In the 2023 National Liquor News Industry Leaders Forum, Thirsty Camel Victoria reflected on how it was able to cycle a record year thanks to an enhanced operating model.
In 2021, Thirsty Camel Victoria outperformed expectations and experienced a record year. Last year was also excellent, with the independent Victorian banner maintaining that strong performance to repeat its record year. It builds a strong foundation for what may be a challenging retail landscape in 2023.
Adrian Moelands, General Manager of Thirsty Camel Victoria, said: “There have been several key growth drivers for Thirsty Camel Victoria across the past 12 months. Consumers have continued to support independent traders, and because our member stores give back to their local communities, a strong connection has been built.
“We’ve seen this connection lead to great results in one category in particular – there has been continued growth in the contemporary beer space, while classic and mainstream volumes have maintained their popularity.”
But it’s a tailored approach in Thirsty Camel Victoria’s operations that has seen the greatest success across the board. One such example is the continued enhancements to the group’s loyalty program, Hump Club.
“It’s had several upgrades over the past 12 months. First, we introduced in-store signup capability, so new customers can register and start earning rewards on the spot. For the network, this has seen our unique customer count and value increase three-fold,” Moelands said.
“The next improvement was the ability to add your Hump Club card to your digital wallet, which gives customers access to full transaction data at all times. Our final development was a new app. All these enhancements allow for us to introduce more sophisticated campaigns that reward both our loyal customers and our member network.”
Another positive change has been the evolution of the Thirsty Camel Victoria model itself. It was once a ‘one size fits all’ approach, but now it can be tailored to include specific programs. This includes the launch of the REX program, which allows a tiered approach to range and execution, allowing all members to create excellence based on store capacity.
Thirsty Camel Victoria’s successes during 2022 were rounded out by strong interest in member engagement initiatives. They formed some of the group’s key highlights of the year, with the Port Douglas forum bringing together 243 members and suppliers, and the Vietnam conference and study tour boasting a delegation of 85 members and suppliers.
Over the next 12 months, one of the immediate goals of Thirsty Camel Victoria will be to continue to deliver the best for members as they prepare to navigate what could be some potentially difficult economic headwinds.
“Our core focus is to ensure we continue to provide our membership with the best marketing and promotional tools to ensure their success. Negotiating rising costs, not just in our industry, is extremely important and we have a program that allows all consumers to shop in our stores,” said Moelands.
“Of course, we’ll continue to monitor the elements of the economic climate, and keep a close eye on cost of living pressures and CPI and price rises. If these should lead to changes in consumer patterns and buying behaviour, Thirsty Camel Victoria has plans in place to help our members manage any uncertainty.
“All in all, we believe we’ve future proofed the business to play any hand 2023 can deal.”