A vendor of ours once admitted that he never would have had a “Dark and Stormy,” nor kindled a love of ginger beer, if it weren’t for a holiday gift from his mother-in-law. That one kit introduced him to a new drink, and netted a new customer for the company that made his favorite dark rum.
Now think about this for a bit. What for most bar owners would be a mere restocking exercise was turned into an actual experience just by putting some spirits together with a ginger beer and a fancy glass. And we see this pattern over and over: people trying new things just because there is the right presentation, leading to the right experience.
We’re talking, of course, about kitting. Generally speaking it just means the process of assembling, packing, and shipping multiple products in a single package or sku. Done right, kitting can be a tremendous marketing tactic that creates excitement and incremental sales opportunities with customers. Kits can be built in advance and carried in inventory (typically the preferred and less costly option), or built on the fly as orders are received (best used when kit component stock is limited and adding a day to turnaround times isn’t an issue).
A Wide Range of Applications
Kitting takes on an important dimension when talking wine, spirits, and food items; it actually becomes a marketing tool. Kitting can be a whole new way of marketing your products, cross-selling, and adding value. For example, successful wineries can use kitting for a wide range of applications:
- Variety Packs (aka a tasting kit). Building a kit that holds a variety of wines is a good way to expose new customers to your brands or other products, and a way to let existing customers branch out and try some new favorites. Tasting kits are commonly put together with catalogs, coupons, and club membership deals—anything that potentially leads the consumer to the “next step” with your brand.
- Club Theme Packs. The typical wine club shipment has wine and marketing materials – and that’s it. Why not create additional excitement by adding winery logoed premium items that can extend your brand awareness. Or add food related products focused on seasons or themes to make wine shipments more memorable—and teach customers about food pairings through hands on engagement.
- Holiday packs. Never underestimate the power of good presentation through good packaging. Kitting can make for great gifts around the holidays, meaning a great holiday product you can sell without creating new products or inventory. It can also be a good way to offload excess inventory towards the end of the year.
- Corporate gifts. Gifts are an unsung staple of marketing efforts. You can offer kits as gifts to your best partners, vendors, and clients… or better yet, that businesses can offer as gifts to their client.
Sure, most products can be sold separately. But many products have greater marketability when they are seen as something bigger. Kits tend to stand out more, and when coupled with a good deal can be a powerful enticement to consumers.
Remove the Fear Factor – Kitting Doesn’t Have to be Hard
Of course, the above ideas speak to why wineries, tasting rooms, and similar outfits should consider using kits. In small quantities it may be simple to do kits in house. But if you have large volumes, complexities around packaging, or need help sourcing companion items, you should call in experts. A good 3PL will know how to help you navigate the ins and outs of managing kitting activities. Here are a few things to consider when blending kitting in with other warehousing and logistics operations.
- Reduced cycle times. 3PLs generally do kitting more efficiently than in-house operations, and can ship kits straight to consumers or businesses. Faster turn-around means happier customers.
- Lean operations. By combining warehousing and packaging into one facility, you save some transportation and inventory carrying costs. Your own facilities can be dedicated to production.
- More effective use of labor. When your 3PL handles your kitting (or any other packaging services), it frees your skilled labor so they can focus on making products, not on searching for inventory, packaging, checking, etc.
- Inventory updating and control. When you set up a product kits or bundles as a single product, you still need to keep track of the inventory used. When the kit is ordered, a good 3PL will decremented the inventory for each individual SKU that makes up the kit.
One last piece of advice: To get the most out of kitting, plan ahead in partnership with your 3PL. The more you can plan upstream, the smoother things will go. If you are thinking about getting kits together for the Christmas Holiday here in November, you are already too late! But there are plenty of opportunities around kitting, and it’s never too early or late to start the conversation.
If you are interested in how to use kitting to your advantage in advance of a special event, or as a general offering, contact us. Copper Peak has expertise in kitting and its potential applications for wine and food.