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Total Wine & More learned early on that good marketing shouldn’t try to “outsmart” consumers in an effort to get them to buy. Instead, Total Wine & More educates their customers about their many product choices, which in turn helps to earn their loyalty. That is why the nation’s largest independent retailer of wine, beer, and spirits works so hard to give customers a unique shopping and educational experience in its stores across the country. The retailer knows that its digitally-savvy customers want access to product information, reviews, and deals whether they are online or in the store. Total Wine & More also understands educational tools can help the wine, spirit or beer novice feel less intimidated while shopping—an essential element to growing the customer base.
To that end, Total Wine & More deployed the Hughes Retail Signage Solution as part of an ambitious customer engagement strategy to WOW customers through a wide range of digital touchpoints. Hughes Retail Signage is a fully managed digital signage solution—including hardware, network, and support—that enables retailers like Total Wine & More to create a unique customer experience, increase sales, and boost brand loyalty. Retailers can deliver up-to-the-minute communications to any number of locations simultaneously. And the digital screens are centrally managed via an easy-to-use Web interface, enabling companies to schedule or quickly change content by time of day, location, and customer demographics, as well as dynamically by what is being purchased.
The Total Wine & More strategy includes innovations such as wine pairing apps for iPhones, Android, and iPad devices. Customers use iPads, mounted as interactive digital kiosks and placed throughout the aisles, to select menu item details and receive recommendations on which wines will best complement a particular meal. Total Wine & More’s Facebook page provides customers with contests, real-time coupons, and other social engagements. The popular Total Wine & More loyalty program app uses QR code-driven (quick response code) mobile videos, on line ordering for in-store pickup, and photo booths where customers can record and share details about their in-store experiences.
“Our goal is to deliver video content that is informative and educational as well as entertaining,” said Rob Hill, new programs manager at Total Wine & More. “It is part of the total customer experience as they shop our store. Customers will feel better informed and more confident about selecting the appropriate wine, spirit or style of beer. That, in turn, keeps the customer coming back for more.”
Many stores also have classrooms equipped with Hughes digital signage screens where customers learn how to select and enjoy products. The classroom doubles as an employee training facility, ensuring that Total Wine & More employees are knowledgeable and credible experts in their own right. Most stores also have wine-tasting areas where digital signage delivers wine-focused content. Hughes digital screens are mounted in the “Brewery District,” Total Wine & More’s beer section where digital content combined with a beer tasting station help customers make more informed decisions over their choice of brew.
With more than 8,000 wines, 2,500 popular and craft beers and 3,000 different spirits from around the world, Hughes Retail Signage is proving to be a key education tool for Total Wine & More’s suppliers, Hill said. “We want to have content for all the product lines we carry. Some content comes from our producers in California, Europe and other parts of the world. Craft breweries, in particular, are prolific creators of video content, which we love to share with our customers. Craft distilleries are starting to create content as well to tell their stories. It’s all about engaging the customer with entertaining knowledge.”
Total Wine & More was founded by two brothers, Robert and David Trone, on three principles: service, selection, and price. The digital content network is a key extension of the service credo. “We provide the best service in the store, or online,” said John Jordan, chief customer officer at the company. “And we have an incredibly well-trained staff and customer care department. Hughes technology adds to the educational element of the store so customers can trust they are making the right purchasing decisions.”