Continuing the interview series with retail buyers around the country. This week’s interview features Peter Balboni, owner of Pioppi’s Package Store in Plymouth, Massachusetts.
Tell us about your store.
Pioppi’s is a third generation family-owned and operated liquor store with a track record for innovation. We believe having a strong personal connection with our customers is paramount, our motto has always been an educated consumer is a loyal customer. Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, events were a huge focus for us to bring business into our store as well as helping community organizations raise money for meaningful causes.
What are some of the hot trends in your area right now?
Ready-to-drink cocktails have really been a hot category for us this summer, we feel that since consumers have not been seeing their favorite bartenders they are more apt to try a pre-made craft cocktail. It probably comes as no surprise to hear that the hard seltzer category has seen huge growth this year.
How has COVID-19 changed your operations?
We have always been active on social media, but in the past 6 months we have focused more on our online presence. We have found that upcoming trends often start to emerge on social media before the analytics even catch up.
How do you make decisions on new products?
The main factors that affect whether we take in a specific new product are market trends and social media as well as customer feedback. We try to make sure that all categories are packed with a diverse selection of products so there is something for everyone.
What impresses you most in a new product pitch?
Packaging is important, if a product does not look good it will not entice the consumer to buy it, especially in this current climate where we can’t hold events and tastings. Obviously, the quality of the product as well as overall marketing campaign to back up the new release are paramount as well.
What is one piece of advice for brand owners in 2020?
One piece of advice I would give brand owners is… make sure your representatives are well educated on your products before they head out into the market.