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Your Roadmap to Holiday DTC Magic

Kari Scott
Sep 01, 2022   |   Kari Scott Recommended for:   Marketing
Maximize Holiday Sales coverphoto Maximize Holiday Sales coverphoto

Each year, the holiday season presents a paramount opportunity for wineries to promote their wines and seasonal bundles online to drive DTC revenue. This year’s holiday season is especially critical for online sales, as revealed in our Q2 2022 for Wine DTC Report, we have observed a noticeable slow in tasting room sales across the board in the first half of the year.

The way consumers shop for the holiday season has changed. Here are our tips to ensure your winery can maximize holiday sales in 2022 and beyond.

Begin Planning Early

The industry term that wineries use to refer to the peak holiday shopping season is OND, short for October, November, and December. During these months, wineries have come to anticipate an influx of traffic as promotions are offered for the various holidays that lie within: Thanksgiving, Black Friday and Cyber Monday, Christmas and New Year’s Eve. However, this plan assumes that shoppers are last-minute purchasing right around the holidays, and not in advance. Another flaw in this promotion schedule is the level of competition for attention; an email from your winery will be one amongst hundreds of other great deals in your consumer’s inbox.

To kick off a revenue maximizing holiday season, our best advice is to begin planning early. To back this up, we reviewed transactional data from WineDirect clients over the last 5 years for the 2021 Direct-to-Consumer Impact Report and our findings report that overall, holiday season shopping peaks in September, October, and November. Let's coin this new phrase, SON.

Average Net Sales by Month, 2017-2021
(Source: 2021 Direct-to-Consumer Impact Report)

This finding extends beyond the wine industry into other DTC verticals, as shoppers have been conditioned to begin their holiday shopping early due to supply chain issues, shipping delays, and to ensure they are able to secure the items they really want.

Consumers will start their holiday gift shopping between two and six months ahead of the holiday gifting season, likely due to ongoing supply chain issues and small stock positions by retailers. -Astound Commerce, Global Consumer Behavior Report, 2022

It is critical to meet shoppers where they are. If consumers are shopping earlier in the year, consider offering promotions earlier as well, to create a holiday magic match.

Need some inspiration? Join our Free Training Series: Optimizing for SOND every Tuesday at 11 am PST.

Now that you are planning well in advance, here are three steps on your roadmap to maximizing holiday revenue.

Step One - Establish A Marketing Campaign

Get started by outlining your goals and strategy. Establish goals that matter most to your business, likely numerical, such as a sales, revenue, or a Club sign-ups goal. We suggest also being flexible about your measurements of success; consider engagement, data collection and brand awareness.

Next, dive into your data to create a high-converting audience so that you can achieve the established goal. Review the information sources you have such as your CRM, email campaign provider, and social media insights. Sort your data into unique audiences where you can effectively target those who have a history of desired behavior. Segmentation based on varietal or value are great places to start; however, if you’re wanting to get a bit more creative, here are a few suggestions on how you can segment your audience for the most impact:

  • Holiday Shoppers: Consumers that purchased from you in September, October, November, and December in the previous 3 – 5 years.
  • Last Minute Buyers: Consumers that purchased from you in the weeks before key holidays (ex. Thanksgiving and Christmas) in the previous 3-5 years.
  • Gifters: Consumers whose billing address was different than their shipping address.
  • Bundle Buyers: Consumers who have purchased pre-selected bundles from you in the past, who appreciate that heavy lifting done on their behalf.

Be realistic on how many segments you select as you will have to create, manage, and maintain unique messaging and promotions for each of these groups. Another tip, focus your promotion on one specific sales channel. We recommend website or telesales, for the highest AOV. Take into consideration that it may take several touch points for a consumer to convert (another reason to begin holiday promotions early).

The final step in developing your plan is to create enticing discounts or value offerings to your consumer. Keep in mind - these may vary based on your segmentation. Careful attention should be paid to how you will excite a consumer past the threshold to complete a purchase, while maintaining sufficient margins, and helping you reach the established goal for the campaign.

Step Two - Test & Optimize

Before you press ‘launch’ on your campaign, it is critical to test and optimize all the pieces that you have set up. Today’s holiday shopper wants an easy and frictionless shopping experience. This means that your website needs to be enjoyable to spend time on and provide a seamless path to check-out. Is your online store up to the job?

Three key steps to prepare for incoming traffic are to:

  • Audit your website: Visit your website as if you were a shopper, scouring for broken images, slow-loading images, or outdated content. Click through the process of adding wines to your cart, applying a promotion, all the way through a completed purchase. Bonus: test on various devices!
  • Test your promotions to ensure they are activating and applying as anticipated. Opt for simple discount codes that are easy to spell and remember. Be sure to deactivate old promotion codes that may double-up during check-out.
  • Review your shipping strategies with consideration of the changing weather in the months ahead. Are you collecting enough on shipping to cover the anticipated holiday surcharges?
Check out WineDirect's 2022 holiday shipping calendar if you partner with us for Fulfillment!

For an additional layer of coverage, check with your ecommerce provider on current uptime stats and upcoming maintenance schedule. WineDirect makes this simple with our real-time Status Page.

Once you are confident that your campaign is working and optimized, set a cadence of check points throughout your campaign offerings to make any updates or maintenance that may be required.

Step Three: Review Your Results

The last step to maximizing your holiday revenue is to review your campaigns once they have concluded. Pull together all available information from your data sources and compare it against your goals and KPIs to determine what was effective. Did you meet your goals? Cheers to you. Use your findings of what was successful and areas for improvement as a basis for future marketing efforts. These tips can help you use your data wisely.

The holiday season represents a lucrative opportunity for your winery to focus on ecommerce as a key sales channel. Check out our comprehensive resource library for tips on how to grow your online sales.

Fill out the form to receive your complimentary copy of the Q2 2022 Report and unlock trends and insights to help you ramp up for the final months of the year.

Download the Q2 2022 Report for DTC Wine

Learn how WineDirect can help you take your DTC sales to the next level.

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