Vantage Group has opened a new 9/11 Bottleshop in Tasmania, adding a Sandy Bay location as the 21st store in the group.
The outlet, which has been in the works for almost 12 months, opened last Friday to a great response from the local community. Sharni Wise, Retail Operations Manager at Vantage Group, said the positive result has been thanks to a commitment to planning and research to ensure the store would be set up for the best possible success.
“A lot of planning went into customer research when we were making the decision. We held focus groups with different subsets of the market, just to make sure we were getting it right. The planning and approvals process then took some time, as well as COVID interruptions, but we’re so glad to have finally opened last Friday 9 October,” Wise told National Liquor News.
“The opening has gone so well! We’re so lucky to be in a vibrant suburb on a busy road, right next to the beautiful Hill St Grocer and across the road from the University too. The local community have been delighted with the convenience of having a one-stop-shop for groceries and liquor with decent parking. The feedback on the Tasmanian range has been excellent, which is what we’d hoped for.”
The Sandy Bay store is smaller to some other 9/11 outlets, and is described as having a more luxe approach. There’s a focus on premium, boutique and local Tasmanian products, which suits the local area and customer base.
Wise said that the location: “next to the highly-regarded locally-owned boutique grocer in quite a high socio-economic community, meant naturally this store would need to have a premium feel and range.”
The extensive customer research showed that there was a strong preference towards buying quality renowned products, even if that meant higher priced items. There was also a focus on buying Tasmanian produced stock and supporting Tasmanian businesses who showcase smaller producers. This is what 9/11 already does, for example with an exclusive partnership with local winery, Invercarron Wines.
“Particularly in the current times, it’s important to us that our wine is sold by businesses who are equally as passionate as we are about promoting local Tasmanian producers,” said Andrew Jones, Co-owner of Invercarron Wines.
Extensive research has also helped 9/11 Sandy Bay utilise the slightly smaller space to create ideal shopping experiences for customers.
“We also asked our research focus groups about their ideal floor plans, what they currently buy, how they find out about new products, and what their preferences are in terms of signage, racks and layouts,” Wise explained.
“We’ve added timber features into this store to warm up the space and make it feel a bit more connected to place. We put a real emphasis on tweaking our signage and graphics to be a bit more premium, but also optimising it so it was clear and easy to navigate. It’s these little touches that customers would hardly notice but when tied all together it makes a big difference to the experience.
“Although it’s not one of our biggest stores, there have been comments on the size inside, and we feel like we’ve used the space in a clever way without making it feel crammed. The customers have been really happy with the look and feel of the place.”
After this opening, Wise said the group doesn’t have any further concrete plans for expansion, however is always on the lookout for opportunities should they arise. Right now though, the team is taking the time to make sure the 21 stores are all meeting customer and supplier needs.
“We’re just taking this time to use our customer research to enhance the guest experience across all our 21 stores, and strengthening the relationships we have with local and emerging winemakers, brewers and distillers, such as Invercarron Wines,” Wise said.