SAQ inspires shoppers to try something new this holiday

The crown corp pokes fun at why people buy certain wines to show how its loyalty program can guide them to better purchases.
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By Deidre Olsen

There are several reasons why a person might choose one bottle of wine over another. In the Société des alcools du Québec (SAQ)’s latest campaign, the retailer humorously touches upon motivations behind consumer behaviour and encourages people to try something new this holiday season.

Focused on SAQ’s “Inspire” loyalty program – which launched in 2016 and has since racked up 2.3 million members – the campaign identifies why people don’t branch out in their purchases. In 15- and 30-second commercials, people pick up bottles of wine with labels that read “I Love The Lettering On This One,” “10 Years Of Buying The Same Thing,” and “I Grabbed The First One I Saw.”

These comedic labels shine a light on the reasons why people make certain purchasing decisions, but in turn shows them how personalized offers through SAQ’s loyalty program can guide them to something different.

Nearly four years into development, Ariane De Warren, brand and marketing director of customer experience at SAQ, says the crown corp has taken an agile approach to learning and improving “Inspire.” SAQ is the only retailer allowed to sell liquor in Quebec, but she says operating an omnichannel strategy in a non-competitive market does come with its own business challenges; namely, shifting user engagement beyond merely offering loyalty points, to actually encouraging people to change how they shop.

But with more data from “Inspire” leading to improved consumer insights, SAQ better understands its user base and is well-positioned to continue discovering new ways to connect with different demographics and types of customers.

“Millennials shop for the look of the bottle and type of lettering,” for example, says De Warren. ”We want to make sure that people make informed purchases instead and have taste profiles tailored to them.”

SAQ has been looking to help customers choose products they will enjoy more through things like the launch of terminals in aisles that provide customers with enhanced in-store shopping experiences that are aligned with its digital programming. Previously, the company reinvested mass marketing dollars into its “Inspire” program to develop an app offering personalized content and offers, alongside access to experiences like tastings and trips. SAQ advisors can also use that data to look up taste profiles and purchase histories to help customers in person.

The new holiday campaign, led by Cossette, will also include print and in-store components, and there will be an increased number of app offers to grow engagement during the month of December.