How tech drives the business strategy for Big Shed Brewing
Founders of Big Shed Brewing, Craig Basford and Jason Harris
Big Shed Brewing grew from a love of good beer, passion for community and an openness to experimentation. This approach led them to win the South Australia Promoting Sustainability Award at the 2022 Telstra Best of Business Awards.
A positive attitude filters through every part of their business strategy, from creating new beer flavours to choosing the right digital tools. “[Our approach to technology is] about putting people first and trying to make their lives easier, no matter if it’s a brewer on the floor, one of our front-of-house crew or a customer on our website,” Craig says.
The team at Big Shed Brewing aren’t the only ones achieving business innovation through tech solutions. Xero’s 2022 One Step report found that small businesses that adopted tech enjoyed 120% higher revenue and 108% higher productivity than those that didn’t.
By integrating a few digital tools, Jason and Craig have streamlined their operations, connected with their customers, rewarded loyalty and added value to their business strategy.
Connect with your customers using digital marketing
Digital marketing is an effective way to connect the team behind Big Shed Brewing with their in-store and online customers. Craig tells us that effective digital marketing is about meeting your customers where they are – and for Big Shed Brewing that’s on social media and their email database.
Digital marketing management software helps them schedule and target emails. It integrates with the table ordering service in the brewery, which uses sales data to tailor content to each customer. “These tools will only increase sales if the customer sees the value in it too,” Craig says. His attitude is to be helpful and informative above all else. “Let’s not waste their time. Let’s give them the information that’s important to them and eliminate the stuff that’s not.”
Social media scheduling software helps staff to plan their posts for peak periods on Instagram, Facebook, TikTok and Snapchat. This way, Jason and Craig know when they’ll get the most views and the best return on their social media investment.
While Jason and Craig embrace the benefits of social media, they’re quick to remind us that the best digital marketing goes beyond sales. “Digital marketing is not just about selling products. It’s about forging stronger connections between our business and the people who buy our products,” Craig says.
“If we’re using technology to improve people’s experience and connection with our business, then we’re on the right track. That won’t change no matter how big the company gets.”
– Craig Basford, co-founder and director of Big Shed Brewing
Create community and reward customer loyalty with tech
Community is at the core of Big Shed Brewing. In 2020 they launched Shed Heads, a bespoke loyalty program to reward their repeat customers. “We knew we had big supporters and we wanted to respect that relationship,” Craig says.
Members pay an annual fee to join and in return they get in-store and online benefits. When they visit the taproom, they get every pint for the same price as a schooner, plus a birthday beer. In a dedicated section of their web store, members get exclusive access to new products before they’re released to the public. “We wanted to create a real insider culture with a core group of Sheddies,” Craig says.
The Shed Head program helps Big Shed Brewing foster a community of like-minded people. They connect in an active Facebook group and through dedicated email marketing to their database of VIP customers.
By prioritising community and understanding their customers, Big Shed Brewing has created a place for customers to connect with their brand and one another. “I think a lot of people get tremendous value out of the community,” Craig says. “They make friends that they didn't have before through Big Shed and Shed Head, which I think is a beautiful little effect of what we get up to.”
“As a small business, we have the ability to tweak whatever we want, whenever we like. There are a few key components of our software and environment that don’t change, but everything else can pivot on a dime if we need.”
– Jason Harris, co-founder and director of Big Shed Brewing
Choose tools that will support your business growth
Jason and Craig started Big Shed Brewing in a garage. Now they’ve grown their business to over 60 staff, a thriving web store, and a popular brewery, taproom and eatery in Western Adelaide. “As the business gets bigger and more complex, we can’t do everything on an Excel spreadsheet,” Craig says. Tech has helped them navigate change and enormous business growth.
They use Microsoft Office 365 to communicate with their employees and help manage day-to-day tasks. Front-of-house staff can easily log their timesheets or process payments on tablets stationed around the brewery. And the back-of-house team is set up with resource planning software and a warehouse management system to help them keep track of beer production.
Jason and Craig are open to staff feedback to make sure these digital tools are giving support where it’s needed most. “We try to keep our technology simple. We just need to make sure it does what we need it to do, and is scalable if we need to expand quickly,” Jason says.
Implementing tech solutions can be a simple and cost-effective way to boost your business strategy. While finding the right tech for your business might take some time, Big Shed Brewing shows it’s worth the investment. Craig shares some encouragement: “Be open to what’s out there and don’t be afraid of technology. It can be easier than you think.”
This article does not necessarily reflect the views of Telstra or its staff.
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