Liquor stores are one type of business that continues doing well throughout the pandemic. It’s a source of relief and excitement for people and if you can serve what they want, you’ll do big business.
Running a liquor store means more than stocking some liquor and throwing up a business sign, though. It’s a work of art that when done right can result in great profits and a service to your community.
Here’s what you need to know to run a successful liquor store today.
Know What your Demographics Want
Market research is the key to any successful business. If you don’t provide what the people in your area want, you won’t be as successful as you hoped.
Before you open and even while you’re open, do some market research. What do people in the area drink the most? What has the highest demand? Stock up on those items. For example, do people in your area focus on lower-cost beers and wines, or are they brand-specific?
Stock what’s in the hottest demand in your area and you’ll increase sales. For example, if you live in an area where everyone loves the basic beer brands yet you only stock fine wines and liquor, you aren’t going to beat the competition.
Run a sale on the basic brands, though, and you’ll send the flocks straight to your door before you’re open.
Find a Niche
As much as you need to know your demographics, try to niche down when running a liquor store. Pleasing everyone isn’t possible, no matter how much you sell.
Instead, focus on a niche, diversifying slightly with other products, but focusing on your niche. Here’s why.
You’ll have a constant group of customers that come see you when you focus on a niche because you’ll be the expert in the area. For example, if you love craft beer. Would you buy from a store that occasionally sells a craft beer or two or the store that brings in the latest and greatest options and understands them?
People with a special passion love to talk about it. The more you niche down, the more you can understand and specialize in what your customers love. Not only will you make more sales, but you’ll create better relationships which transform into larger sales down the road.
Offer More than Liquor
In your market research, find out what else customers would buy from you. Think about what goes hand-in-hand with what you sell.
If it’s wine – you’re likely catering to a large female audience. First, there’s the obvious – wine bottle openers and wine stoppers. Don’t forget about wine glasses (find unique options) and cheese. You can branch out and sell cheese boards, various crackers, and other food options that may go well with what you sell.
If you are more of a beer and liquor store, think of the standards – salty snacks, soda for mixing, beer glasses, and shot glasses. Many beer and liquor stores are also a bit of a convenience store. Selling ice, lottery tickets, candy, and even cigarettes all typically do well in liquor stores.
Check your Wholesale Prices
You don’t have to stick with the same wholesaler from the day you open when running a liquor store. Chances are, just like you, they offered deals to get you in the door. Now that you’re a regular customer, they may have slightly raised the prices without you even realizing it. This is a part of the pros and cons of owning a liquor store.
Comparison shop – see what other wholesalers offer. Many will offer deals, just like you got when you first signed up with your original wholesaler. You can even switch back and forth, taking advantage of as many deals as possible.
It’s your bottom line the wholesale prices affect, so take advantage of any savings you can to increase your bottom line.
Take Advantage of Social Media
Liquor stores don’t have to resort to store flyers and word-of-mouth anymore. Get active on social media and you’ll increase your sales tremendously.
Instagram and Facebook are great for advertising. You don’t have to pay for sponsored ads (although it’s not a bad idea). Post helpful tips, fun ideas, and make yourself the expert in the area. Don’t make it all about sales, but sprinkle them in every now and then.
Your audience will turn to you as the expert in the field, which naturally turns into sales. Share recipes, create mixology videos, or just show a bit of what goes on behind the scenes. Customers love these types of posts because it helps them get to know you better as a person rather than someone making money off their sales.
Customers are exceptionally smart today. They aren’t walking in with no clue about what they like or want to buy. They KNOW and they expect you to know too.
If you don’t know everything there is to know about what you sell (wine, beer, liquor) get educated. Read as much as you can, watch videos, and even take classes. The more informed you are, the more sales you’ll make.
Besides the well-informed customers that walk through your door, you’ll have the customers who don’t have a clue, but want the ‘perfect gift’ or want to impress a certain someone and they’ll expect you to have the answers.
Create Larger Profits in your Liquor Store
Running a liquor store is like a work of art. You provide something people want and not just because they like to drink but because it’s a form of art for them too. If you specialize in a niche, such as craft beer or wine, you’ll deal with a special part of the community. With the right knowledge, product, and even services, you’ll serve your customers more than just liquor, but you’ll enrich their lives.
Today is a great time to own a liquor store – it’s something that will never ‘go out of style’ or people will stop needing. Find your niche, know the right area to open the store, and enjoy the profits it can create even with the pros and cons of owning a liquor store.