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Welcome to The Bottom Line!

The Official City Hive Blog

Going Online

Why You Should Not Spend a Dime to Take Your Business Online?

Okay, it doesn’t take a genius to know that everyone is spending more and more time on their smartphones. If you did not notice that, just ask your significant other - believe me - they have noticed! According to Techcrunch, people are spending as much as 5 hours a day on their smartphones, making purchases, manage their banking, emailing, reading the news or a million other things, so if you have a business no matter how small, why wouldn’t you want a presence on your customers’ phones?

online business - phones

You have to spend Money to make money - But do you?
The problem is that if you don’t come from the technology world, it must cost a fortune to build your own branded mobile eCommerce app. You might even have tried your luck with building a website and been burnt. You might have spent $5000, $10000 or more and gotten nothing out of it. In fact, if you’ve built a Mobile app you’d know that the build cost is just the beginning and what really kills you is the maintenance.

Well, guess what? It doesn’t work that way any more. If you are a business owner wanting to go Mobile and even if you are a bigger store with multiple locations, more and more technology is available to meet the challenges of your business that don’t require large investments. These technologies work on a subscription or SaaS (Software as a Service) mode where you can pay as you go essentially de-risking the process of taking on this venture. They start from low functionality do-it-yourself apps and going up to high end, endlessly customizable and feature rich solutions that are simply a few clicks away with very little or even no upfront cost.

online business - money

Oracle as a Metaphor
Gone are the days where you either go out and spend huge amounts of money on Oracle, IBM or Microsoft, although some still do because that’s just what they are used to and as you know, no one was ever fired for choosing Oracle (although I can definitely think of a few that should have been.) Do a quick online search and you can probably find multiple solutions at a fraction of the best price you ever thought imaginable.

The “No Free Lunch” Principle - Revisited.
One of the biggest obstacles encountered by businesses exploring the adoption of new technologies is disbelief. People tend to assume that if something doesn’t cost a lot it clearly has little or no value as that is often the case in life. On the other hand, independent business owners are unwilling (or even unable) to invest up front without clear proof of value. - This maybe the biggest paradox of independent businesses - big or small - in this brave new digital era.

I’ve recently heard Prof. Scott Galloway define the current economic environment as “the age of the consumer”. So while this is fairly self explanatory when you think of all the free services we get as individuals e.g. email, photo storage etc… This has yet to dawn on business owners and business professionals. The abundance of technology, the accessibility of very advanced tools the easiness of implementation and even the availability of AI infrastructure makes building amazing solutions and applications readily available for everyone.

online business - City Hive - Branded App

We encourage our customers to let us show them what we can do. Don’t expect to pay anything before you see the product and the value. Get your fully branded mobile eCommerce app and eCommerce website. See how well it integrates to your POS system and provides you with full real-time data. Even then, don’t expect to pay anything unless your customers are actually using it. Let it run, set up a Loyalty plan, or let the system take its course. A few months later you will start to realize that you are now a digital company with a powerful CRM (Customer Relationship Management) tool at your disposal, that you have seamlessly built a powerful customer database and that you suddenly have in your hands capabilities that are on par with Amazon and Uber and that finally that instead of being an old fashioned retailer, you have maintained the integrity of your brand while harnessing the power of data to take you to the next level.

- Roi Kliper

Curating The Customer Experience

Why You Should Offer a Curated Wine Package Today

Curated Packages

We’re all too familiar with this situation:

A customer comes in and says “I’m looking for a wine for tonight’s dinner.” You, excited to help your customer, swiftly and confidently ask “What type of wine were you thinking of?” The customer kindly responds with a “well maybe a red…maybe a white.” And it’s awkward silence from there as you slowly blink at each other.

Sound like a scenario you’ve been in? You and I both! Selling (and buying) wine is about learning your customers tastes and preferences, and building a relationship from there. Understanding and providing wines that meet your customer’s taste is what will make them come back to you, become a loyal customer, and be even serve as an unofficial brand ambassador.

Know your Customer

One way to solve these awkward moments is to host tastings at your wine shop. Events like this will allow your customers to explore with you what they like and what they don’t. By sharing your wine knowledge and listening to your customer’s reactions, you’ll start start building lifelong relationships with them. Unfortunately, it doesn’t really solve the “tonight’s dinner” problem or translate well to the online channel (if only there were a way to virtually try wine…I wish).

Though we may never be able to have wine tastings online, online wine clubs are gaining interest. And what’s not to love about them? They provide recurring revenue and increase customer loyalty with very little effort on your side. Simple! But wine clubs are also a big commitment from the perspective of the buyer.

A One time Curated Package  

That’s what’s great about curated wine packages! As the retailer, you can show off your sommelier skills you learned from watching the Somm documentary on Netflix. By curating a package to showcase a stunning portfolio of the world’s wines, the customer will gain trust in your ability to select quality wines that out-perform their price and deliver a package that lives up to the quality of the wine. Whether it’s a package for your customer’s dinner party they’re hosting, or just to enjoy, they help establish trust and strengthen the relationship between you and your customer.

Unlike wine clubs which are subscription-based, curated wine packages are a one-time purchase. Once your customer is sold on your ability to curate a killer selection which nails their taste and budget, they are bound to come back for more and even subscribe into one of your wine club offerings.

Retailers get ready, because City Hive now has a feature to include curated packages on your mobile app and website. We offer a way for both consumers to explore new tastes and retailers to do what they’re good at: tasting, selecting, and producing a great package.

Curating Personal Packages that Scale

Our Artificial Inteligence set of algorithms can help retailers decide what would be the best wines for each specific customer based off their previous purchases, their profile and general wine and market characteristics. By offering curated wine packages, retailers have another opportunity to build their brand and increase loyalty with their customers. Providing your customers with great wines they’ll love in an easy and convenient manner, your customers will keep returning for more.

- Tina Nori

Creating Lifelong Customers Just Got Easier

Why You Need a Loyalty Plan

loyalty-plan

It’s safe to say in the Alcohol Beverage Industry there’s a lot of competition…and I mean A LOT. With numerous boutiques to larger liquor chains and franchises, what is it that makes the consumers keep coming back to you? Two words: loyalty programs.

Now if you’ve been in the retail business long enough, you know this isn’t as simple as it sounds. Sure, making a loyalty plan your customers will like may be the easier part. But maintaining those loyal relationships with your customers is like dating in your 40’s: hard. So a good start is creating a loyalty program that provides value to your customers. After all, it’s the returning and loyal customers who make it possible for your shop to continuously make sales, expand, and grow.

According to Invesp, 69% of consumers say choice of retailer is influenced by where they can earn customer loyalty/rewards program points. Just an increase in customer loyalty by 5% can lead to a 25%-100% increase in profit per customer. So if you’re on the hunt for a long-term strategy to increase customer retention, it’s time you set up a loyalty program. 83% of customer’s state loyalty programs can influence their buying decision. So what’s stopping you? The effort it might take? Please, that didn’t stop Tom Hanks in Sleepless in Seattle and shouldn’t stop you either.

Luckily with City Hive, you can take your loyalty program from in-store, to online and mobile. Our system easily allows you to develop your own or add an existing rewards program to your app or website. Loyalty programs are a great addition to your digital store since they’ll help you develop a brand image that will feel more like a community and less like a corporation who’s only after one thing: your money.

A great example many alcohol retailers are adopting is offering store credit. Once your customer makes a purchase, they will receive a percentage of their purchase back in credit which can be used towards future purchases. It’s a win-win! Not only will your customers be more inclined to choosing your store in the future, but they will likely make repeat visits allowing you to stay profitable and keep your business growing.

Loyalty Plan

With a City Hive powered mobile app, your customers will also have their points accumulated visible on their phone.

My good friend Pareto once said 80% of your sales come from only 20% of your customers. This means you must nurture these relationships with your customers. They have a higher lifetime value, meaning that over the course of a customer’s projected buying time with your business, you can predict a higher return on investment. Loyalty programs can help this by increasing the number of repeat customers and repeat purchases. But by how much you ask? Well, that’s no longer a guessing game! City Hive has been running loyalty plans for hundreds of retailers and have seen a 30% increase in odds of purchase each week after introducing a loyalty plan. Also, we’ve noticed the average customer’s yearly value has grown up to 5X after the implementation of a loyalty program.

Whether you also want to include promotions that will offer double, or if you’re feeling it, triple the loyalty points, City Hive can easily help you execute it with a click of a button. We’re here to help you build the digital experience your customers want in an easy-to-use fashion for both you and the customer.

Have a loyalty plan that’s been working for you? Let us know in the comment section below!

- Tina Nori

Why Personal Touches Pay Off

A Little Personalization Goes a Long Way

personalization

You receive an email from your favorite alcohol retailer. You couldn’t be more excited since you’d like a little liquid confidence for that party you’ve got planned tonight (you’re trying to impress a girl). You quickly jump to open the email for the potential of some coupons. You start reading and as quickly as you got excited about the email…you become disappointed. The deal was for a sweet white wine…when you’ve only purchased Vodka. Ouch.

For retailers, succeeding in the digital age is about providing great experiences. But for the individual, it should feel like an experience designed just for them. And I’m not just talking about including their name in an email (that’s so 2008), but really designing your promotions and communications that meet their wants and needs at the right time and place. Let’s be real, if your customer has only ever purchased Vodka like in the example above, then how likely are they to purchase a sweet white? Probably slim.

So what do I mean when I say personalization?

Create an experience where the consumer feels like it was made specifically for them. Not only will this create a deeper customer connection, but your customers are more inclined to choosing your store and referring you to their friends.

Thankfully with City Hive, we are all about creating these experiences, such as sending birthday wishes, introducing a ‘Your Favorites’ section, or offering coupons for frequently purchased items. City Hive crafts and manages thousands of rich user and product profiles that includes thousands of characteristics and user behaviour measures. From there we’re simply efficient matchmakers, like eHarmony but for alcohol.

We then use big data and AI algorithms to understand and predict what consumers want and when they want it. Our system personalizes the offer to each specific customer to optimize their experience and continuously choosing your outlet.

At City Hive, we’ve recently introduced “Special Event Messages” where consumers will receive a personalized message just for them. By offering personal messages, customers will feel more connected to your store and will want to support your store from the experience you create.

City Hive also gives you the tools to market directly to your consumer. City Hive’s system is great at recognizing patterns and will create customer segments for you (that’s right, no effort on your side). You’re given information such as what they’re buying, when they’re buying, and frequency of purchases so you can create promotions geared towards them. You have the ability to send individualized push notifications from our easy-to-use platform to you customers. Maybe you want to send coupons to your most loyal customers? Maybe you want to create a deal to try to re-engage users with varieties they have purchased in the past? You can quickly and effortlessly create a personal push notification to your consumers. By doing so, you can build a holistic and integrated approach to customer data and continue delivering a truly personalized customer experience. To see what more features we offer for retailers, check us out here.

So where does that leave your customers? Continuously shopping with you, with digital offers that want, building loyalty and brand engagement.

- Tina Nori

Solved: Selling Products With No UPC

No Barcode? No problem.

barcode

One of the biggest advantages of City Hive’s platform is that we take away the headache of managing your mobile app and website. The long hours of locating decent images, cropping the images, searching for the best keywords, then adding descriptions to match your inventory are over. City Hive does it all for you (you’re welcome).

Until recently, one of the biggest annoyances of selling on our platform, and anywhere online for that matter, was being unable to include items without UPCs on your app or website. Those rare items that only you stock have never been showcased on your digital channels since they didn’t have a barcode.

Well, we heard you, and we listened! City Hive now has the ability to automatically identify all of the items you are selling. Our AI algorithm can identify any item whether or not they have a UPC code! Yes, it may sound geeky, but what could be more exciting than accepting items without barcodes? That new episode of Game of Thrones? Nice try. You’re lying to yourself if you believe that. Whether you offer small batch wines, craft whiskeys, or local brews, we include it all on your mobile app and website, creating a true omni-channel experience for your customers.

- Tina Nori

Events

We’ve Revamped Our Events Page

revamped-events-blog

I’m sure we were all taught never to judge a book by it's cover, and the same can go for wine. But really, how many of us how purchased a wine because the label was so cute (Cupcake Vineyards anyone?)? With wine tastings, not only can current customers enjoy a little happy hour after work, but they can try new wines that they would likely have never tried before. Who knows, maybe they’ll even purchase a bottle or two. But most importantly, events help you build your own community.

Whether you are hosting a wine tasting, food and wine pairing, or maybe even a beer pong tourney (I’m only kidding), events are undoubtedly a great way to engage with your customers. It’s also a great opportunity to build your brand, educate your clientele, and increase customer engagement and retention.

Yes, we may be building and operating your app and website, but City Hive isn’t here to replace the in-store experience. We’re here to improve how you get customers through the door.

With our new events platform, you can create beautiful invitations that are automatically shared on your website, app, and social media sites. All relevant information is included, even the ability to RSVP by email or phone. By offering events, you can get customers in your store where you can entice them with your selection, knowledge, and culture. You are welcome.

- Tina Nori

Wine Clubs

Let’s Talk About the Only Club That Matters

city-hive-wine-club

So you’re in the business of selling wine. Well, it’s likely you’ve thought about introducing a wine club, and if so, smart move.

Wine clubs are the next best thing to…well…wine! In the United States, wine clubs are more prevalent and successful than anywhere else in the world. They offer recurring revenue (and who doesn’t like recurring revenue?), make it easy to budget (also important), and increase customer retention and loyalty (now talk about being able to sleep at night).

And guess what? City Hive now let’s you create and manage your own wine club, beer club, or whatever club you want, with a simple click of a button. We’re making it easy for you to manage all of your subscriptions in one dashboard. Merchants can have the capability to include wine clubs on their mobile app and website, making it convenient and accessible for customers to sign up and enjoy your service on a regular basis.

So, whether you already have a wine club in your store, or you’re just starting, City Hive can easily help get you started. Wine Clubs are great additions to your current revenue model as they provide a constant stream of income from your most loyal customers. You can also design them as you wish. Whether you want to have a “Reserves” club offering only top notch wines or a “Seasonal” club including the best wines for each time of the year, we can provide you with the leading edge technology to help increase your revenue and customer retention.

- Tina Nori

About the Blog

Welcome to The Bottom Line!

city-hive-blog

Hey!

We’re City Hive, and welcome to our blog, The Bottom Line!

We’re a team of cutting-edge tech experts and alcohol enthusiasts who are taking the beverage alcohol industry by storm and revolutionizing the way people buy, sell, and enjoy alcohol.

Our system is comprised of constantly evolving AI algorithms giving you actionable information to optimize and facilitate sales in a true omni-channel experience, making mobile e-commerce happen like never before. Yeah, you could say we’re pretty badass.

Not only do we connect retailers to consumers, we offer a new channel for alcohol distributors to reach retailers, and for brands to connect with consumers and know in real time how their products are performing – creating a seamless platform for the entire supply chain. Whether you’re a small independent retailer or large brands and chains, we’ve got the technological edge to help you scale your business to new heights!

So is this blog for you? Well, if you:

  • Are seeking digital solutions for your business;
  • Enjoy business and technology insights from a trendsetting start-up;
  • Or just love everything beer, wine, and spirits!

Then you’re in the right place! We invite you to interact, leave comments, suggestions, and ask questions.

We’re excited to have you here!

- Tina Nori

Bitnami