​Cider Corner: Capitalizing on Online Club Creations

If you can’t get them to come to you, you go to them. With pandemic shutdowns impacting the cider industry for 18 months now, cideries have worked to push direct-to-consumer options even more and Vermont’s Shacksbury has capitalized on promoting and shipping its ​Cellar Club items to more than 20 states.

The cidery reports to Brewer that it had a major boom in eCommerce sales in 2020, not surprisingly linked to nationwide shutdowns and an increased consumer time spent shopping online.

Shacksbury Club memberships have grown 23% in the last year, which spokesperson Megan Davin said can be attributed to a concerted focus on the cidery’s digital channels and directing people to its website for actionable purchases.

“Our owned digital channels work the hardest for us in speaking directly to an audience that is excited about what we do,” she said. “We leverage our mailing list, social following, and earned media opportunities to spread the word about the Club and the mission of Shacksbury Cellars.”

READ MORE: Cider Corner: Creating Engagement with Membership Clubs

​The ​Cellar Club is set up as a recurring quarterly membership where consumers can receive ​three or six of ​the cidery’s most special release bottles from Shacksbury Cellars.

Members are entitled to 10% ​off ​year-round online ​purchases ​and get first access to limited releases at special pricing.

​”​Having a basic two-tier system keeps things streamlined from a packaging and purchasing perspective​,” Davin explained​. ​”​The ​three​-​bottle option offers three examples of our most unique products and passion projects, while the ​six-bottle option just allows for double the fun.”

With the two different tiers, the ​six-bottle option provides a small discount per bottle compared to the ​three-bottle option.

​Shacksbury utilizes​ a number of tools like ShipStation for fulfillment and a recurring payment system for managing the Club subscriptions.

Additionally, ​Davin said that they have proprietary systems in place for tracking retention and managing customer service.

Fifteen percent of every Cider Club order goes directly into funding ​the cidery’s Lost Apple Project.

​Since the fall of 2013​ Shacksbury has​ set out to find​ old varieties that have either gone wild or missing in orchards. ​After sampling​ thousands of apples​ and cider from over 150 unique trees, ​the cidery has selected ​11 varieties to propagate​ to create a ​”Lost Apple Orchard​.” Each year ​the cidery continues​ to harvest, graft, and plant trees in an effort to expand ​its source of Lost Apples.

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