November 13, 2008 | WineDirect Admin
In determining your Sales and Marketing strategy, there are many reasons to take a fresh look at the Direct-to-Trade channel. Regardless of your goals, your size, your current distribution or your brand’s standing, winery sales and marketing managers should always strive to exercise more control over how, where and to whom their wines are sold.
When you sell a pallet of wine at FOB, you rarely get a chance to know where each of the cases ends up. What percentage goes into on- and off-premise accounts? Are your wines being sold at MSRP or significantly under-priced? How can count on repeat purchases from trade accounts? With Direct-to-Consumer sales, a great benefit of selling direct is getting the opportunity to better understand the identity and needs of the end-buyer. The same rationale applies to trade sales.
When your pallet is sold at FOB, you can lose sight of where you wines is going – kind of like bowling blind (see above). Your ball is ready to fly, but you can’t control where it goes. If you are lucky and your distributor rocks, you will get a strike, but you might not even see it… and how can you be sure you will get a strike next time? Selling Direct-to-Trade gives you full visibility into your trade sales, enabling you to better control them.
Control is Owning the Relationship
We all know that the wine industry is a relationship-driven business. When you are selling Direct-To-Trade, you take control of the relationship and are no longer dependent on someone else to forge and foster those vital connections. When a restaurant purchases a lot of your wine, by knowing the buyer directly, you will have a much better chance of getting a repeat sales or of pushing your new label to them. Sure, it’s more work, but it will pay off in the long run.
Control Who Buys Your Wine
When selling direct, you own the relationship - you can say “Yes!”.. or “No!”. If you do not want your brand to be on display in certain stores, you can make sure it is not. If you think your brand should only be available in fine restaurants, by selling direct, you can make sure this happens. If a retailer drastically under-prices your wines, you can elect not to sell to them anymore. When you do not own the customer, this is much harder.
By enabling wineries to sell Direct-to-Trade, Inertia aims to give them access to new markets but also to give their more freedom and control over their business. In providing cost-efficient ways to better monitor and control the down-stream sale of wine to trade accounts, Inertia is adding another weapon to a National Sales Manager’s arsenal as well as giving more power and knowledge to Brand Managers.
Take control of your destiny and don’t bowl blind!