A Fair Weekend

I spent the weekend (actually Friday, Saturday and Sunday) at the Sonoma County Harvest Fair, helping a friend of mine work his booth. What a fun weekend! Yes, my feet are killing me, still, but it was well worth it. I really do enjoy working with the public. Talking to people as they walked by, showing them the products, giving them ideas on how they can be used and reminding them that the holidays are just around the corner. So, this was as a great time to get a jumpstart on their holiday shopping, and it was all so much fun for me. I really do like people; all of them, even the ones that are none too cheery…

We sold lots of merchandise, which made packing up much easier, and a fair amount of it we sold because of my reminders about the holidays, birthdays and other gift giving occasions. It really helps to remind people about what is coming up and how quickly.

One of the items we were selling was a tote bag. So I suggested making it the base of a gift that included a bottle of wine, some crackers, cheese or chocolate. We sold out all of the bags in three hours.

What selling opportunities may you be missing in the winery? Think about items that can be put together in gift baskets or tote bags. If you have a newsletter coming out soon include information about holiday shopping and the items you have available.  A couple of bottles of wine combined with a corkscrew, drip ring and glasses make a great gift.

A tip of the glass from me to you!


Tasting Room Design

I am fortunate I have a very good friend who is an absolute whiz at designing and optimizing retail space. His name is Gary Finnan of the GFC Group and he knows umpteen times more than anyone else I know about retail space and how to make it work creatively. Not too long ago, the two of us were talking about retail space and what is needed to optimize it, so I thought I would pass some of these along.

Of course we both agreed that the first thing that any retail space must do is to tell your stories. It should reflect the positioning you are trying to achieve and the image you want to project. In addition, the décor and merchandise should be linked to the marketing objectives and to your winery events. What merchandise and decorations should do is look good, help sell your wine and fit in with your messaging.

One of the things Gary advocates is creating a retail space that is mobile. For example use bars and other fixtures that are moveable, so you can change the configuration of your space to accommodate your busier and slower times. If you have a large retail and tasting space you might want to move things around to make it look smaller and cozier in the off season, when there aren’t as many visitors around, and bigger when you need the space in the busy season.

Budget is often times a deterrent to wholesale change, so create a phased master plan. As money becomes available, you move forward with the next part of the plan. Also leave some money in your budget to take advantage of trends. If you can only invest in one thing, start with lighting, it will make such a difference to everything that comes after.

Lastly, don’t think of your retail and tasting space as static, keep things moving. Not only will you sell more merchandise if you move things around, you also make the room more interesting for staff and customers alike.

A tip of the glass from me to you!

Are You Selling Value or Discounts?

Today I am doing a workshop, Sell More Wine Club Memberships. As some of the workshop is about differentiation, I spent some time over the last few weeks on the Internet looking up winery websites to see what they have to offer.  Most of the wine clubs were very similar, offering discounts, complimentary tasting, winemaker notes, wine club events and a newsletter. It’s not that any of these things are bad (unless you overdo the discounts) it’s just that all the wine clubs start to sound the same after a while.

The one thing that did amaze me was the number of discounts that many wine clubs offered.   There was one winery that offered nine different discounts. Without giving away the winery, here is the list:

•  25% discount on 12-bottle case reorders of current club shipments

•  20% discount on wine by the glass when visiting the winery

•  20% discount on table bottles when visiting the winery

•  20% discount on food when visiting the winery

•  20% discount on merchandise at the winery or online

•  20% discount on 12-bottle wine purchases at the winery or online

•  15% discount on six-bottle purchases at the winery or online

•  10% discount on single bottle purchases at the winery or online

•  10% – 20% discount on club shipments

Perhaps it’s time to start selling value rather than discounting, or at least cut down on the number of different discounts. Yes, most of us love a bargain. But just keeping track of what I save on what, is more than my brain can take in. All I know is that if I pay full price I am doing something wrong. All these discounts devalue the wine and the winery experience. Although interestingly I see no discounts for event tickets, maybe this winery doesn’t do events, or they just forgot to put it on the list.

I’m not against discounts but let’s be a little selective about them. It’s easy to fall into the trap of discounting as a quick fix to raising sales, but it’s a hard trap to get out of.  It’s time to start creating value and value doesn’t necessarily mean price. It means positioning your brand so that wine consumers find it a good buy, regardless of the price.

A tip of the glass from me to you!