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Industry News | Wine Shipping & Fulfillment

How to Master Holiday Shipping - According to the Experts

By  Jessica Foye
September 30, 2022

This week we sat down with some key members within our Fulfillment team to find out how you can capitalize on this holiday season. Aaron Dean, Liz Soto and Cody Willis each hold many years of experience within the fulfillment industry and are vital in the success of WineDirect’s Operations team.

WineDirect is committed to making sure your winery’s shipping is a success over peak season, and beyond. Read on to hear the thoughts of our experts about how you can set your winery up for success.

Fulfillment Operations Team

What can a winery do to best prepare for peak DTC shipping season?

Aaron: Getting WineDirect or your fulfillment partner involved with the process as early as possible is so important, as opposed to us finding out at the last minute. Open communication is vital.

Liz: I encourage clients to start thinking outside the box regarding traditional desired ship dates. With some carrier partners we can now ship 7 days a week, and those orders are in transit the whole time. There is no wait time anymore with 7-day shipping - a game changer for many clients.

Cody: Forecasting is super important not only with WineDirect but also with the winery's other suppliers. Staying ahead with collateral and any other raw materials that the customer needs to build gifting orders is critical. Lead times have not increased since the pandemic and we are still seeing longer lead times to produce these materials.

When should wineries start preparing for their holiday shipping?

Cody: WineDirect is great at being proactive with getting our customers to align with earlier forecasting lead times. We are now seeing year out plan dates for things which is so useful as demand is extremely high. The earlier we can get ahead in holiday planning is where I have seen the most success.

Aaron: A great way to keep organized in the run up to the holiday season is to introduce a cutoff date for all departments. This means that all marketing and operational decisions must be made by a certain date, keeping the whole process moving and ensuring a successful season.

What are the top things wineries often miss when it comes to holiday shipping prep?

Aaron: Communication across all teams!

Liz: Early communication with their teams as well as their WineDirect reps. Include us in first conversations and plannings, no matter how tentative. We can then work together to execute. Ultimately WineDirect is as innovative as our clients want to get, as long as there is time to execute it.

Cody: The design concepts and offerings are often delayed. The marketing that comes along with the shipping needs is always a blocker, so again, early planning and team communication is key.

How can wineries use last year's data to inform decision making and planning for this season?

Liz: The Shipments Report is a very underutilized tool; it has more data than clients may think. It breaks it down by SKU and how much of each SKU was shipped on each order. The data used for forecasting is at your fingertips! When it comes to corporate orders and giftsets, most likely you will have repeat customers and you will be able to know what was popular and what wasn’t using your Shipment Report.

Shipments Report

Cody: There are a lot of great tools that wineries can use to collect that data. Shipment Reports can tell you many things, e.g. how many giftsets a customer purchased last year, what wines were used in this gift set etc. They can use this information to re-use it if it was successful.

What is your favorite WineDirect tool for the holiday season?

Liz: The Fulfillment portal is a powerful tool for our clients. If a big storm comes in and the client wants to upgrade orders from ground to overnight, then the Bulk Order Update can help do this. If they change to bi-coastal and notice that one warehouse has more inventory than the other, they can do a mass update making orders ship out of one warehouse instead.

Cody: From an operational perspective, I personally think our Shipment Report and Inventory Activity Report really help us predict future shipments. The Weather Management tool is great as clients can still use that to hold orders and change as they need to, even if it's not during a critical weather season. The Training Academy is an excellent tool to familiarize yourself and your team with the Fulfillment portal.

It’s clear that communication is key, especially leading up to the busy holiday season. As the wineries champion, WineDirect is here to help you every step of the way during your wineries shipping journey. To learn more about how you can benefit from our fulfillment options, chat to our team today.

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