Building Anticipation and Smart Membership Caps

How Indigo Reef sold out their membership over one weekend

We talked to Nicole of Indigo Reef Brewing Company in Charleston, South Carolina, about why the Indigo Crew is an important part of their young business and how Indulj supports their success.


“We were open for 2.5 years when we launched our membership program with Indulj [in 2021]. We had only been open for 10 months when the pandemic hit but we were able to build a customer following in that short time. We used our membership program launch to help re-engage some of those customers we hadn’t seen in a while due to the pandemic.”

Community as a core value


“Community-centric [programs] and customer loyalty are very important to us. The membership program helps highlight both values – being a member immediately gives the individual a sense of belonging to a community and the members themselves become even more loyal to our brand by being a member of our program.”



"Being a member immediately gives the individual a sense of belonging to a community."




Opportunities

Indigo Reef focused on building a membership program that encouraged more visits to the taproom and building anticipation through their marketing efforts.


Managing a capped membership seamlessly


“We reviewed the cost of the membership including COGs [cost of goods], Indulj fees, etc. to determine the cost of the membership and the cap we would apply. For our initial launch, our goal wasn’t to make a profit on the membership fee itself but to increase traffic and visits to the taproom by members.”


Leveraging existing customer following into a new revenue stream


“We utilize an Insider Program via our POS which allows customers to accumulate points based on their spending which can be cashed in for a [dollar amount] off future purchases once a month. The insider program includes our customer’s email address which we used to communicate the launch of the Indulj membership program.” Nicole also spread the message to Indigo Reef’s online followers: “We branded our membership program and shared some teasers of the launch in the months leading up to going live via Facebook, Instagram, and our email distribution list.”


Outcomes


Indigo Reef expected to sell 30 memberships over the course of three months after launching with Indulj, but they had 50 members in just three days.



Selling out their membership program


“By creating a cap of the memberships we added the element of exclusivity so when we launched our customers joined quickly. We provided updates via our Instagram and Facebook stories on how many memberships remained to encourage those interested to purchase quickly. We launched on a Friday afternoon and sold all 50 memberships by Tuesday.”


Enhancing the taproom experience


“The main benefit of our membership program is $1 off pints for members. Obviously the discounted beer is great but identifying themselves as part of the membership program each time they visit also helps our staff to get to know them better which enhances their overall experience.”


Saving time with scheduling


“Schedulable promos are great! It allows us to prepare a handful of promos ahead of time and have them activate on their own. It’s a real timesaver and ensures we don’t forget to launch new promos our members are anticipating each month.”


"Our [initial] goal wasn’t to make a profit on the membership fee itself but to increase traffic and visits to the taproom by members."


Final Thoughts


What advice would you give another craft brewer when they consider starting their own membership program?


“Be sure to think through the workflows in your POS system, communicate changes to your staff prior to launch, create tipsheets for them to reference when you’re not there, and ask for feedback early and often. Find a balance between reportability and usability.”


What excites you about your community in the craft brewery industry?


“I love the collaborative and supportive nature of the craft beer industry. We help each other out with supply shortages, vendor preferences and feedback, and work together to try to change laws and regulations that negatively impact our industry. The majority of those in the industry subscribe to ‘A Rising Tide Lifts all Boats’ and don’t treat each other as direct competitors but as allies in the mission to create and deliver high quality craft beer to our community.”

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