Sheri Hebbeln
December 16, 2013 | Sheri Hebbeln

Savvy wine marketing strategies make for perfect holiday sales

The holidays are a great opportunity for wineries to increase direct-to-consumer sales, but it may take smart wine marketing techniques to see the results you want. Though November and December are the most lucrative months for many retailers, some may be facing an unforeseen challenge this year: Consumers are planning spending less. Princeton Survey Research found 38 percent of shoppers will not spend as much this year and 47 percent will spend about the same as they did in 2012. Even though consumers are far more confident than they have been in years, many are still maintaining a tight hold on their wallets, which can be problematic for retailers looking to max out their opportunities at the end of the year. 


Because shoppers are a little reluctant to spend, you need to leverage marketing efforts to improve online wine sales. E-commerce may have an unexpected advantage this year as well. The survey found inclement weather, cold temperatures and snowstorms in many parts of the country are keeping people from visiting brick-and-mortar retailers. 


The importance of this time of year is not to be underestimated. The Washington Post cited data from the National Retail Federation, which revealed holiday sales in November and December 2012 added up to 19.3 percent of total retail sales across the country, and the number may be as high as 40 percent for businesses in some industries. Because of this, your marketing initiatives need to be firing on all cylinders. Here are some mistakes to avoid to maximize the effectiveness of end-of-the-year marketing:


1. Not having a social media strategy
This can be challenging for wineries because many are reluctant to implement social media marketing. Some businesses view social sites as a customer relations tool, but it can also serve as a boon to sales if you couple these networks with the right marketing message. Social media is a really useful way to broadcast your special discounts and holiday deals.


2. Not segmenting customers
Taking a blanket approach to marketing because of the busyness of the holidays will not be effective. Personalization is essential during this time, according to Business 2 Community. Simply by looking at past purchase history, you can get a better idea of what shoppers will like. Sending everyone in your email database the same offers will not generate more sales.


3. Offering discounts too early
While promotions can help you draw in new customers who may not be familiar with your wines, slashing prices too soon in December may not be the best approach because profit margins can suffer by the end of the year, The Washington Post said. A well-timed plan is the best way to maximize holiday profits.


4. Getting bogged down with customer data
Customer relationship management information can be overwhelming, and not all of it is pertinent to marketing efforts. Make sure to use relevant data to create the most effective messages, Business 2 Community stated. Using Google Analytics to track how long customers are staying on each page of the website can improve data collection.


5. Don't stop marketing in January
Even though Jan. 1 signals the official end of the holiday season, you don't have to cope with the late-winter slump. If your strategies leading up to this point have been successful, you will have gained new customers during the holiday season, and you can continue marketing to them. Staying connected with shoppers can help to remind them what they liked about you so you can build a long-term relationship. Start planning your next marketing campaign now to avoid losing your customers' interest in the new year. 


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