The purpose of this report is to analyze CorkGuru, a startup that was established in 2014 by Danielle Gillespie. It will discuss the company’s structure and market segmentation with specific focus on its product value proposition and ideal customer profile. Additionally, the report analyses the start-up’s marketing strategies. Moreover, CorkGuru’s market environment is investigated in terms of industry and competitor inquiry, revenue model, and market penetration and growth. The SWOT analysis framework is used as a foundation to explain the challenges of growth it faces and to come up with strategies that would help it realize rapid growth. It is found that the company has specialized in providing guest experience through its enterprise wine menu application that runs on iPad and its main focus is guest relationship management. Although it has successfully capitalized on the mid-sized restaurants, it still faces several challenges in its pursuit for growth that are discussed in this report.
CorkGuru is a digital platform that was established by Danielle Gillespie in 2014 and is located in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The startup as a result of the intersection of two industries: wine and technology. Its main infrastructure consists of a cloud-based platform that was designed with the aim of creating stronger brands and sustaining establishments that have the potential to arouse active curiosity among potential customers. The startup has specialized in providing guest experience through its enterprise wine menu application that runs on iPad. CorkGuru uses this platform to link brands and establishments with consumers. Moreover, it helps foster collaboration between vineyards and distributors on one hand and retail outlets on the other hand to facilitate a professional marketing message. Since its inception, this startup has helped raise the level of wine sales to its engaged customers by simply establishing and sustaining constant messaging and engagement.
Product Value Proposition
CorkGuru main focus is guest relationship management and is the first digital wine to venture into this area. The company engages guests before they arrive at a restaurant, at the restaurant, and even after they leave with the aim of enhancing their wine experience. Wine professionals that use CorkGuru service enjoy the opportunity to manage their wine inventory more efficiently. Apart from using their own website to market their product, they are allowed to use the company’s iPhone guest app to publish an accurate detail list of the wine they sell and send this information and any exclusive offers available straight to the smartphones of guests.
Ideal Customer Profile
The ideal customer profile of CorkGuru is mid-sized restaurants. However, the company targets any restaurant either operating independently or as a chain, with a wine program and would like to improve sales by monetizing their engagement with guests. The company has already established operation with a number of top restaurants across the US including Chef of Tupelo Park City Restaurant in Utah and Bistecca Steakhouse & Wine Bar in Pittsburgh (Chrapla, 2018).
Industry and Competitor Analysis
The restaurant industry that CorkGuru targets have been characterized by stiff competition and high operational cost as a result of raised levels of minimum wages and rising rents. However, traffic has been growing in most restaurants as more Americans spend more cash on eating out compared to buying groceries. On its part, CorkGuru does not have any major competitors as a result of its determination to pursue innovation that will eliminate out-of-date wine lists. The company has continually been evolving in an attempt to find the most appropriate strategy to attract new as well as regular guests. However, the preference of paper to handle wine list by most restaurants is the major obstacle that CorkGuru must overcome (Chrapla, 2018). Moreover, an increasing number of restaurants are incorporating modern ordering technology such as Amazon Echo and social media that has the potential to push CorkkGuru out of business in future. In some establishments, touchscreen devices including tablets that have been configured to permit guests to place their orders are usually placed on the table. Today, an increasing number of guests now place their orders only when they are ready. Some social media companies including Delivery.Com now permit guests to use their accounts to place orders. Although this type of online ordering does not suit all forms of businesses, simple adjustments to their functionality could threaten the future of CorkGuru.
Penetration and Growth
CorkGuru digital platform has produced a major impact on the value chain of restaurant. According to survey results released by the Boston Consulting Group (BCG), more than six out of every ten restaurant users have a restaurant application in their smartphones. 15% of the people surveyed indicated that they have up to three different applications. According to Anderson (2001), the US retail wine sector is however extremely complex and many startup businesses focused on providing digital solutions with the aim of improving wine sales face a lot of difficulties in penetrating the market. The preference of some restaurants to use paperwork in preparing their list of wine has been the major hindrance in. The company hopes to target additional wine sales vectors including supermarkets and bars. It expects that increasing its digital penetration in the market from 5% to 20% would help it accelerate its growth (Pellechai, 2018).
CorkGuru earns revenue from subscription. Although wines consumers can download the company’s app for free, restaurants have to pay for their products to appear in the wine menu. Usually, depending on the amount they have paid, they are allowed to use CorkGuru service to manage their wine inventory more efficiently and its iPhone guest app to publish an accurate detail list of the wine they sell (CorkGuru, 2018). The company claims that customers that use its platform can increase their revenue by more than 20% and that its platform is extremely affordable.
Challenges of growth
CorkGuru faces several challenges in its attempt to grow. The first challenge is competition. The company has ventured into a sector with low barriers to entry. Its original idea can easily be imitated by competitors. Moreover, although CorkGuru has established a niche market and sought to differentiate itself from other providers of similar service, it will be challenging for it to realize rapid growth. Being a small start-up, it is facing financial challenges, making it difficult to take advantage of the growing client base. Moreover, CorkGuru is a small company with less than ten employees. Due to its limited financial base, it has faced challenges in hiring qualified talents that will help it tackle the growing needs. The company is also likely to face a challenge in keeping up with the fast-paced digital advertising sector.
Recommended Strategies for Growth
CorkGuru has over the years focused on developing strategies that would help them achieve great guest experiences and satisfaction. After conducting some research on this company, it is evident that there are some strategies that the company could apply to set itself up for greater success. The first one is improving its ability to connect with guests. The company should find an effective way to engaged guests when they are trying to decide where to go. One way to do this is to use push notifications. The company could use the personalized notification to take advantage of last-minute dinners and help them to tack places they would like to go. Second, CorkGuru could differentiate itself by introducing personalized connections in its digital wine platform. This would enable a restaurant that has added a new wine to its list, for instance, to have personalized connections with its guests. Such type of engagement would improve the level of customer loyalty, eventually translated into more growth for both the restaurant and CorkGuru.
Anderson, K. (2001). Where in the world is the wine industry going?. Adelaide: Centre for International Economic Studies.