In the June issue of National Liquor News, Adrian Moelands, General Manager of Thirsty Camel Victoria, talks about how the business has reinvested its positive results for the benefit of members.
National Liquor News: How has Thirsty Camel VIC been faring in 2022 so far?
Adrian Moelands: We have experienced great results already this year, which has enabled us to give back more to our members. Total business value is up 15.14 per cent YTD, while total business volume is up 10.65 per cent YTD. We supported our members by giving them triple rebates in Q2 and double rebates in Q4, and we funded core range for every single member.
Whilst it’s great to see our business continually growing, we are most proud of the behaviours of the company. We are here for the members and we must ensure we continue to give back as much as possible. That’s what you do when you are a member first organisation.
NLN: What do you see as the biggest opportunities and challenges for Thirsty Camel VIC for the rest of this year?
AM: Thirsty Camel members have connected and supported their local communities through the toughest of times. This connection with the local community and the format of our convenient retail format, gives us a great base to build from in multiple ways this year, as we cater to the latest consumer trends and continue to deliver the best for members and
One area of opportunity we’re watching closely this year is the non-alcoholic drinks category. We believe this category can drive new consumers into our stores during current dwell times, for example with lunch time trade, so it will be important for us to be ready to service these new consumers.
NLN: What are the key things you are working on to support your members at the moment?
AM: There are a few imminent initiatives that we’re working on to deliver great outcomes for our members, and these will continue to be a focus for Thirsty Camel VIC in the near future.
For example, we’re introducing a tiered store model and Retail Excellence program, which will allow each store to have a tailored program and growth plan.
We have also started to roll out the next phase of our loyalty program, Hump Club, including an app and the ability to add your loyalty card to your smart phone’s digital wallet. Hump Club will also have a drive thru solution and improved data to better target the right consumers.
NLN: What is the role of the online for Thirsty Camel right now?
AM: We know consumers are looking to save time and many are making their decision pre-store, so we are launching some digital initiatives to ensure we are engaging and capturing consumers before they physically enter the store.
Likewise with our loyalty program and the upcoming launch of the Thirsty Camel app, we are looking to make the online experience as seamless as possible utilising click and collect, which will assist in providing a loyalty solution in conjunction with the drive thru as well.
NLN: What would you say the general focus is at Thirsty Camel VIC now and into the rest of 2022?
AM: We are focused on embedding the programs that have been launched recently, as we believe these programs are going to deliver great value to our members.
Our innovation hub is also looking at some new and innovative retail solutions that will further support our membership. One such solution we’re looking into is digital shelf ticketing, so we will continue to explore that further.
There will also be a focus on playing to our strengths, which first and foremost is the convenient store format of Thirsty Camel VIC stores. Consumers continue to seek fast and easy solutions, so our layout and inclusion of drive thru has substantial appeal.
NLN: How do you see the liquor retail landscape evolving in the next 12 months?
AM: We expect trends that thrived during the pandemic, like that of premiumisation and no and low alcohol, will remain influential over the coming year.
Likewise, we expect the uplift of shopping local will continue, despite consumers getting back into their regular routine now that pandemic restrictions have been lifted. The local community remains important to these consumers and they will seek out local shopping destinations.
NLN: You recently held a conference in Port Douglas – how did that go?
AM: Having just returned from our first forum since 2019 with record attendance from both suppliers and members, there were many highlights for us. This included being able to present the year’s plans, showcase the past year’s amazing results, and discuss what our focus is moving forward.
At the forum we also welcomed 19 new stores and 12 new suppliers. There were more supplier stalls at our expo than ever before, with exclusive deals for attending members from both suppliers and our wheel of fortune. We held a cane toad race at the gala dinner, which saw $5,000 raised for the Ronald McDonald House – a great result for a good cause.
On returning from Port Douglas, we also had the pleasure of awarding the Local Legends Award at the recent AHA awards to Peter Appleby from The Grand Hotel in Warrandyte and Michelle McQuilton from Woolsthorpe Union Station Hotel.
Find this interview and the rest of the annual banner group feature in the June issue of National Liquor News.