Top 5 Tools for Selling Wine Direct this Holiday Season

[Sandra Hess – August 29, 2022] Sandra Hess, founder of DTC Wine Workshops and Consumer Engagement Specialist, brings you these top five tips for selling wine direct to consumer this holiday season. Ready to implement these tools and build a strategic plan for 2023? Reach out to schedule a coaching session or workshop for your winery team. Find our DTC Consultant Network overview page with BIOs HERE.

Tool #1 – Develop a Holiday Touch-Point Schedule

It is a best practice to begin holiday marketing programs and consumer outreach campaigns by October 15th. Work backwards from December 31st to plot out your ideal outreach activities by “customer type”. Begin with members and long-term loyalists when creating private events and holiday wine offers. Include “added-value” incentives and “personalization options” whenever possible. Get outside of the box this holiday season by leveraging your wine brands unique access points both onsite and online. Move onto your repeat customers and industry referral partners when creating a second set of outreach activities. Bring these groups closer to the brand by offering a series of private holiday events or winery walkabouts with special holiday wine flights paired with a traditional nosh using a family recipe. Don’t forget to invite first-time customers to reengage this holiday season and include a little extra holiday joy when they bring friends and book for a group of up to six. Sell wine direct to consumer beyond the holiday season by including added value reengagement offers when meeting a minimum spend on holiday wines. For example, include promo code to book a private tasting appointment for a group of six when paying for two experience fees and booking between January and March the following year (slower visitation months). You aren’t giving away the tasting experiences for free but are providing a considerable value for your brand loyalists when bringing their BFFs and clients to your space in the new year.

Tool #2 – Setup Invitations/Offers and Schedule an Outreach Campaign

Make it easy for out of state wine brand loyalists to send wine gifts and also have cases of wine delivered for holiday gatherings. Remove the barriers to buy by creating a Holiday Gift List Form within your website. Allow executive assistants to upload the form with bulk order information using a CSV or Excel file through a secure interface. Remember to message “security” and “ease of ordering” when offering Corporate Wine Order Services. DO offer a flat-rate shipping offer on 4-packs, 6-pack comparative or vertical collections and cases for gifting/gatherings. Figure out your cost of acquisition for these new eCommerce customers when developing your shipping offers. Upgrade to 2nd day or Overnight shipping depending on types of wine and weather alerts, etc. This is low hanging fruit for many of our wine brands but it does take a bit of time to build and test the bulk order tools and processes in advance.

Schedule an Outreach Campaign using the most meaningful communication tools to best reach your consumer communities. If most have told you they prefer text communication then segment those contact records and assign staff to invite by text. The same thing goes for phone outreach VS personal email VS social instant messaging. Be sure to follow all Federal Trade Commission Consumer Outreach rules when contacting. Check timezones for each consumer segment and never call outside of the 10:00 am to 7:00 pm window in their respective timezone.

Tool #3 – Update all Digital Outlets with Seasonal Content and Engagement Opportunities

Start with your winery website to refresh all pages with seasonal images, video messages and content. Have some fun! For example, your marketing team could develop a “Festival of Holiday Wines” showcasing the best wines for holiday gatherings and gifting needs. A series of winery events and themed tastings will compliment this campaign in a meaningful way. Consider use of Virtual Events to compliment the in-person offerings and encourage higher levels of engagement as well as eCommerce orders. Include members of the family, viticulture and winemaking teams, regional partners and featured club members in holiday video content, virtual events, etc. This is a great way to extend brand reach and reinforce commitment to communities.

Tool #4 – Provide Private Client Services to Increase Engagement with Top Buyers

Run a Top 20% Lifetime Value Consumer Contact Report to review and analyze length of relationships, location and buying patterns. Depending on the list size, assign a group of hospitality team members to take ownership of this list this beginning early October. Take time to identify communication preferences for each contact before launching the outreach campaigns. Develop a list of private and personalized offers for both out of state and local contacts. Introduce Private Client Services when starting the communication with these individuals and be intentional about your desire to help with trip planning services, holiday wine recommendations for Gifting/Gathering needs, etc. Showcase your community of referral partners, preferred restaurants, event venues, top adventure outlets, favorite lodging partners, etc. Be sure to develop a Seasonal Bonus Structure between October 15th and end of year to motivate and encourage your private client managers to go above and beyond.

Tool #5 – Reward and Recognize during the Holidays to Deepen Connections

Get in the holiday spirit early by taking time to recognize and reward your long-time brand loyalists. These brand loyalists are your long-term club or allocation members, referral partners and industry contacts. Mid-week holiday wine gatherings, vintner meet and greets, barrel room tasting experiences, etc. provide a personalized and private experience for those you want to thank the most. Consider this cost of marketing or retention when allocating an annual budget for this private retention events. Tracking referrals from this key segment of consumers each year is a best practice and allows DTC Directors to justify the annual rewards spend. At the very least, send holiday cards with a personal note to this segment of consumer contacts and always include an invitation to visit. AND, don’t forget to capitalize on holiday events. Can your wine brand offer private holiday event spaces and catering options to long-term members and top spenders?

These aren’t one-size-fits all tips so please take time to meet with your respective teams and identify the top 2-3 activities that compliment your unique offerings and access points. We look forward to hearing from you and how your DTC and Hospitality teams slayed it this holiday season. Cheers!