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Susan DeMatei
November 16, 2017 | Customer Support, Email Marketing, Event Planning, Print Design | Susan DeMatei


The holidays are a time for family gatherings, eating too much food…and shopping.

Those of us in the sales and marketing business are far too aware that most of our yearly sales goal will be made (or not made) in these last six weeks of the year.

But, don’t get too excited and overload your customers with too many emails, or offers that overlap or are convoluted.  Below are some notes to keep you on track.

Remember the Big Picture

Free bottles of x when you buy y,  shipping discounts, percentages off, dollars off, gift wrapping, build your own gift sets…the possibilities are endless with the current tools we have at our disposal. Take a breath and a step back and look at your offers and think: “Does this help me with my objectives?” Here’s how to match some overall marketing objectives with holiday offers.

  • If you have a large section of your database that isn’t engaged (has either signed up and not purchased, or only purchased once, or not purchased recently) then consider an email with smaller priced gift sets. While you haven’t piqued their interest over the year with your offers, they signed up for a reason at some point, and maybe a gift will get them started on the road to being a continual customer.
  • If your business relies on primarily loyal customers – like an allocation list for example – then consider trying to just get them to buy a bit more this season to boost your bottom line. The thinking here is if they’re a reliable group, you can count on an order, but you want them to add just a bottle more. You do this with some simple analytics by taking the number of orders this year, and dividing it by the total sales this year – this will give you an Average Order Value (AOV) for the year. Then shoot for a higher amount. So, in our example, let’s say your annual AOV is $250. Then this holiday offer free shipping for any order over $275. Just that added incentive is often enough to get that extra bottle in the cart.
  • Backlogged on a certain wine? A buy x get y offer is an excellent way to move through some inventory without appearing to discount.
  • Backlogged on a lot of wine? Then volume is your objective. Forget the single and double bottle gift sets and go straight for the build your own case offers with shipping discounts.
  • If you have a very diverse database – meaning some high-volume purchasers and some that prefer smaller ticket items – or if you have a diverse wine list, then consider a diverse product offering. When putting together gift packs or offers, make sure you include some in the $20 range, some in the $50 range and some in the $100 range. In that way, you’re letting each group self-select for the type of purchase they are most comfortable with.

Reinforce Your Brand

Speaking of gift sets, they are an excellent way to re-enforce your brand or marketing objectives. Want to be a culinary winery? Then include recipes or set up gift sets with cookbooks. All about Cabernet? How about a vertical with a special insert about the different clones and vineyards? Perhaps you’re the wine from that famous winemaker…then have her/him sign bottles and wrap it in a special tissue for a signature series gift set. Write your copy and include festive photography to feature these points. Play on the strengths of your brand and your consumers will react more favorably because it is something they already expect from you.

Don’t be Naughty…Be Nice

I don’t know about you, but I am already getting dozens of emails a day on holiday offers, and have been seeing Christmas ads on the TV since mid-October. Separate yourself from the holiday noise by being thoughtful and deliberate with your offers.

  • Calendar them out – and make sure your “Black Friday” discount doesn’t overlap your Thanksgiving wine offer and your Christmas shipping sale.  Customers shouldn’t have to try and figure out what offer is when and what is the best value.
  • Don’t forget your Wine Club. Typically they already get discounts, and may even be getting a Wine Club shipment in November or December.  Make sure your offers are clear if they’re on top of their discounts or not.  And be careful about offering better discounts to non-club members than your Club – remember they’re your most loyal customers and should get the best offers. And, above all, be careful on the number of offers – don’t bleed your key customers dry.
  • Say Thanks. A nice happy holidays card, party, or recipe to thank customers in the midst of this holiday frenzy is always appreciated this time of year.  What can you give them?
  • Think long and hard about other channels, like outbound offers, direct mail or sales events. These will likely just cannibalize each other. They key is to find the sales channel that your customer base responds the best to, and your staff can execute, and do those one or two channels well. Don’t try to do everything in an attempt to get more sales.  You won’t get more orders, you’ll just spread them out and expend more effort.

 With a little thought and restraint, this can be a positive experience on all – and a season to be thankful for!


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