During the critical months of OND (October, November and December), wine and spirits Makers need to be their own advocates if they want to continue to drive sales through the end of the year. Buyers will be looking for extra inventory in anticipation of the holiday rush, and prepared Makers will reap the benefits when it comes to liquor and wine cases sold. Maker/Buyer relationships are critical, and during the busiest months it’s imperative that Makers reach out to accounts and continue to advocate their brand and products. But what is the best way for Makers to handle this?
“Be proactive,” says LibDib’s VP of Revenue Rob Foss.“Most Makers do a third of their sales during OND. Reach out to your customers and don’t be afraid to ask for a sale. Remember, with LibDib you’re in charge of the relationship.”
It may be November already, but unlike traditional Makers and Distributors who have already closed most holiday orders, LibDib Makers can continue to list their new alcohol products AND make sales during OND. In other words, to those who LibDib, there’s a huge advantage during the busiest time of the year.
Making sales can be as direct as a phone call to customers but Foss says there are other channels to leverage. “Emails and texts are a great way to thank customers and highlight what you’ve accomplished during the year. The end-of-year holiday season is a great time to share updates and remind customers how and why a wine or spirits brand is so successful.”
But Makers have to be prepared to take on a high volume of holiday sales. According to Foss, there are several things they can do to ensure they’re prepared. The first is simple, but critical.
“Make sure you have tiered discount pricing in place,” says Foss. “Our customers are buying higher quantities during this time of year. Tiered discounts can be the tipping point that gets Buyers to commit to more cases and to promote your product in-store. These types of discounts can also open up opportunities to sell your products into Chains or Clubs.” While you are at it review your offerings and eliminate old vintages. If you do not have inventory then we make it easier for your customers to purchase what you do have. This is really important to do as unlike normal distributors we do not manage your inventory, you do. If you say your wine or spirits products are for sale, your customer is expecting to pay that price.
Makers should immediately place any gift packs and seasonal items front and center on their LibDib page. “Make sure holiday items are listed on LibDib,” says Foss. “Post gift packs and seasonal offerings on your social media outlets. Link back to LibDib so your wholesale customers can buy direct from your distributor. Any special releases you have...those things are great to have during the holidays.” Foss recommends sharing social posts spotlighting these limited-time offers with a direct link to your LibDib brandpage.
Beyond the usual holiday fare, like creams, liquors, and brandies, Foss says Makers should expect a spike in champagne and sparkling wine sales as well.
“This year a lot of people will be celebrating big time, but they’ll be doing it at home,” Foss says. “Sparkling wines always show a huge jump in that business going into New Year’s.” Makers with relevant products should be planning and promoting accordingly. In some LibDib markets, like Florida, a wine or spirits producer can be up and running with distribution in just a few days— even in time to make a holiday sale.
Once those holiday orders come rolling in, shipping absolutely needs to be top priority. “Once an order is in,” says Foss,“you need to be shipping them in a timely manner, within 24 hours. Everyone will be shipping everything this year and Makers are competing for trucks.”
While the holidays are always a busy time for FedEx, the pandemic is indirectly exerting more pressure on that infrastructure. Ecommerce giants like Amazon will likely lean even more heavily on FedEx and other shipping companies as consumers choose to buy online as opposed to in-store.
Again, this comes down to Makers processing and shipping wine and spirits orders as promptly as possible, so as to not miss the windows. The more proactive Makers can be, the less likely they’ll hit shipping issues.
So while the holidays are about relationships, for Makers they’re also about drive and ambition. For Makers with those qualities, LibDib is the perfect platform for alcohol distribution.
To all our Makers: we are in this together. To win we must be proactive, motivated, organized, and of course be timely.
Happy selling and happy holidays!
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