October, November, and December (OND) are the busiest months of the year for e-commerce sales in the alcohol industry.

During the holiday season, as consumers get together to celebrate, gift, and increase their alcohol intake, we prepare for the big push to hit our end-of-year sales goals. Days such as Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, and Cyber Monday can throw buyers into a frenzy, especially if there are deals to be had. For many wine businesses, as much as 40% of yearly revenue can come in the fourth quarter.

In addition, changes in consumer behavior driven by the COVID-19 pandemic have led to a renewed interest in cooking, food pairings, and remote socializing, which have enhanced the desire to drink wine at home. Pre-lockdown tendencies to spend $8-$12 per glass on-premise are shifting to many consumers reallocating their discretionary income to off-premise premium wine, often at $20+ per bottle. Alongside off-premise purchases, online sales of alcohol through the convenience of e-commerce channels are estimated to be up over 300% year-over-year through July 2020 (IWSR, 2020). These trends show that now more than ever is the time to focus on increasing online wine sales, as e-commerce becomes the ‘new normal’ and opens up opportunities to connect with new consumer demographics.

One of the best ways to boost revenue coming in from your website is to implement discounts and promotions in the fourth quarter. During OND of last year, Xüdle’s 20 best-performing clients in e-commerce sales had on average a discount or promotion applied to 48% of their online orders. Our top two performers, each with over $400,000 in online revenue during OND 2020, had 77% and 57% of orders use a discount or promotion. In contrast, the 20 clients with the least amount in e-commerce sales had on average 13% of their purchased orders use a discount or promotion. When analyzing the data for all of our clients during this period, there was a strong and significant positive correlation found between money generated from online wine sales and the number of orders purchased by customers using a discount or promotion, r(84) = .94, p < .001. To put simply, wineries who offer incentives to purchase their wines through promotions and discounts make more money from their webstores than those who do not.

These three strategies are easy to implement in Xüdle and are proven to tempt customers to shop with you over the next few months.

1. Free Shipping on Online Wine Sales

Inadequate shipping options are the number one reason for cart abandonment in e-commerce. A survey conducted by Forbes (Duvall, 2019) indicated that half of the respondents avoid retailers who do not offer free shipping, and as many as 77% abandon a purchase due to unsatisfactory shipping rates. On the other hand, a considerable 84% reported that they have specifically made a purchase because shipping was free. Not only are shoppers more likely to try a wine if shipping is free, but they are also more likely to make repeat purchases, and 30% indicated that they always increase the size of their orders if it qualifies them for free shipping.

Whether you offer free shipping on specific products, by bottle quantity, price thresholds, or limit the perk to club memberships, this discount can lead to brand loyalty and awareness, and can also provide an opportunity to boost your average order value.

2. Online Wine Sales Promotions

During OND, it is no surprise that heavily discounted prices influence purchases. Not only do sales promotions allow the opportunity for reluctant customers to give a brand a chance, but consumers are also more likely to be searching for deals when it comes to saving money on gifts. Even before the pandemic became a long-term reality, a survey in 2019 indicated that 59% of people expected to spend their holiday budget online. Moreover, 81% expected that promotions would influence them during the holiday season, with price discounts and free shipping being at the top of their wish list over other incentives such as BOGO and cashback offers (Deloitte, 2019).

The opportunities to create sales promotions are endless, but specific types of discounts can be applied directly to e-commerce channels with great success, as evidenced by our own clients’ sales. These include discounts for re-ordering wine, ordering a certain amount of bottles, joining the club and ordering the first shipment through the webstore, and incentivizing completion of orders by offering a discount to customers with abandoned carts. Sales promotions can also be utilized to reward customers that have spent a certain amount of money in your webstore over time, or based on their lifetime value.

3. $0 Gifts on E-Commerce Orders

Including a free item as part of an order is another great way to promote your wine brand. In one report (Business Wire, 2012), almost 90% of consumers said that they are at least somewhat likely to buy more frequently from an online retailer from who they received a free gift, and 65% of receivers said that they are at least somewhat likely to share their experience with others online. Psychological studies have shown that receiving an item for $0 encourages customers to purchase more of the main product that the free gift was attached to (Liu & Chou, 2015), as well as reduce the likelihood that any products are returned (Lee & Yi, 2019).

While free gifts can be anything from branded merchandise to bottles of wine, they do not necessarily have to cost a lot of money. With social distancing still playing a factor in many consumers’ daily lives, connecting with customers on an emotional level through small gestures and personal touches can go a long way in fostering loyalty. For example, offering free gift wrapping and sending a handwritten greeting/thank you note with every deliverable item could set you apart from the competition.

How can Xüdle help?

For a lesson on how to build these three strategies in the Xüdle admin and get some promotions live on your website during OND, register to attend our Holiday Discount webinar here. Alternatively, the Discounts section of our Help Center provides tutorials on each of these topics. Or, simply give us a call, we would love to help.

Note: Some states do not allow for $0 wine sales. Please refer to your compliance specialist for rules and regulations regarding wine shipping compliance.

Author: Michelle Ames, Customer Care Manager

Business Wire. (2012, November 13). Study Finds Free Gift with Purchase Drives Increase in Customer Retention, Incremental Sales for Online Retailers. https://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20121113005866/en/
Deloitte. (2019). Holiday Survey of Consumers. https://www2.deloitte.com/content/dam/insights/us/articles/6382_2019-holiday-survey/DEL_Holiday19_ConsumerSurveyFindings.pdf?nc=1
Duvall, J. (2019, August 27). Shipping is Critical to Keeping Online Shoppers Happy. Forbes. https://www.forbes.com/sites/forbestechcouncil/2019/08/27/shipping-is-critical-to-keeping-online-shoppers-happy/
IWRS. (2020). US Channel Splits Will Likely Be Permanently Impacted by Covid-19. https://www.theiwsr.com/will-current-shifts-in-consumer-behaviour-permanently-disrupt-the-beverage-alcohol-industry/
Lee, S., & Yi, Y. (2019). Retail is detail! Give consumers a gift rather than a bundle: Promotion framing and consumer product returns. Psychology & Marketing, 36(1), 15–27.
Liu, H.‐H., & Chou, H.‐Y. (2015). The effects of promotional frames of sales packages on perceived price increases and repurchase intentions. International Journal of Research in Marketing, 32(1), 23–33.