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As BC liquor license consultants, we at Thrive Liquor & Cannabis Advisors spend a lot of time thinking about what makes a private liquor store successful. We’ve noticed that owners and managers who view their operation as a holistic entity with many interconnected parts, each important, each working together, tend to have stores that perform well.
Seasonal operations planning is one such area that successful liquor store owners give attention. In this blog post, we thought we’d share a basic framework for maximizing summer sales.
Review Performance of Past Summers
The past has a lot to teach BC liquor store licensees, with the analysis of historical sales data providing a basis for making good decisions going forward. Look at key metrics such as total summer sales volume and revenue, number of products purchased per customer, and popular products by sales revenue. This will help you identify the winners and losers in your summer inventory.
Know Retail Liquor Industry Sales Trends
While it’s the nature of trends to come and go, identify those that seem to be “normalizing”; in other words, a trend that’s becoming the norm. A good example is low- and no-alcohol products, and ready-to-drink cocktails. While you won’t want to carry every trending product, you may want to carry those that have demonstrated staying power. You can then tailor your inventory to meet the demand.
Our liquor license consultants like the following resources for trend research:
- International Wine & Spirits Research (search IWSR for “trends”)
- The Quarterly Pour (an industry magazine produced by the Alliance of Beverage Licensees
- BevSource Beverage Industry Insights
Forecast Summer Liquor Sales
Create sales forecasts based on past performance and trend demand. The forecast should include factors such summer holidays, events, and promotions. A summer sales forecast will help you determine the quantity and types of products to stock, so you can avoid inventory shortages or excess unsold inventory.
Purchase Summer Inventory
If you’ve done all of the above, the job of purchasing inventory is made much easier. Stock up on your summer beverages, including trending products and those tried and true products that are staples of your inventory. Summer beverages should include a mix that caters to diverse tastes: light, fruity wines, refreshing craft beers, RTD cocktails, ciders, and no-alcohol or low-alcohol beverages.
Plan Summer In-Store Promotions Early
Plan in-store promotions months in advance of the summer. Talk to liquor agents and schedule tastings, create offers, bundles, and discounts. Use signage, displays, and social media marketing to help create buzz and make sure all pricing and margins are current and up to date to ensure you are maximizing profits or passing on summer LTOs. Advertise promos early to get the word out and build anticipation.
Get Staff On Board with Your Plan
Your liquor store employees should understand your summer sales plan and their role in executing the plan. Hold training sessions to educate employees about summer products and promotions. Ask staff for feedback about what they think would improve sales and the customer experience.
Prepare Your BC Liquor Store for Summer with Help from Thrive Advisors
If you need help creating and implementing a summer sales plan, planning in-store promotions or training staff, contact the BC liquor license consultants at Thrive Liquor & Cannabis Advisors. Our consultants work closely with liquor store owners, managers and employees, crafting plans that maximizes summer sales!