The end of the year tends to be busy for anyone selling wine DTC. Between the release of heat holds, holiday gifts, and the usual wine club subscription orders, there is a lot of activity happening in fulfillment centers and carrier companies, as well as at in-house facilities.
Even so, this is precisely the time to take stock of what worked and what didn’t, and revise your strategy going into 2019.
To help, here is our top list of issues, both large and small, that we have observed wineries and wine clubs facing. These are exactly the things you should anticipate and plan for going into the new year. And of course, we here at Copper Peak would be willing to help you do so:
1. Not enough packaging on hand to meet demand. Before you ship, you need to have the right packaging. Were your shipments kept safe? Was packaging the right size to keep shipping costs within reason? Were there ever delays because you ran out of packaging?
2. Order accuracy problems. A cost-effective DTC channel gets the right wine, in the right box, to the right customers in a timely manner. How many shipping mistakes were made over the course of the year? How costly were those mistakes in terms of returns, re-ships, and refunds?
3. Fulfillment speed too slow. Are your customers getting their shipments when expected? Can your team get an order out the door in less than 48 hours? Customers expect their shipments in less and less time, and your team cannot afford delays.
4. Fulfillment expectations not set properly. Even if your team is running efficiently, customers can become upset if they have unrealistic expectations of their shipping experience. Is your DTC team setting expectations with your customers appropriately? Do they understand about things like required adult signatures, holding locations, and so on?
5. Overall brand experience missing. Setting expectations and delivering in a timely manner are just two ways in which you help create an overall brand experience during delivery. (For more on this, we recommend reading “Wine Shipping Challenges in the Age of Amazon”). Ask yourself: What could you have done better, in the tasting room and on your website, to help support the best brand delivery experience possible?
6. Challenging holiday gifting programs. Holiday gifting, specifically corporate gifting, can be a nice boost to your bottom line, not to mention a good way to showcase your wine. Did you try a gifting program this year? If not, put this on the table for next year. If so, how did it go? What challenges were there, and what needs to be solved?
7. Not the right partner(s). If you used a fulfillment center or 3PL, did they deliver on their promises? What went wrong? What was disappointing? Was this enough to shop around to other 3PLs in the coming year?
While you are thinking about your wine shipping strategy, you might also want to consider the shipping deals and incentives you offer. We suggest downloading these free white papers to help with those aspects of your DTC strategy:
“Discounted, Flat Rate, or Free Shipping: What’s the Right Strategy?”
“Winery Merchandise: Strategy and Ideas From Industry Experts and Successful Cases”
If you’re struggling with any aspect of your fulfillment, please reach out—I would love to meet you and see if we might be able to help you.