From Underwear Models To Impersonators, How One Company is Using Creativity To Gain Market Share

How creative marketing and influential partnerships were critical in securing market share and generating customer acquisitions for Saucey

Today you can get just about anything delivered straight to your door. At-home delivery is convenient, it saves time, and it has become an essential part of daily life. But it has only been in recent years that certain products have broken into the home delivery space. One of those industries is alcohol.

There are many reasons that it is difficult to have a large-scale eCommerce business revolving around alcohol — differing laws in every state is one big reason — but if you are committed to solving those problems, the opportunity is huge.

Chris Vaughn saw the opening in the alcohol market as it relates to eCommerce, and through his company, Saucy, he’s been trying to take advantage of a brand new delivery market.

Alcohol is an ideal product that would benefit from having a delivery option. There is so much impromptu purchase behavior surrounding alcohol, and those impulses to have a cocktail or grab a beer often meant that you have to go to the corner market or the liquor store down the road to actually indulge. With Saucey, when you have the craving for a drink, the company delivers exactly what you want right to you.

It doesn’t sound innovative — especially considering we’re used to a world where you can get a mattress in a box sent to your door — but in the alcohol industry, this really was a revolutionary idea.

“There has been very little innovation in the alcohol industry really since prohibition,” Vaughn said. “Most of the innovation had taken place on the brand side, creating new brands, new brand categories, but very little to do with how alcohol gets distributed or purchased.”

Vaughn and his co-founders believed they could be the people to disrupt this space. They began working nights and weekends to develop the content and the backend system, they met with investors and regulatory bodies to understand the legalities of alcohol sale and delivery, and when they finally had it all figured out, they faced their next big challenge: changing consumer behavior.

“When you think about delivery as a category, food delivery has been around for decades, grocery delivery has been around for decades in one form or another… Alcohol delivery in most major metros started six or seven years ago with us and a few others. So it was very new behavior. The first hurdle, everyone was just asking, ‘Is this legal?’ Everybody. Investors, customers, et cetera. We had to do a lot of work, both in our email content, as well as in our investor materials to walk through conversations we had had with the regulatory bodies, what the law says, how we think about these different things.”

In order to spread their message a way that stood out, and because Saucey had only a small angel investment to work with, Vaughn said that his team had to get creative with their marketing efforts. They needed to make a splash — and that’s exactly what they did.

One of Saucey’s first big marketing wins was through a partnership with the fellow start-up, MeUndies. The two companies activated a promotion offering an underwear model, who would hand-deliver your Saucey order while wearing only a pair of MeUndies underwear. The campaign was a hit and generated just shy of one-hundred million media impressions within a week.

Since that campaign, the Saucey team has continued to execute bold campaigns — including campaigns with bartenders and Frank Sinatra impersonators delivering orders. But Saucey’s growth hasn’t revolved solely around its marketing efforts. Vaughn explained that his company has also been able to formulate new partnerships with retail locations and big brands alike that have helped pave the way for even greater success.

“Partnerships are a huge part of our business,” Vaughn said. “When we first got started, the first-ever brand partnership that we did was with Anheuser-Busch, and they actually reached out to us….And we did a campaign where we promoted certain products in the category. For them it was, ‘Our historical share of beer category is X at retail. In this new online world, how do we make sure that it is more than X?’ And every brand has approached it that way: ‘We are X percent of our categories in retail. How do we make sure online we are more than X?’ We ran the campaign and did extremely well. That helped us get some of those very early partnerships. And then as we started doing more and more creative stuff a lot of brands came knocking at our door.”

As more brands come calling, Vaughn looks forward to answering and making more waves in the alcohol space. To learn about how Vaughn and Saucey plan to continue growing, check out his full interview on Up Next in Commerce.