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Dec. 30, 2022

Designing Allocated Offerings w/ Byron Hoffman & Tyson Caly, Offset

Designing Allocated Offerings w/ Byron Hoffman & Tyson Caly, Offset

Allocated wine offers are unique event-based sales methods, which limit how much customers can buy, create new challenges and best practices, unlike other sales channels.


Focused on the 20% of the wine market doing things differently, Byron Hoffman and Tyson Caly, co-CEOs of Offset, are focused on enabling “Brand Differentiated Commerce.” At the intersection of design and technology for wine, Offset has significant experience operating allocated offerings of wine. These unique event-based sales methods, which limit how much customers can buy, create new challenges and best practices, unlike other sales channels.  


Detailed Show Notes: 

Byron & Tyson met while collaborating on Last Bottle, combining e-commerce and design

Offset - the intersection of design and technology for wine

  • Focused on the 20% of the industry doing things differently
  • Most clients in Napa & Sonoma, major ones include Kosta Browne, Aubert, Larkmead, Raen, Bedrock, DuMOL

DTC business models - open cart / online store, clubs, subscriptions, allocations

Allocated offerings (“allocations”) definition - the event-based, controlled release of wine

  • Geared around exclusivity
  • Offering types - first come, first serve; guaranteed; order request
  • Allocation types - individual, group-based, wish only
  • Use wish requests to prevent underselling

Differences in doing allocations vs. other models

  • A significant effort to decide who gets what, limiting what people can buy
  • Timing of sales important - need to consider things like shipping windows
  • Checkout experience language is important

Best practices

  • “Brand Differentiated Commerce” - how the brand is integrated w/ commerce can be different for every winery
  • Simplify and align customer experience w/ the brand
  • Full allocation button - can simplify the purchase
  • The design flow of customer experience (e.g., initial email, graphics at the beginning of offering) is important
  • Invest in website design - many wineries think a lot about packaging and forget about their website or don’t want to appear to be selling wine, but still need a clear call to action
  • Too much automation is not always better

Examples of the intersection of design and commerce

  • Kosta Browne re-designed how to explain wish requests on their website, reducing phone calls and emails coming in
  • Text messaging & magic links (auto-login) enable 20 seconds to purchase, ~98% of texts get read w/in 3 minutes, partners w/ Slick Text

Costs of allocated models

  • Similar to e-commerce costs, Offset pricing is a transaction based w/ no monthly fee
  • Can have cost efficiencies if wines sell out (e.g., team labor used for other things when not selling, shipping process condensed)

Hybrid approaches

  • E.g., Larkmead has a tasting room, club, & allocations
  • E.g., Kermit Lynch has clubs, open cart, and behind-the-scenes allocations
  • Benefit - providing choices for people w/ different sales models, e.g., clubs for people who want convenience, allocations for VIPs to enable access to special wines
  • Cons - a lot more setup
  • People want to customize wine club shipments, which is similar technology to allocations and has now been enabled

Allocated offering research w/ professors from Kellogg & Peter - creating the data to get more insight and reduce guesswork for the industry


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