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Membership Retail Flies High At Wingtip Featured

  • Written by  Debbie Hauss
Membership Retail Flies High At Wingtip

A lot of retailers are trying to figure out the best ways to blend selling products with meaningful experiences. San Francisco-based Wingtip may have found the secret sauce, by combining a high-end retail store with a members-only club. At its ground-floor store, Wingtip sells custom menswear, cigars, fine wine and liquor, and fly fishing equipment — all personally curated by Founder and CEO Ami Arad.

Today, 12-year-old Wingtip is bringing in 50% of its revenue from retail sales and an equal percentage from its 6-year-old members-only club. Arad is committed to both sides of the business in order to sustain the business as a whole: "I have no interest in opening stand-alone stores or being in the club business," he told a group of press and analysts during the NetSuite Suiteworld conference today.

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To drive home the value of experience during the press conference, Arad asked for a volunteer to join him to learn how to slice the cork off a champagne bottle using a saber — one of the more popular in-store experiences enjoyed by Wingtip customers. IHL's Jeff Roster reluctantly obliged.

Wingtip currently is bringing in revenue in the "double digit millions," said Arad, and serves approximately 1,200 club members, 10% of which are female. It's a very personal business for Arad, who said he built the business so that he could "spend the rest of my life with others like me."

To motivate people like him to join the Wingtip club, Arad has formatted a unique business model for members: a one-time initiation fee and monthly dues — half of which are converted to rolling store credit. "We sort-of force you to become one of our best customers" when you join the club, he explained. The rolling credit only applies to full-price items.

Although Arad is not aggressively marketing the club, he offers a referral bonus for current members. Marketing efforts are focused on the retail store, he added. To that end, Arad holds two distinct sales during the year, featuring a "Risk Reward" setup: "The discount increases 1% every day" during the sale, capping at 70%. Approximately 75% of retail sales at Wingtip are generated by the general public (not club members).

Wingtip offers "tens of thousands" of SKUs, including 10% private label items and 10% custom clothing. Three of the key revenue generators are operated by Shops-in-Shop partners, including Fine Wine & Spirits, Fly Fishing and Cigars.

Right now, Wingtip is in one location, although Arad came close to opening a second space in Los Angeles this year. Continued growth could take a few different forms, including an addition of overnight rooms and a fitness center at the San Francisco location or smaller-footprint locations in cities like New York, Chicago and Los Angeles.

Further Growth With The Help Of NetSuite

In order to scale the business and improve overall strategies, Wingtip is expanding its partnership with NetSuite by deploying SuiteCommerce Advanced for the e-Commerce site and SuiteCommerce InStore for POS. These solutions will be unified with NetSuite ERP, CRM, order and inventory management, already in place at Wingtip.

The new solution set will help Wingtip unify the two distinct parts of the business. "We've redefined the omnichannel customer experience by blending one side of our business with the other," said Arad. "We erased 10 years of technical debt by migrating to NetSuite and innovating the customer experience."

Arad is hoping that the new NetSuite solution will help invigorate the shrinking e-Commerce side of the business. While e-Commerce is not the core of Wingtip's revenue, "It should be low-hanging fruit," said Arad. "It's a no-brainer to be online."

Click here for a sneak peek into how Wingtip is leveraging NetSuite within its San Francisco store!

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