Updated: Jan 3
Written by: Megan McDowell
The digital age still surprises me at times. I understand that we are continually becoming more connected. Most of my life is in some way connected digitally. Take the gym for example, I now use an app to plan my workout. But when I read about increased online alcohol purchases, I realized this is one area I still buy by walking in and purchasing when it could be done online.
Slowly Catching Up!
In a recent study conducted by Harris Polls, they looked at the increase in online alcohol purchases among Americans. The article begins talking about how prevalent alcohol is in our society. Come home from work, crack a beer. Go out with friends for dinner have a drink. Alcohol touches almost all aspects of social life, yet it has been a slow crossover to purchasing online. With grocery purchases being available for some time, online alcohol purchases have lagged. In the recent Harris Poll study they found that online alcohol purchase among Americans is on the rise. 7 out of 10 Americans are regular purchasers of alcohol. Of those purchasers 12% said they purchased some alcohol online in the past 6 months, while 1 in 10 adults say they purchased alcohol online in the last six months. The study surveyed 2,060 U.S. adults over the age of 21 in the month of November 2016. We wanted to examine how online community software could help a large alcohol retail chain in a situation like this.
Online Community Software Can Keep you Ahead of the Trend
After the chain purchases the software, they could begin to invite and build a community for loyal customers. It is always better to start small when you first start. The loyal customers who join could gain points for participating in surveys and discussions. The points would be redeemable at the store. Each month a survey could go out looking for new trends in shopping, and ask questions regarding purchasing habits, and what they would like to see in the future at their stores. The surveys could then be followed up by inviting a small sample from the surveys into a discussion thread where they could ask for more in-depth answers. If you identified the trend moving towards online sales of alcohol you could start a discussion.
What problems need to be solved?
The discussion for online alcohol sales could begin by asking what sites customers most enjoy buying other items from and why they like it. This could lead to asking how customers would like to purchase their alcohol online, and what problem they would be solving by ordering online. By asking for details in the problem being solved you can determine what systems need to be in place to ensure a satisfied customer.
Once the site is ready, or close to being ready for online sales, the retail stores can begin promoting the service through the community. You can use a sample group to beta test the online alcohol store before taking it to market. By allowing your customers to be a part of creation process you can see development from the customer point of view.
Who are the buyers?
The online purchasers of alcohol tend to be male, married, high earning, full-time employees compared to the in-store purchasers. Of the group that bought their alcohol online, 50% went to pick it up at a store. Those having it delivered had a variance in the time they get it delivered. 41% get it delivered within hours of purchase, 34% get it delivered within 1-2 days, while 27% receive it more than 2 days after purchase. Of those surveyed who purchase alcohol online, many said they expect to increase the amount of purchases in the next year. This increase was highest among purchasers of wine.
Businesses can greatly improve their ability to track upcoming trends through market research online communities. Once upcoming trends are spotted, qualitative research activities can be used to understand how to provide services that will aid in the support of the coming trend. MROC’s help your business see and prepare for changes and gain a competitive advantage in the market place.
If you would like to find out more about how our market research community software can help you, please feel free to contact us.