Bickford's spies scalable product tasting and insights from South Australian app trial

Beverages brand collaborates with South Australian tech startup, Shouted, on the latter's proprietary scan-to-taste mobile app solution

From left: shouted co-founders, Michael Bois & Sam Nicolitsi with Bickford's Chris Illman
From left: shouted co-founders, Michael Bois & Sam Nicolitsi with Bickford's Chris Illman


Scaling consumer trials on-premise, lifting product awareness and increased distribution are in the sights of South Australian beverages brand, Bickford’s Group, following a new partnership with fellow SA tech startup, Shouted.

The pair have teamed up on Shouted’s proprietary app, a mobile drinks wallet and QR payments code technology enabling consumers to transact and redeem samplings and offers at an on-premise venue. The company said its main aim is to drive consumers from a digital engagement to an offline purchase, and it’s dubbing its approach ‘scan-to-taste’.

Illman told CMO he connected with one of the team behind Shouted six months ago after doing informal research in stores and discovering the app.

“What’s enticing to me is the ability to have consumers trial our brands at scale in a sales channel that is very important to us and the growth of our business,” he said. “On-premise is the traditional champion of building brands – you get people going into pubs, restaurants and nightclubs. There’s very limited supply to choose from, therefore you have a captive audience, consumers then consume product and if they like it, they’ll go buy in retail. That delivers a solid platform for consumption.

“Shouted looked like it could aggregate this trial mechanism from a central location – we could load a deal or consumer offer, then macro scale it across multiple touchpoints on-premise, which leads to distribution gains as well. This ticked a lot of boxes.”

Illman also noted the cost-effective nature of the app, which sees brands remunerate the customer based on consumption. Another important gain is aggregated data on who drinks which products, what else they had with it, when they drank it, and what they continue to purchase later into the night.

“These are rich aggregated qualitative insights into our category, trade market and inter-purchase behaviour,” Illman continued. “Am I a higher value brands? Or can I sharpen the pencil to drive loaded sales? A raft of outcomes can come from that.”

Following test-and-learn, the first activation of Shouted’s scan-to-taste technology has gone live at The Wakefield Hotel in Adelaide and runs into March. Bickford’s is kicking off with three of its South Australian brands initially: Press + Bloom Pinot Noir, Vale Tropic Ale and 23rd Street Signature Rum.

“From that, we’ll understand the results and rate of sales, then take those learnings to potentially sell into as many venues in Adelaide that either have Shouted or will collaborate to have the platform embedded into more venues,”Illman said.

The aim of the partnership is to secure both more distribution of the platform as well as the Bickford’s product portfolio.

“The one conversation we needed to have was making sure we found balance in selling the Shouted platform to customers as well as maintaining our relationship with our customer base. The ROI objective for both of us is increased distribution of our respective products,” Illman said.   

Data insights from the first trials can also help Bickford’s tailor and evolve offers to ensure they’re value-add for the consumer, leading to more foot traffic, dwell time and consumption – a win/win for brand and on-premise customer alike.

“Customers continually look for new information to make better decisions. This platform helps that transactional value which leads to better understanding of the consumer,” he added.  

Shouted co-founder, Michael Bois, said beverage companies have been restricted by a manual process when taking products to market, with drink samplings, bar shouts and price discounts time intensive and limited in scale.

“Compounding this inefficiency, there’s no feasible way to capture behaviour data in order to fully understand who’s tasting, who’s buying and who’s engaging with a brand,” he said. “We developed Shouted to resolve these problems, among many others faced by the industry.”

With the new Vale Tropic Ale product in particular, the Shouted trial also gives Bickford’s the opportunity to trial this new style. Those numbers could widen out our conversations for that product.

Illman said his team will support the app-led experiential activity with social activity across Instagram and Facebook. The company also does weekly shouts at venues on a Friday afternoon which will tie into this.

“The nirvana is we thrown out a sampling solution for the first drink and consumer continues to drink the product throughout the night, then you now you have a consumer for life and it’s gone into the repertoire,” he added.  

Related: How to evolve your mobile marketing strategy

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