Cider Corner: Should You Be Dialing Back Online Sales?

As more cideries have gotten back to a normal pace of operations and tasting room sales climb again, does that mean adjusting your cidery’s online look?

For online orders, Sociable Cider Werks has been using Squarespace, but Ciara Metzger told Brewer recently that the Minneapolis cidery is in the works of looking for alternate options to create a better flow for the business.

“Having an online store has helped us move more merchandise through social media and email campaigns,” Metzger said. Fellow Minnesota cidery Wild State also indicated that although they sell online products, less than 5% of sales come from there.

Virginia’s Sly Clyde sells merchandise in-house through the taproom but Doug Smith said they have considered looking at surf shops as a model where fashion brands grow beyond a single retail location.

“We are a lifestyle brand and so the bridge into larger format shops is always a possibility,” he said.

​Find what sells great for you and have it available both online and in the tasting room.

​Wild State sells $100,000 in merchandise annually, and co-founder Adam Ruhland points out that he has found that a few great items account for 80% of the sales.

”Fun stuff like socks and custom beanies or bike jerseys are cool, but require more effort to produce and often come at a high price point,” he warned.

Ruhland advises cidery owners to invest in a designer to help make a few quality shirts, long sleeves, and sweatshirts, and those brands will carry your sales.

”We find ordering 100-200 of any item is the best balance of price and inventory,” he said.

READ MORE: Cider Corner: 4 Points to Ponder when Starting DTC Sales

Outside of the liquid in the glass, there are ways to expand on capturing a new consumer or holding the attention of a current fan.

EVENTS: Be it having the ability to host a music show, flea market, charity events, or trying something new, being that local connector to your consumer base in your home market can be pivotal.

While these events don’t always say “craft cider” from an outside point of view — there is a crossover in demographics that can be great for your brand.

ARTWORK: The look of your canned and bottled products need to differentiate itself in the market and help define brand identity and brand loyalty.

AWARDS: Utilize local and uncommon ingredients and seek regional and national competitions along with building critiques from the beverage press and media to help build your reputation.

BEING SOCIAL: In a time where customer service overall can be daunting and lacking across the board — and marketing professionals wear multiple hats that can stretch them thin — customer service is paramount. Posting accurate and up-to-date information on your social media, website, and marketing emails is a big help. Give people clear and concise, relevant information, and respond to as many inquiries as possible. Show customers that you care about their thoughts, questions, and concerns.

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