Developing New Online Sales Strategies

Since the onset of COVID-19, Bonfire Brewing‘s processes for its online sales have changed multiple times, and co-owner Amanda Jessen said it continues to evolve along with the new reality of our world.

“We always had online merchandise sales in place, but have added online ordering capabilities for beer, with heavy marketing to get the word out,” she said. “We added a curbside pick up program, re-routed our phone so bartenders can answer, and implemented a home delivery program.”

Urban Artifact built a “pick’n’pack” area in its facility and put otherwise furloughed employees to work on packing boxes.

“We use Shopify, and honestly, it has its issues but overall it’s great,” said Bret Kollmann Baker, the brewery’s Director of Operations. “It has lots of modification options and you can put your own spin on it easy enough.”

Bonfire was able to route its online beer sales through its existing POS, so bartenders can fulfill orders without any back-office support.

“As lockdown restrictions ease and we begin to welcome patrons back inside our taproom, we are implementing a system for ordering draft beer directly from their tables to further reduce touchpoints,” Jessen explained.

Working online to connect with consumers during the pandemic has been important and it can help create a potential new market share for breweries.

Jessen said Bonfire has an extensive and very consistent social media strategy.

“We also have supplier reps in each market visiting accounts, monitoring sales trends, hosting events, and gathering customer feedback,” she said.

​Urban Artifact is selling in about nine states right now, but 95% is still in its home base of Ohio.

“It’s hard to penetrate new markets, but we are slowly gaining,” Kollman Baker said. “What we are seeing ultimately, is that the online market is mimicking the in-person market of about 6-12 months ago.”

He said that releases that have debuted online have huge sales spikes and along with that, they are seeing a surprising amount of people that are returning customers.

“Which is fantastic! Is beer brand loyalty making a comeback? I fucking hope so,” he said. “Social media is ultimately the driving factor here.

“When we push hard with Facebook and Instagram, sales spike, new release, or not.”

Photo Credit: Urban Artifact

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