With wine sales peaking over the holiday season, it is a strategic imperative for many wine retailers to maximize revenue over the last two months of the year. The good news is that there are a number of both tactical and strategic steps that retailers can take to finish the year strongly. Here’s a closer look at some of the best tips for growing wine sales during the winter holiday season.
Get your in-store displays right
Attractive merchandising for the holidays should be a clear priority. At a very minimum, you want to have eye-catching aisle displays that are festive in the mood. You might also want to contact distributors and suppliers to see if they have specific displays that you can use in-store. The goal of these displays should be to guide customers to the most popular wines during the holiday season.
You should also give attention to floor displays and how they can help to direct customer flow around the store. When it comes to floor displays, take note that simply stacking up a lot of cases on top of each other is likely to do little to incentivize customers to buy a new bottle of wine. Instead, think of how you can use displays to show food-wine pairings or potential gift ideas.
Sell special holiday-themed gift cards
Most likely, you have a stack of gift cards at the checkout register that customers can purchase year-round. But do you have special holiday gift cards? If not, you should think about creating holiday gift cards at a variety of price points and in a variety of different designs. If there is any way to add special packaging or presentation around the gift card – such as a special box – it can also go a long way to satisfying customers. Some people still prefer to give gift cards the way they make regular gifts (with packaging and/or wrapping), and especially around the holidays.
Promote gifting within the store
Every holiday season, a near-certain bestseller will be holiday gift baskets. Here, you have two main options. You can either promote gift baskets that include a bottle of alcohol (either wine or spirits) and accessories (such as wine glasses), or a gift basket that is much more of a curated wine bundle. According to research firm Nielsen, alcohol still ranks as one of the Top 10 gifts to give during the holiday season, so it’s important to have a variety of gift baskets and bundles available, at a variety of different price points.
One other way to promote gifting within the store is to offer specialty gift-wrap services. If you were hiring extra help during the busy holiday season, here is one easy way to put them to work. One big reason why customers opt for gift baskets is the ease and convenience of buying a nicely packaged gift with little or no effort on their part. So make sure that you’re going the extra mile to make each purchase of a gift bottle look special.
Don’t ignore online sales channels
There is so much work that goes into managing the actual brick-and-mortar store that sometimes little or no thought is given to making the online part of the business look just as good. If you are decorating windows, adding special holiday displays and re-arranging aisles and floor stacks in the store, why are you not also taking steps to add holiday-themed content to your website?
Just remember – if your website includes an e-commerce component (i.e. An option to have bottles delivered to a home or business), make sure that you provide very detailed information about your shipping calendar during the holiday season. Many retailers provide a final “cutoff date” for when they can promise timely delivery of a package. If possible, you should also be providing a list of dates for when customers can expect a purchase to arrive. The difference between a gift basket arriving on the 24th of December and the 26th of December, for example, can be immense.
As part of your online sales channels, you should also be thinking about ways that you can leverage both email and social media to sell more. Email marketing campaigns, for example, can be tailored to promote holiday-themed wines in your store. And social media posts can be used to encourage customers to stop by or to provide timely updates about store openings, closings or promotions. For example, if a winter blizzard has forced your store to close early, why not post about that as well on social media? Often, the first place people will look these days is on Twitter or Facebook when they are looking to interact with a brand.
Host a holiday-themed events
This might seem like a no-brainer, but plan at least one holiday-themed event at your store. The most popular type of event is a simple wine tasting featuring classic holiday wines. But you can get plenty more creative than that. Even something as simple as a Black Friday promotion for the day after Thanksgiving can be used to generate sales momentum for your store. Just as easily, “Secret Santa” sales promotions could be used to create a fun, convivial sales experience.
In order to maximize turnout for these events, it’s important to put your trust in social media and email newsletters. Make sure that people know about the event in advance, and make sure there is plenty of coordination between online and offline channels. When people are showing up at your store, requesting to use a certain #hashtag to get a promotional discount, you want to make sure that everything goes off seamlessly!
Finally, you need to be prepared for much more “handselling” during the holiday season, which is why it pays to staff up in advance. During the rest of the year, customers might be content to buy the same trusted brands over and over again. However, during the holiday season, they might come with specific requests – such as the right wine to pair with a certain meal – or for specific assistance in finding the “perfect gift.”
If you take all of these steps into consideration, you will be well on your way to grow sales during the winter holiday season. And what better way to ring in the New Year than with many happy customers and an overall sense that you have helped to bring holiday cheer to people far and wide?