How has your year been? Holiday sales can help end the year for your winery on a high note. It’s easy for wineries to get lost in the shopping frenzy. To stand out from other businesses, make your customers’ lives simpler during the holidays by offering solutions to their gift giving dilemmas.
Here are six ways to maximize holiday sales:
1. Send a holiday email newsletter. Newsletters are great places to “give” to your customers. Include “holiday recipes” in the subject line to insure a high open rate. Use family favorites or recipes featured at winery events. A photo of the featured item and suggested wine pairings with the recipe are other ways to engage readers.
Who wouldn’t love receiving a “Holiday Guide for Entertaining” complete with tips on the number of servings per bottle, how much wine is needed per person, how to remove red wine stains and wine friendly food ideas? Promote free or discounted shipping on Black Friday and Cyber Monday to your loyal newsletter fans.
2. Promote custom holiday labels. If you do custom labels, be sure to include photos in your newsletter, holiday promotional flyers, website and social media posts. Contact local businesses and offer this as an employee or client gift. Include a form on your website for ordering custom labeled wines. Jasper Winery in Iowa does a great job with custom labels for the holidays.
3. Display creative gift baskets and gift package ideas in the tasting room. Make it simple for shoppers to choose gifts by creating baskets and packages around themes; cooking (wine bottle with a cookbook and local food items like dip mixes, sauces), hostess gift (wine bottle tied with a mulling spice bag or wine glass charms), chocolate lover (port, chocolate, chocolate sauce, chocolate covered cherries), wine connoisseur (3 bottle gift box of reserve wines, library wines or gold medal winners signed by the wine maker). Display a Christmas stocking and stuff it with gift items suitable for stocking stuffers; colorful corkscrew, whimsical wine glass charms, holiday napkins, wine stoppers, wine infused chocolates. Be sure to use colorful signage to get the message across.
4. Sample food products and holiday drinks. Entertaining is one of our main holiday activities so offer samples of party foods such as dips, cheese balls and appetizers that pair well with your wines. If you sell the products, an even better strategy is to prepare several flavors of the items and offer samples. Be sure to display the product for purchase next to the samples for easy sales.
Display a basket at the checkout counter for impulse purchases. Sample mulled or spiced wine along with your other wines. Sell the pre-packaged mix or provide recipes using your wine. If you produce sparkling wine, share holiday cocktail recipes using your sparkling wine as the featured ingredient. If you produce seasonal wines such as cranberry, use your imagination and create wine cocktail recipes such as the Cape Cod (traditionally made with vodka and cranberry juice).
5. Host an open house for local Chamber of Commerce members. Invite members for an evening of holiday cheers with wine and food. Collect business cards for a drawing of a holiday gift basket. Display gift baskets, gift boxes and other Christmas gift ideas in the tasting room and suggest “giving local gifts” for the holidays.
A discount for wine purchases can be made on the night of the event only. Serve appetizers that are wine friendly, and share recipe cards with wine suggestions. If you serve food at your winery, this is an opportunity to showcase your ability to host employee Christmas parties and family gatherings. Distribute promotional flyers with menu suggestions for parties. Keep it simple and offer several packages to choose from.
6. Incorporate the holidays in your social media campaigns. The cover photo on your business Facebook page is the “main event” that Facebook users see. It can be easily changed to reflect the season. Engage visitors with a colorful holiday photo featuring gift ideas and festive wine bottles.
Use Facebook app thumbnails to create enticing calls-to-action (App thumbnails are at the bottom right corner of your page’s cover photo). Add holiday events and photos and a link to the recipe page on your website. Consider offering advice for the season’s challenging questions; how much wine is needed for your holiday entertaining, how to remove a red wine stain. If your winery is using Pinterest, the social photo sharing website, start a holiday-themed board with photos of holiday entertaining, food and wine pairing ideas and crafts with corks. 32% of online shoppers have made a purchase based on what they have seen on Pinterest. (source: Bizrate Insights)
Even with the economic challenges this year, consumers still want to spread holiday cheer to their friends and family. Use these tips to make sure your winery is the one they choose. For more holiday sales tips, sign-up for my e-newsletter at www.pattyheldconsulting.com.
This article is reprinted from Midwest Wine Press, November 2012