Cider Corner: Building an Online Consumer Base

As sales have shifted away from the taproom, finding ways to sell cider online has become a key strategy.

For Broad Street Cider‘s Jon Moore, targeting new consumers isn’t a priority anymore, using data already on hand has been a vital use.

“We have largely abandoned customers who we did not already have,” Moore said about the New Orleans cidery. “We dabble in Instagram and Facebook posts, but our metrics for both have taken a dump since COVID.”

About 98% of sales come from an email listserv powered by Square,” Moore said.

“We used to use email, Facebook, etc. to push events and offerings but gave up on the emails about a year ago,” he said. “Square offered a few months free, so we tried it and to our surprise, we have shifted almost all of our sales over. It allows us to explain the sales and pickup process, pickup windows, etc.”

Stowe Cider launched a virtual taproom they called ‘Taste with the Maker’ and to give consumers a similar experience to what they would get in the taproom.

Stowe owner and Head Cider Maker, Mark Ray went live on Instagram and Facebook every Friday for five weeks to taste different ciders with viewers online. The Vermont cidery also did a “Cooking with Cider” segment that was led by General Manager, Dan Snyder.

Ben Wenk of Ploughman Cider said that even for cider, his products are a niche product in the segment, so word-of-mouth and consumer loyalty have really been a help, and trying to market outside of that realm has largely been unnecessary.

“Orchard-driven ciders have a loyal, devoted, passionate following among those who appreciate ciders made in this way,” Wenk said. “There were also plenty of friends from farther afield who stepped up to support my business when we needed it the most and that has been so important to preserving what we’ve worked so hard to build here at Ploughman.”

Facebook groups like “The Cider Exchange” and “Hard Cider Appreciation Society” had group members that were kind enough to document their online purchases with photos and words about the ciders Ploughman ships and, “that really had a great effect on our online sales.”

Stow opened an online cider shop for consumers to have cider delivered directly to their doorsteps on top of initiating a local delivery service for those located in the Stowe surrounding area and Burlington.

“The online cider shop has allowed us to expand to 38 states, many of which have not had a chance to try us out and has also led to the overnight development of a packaging center in the middle of our taproom,” said Madison Hayes, Digital Marketing Coordinator, adding that Burlington accounts for most of the crowd of local supporters.

“It only made sense to extend local delivery to their area as well,” Hayes said. “Since Vermont has started its reopening, we have now stopped local delivery in hopes consumers will come and visit us in our new expanded outdoor space. We now have live music every weekend in a safer, more socially distant manner.”

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