“It’s the most wonderful time of the year” – and this rings so true for many winery teams wrapping up 2016 and preparing end of year direct sales reports. According to Wines & Vines Analytics/ShipCompliant, Direct-to-consumer (DtC) shipments increased
in the tradit
ionally strong month of November. Sales topped $332 million, a 7% increase from November 2015. Shipments totaled 668,450 cases, a 20% increase driven by the movement of lower-priced bottles. Among bottles $60-plus, Cabernet Sauvignon led the way with 49% market share, but strong gains in Pinot Noir and Chardonnay reflect the growing scope of DtC shipments.*
So what can we learn from this data? According to a report released in CNN Money on November 27th, more than 154 million consumers shopped in stores and online this past Black Friday, which was about 3 million more than last year, according to a National Retail Federation survey.** But the NRF, which tracks consumer visits and spending data, said those consumers also spent about $10 less on average – about $290 this year compared to nearly $300 in 2015. The NRF data shows more than 108 million people shopped online over the weekend, about 5 million more than last year.
We are seeing some common trends when reviewing our winery client data sets across the nation this past year that support the above facts and figures:
- Online buyers want a shipping discount every time. Online shipping promo codes are still the number one discount code chosen by online wine buyers. Now that online retailers are hip to the scene, consumers have become well versed at shopping online around the clock knowing that they will get a great deal on shipping. It’s no wonder that we saw an increase of 5 million online shoppers this past Black Friday. Be sure to have a solid flat-rate shipping strategy dialed in for 2017 and review a cost analysis study and include shipping discounts under your “marketing budget” for acquiring new online buyers.
- Wine consumers are no longer a predictable and fixed demographical data set. Millennials (in general, people born between the early 1980s and early 2000s) last year consumed 159.6 million cases, or 42 percent, of all the wine sold in the U.S., surpassing baby boomers and Generation X, according to a recent survey by the Wine Market Council.*** When we look at how Millennials like to interact with brands, we have learned that they are very exploratory and like a lot of choice. This may support the 20% increase in lower-priced bottles shipped this past month.
- Online store managers have learned to offer a solid product mix. As I audit winery websites across the nation monthly, I am seeing a growing trend. More online stores are offering a solid mix of wines by price-range and varietal. Appealing to the “collector” wine buyer is always a good move through club and allocation offerings. Why note offer a sampling of higher price-point wines to test consumer demand? At the same, time be sure to include entry level pricing between $18 and $30 per bottle to make is EASY for online buyers to explore your wines online. It’s not the first sale that is the most important, but indeed the second and beyond (thank you Rob McMillan for this awesome quote). Get your online buyers over the finish line with the right mix of price-points and shipping incentives.
Does your team have the tools necessary to grow online wine sales by 20% minimum in 2017? Watch for the DTC Wine Workshops 2017 Online Catalogue releasing on January 3rd! We are offering 60+ workshops this next year with a heavy focus on direct sales conversion from in-person to online, customer retention, brand ambassador programs and DTC branding. Also, be sure to checkout the latest blog released by Ken Majers on “Talent Retention” as you look to hire for the new year.
Ready to get the ball rolling now? We have a group of Direct to Consumer Wine Consultants available to support your winery team on a project-by-project basis. Schedule an online training or a customized workshop at your winery. For a bit of extra inspiration, review the DTC Case Study Series here or checkout our latest Testimonials here.
We look forward to connecting with you in 2017 and are thankful for the support of our incredible clients and partners this past year.
Wishing you a warm and joyous holiday season!
DTC Wine Workshops