The liquor industry has understandably been shaken by the COVID-19 pandemic, as has the rest of the country and economy. 

But the hard times are also a chance to be agile by thinking differently, trying new things and finding your point of difference in a changing retail environment. And for the Liquor Legends banner group, this kind of adaptability has proven to be beneficial from a business standpoint. 

Liquor Legends Managing Director John Carmody said: “2020 has been confronting and challenging for the industry which has forced a lot of businesses to break tradition and explore new territories. 

“Liquor Legends has confronted COVID-19 by responding and adapting to the disruption with best practice standards and execution.”

John Carmody
John Carmody

Carmody said they are experiencing 25 per cent plus growth week on week while also recruiting an average 8,000 new Rewards customers per month – pretty amazing numbers when considering the current economy. 

This is putting Liquor Legends and its members in good shape for Christmas and Carmody described: “prepared for the opportunities and challenges ahead.”

This year has also tested Liquor Legends’ forward-thinking strategies which are core to the group’s approach. With the future being ever-unpredictable, increasing value is placed on enabling agility and laying the groundwork to respond quickly to the changing needs of the market and the customer.

“We are a forward-thinking bunch at Liquor Legends, so we have years to look forward to. Our focus is on automating our internal processes and developing our ‘d-commerce’ platform. It’s important we are learning as much as we can and experimenting,” Carmody said.

“Having a go is probably the easiest way to keep up with what’s coming our way. The aim here in my view is to do rather than follow. Act quickly, test and learn, do simple things really well using new technology. Now more than ever is a time for us to provide real solutions to grow our members gross profit dollars and inspire our customers!”

Agility has been something that has really helped Liquor Legends throughout this pandemic period, and is made possible by the group’s focus on attention to detail through data insights. Carmody said they have systems in place to provide live insights, allowing them to share valuable insights with members and suppliers which has assisted them in “planning and preparation” during this time. 

“Our executional standards remain high with attention to detail being paramount. It’s important we are focusing on our members’ needs before they become wants… Being able to react and forecast in record time has been the ultimate advantage,” Carmody said. 

This environment has also set the scene for Liquor Legends’ plans for the rest of the year and even further into the future. At the forefront is the need to perfect and differentiate their online ordering and delivery platform for customers and members, alongside a fully integrated marketing strategy. Carmody hinted that they’re working on integrating some emerging technology that will help achieve this, and it will be a great point of difference to competitors.  

Giving customers a positive and unique experience also feeds into the phased approach to the group’s development strategy.

“Most of our online shoppers are brand new customers who haven’t shopped in-store with us before. Our online transactions are twice the size of what we are seeing in-store. Currently click and collect outweighs delivery with beer and RTD taking prominence,” Carmody said. 

Member stores that are paving the way in the online ordering and delivery space include Liquor Legends Hawker and Charnwood, which Carmody said are gearing up to be Canberra’s number one online alcohol delivery service. 

He said: “Online is already accounting for 2.1 per cent of their total sales volume. Their online retail sales are incremental and means they have exponential growth in transactions and average sale has doubled. They aren’t stealing sales from their retail to online which is the ultimate recipe for success.”

The new delivery vehicles, as can be seen in the image below were also called out by Carmody, who added: “This is the ultimate example of what can be achieved with 100 per cent commitment and true passion. Congratulations to John Wilson and his Legendary team they are truly inspirational!”

Brydie Allen

Brydie Allen is the Editor of National Liquor News. She has been with Food and Beverage Media since 2019, when she joined the company as a journalist across National Liquor News, Bars & Clubs, The...

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