This time of year is when the wine industry usually plans for peak holiday shipping season (“OND”). In the past, we’ve given some helpful advice to wineries wanting to make this busy season as smooth as possible, especially for their DTC shipments. But we probably aren’t the first to tell you: 2020 is going to be a little different.
That’s not to imply that the usual OND shipping season advice does not apply. It simply means that as you strategize you need to take into account current trends and news stories. Here’s our updated recipe for success:
- COVID amplified online buying, so get your digital marketing together.
During COVID quarantines, people got VERY used to online shopping. eCommerce experts agree that the majority of shopping during the holiday season will happen online, so make sure you are getting ready for all of the potential digital traffic headed your way.
But remember, too, that traffic does not happen by magic. You need to have a digital marketing plan in place. Review the marketing fundamentals, make a marketing schedule, and figure out how you are going to engage your customers digitally.
- Make mobile a part of that digital strategy, too.
Every year for the past decade there has been a drastic jump in sales through mobile devices.First Datareports that spending through mobile wallets in 2019 grew by 75% YOY. Be prepared for mobile purchases.
As Shep Hyken recently advised us, make it easy for them to buy.Make sure your eCommerce site is mobile optimized, and that the checkout process is easy on mobile devices. Fewest clicks to purchase yield the highest number of sales.
- Think about your wine as a gift.
Giving gifts is naturally a part of any holiday season, but be prepared: There will be a deluge of shipped gifts this holiday season. With a decrease in holiday travel—one CNN poll estimates 31 million fewer travelers this year vs. last year—people will be sending gifts to family and friends, as opposed to delivering them in person.
So start thinking about the entire unboxing and unpacking experience. A little planning now can do a lot for your brand going forward!
- Consider forward staging for all future shipping needs.
Many wineries have adopted virtual tasting events. Orders that stem from those events are time sensitive, and they will be competing with holiday gift traffic and club shipments, especially in larger states—many of which, like New York, Texas, and Florida, are more than a hop away.
Using forward staging can address multiple issues when shipping to different geographic locations. It reduces time in transit, presents less risk or weather-related issues and holds, and allows for better penetration of key markets in those states.
- Luxury wine will be big.
Households with more disposable income have had fewer ways to spend their money in person, resulting in an increase in the purchase of luxury goods that can easily be shipped to their homes.
To take maximum advantage of this, you’ll want to consider whether you are selling a luxury brand and, if so, how to reach this more affluent market. Find out how they buy, which influencers they listen to, and how they can be reached on digital platforms. Then pay attention to how you can build a wine experiencefor them centered on your brand.
- Prepare for capacity issues and delays.
Everything we are hearing from carriers indicates that they are preparing for a monsteryear. While all of this shipping is good for business, there are inevitably going to be issues and delays as their capacity is stretched to the max. Plan ahead, and have contingency plans in place for when there are shipping delays. Notify your shipping partner of any large releases (for example, from weather holds), so they can plan accordingly. And work to set the appropriate expectations during the order-taking process.
- If you need a new logistics partner, call us.
Maybe you are trying to handle your shipping and logistics in-house, or maybe you have a logistics partner that just didn’t deliver last year and so you have your doubts. Either way, let’s talk. We might be able to help you take advantage of this unique holiday shipping season —but to do that, we need to start strategizing together now.