Can Digital Ads Boost Your Brewery’s Physical Foot Traffic Right Now?

​If you look around the physical landscape of your town, you might notice that shops have limited hours or even closed — either for the time being or permanently shuttered. It’s a sad reality over this past year as the pandemic has continued to stretch out. Yet breweries, especially ones that have opened in the past decade, thrive on “across the bar” experiences between the consumer and the brand’s employees.

So how do breweries adjust to this climate? A few things to ponder were given to Brewer from John Kelly, the CEO of Zenreach. Zenreach helps customers drive foot traffic to physical stores through online advertising. They say that they have had great success pre and during the pandemic in helping stores and restaurants reach and exceed revenue goals.

“There is really no substitute to a retail storefront​,” Kelly said​, explaining that a physical space gives consumers the chance to explore their options more. But that doesn’t mean that needs to go away​.

​”As more and more people return to stores, retailers need to be able to capture this influx by deploying technology that enables them to understand who their shoppers are and how to bring in more like them​,” he said.​

In an environment where consumers are still on edge about in-person drinking and dining experiences, Kelly said breweries should remain diligent in taking enhanced safety and sanitation measures — practices like limiting venue capacity to encourage social distancing, frequently disinfecting pens and surfaces and implementing PPE mandates.

READ MORE: Best Practices for COVID Protocols at Your Brewery

“After all, the more businesses that adopt these changes, the more consumers will come to expect them and begin identifying these measures as standards,” he said.

Digital advertising such things as contactless solutions is very important.

“According to one study, 53% of consumers have used a mobile contactless payment option for the first time since the pandemic began, and an astounding 85% of consumers say that it is important that a business offer the choice for contactless payment,” Kelly said. “There’s also evidence showing that brick-and-mortar businesses which haven’t implemented some sort of contactless payment solution are at a competitive disadvantage. The same study cited above indicated that 28% of shoppers will actively avoid a merchant that doesn’t offer a contactless payment option and instead choose one that does.”

​So what sort of technologies can a brewery start to employ now that can enable them to understand who their consumers are and get to know them better to find stronger ways to market to them and create a strong brand?

​Kelly said it ​stands to reason that beer brands which have been able to expand all or a majority of their offerings to eCommerce platforms are probably faring better during the pandemic than those who rely exclusively on in-store foot traffic.

​”​So as a brewery, being able to sell your products online, whether it’s to bars, restaurants, and retail stores or directly to consumers, is a huge advantage​,” he said. “Studies have consistently shown, however, that consumers are still spending most of their dollars​ — ​$4 out of every $5 spent​ — ​inside of a physical location. The tactile and interpersonal experience is still important, especially considering the experience that comes from visiting craft breweries.​”​

​Kelly noted that it is vital that breweries can identify and connect with their most valuable patrons.

​”​If you have limited capacity in your taproom, you want to make sure that you focus on bringing in your loyal, high-value guests rather than the low-ticket, one-and-done visitors​,” he said. ​”​Zenreach not only has the ability to determine the most frequent and highest-value customers visiting your physical location, but we’re also able to build audience targeting lists for your marketing efforts to drive repeat business.

​”Zenreach pairs with your existing WiFi network to provide an online sign-on experience for your in-store visitors while simultaneously enabling customer data collection for merchants. We then use this information to help our merchants become better marketers by providing in-store customer insights, visitation data, and trends, and Walk-Through attribution on marketing efforts across email, paid social, and display. In short, we connect the digital and physical customer journey for brick-and-mortar businesses.​”​

As counterintuitive as it may seem, Kelly said now is a great time ​for breweries ​to boost online advertising for new customers.

​”​Consumers are more likely to perceive brands who advertise during economic downturns as industry leaders who are more stable and reliable, which could translate to increased business both now and after the pandemic passes,” he said. ​”​And with many competitors cutting back on ad spending, the cost of media has become quite inexpensive.​”

​At the same time, online interaction and engagement are at record levels​, Kelly pointed out​.

​”​Consequently, we’re seeing unprecedented click-through rates on ads that we’ve served during this time​,” he said​. ​”​The moral of the story: If you can maintain​ ​— ​or even boost​ — ​your marketing spend at this time, your share of voice increases and your messaging becomes more visible to customers old and new, and the more likely you are to be able to successfully drive customers into your business.​”​

Photo courtesy Topa Topa Brewing

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