Let’s face it: the Covid-19 virus has changed just about everything in our lives. Product managers for liquor have seen a dramatic change in their lives as bars and restaurants have had to close down. Customers who might have drunk their products at home have all been quarantined. As you can well imagine, this has been a big setback and the plans that these product managers might have had for the rest of the year have had to be shelved and new plans are quickly being put together.
What Drinkers Are Doing
Even before the virus struck, liquor product managers were struggling with a big problem. A new generation of consumers are drinking far less than their parents did. Now what product managers are starting to see is that their customers are starting to order their alcohol online and their consumer behavior may be forever changed. In order to keep things going, liquor product managers are looking at their product development definition in order create improved marketing, lower-alcohol cocktails and performing new experiments to make drinking at home more convenient.
Alcohol product managers have to get creative. Going forward they are going to have to put money toward reaching out to people within the digital space. This means getting more people on Instagram, on Facebook and on YouTube. As things have changed, product managers are seeing even more online purchases now that people are calling for groceries to be delivered home, including ingredients for cocktails.
How people buy their alcohol has been changing. The product managers are seeing a huge spike in the sales in the liquor stores, the grocery stores, Kroger, Costco, those kinds of outlets. Customers have been stocking up in anticipation of the long term. They have also been seeing similar trends around the globe. While restaurants have closed down, the grocers, the liquor stores are seeing huge spikes in sales. What people buy is also changing. In the U.S., people are moving to very cheap products or to very expensive products. The midprice products are getting a beating.
The Plan Going Forward
Product managers are very aware that younger customers are drinking less than their parents and grandparents. The reason for this is because ten years ago you had the youth drinking to get drunk. Product managers are not seeing that anymore. Instead, they are seeing people being in control. Their customers want to have drinks that provide them with the taste, but they’re very conscious about the calories. Product managers who can come up with a solution to this problem will have something to add to their product manager resume.
Going forward product managers are going to be creating a certain portion of spirits going into low or no alcohol. They will also be addressing the needs of a trend of consumers wanting to drink better and drink more premium. How customers choose to consume their alcohol is also changing. Previously if you went across the world, you would see a lot of alcohol being consumed in nightclubs, high energy, high music. That is now on the decrease. Product managers are seeing people drink at restaurants and bars that provide an all-around experience.
In the future, things will be different. In the short run, customers will be wary and not go out. But in the long run, human beings are great at forgetting the past. It’s a part of healing process. Product managers have no doubt that music festivals will come back and people will be going back to restaurants and dining. The growth in ecommerce is going to change things, but it will not make stores go away. Customers like to walk around the store, touch and feel different products, read the back labels and ingredients of different products. That will always happen.
What All Of This Means For You
The arrival of Covid-19 has completely transformed the spirits industry. People used to go out to restaurants and bars and drink. Now that everyone is staying at home and the restaurants and bars have been closed down, this has had a big impact on the alcohol business. Product managers are going to have to adjust to the new world that they now find themselves in.
Liquor product managers have been dealing with the issue that younger drinkers don’t drink as much as their parents and grandparents used to. With the arrival of the virus, customers have switched to buying product online. In order to deal with changing customer needs, alcohol product managers are starting to experiment with different types of products. Customers have started to buy low cost and expensive products leaving mid-priced products on the shelves. Customers are drinking more responsibly. As the virus fears start to fade, product managers believe that people will start to go to restaurants and bars once again. Even with the rise in online shopping, liquor stores will not be going away.
There will always be a demand for liquor products. Product managers need to stay aware of what their customers changing needs are and use their product manager job description to come up with ways to meet these needs. If they can find ways to keep the products that customers want in their hands, then they’ll keep drinking them and buying more. Alcohol product managers need to find a way to get through the current times in order to prepare for things to return to normal in the future.
– Dr. Jim Anderson
Blue Elephant Consulting –
Your Source For Real World Product Management Skills™
Question For You: Do you think that alcohol product managers should be creating new products for at-home customers?
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What We’ll Be Talking About Next Time
Product managers know that people are always concerned about their health. We worry about how much we weigh, what our blood pressure is, if we are pregnant, what our metabolism is, etc. From a product manager point-of-view what is good about all of this worry is that people are willing to buy products that will tell them how their bodies are doing. This demand for more personal information is driving new product development definitions and a new set of products is being created. However, along with products that monitor our customers comes a lot of tricky data privacy questions.