LibDibbing into Chains: Wine and Spirits Product Placements in Large Retail Chains

For the right wine and spirits brands, product placements in large chain stores are an exciting opportunity. That’s one of the reasons why LibDib has put a stellar team in place to specifically help Makers with their chain placements. 

If you’re a Maker going after the big retail stores, there are some important things to keep in mind when presenting to chain stores. Let’s break it down for you.

Presenting New Wine and Spirits Products to Chains

Makers often ask how they can be presented to chains. Many chain accounts welcome engagement and will allow the Makers themselves to present new item offerings. Our most successful ChainDibbers actively engage with chain accounts to start the conversation around their alcohol products.

The chains team at LibDib also presents products to chains twice a year (when the chain is open for product pitches/placements). When we look for the right Makers to present to a chain buyer, we start with those who have current chain distribution with similar types of accounts. 

We take a lot of details into consideration including:

  • Competitive pricing
  • Shipping history (Do you ship on time? This is very, very important)
  • Quantity available (No Out of Stocks please)

LibDib wants to put its best foot forward to these very important Buyers. Ultimately the LibDib team picks, chooses and presents the items that are the best fit for that specific retail store and their needs. 

The submission process for new wine and spirits products and sets at chain stores is a lengthy one. Chains swap in/out new products only a few times per year, so there’s a very small window for presentations. Once a presentation has been made it can take weeks or even months before a decision is made. LibDib's chain department is in regular communications with all key contacts and buyers and follows up when appropriate. But note that if you’re going after chains, it is a long sales cycle. 

Factors to Consider

Here’s what to consider before presenting a wine or spirit item or brand for distribution into a chain:

  • You must have consistent and scalable production - Large chain stores rely on a consistent supply of product to keep their shelves full. Makers need to make sure they can ship and fulfill ANY order request to maintain proper inventory levels on the shelf. Depending on the chain, this could mean 1cs or 500+cs. Before presenting a new wine or spirit, be sure you have enough product on hand to continue to supply any orders placed. Consistent OOS to a chain can result in discontinuation. And note that many chains require a wait period (a minimum of 1-2 years) before you can present a discontinued item for distribution again. 
  • Make sure your retail strategy is in place - Does your brand have a retail strategy? It should if you are considering chains. Your strategy should include a price point that optimizes dollars and volume through to the register. If your brand isn’t selling enough dollars or units through to the register, it will likely be replaced for something that does. The right price point can ensure you maintain distribution into that chain account. 
  • Have funding in place to support your retail strategy - Most chains have pre-established retail margin requirements. A typical chain margin requirement is 30-40% depending on the retailers regular vs. feature go-to-market strategy. If your retail strategy is to be at $19.99 everyday on the shelf, be sure the cost offered on LibDib will hit the suggested retail while maintaining the customer’s margin requirements.

Other things you can do to make your wine and spirits products more enticing to larger retailers:

  • Let consumers know where to find products. Make sure product placements are listed on your website. List them all! 
  • Get social. Social media has the ability to reach thousands of consumers especially if it's hyper targeted. Read our blog post on the subject here.
  • Go for the reorders. Reorders are based on demand. The right retail strategy and promoting your brands will help with making sure a chain account re-orders often and in greater quantities!
  • In-store Tastings. If the chain offers the opportunity to get “liquid to lips” take it!  Get your product in front of as many consumers as possible. If you can’t do it personally, there are a number of different companies that LibDib can recommend that have specialized people available for in-store demos. You can work with the LibDib team for more details. 

A special Note on Total Wine Orders

Total Wine is one of the chains that LibDib works with, so if you’ve been approved at Total Wine… that’s great! They work a little differently. If it’s a new placement, you’ll need to let the LibDib team know your item has been authorized for distribution by sending us the approval letter and store list from Total Wine. Once we have these, the LibDib team will claim these with the regional ordering captain. If you’re interested in learning more about selling into Total Wine, read our Help Center article on how to do that.