Cider Corner: Why You Can Say ‘No’ to Online Ordering

Although there is a “Shop Online” button on Poochie’s Hooch Urban Cidery’s website, consumers won’t find ways to get the San Diego cidery’s product shipped to them, or even a home delivery or pickup option.

Mary Paulson said she doesn’t feel it’s the way to go for her cidery, and the consumer base the cidery has built since opening has sustained the business model. To her, those repeat customers generate more money than spending the money upfront for hopeful online or virtual experiences.

“It’s about not spending money on marketing that doesn’t necessarily create revenue, which should be everyone’s goal,” she said. “So be creative, and only spend money, or find ways not to spend any money, that will create new virtual and repeat customers.

“Online sales means higher percentage cost to POS companies. Delivery costs money in fuel, and shipping is another wasted expense. So I focus on who will come through the door of the tasting room and buy something to take out the door, or who will stay and come back.”

The common mistake Paulson notices is that cideries or small breweries want to be like the ‘big boys.’

“But they aren’t,” she said in an email to Brewer earlier this summer. “Especially when you are closed down by the State and told you are not permitted to operate. We don’t have the capital, and with very little revenue coming, how are you going to create, or even why would you try to create a promotion? It costs money!

“Yes, I agree that it takes money to make money, but not at the detriment of creating revenue, which isn’t happening at a dead stop.”

That said, Paulson knew Poochie’s had to make changes, because when it was allowed to open at 25% capacity, and she figured about half the customers wouldn’t want to come to the tasting room because of social distancing working at creating virtual customers was a need.

“Anything I purchased from any of the grants and loans I was able to procure, I spent it on something that would create revenue or create repeat customers,” she said, adding that purchase for to-go Mason jars with lids was a priority.

“People were able to stop at curbside pickup restaurants for their meals, then stop in and get a couple jars of cider to pair with their meals, then go find a place near a park or beach and have a date night,” she explained. “The glasses cost less than a dollar apiece, and people gladly paid the cost of the glass knowing they could come back and refill it. Done. New virtual customers who will come back.”

Giving consumers more take-home options, like offering carbonated growlers and selling at a special price by including extra CO2 cartridges and a first pour.

“Keeping the product fresh is important to me. These growlers are an investment for my customers. And they will be repeat customers. My new virtual customers now have a way to buy four pints, fresh, to take home and don’t need to socially stay in the tasting room.”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *