozen these days. Everywhere you look, you see advice on how to expertly craft your digital strategy. We’ve offered our own two cents above, but here we’d like to talk about the equally important and less-discussed idea of physical strategy.

Physical strategy is all about placement, appeal and attraction. If you want customers to buy your branded merchandise, use it in their homes and attract others to your establishment, then the first step is to buy quality products from reputable suppliers. The second step, however, is to arrange that merchandise beautifully and put it right in the customer’s face. How? Let’s discuss that.

First of all, you’ll need to make room in your liquor store for a few displays. Most likely you already have some central display sites targeted. Common setups include a long table against one wall, smaller tables next to the front counter, lower shelves in the middle of the store with flat-topped presentation areas, and shelves of merchandise right by the door. These are all perfect places to carry out your physical strategy.

Start by choosing your merchandise. If you haven’t already done so, you can start the order process by requesting a product quote on the items you’re interested in. Once your products arrive, it’s time to set them up. Your physical strategy should take two things into account:

  • Proximity
  • Appeal

You want your items to be close to customers, and you want them to paint a picture. Take note of highly trafficked areas of your store (near certain shelves? near windows? near your stand of limes and lemons?) and set up there. Arrange larger items first, them smaller ones around them. Place items like cutting boards next to fruit, and glassware on tops of shelves holding mixers. Items should go where they make the most sense (umbrellas by the door), but should catch customers’ eyes with their tastefulness as well as their functionality. Everywhere a customer looks, they should see your trusted, quality brand displayed on tables and shelves.

In the End

Setting up a truly workable physical strategy may take a bit, and that’s okay. Keep at it and eventually you’ll note the strategies that catch customer attention most effectively. One day, your digital and physical strategies will meld, you will use branded merchandise to seamlessly attract customers again and again.