It’s become the age of the “quarantini” and the virtual happy hour. Alcohol delivery services and influencers are here to help your brand and your audience adapt.

One of the silver linings of the coronavirus pandemic is the surge in growth of alcohol sales for spirit shops, restaurants and ecommerce liquor brands. Since lockdown, general online alcohol sales have increased a whopping 243%, according to Forbes. From dependable wine and beer to more exotic aperitifs, alcohol delivery services allow us to drink responsibly at home. The trend will likely grow because of its convenience and variety.

As quarantine hit, many liquor stores quickly pivoted to allowing customers to call in or email orders for curbside pickup and home delivery. There are less-clunky approaches to delivering alcohol to consumers, however, such as app services, including Drizly, Saucey, Doordash, Minibar and Swill. These services reported massive increases in sales in March 2020. Drizly reported sales were up 300% and MiniBar reported an increase of 131% in sales.

But there’s a large swath of consumers who remain wary of app-based delivery services. The same group may also remain uncertain about ordering from ecommerce sites that sell alcohol, mostly because of the shipping costs.

IZEA surveyed Internet users who identified as alcohol drinkers, only to find out that most consumers don’t understand how alcohol delivery services work. In the report, “IZEA Insights Coronavirus Impacts on Alcohol and Social Media Consumption,” consumers raised a number of questions and concerns about delivery services. Here are the top three concerns of drinkers in the younger age groups:

  • 29.9% of drinkers aged 21-28 and 30-44 don’t understand how the services work
  • 28.8% of drinkers of all ages have concerns about delivery costs
  • 23.9% of drinkers aged 21-29 and 23.6% aged 30-44 don’t think these services are available in their areas (some states prohibit direct delivery of alcohol)

An Opportunity to Educate Consumers

There’s a clear path open for alcohol delivery marketers to help consumers who use social media understand how these services work. Influencer marketing is the best way to grab the attention of older Gen Zers and millennials who are unclear about using alcohol delivery services.

For local, app-based services, the first challenge for marketers is to let consumers know where to find the apps and how to use them. Local marketers need to make it exceedingly clear that the services are available in the area. The second challenge is to partner with local influencers to inspire consumers to use available alcohol delivery services. Tap into foodie influencers, cooking influencers, meal-prep influencers, chef influencers, fitness influencers and general lifestyle influencers.

For ecommerce alcohol sites, marketers need to make the process appealing to consumers. They can do this by eliminating shipping charges or offering a free add-on, such as a bottle of hand sanitizer. IZEA’s report cites a number of those surveyed who suggested ecommerce sites add a free movie with purchase. Keep reading to learn specific ways marketers can use influencers to promote alcohol delivery services during the pandemic.

Restaurants: Recreate In-Dining Experience

Before COVID-19 emerged, alcohol sales offered high profit margins for full-service restaurants. For many restaurants, alcohol comprises about 20% to 25% of sales nationwide, according to Modern Restaurant Management. Diners love the thrill of experimenting with new cocktails or relaxing with tried-and-true choices with meals.

Selling and delivering alcohol with meals is a lifeline for restaurants that are allowed to do so. Some restaurants are restricted to selling certain types of alcohol, and the details are in the fine print. Regardless, offering consumers a taste of a pre-COVID-19 dining experience, complete with alcohol, is entirely possible with alcohol delivery servicing. In addition to in-house marketing, there are ample opportunities to work with restaurant influencers to deliver the following:

  • Around the bar: Offer virtual happy hours on Zoom with delivered appetizers and spirits to recreate sitting around the bar area.
  • Dinner party: Have a local influencer host a dinner party through a specific restaurant that sponsors the livestream. Offer meal and cocktail kits.
  • Behind-the-scenes: Pair with an influencer to virtually work in the kitchen with a chef to show how a favorite dish is created and paired with wine. Offer it as a “special” package available when customers purchase something for delivery.

The creative options for restaurants are endless. Another idea? Engage influencers to promote a restaurant’s anniversary celebration. Sell cocktail bundles and brunch bundles with champagne.

Liquor Stores: Localize Delivery Services

It seems that, right now, there’s no better time to own a liquor store. They’re deemed essential businesses in many areas, but they have to adapt to the situation and adapt to shifting consumer behaviors. Sales spiked in the beginning of lockdown when consumers began to panic-buy alcohol. Panic purchases have since leveled out somewhat, though sales remain brisk. Some retailers report an increase in overall sales up 60% to 70% (some higher) from the same time the year before.

There are endless ways a retailer can reach out and connect to the community through influencer marketing. The results can have far-reaching benefits and secure feelings of goodwill that remain even after the restrictions lift. In addition to starting loyalty programs and product bundles with discounts, influencer marketing can benefit in a variety of ways:

  • Wine tasting: Team up with local influencers to livestream wine tastings with bundles ready for immediate delivery.
  • Encourage creativity: Engage a variety of influencers who are veterans and novices of mixology. Have them create their version of the perfect cocktail with ingredients, such as syrups, that are available for delivery.
  • Home bar setup: Work with home decor influencers to show consumers how to create their perfect home bar with all the essentials ready to deliver. Have influencers show viewers alternative spaces where they can put their bars, from closets to upcycled bureaus.

Ecommerce Brands: Offer Incentives

Consumers likely to order from an ecommerce site that sells alcohol are used to incentives from other non-alcohol sites. These might include free shipping, discounts or free add-ons. Add-ons for an alcohol delivery service could include a code for a free movie, snacks or a set of stemless wine glasses with a large order. In addition, ecommerce sites can easily work with influencers, local or national, to do the following, while explaining how to use their sites or apps:

  • Wine tasting: Influencers can offer virtual wine tastings with a predetermined list of wines that can be delivered to consumers before the event.
  • Wine tour: Wine-collecting influencers can offer an at-home wine tour sponsored by the brand.
  • Getaway: Wellness and family influencers can show viewers how to tastefully set up a parents’ spa getaway at home, complete with light wines.
  • Dessert time: Baking influencers can bake up a storm and pair their creations with the best wines, ports and spirits available through the ecommerce site.

Plenty of lifestyle influencers can help consumers understand and appreciate the joys of alcohol delivery services. But, if you’re looking for the right influencer for your needs, head to IZEAx Discovery, a premier marketplace for influencers. Once registered, you can begin using the handy influencer discovery tool to find experts to get your message out.