Drew Estate app helps retailers expand their base
By Greg Girard
There is nothing healthier for a business than loyalty—loyal customers and loyal partners equal loyal revenue. And certainly, any business owner knows to never take advantage of that loyalty or else rue the consequences. Keeping loyal customers happy and engaged is just good business.
The challenge, of course, is how best to reach and expand that loyal base. Coupons, events, special deals: All these things are part of the formula, with social media continuing to play an ever-growing role. It’s the generational elephant in the room—the younger embracing every new advancement, the older trying to keep up. So whether you own the local neighborhood tobacconist shop or you’re one of the leading premium cigar manufacturers in the industry, keeping your customers engaged as often as possible is just good business.
It shouldn’t come as a surprise, then, that this essential issue was on the minds of Drew Estate as well. “We were the first cigar company with a mobile app,” explains Sam Morales, marketing director at Drew Estate. “Our first version had our event feed, store locator and our product portfolio, but it really wasn’t a community.”
That limited functionality and lack of interactivity had Jonathan Drew, founder of Drew Estate, thinking outside the box. How could Drew Estate offer the same important information while allowing the company to connect on several different levels with their customers? The answer, after nearly five years of development, became the Drew Diplomat App.
“The idea was to take our best consumers, craziest consumers, guys that love our brand the most, and try to drive that traffic to the brick-and-mortar level. It’s a social loyalty program. That’s the mission, vision and purpose of the app,” explains Morales.
Available on iOS and Android devices, the app allows users to share their Drew Estate experiences with other users while earning points and badges toward swag and art created by Drew Estate’s more than 40 resident artists at Subculture Studios. Users are also connected to official Drew Estate retailers and Drew Estate events.
For example, a user can take a picture of the Liga Privada No. 9 they just purchased and share the picture through the app (which also can interface with their personal Twitter and Facebook pages). That purchase then earns them points as well as credit toward certain badges on the app. As you earn badges, like the Broadleaf badge or the Daily Grind badge, more benefits and swag become available (there are about 40 badges to be earned to date). There’s also the Mayor’s badge, where users must check in at the same venue 15 times to earn it—the perfect badge for their local retailer.\
This interaction and multiple levels of social connectivity with users are where Morales believes the true benefits emerge for their retailers. “We’ve got this great trade program and we have this app, and I don’t know of a better way to talk to the retailers,” he says. “To say to them, hey guys, there are 13,000 consumers on here, go after them and get that business.”
The idea from Drew Estate’s perspective, of course, is to expand their Drew Diplomat retailer program. Drew Diplomat retailers are first in line for special products and new releases, and they have access to some of the high-valued brands not available to non-Drew Diplomat retailers. The quid pro quo is Drew Estate’s ability to reach beyond their preferred retailers’ customer base and become a force multiplier for their tobacconist’s marketing and promotion.
“So, for example, partnering with our best retailers to give them the best events possible,” explains Morales. “There’s an RSVP feed in the app dashboard, so we’re able to know which consumers are coming to the events before they get there. And on the app, there’s badges for attending events, so we’re not only letting them know of events but we’re incentivizing them to go.”
Jeff Mouttet, owner of Riverside Cigars in Jeffersonville, Indiana, can attest to the positive impact the app has had on his business. Drew Estate is Riverside’s top seller, and he uses the app to his benefit, offering a 10 percent discount on all app purchases when a customer checks in through the app that they are at the store.
“The app really helps us with our Drew Estate sales, especially with some of the less well-known lines in their portfolio,” says Mouttet. “We’ve sold more Isla del Sol, Natural and Joya de Nicaragua products since the launch of the app, and I attribute that directly to the exposure those lines have received from being included on the app.”
The customer connectivity with events has also increased Mouttet’s bottom line. As a Diplomat program member, Mouttet was initially concerned with the amount of space he was committing to Drew Estate’s products. “But it turned out to be one of the best decisions I’ve made since opening the shop almost six years ago,” he says. “Their personal commitment to our mutual success is the biggest reason for this, I think. We’ve had everyone from Jon Drew, Willy Herrera, Dave Lafferty, Zev Kaminsky and Sam Morales in our store, and the customers love that interaction with the guys in the industry. Drew Estate’s commitment to our success is second to none, and I think that’s a big reason they’re our No. 1 seller.”
Jorge Juarez, owner of Havana Humidor in Miami, offers a similar experience. Havana Humidor carries more than 80 Drew Estate facings, and Juarez says the app has expanded his marketing efforts beyond Miami. In fact, Juarez’s store recently took over as the No. 1 location on Drew Diplomat for users posting pictures at the shop. “Just last night we had people from Ohio, Arizona, Mexico City and New York,” he says. “When people are in the area and are on the app, if they want to find the nearest Drew Estate store, they’ll find us. It’s been great for our business.”
For more information on the app, go to drewdiplomat.com.