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Winning at Holiday Sales

Premiumizing Black Friday/Cyber Monday Deals

We don’t have to tell you that retailers and restauranteurs need to win at holiday sales. The nagging question in the back of your mind is whether you’re getting a big enough piece of the holiday pie…or are you leaving money on the table? How will you stand out when everyone is trying to do exactly the same thing?

For many businesses that gain a significant percentage of their revenue in Q4, the key to unlocking successful holiday sales and traffic starts with Black Friday and Cyber Monday. And even if your business doesn’t offer discounts or free gifts any other time of year, these deal-driven days afford you special permission to dive in without compromising your brand. Why? Because virtually everyone is doing it, no matter how premium their brand may be.

With national chains and major online retailers focused on electronics and cheap door busters, how can Fine Wine purveyors gain traction and sales? By enhancing what you already do best: consulting and offering unique experiences. Equally important to driving increased traffic and revenue is the fact that the right wine is crucial for these seasonal occasions, whether your customers are gifting clients or entertaining on your premise for staff holiday parties. It’s this time of year, perhaps more so than any other, when a client’s or guest’s wine selection has the potential to essentially make or break an occasion.

In order to help you win at holiday sales, we’ve assembled turnkey opportunities to capitalize on business gifting, catering and delivery (where available).

Business Gifting
In 2017, companies spent an average of $79 per employee and $46 per client on holiday gifts.1 And, as you know, a bottle of Fine Wine makes for a popular gift in the business sector. As a trusted authority, your reputation for consultation makes your wine selection a far better choice for business gifts than logo items and popcorn tins. Gaining your professional clientele’s business may be as simple as requesting a copy of their gifting policy and asking about their gifting goals.

“In 2017, companies spent an average of $79 per employee and $46 per client on holiday gifts.”

From there, you can customize your recommendation based on value limits and other guidelines. Have staff ask the gifter the same questions about recipients you would if they were shopping for themselves. Have a “safe” selection of award-winning wines at the ready for bulk buys, providing a checklist of suggestions for matching a wide range of tastes. For higher value gifts, consider a collection of four bottles – each representing a major wine region of the world. Add a well-crafted card to help your client express how the recipient’s business means the world to their company, so they wanted to gift a world tour of wine as a token of their appreciation.

For restaurants, consider creating a wine and dining experience inspired by the gifter or giftee’ location. For example, create a menu featuring local cuisine inspired by where the host business has offices or around where their customers do business. This customer appreciation experience could replace a traditional gift with a private event. As an alternative, take inspiration from the world of wine collection above by creating a tasting menu that pairs bites inspired by each wine’s region of origin.

For gifters who are short on time for personal consultation, consider gift baskets and gift cards. If you do offer gift baskets — created internally or through an outside provider— ensure you have offerings tailored to different price points and tastes. While some companies prohibit giving employees, vendors and customers gift cards, that is not always the case. If that is the case, consider offering access to an experience — such as a hosted wine tasting — in lieu of a gift card.

Catering Specials
Retailers, avert your eyes for a moment and skip to the Delivery section — or better yet, partner with a local restaurant to combine the best of your worlds. Restauranteurs, we don’t have to tell you that you have a plethora of unique opportunities over the holidays. The tricky part is always finding ways to provide your consumers with added value and increase your revenue while still maintaining the integrity of your brand. Here are a few of our favorites:

Last Chance Sale. For Black Friday/Cyber Monday, offer a limited-time opportunity for consumers to book holiday catering for a percent or dollar off.

Loyalty Rewards. Reach out to prior clients and offer a discounted — or value added — offer for repeat bookings.

Going Fast. Fill your last-minute bookings by adding a free guided tasting, fixed wine and food pairing menu, or commemorative wine glass for reservations made on Black Friday or Cyber Monday.

Gift with Purchase. Offer a free amuse bouche or choice of appetizer with a minimum wine and spirits purchase for all first-time catering or private event reservation.

Welcome back, retailers. An excellent way to get onto your consumers’ holiday shopping list is to harness the power of your delivery networks.

Do you have any unique inventory that might put you ahead of the competition? Consider featuring one select wine for delivery orders on Black Friday and Cyber Monday, or offer free shipping with a minimum purchase.

Fine Dining establishments may be able to do the same with food delivery services. Turn these orders into a gifting upsell opportunity by offering a wine gift bag and tag with purchase above a certain threshold, like $50, that includes a bottle of wine. Or consider buy one, get one (BOGO) bottles tapping into the growing popularity of promotional offers. You can message this offer as a “get one, gift one” so customers can enjoy one with their meal and use the second bottle to check someone off their gift list. Combine the two for even more incentive to add wine to delivery and takeout orders.

Delivery services also provide restauranteurs the opportunity to cater smaller in-home and office celebrations you might otherwise turn away if they fall below your catering mimimum order. Encourage potential catering customers with smaller orders to use these services as discussed in our digital discounts article. Since these orders will likely be larger than your typical to-go ticket, consider offering free, disposable chafing dishes or including dessert for free as your gift to them for their order.

We already know that modern-day consumers want to feel an emotional connection to the brands they interact with. And experiences are at the heart of emotional connection, with more and more consumers placing a higher value on experiences than physical possessions. Build your connection with the consumer by offering unique experiences such as a Black Friday decompression event. Here, you can invite weary shoppers to partake in a luxurious and relaxing evening of refreshment with a discount on purchases made during the event.

You might also consider creating a giftable experience to sell at a great value, bringing in traffic on seasonally slower days by the end of the year. Restaurateurs may offer a curated wine tasting on dates your special event spaces aren’t booked with private events. Retailers with suitable tasting spaces can do the same.

You might even consider taking the experience out of your retail environment into a private dining space. A unique private home, partner restaurant or privately-booked hospitality space with a stunning, Instagrammable view would provide ideal setting for a curated wine tasting event.

9 Ways to Sell More Wine in Q4

Ready to cut to the chase with a checklist that fits into this hectic time of year? You can count our top tips for ramping up your Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales on both hands.

  1. Upfront: Decide on your offers now so you have time to spread the word. Your clients and guests expect real value or a rich value add, and you know what will resonate best with them. Just think back on the offers, experiences and customer feedback you’ve received this year for inspiration. (Hint: 10% doesn’t cut it, although we know you need to mind your margins).
  2. Timing: Kick off communication of your Black Friday/Cyber Monday offers in-store and online by the beginning of November for maximum traffic. 
  3. Channels: Communicate the offers on your website, your online review/reservation site profiles, as well as through your email, social media and staff.
  4. Don’t Forget In-Store: Bonus points for Point of Sale promotion such as tasteful tent cards, stanchions or shelf talkers (but only if developing these won’t distract from what you already have on your plate).
  5. Include a flyer promoting your Cyber Monday offers with every Black Friday sale or transaction that weekend to encourage bounce-back transactions.
  6. Truly Expire the Offer: Take down Black Friday communications after close of business on Friday.
  7. Use Tools to Help You: Schedule all online communications, including the banner image on your website, and all digital promotions to change over by Saturday morning.
  8. Training: Remind your staff to follow up with as many customers as possible after the holidays to check in on their experience and give them a reason to come back.
  9. Go Beyond: Don’t limit yourself to the official November dates. Many of these same techniques apply as these two holiday are increasingly revived other times of the year. For many, “Black Friday in July” is the new “Christmas in July.”

Need less hassle this year? Here’s the one thing to do: create an offer that launches Black Friday and runs through Cyber Monday.

Armed with these reminders, we hope you’re well on your way to a very Happy Holidays.

To learn more about how you can support wine-gifting consumers, read our latest Features article, “Gift Wrap Guide.” 

  1. Advertising Specialty Institute, ASI Survey Says Companies Spending An Average $70 On Employee Holiday Gifts, November 2017.


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