Why User Experience is Important for Your Alcohol Brand
- by Andi Whiskey
User experience needs to be a huge consideration in every step of your brand, from product development to marketing.
You might be just a product business (wine or spirits), but you're in the service industry. Your product gets sold to on-premise bars or restaurants who obsess over customer (guest) experience. Or it's sold off-premise or e-commerce to people who care about having a good experience at home or with friends.
You're the tool to create the service experience. So you need to craft your product and marketing with the service industry experience in mind.
Your customer's experience with your brand, from online to in-hand should reflect the way a person feels at their favorite bar with their favorite bartender.
Have you ever bought a bottle with a matte printed label, and noticed how it felt in your hands?
Have you ever been at a bar and heard the bartender griping about how hard it is to open or pour a specific bottle?
These are just some specific examples of ways user experience can be taken into consideration or neglected in the product development process.
The marketing user experience is just as important, and the digital marketing experience and customer journey needs to be an important conversation that your team is having regularly as you build out your marketing strategy.
Your alcohol brand lives in a digital world, now. You can't just rely on your sales reps to do all the work for your brand anymore. It's on your marketing team or marketing agency to create your brand's user experience for your customers.
The way we look at it is this:
Alcohol brands used to be mostly interacted with in bars with a bartender as a guide, or at home after purchasing in a liquor store.
Now, there are a myriad of ways to interact with your brand, and our advice is that all of the ways you control, you should treat your potential customer interactions' experience to be similar to a great bartender greeting a guest and guiding them through the selection.
So in short: Your brand should think like a bartender when it comes to crafting the customer experience.
Product Development User Experience Matters
During the product development time, as you're deciding on your labels, bottles, label copy, and more, your team should be considering the user experience in all of this.
That requires you to start with knowing who the end user is. Is your main focus at-home drinkers? Or is the main focus bartenders and on-premise sales? Will you be selling e-commerce?
There are so many questions to ask as you shape the product. We see many spirits brands miss this mark completely, because they design the product for what they, themselves think looks cool, instead of focusing on the customer.
The segment of the market that misses the mark with this the most is the "luxury" or "premium" spirits segment. They tend to go so hard on standing out and "looking luxury" that they forget to ask 1. who their customers are, and 2. what their customers want.
There are so many questions that must be asked and answered in order to truly develop a successful product.
Examples of Questions Your Team Can Ask:
- How easy is it to hold our bottles? (Do they fit into hands of all sizes nicely?)
- How easy is it to pour our bottles? (Is it difficult to grip while pouring?)
- How do our bottles feel to bartenders? (Can they grab and pour easily with potentially wet hands while busy in a service well?)
- How do the bottles sit on bar shelves or home shelves? (Are they too tall? Too fat?)
You can still craft a fancy bottle, but think about the user experience with it in the process. You want to make sure the bottle is a great experience to hold, feel, pour, so that when they finally take a sip, they're already impressed.
One example we think of when it comes to outstanding product development is Highland Park Scotch Whisky.
They have an incredibly ornate bottle that is memorable to touch and feel, but it's still an easy bottle to grab and pour, as well.
Another product that comes to mind as an exceptional user experience is Ancho Reyes.
Their bottles are uniquely textured, including a nice grip of bumps down each side, making it easy to hold the bottle from the middle. Plus, the neck is long enough for a bartender to easily grab it from there, as well.
These are just some things to keep in mind as you're designing your product.
Marketing Funnel User Experience Matters
Your team should be intimately aware of how your customer moves through your marketing funnel, and what that experience is like.
A lot of times, teams craft their marketing funnel ad hoc and in a hurry, and it is rarely tested for user experience.
Marketing tends to be a less thought about piece of the puzzle. A lot of work gets put into making sure the product is ready to go to market, and then later on, brands start to think about actually marketing the product. In our opinion, that's far too late in the game.
Marketing should get just as much care and attention as the actual product development, if not more. You created a product that you're proud of, but now people need to know about it.
And that process of letting them know about it should have as much care and attention to the customer's experience with it as you put into how the spirit tastes, how the bottle feels, how the label looks, etc.
Examples of Questions Your Team Can Ask:
- They just heard about us from a friend by word of mouth; how easy is it to now find us on social media? (do we have a handle that makes sense?)
- How easy is it to get to our web site once you hear about us?
- Once on our web site, how many pop ups come up? Are they easy to get through? (Do you have an age gate plus email newsletter pop up? Is that too much? Is it easy to get through?)
- Once on our site, how quickly can they tell that we sell online?
- How easy is it to add to cart?
- How easy is it to check out?
- When do customers learn how much their total will be, and is there a drop off in the customer funnel at that point? (Potential issue with shipping prices or total cost, or other things to look at)
- How easy is it to find out if you deliver to their state? (We recommend putting this in every product description)
These are just a handful of questions your team should be asking themselves as you develop your marketing.
Craft Your Marketing Funnel Experience
Think like a bartender.
If you want help with creating a bartender-guest user experience, let's talk. This is our forté and we'd love to make your customer's experience with your brand as fantastic as walking into their favorite bar.
Our entire team is composed of bartenders-turned-marketers who know how to craft that user experience like a bartender in a high end cocktail bar.
You can schedule a call with our team to talk more about your marketing vision.