Peak shipping season is just around the corner, which means that now is the time to plan ahead for all of the opportunities that come with holiday gifting.
What kind of planning? It’s not enough to make sure you (or your fulfillment house) have enough bottles on hand and a calendar of wine club drop dates—you’ll want to make sure that each element is in place for the perfect customer experience.
So here’s our own recipe for peak holiday shipping season success:
- Be flexible to seize the opportunity. If COVID taught us anything, it was how to be flexible and adaptive. For example, it led to a major shift in gifting trends: People bought fewer single bottles of wine for parties… BUT companies, for their part, sent out many more gift baskets in lieu of throwing lavish holiday parties. There was an incredible opportunity here for wineries that recognized it.
- Be creative with kitting. So you want to get on board with all that gifting? There are tons of ways in which wineries can provide creative gift sets using a kitting service. And they don’t have to be complicated, either. Find that happy balance between fun and easy.
- Review all the elements. With gifting and kitting in mind, ask: What else do you need for shipping besides the physical wine? Do you need merchandise for gift sets? Printed tasting notes? Brochures? Special packaging? Gift bags? Gift cards? Map everything out before you begin.
- Order in advance and stock up. Once you have everything mapped out, go ahead and stock up. Some items are taking longer to fulfill, given today’s supply chain challenges. Ordering in advance will ensure that you have what you need before you run out.
- Be ready for more… Obviously, pre-assembling kits helps get them out the door faster during crunch time. You don’t have to pre-assemble for the entire season, either (though we LOVE our customers who do!). You can monitor how many kits sell and whether those numbers beat, or fall short of, expectations, then adjust your assembly numbers accordingly.
- Why not have a set offering? Another way to ensure you aren’t assembling too many kits is to keep similar gift sets from year to year. That way, whatever does not sell this season can be sold the next. Some gift sets can even be repurposed for different holidays with just a minimal change in packaging and printed materials.
- Be ready for weather holds. During the holiday season, snowstorms and adverse weather do happen in much of the country, and that can mean delays. Be ready to communicate with your carrier or fulfillment house (and more importantly, with your customers) when a weather hold needs to happen.
- Communicate with your customers. Your customers want to be in the know when it comes to delivery dates (especially because a signature is needed for alcohol deliveries). Set expectations up-front. For example, if selling through an eCommerce store, be sure to give shipping time estimates as consumers look for these when making a purchase, especially as the holidays approach.
- Communicate with your fulfillment partner. This is where all the elements of the recipe come together. Contact your fulfillment partner as early as possible in this process, and let them help with the planning. They will be in the best position to lay out your options and help you develop contingency plans, in case something does not go as planned.
And if you don’t have a fulfillment partner yet…maybe it’s time we talked. Reach out to us, and we can start planning for next year’s peak shipping season together!