Summer is the time of the year when most people get a bit more relaxed, go to summer holidays, eat ice-creams, have BBQs, and in general spend more time outdoors. Having this in mind when planning sales in your winery will help you boost summer wine sales. Although the summer of 2021 will not be an ordinary summer as the Covid-19 still threatens us, it doesn’t mean you can’t boost wine sales. Guarantee good wine sales this summer by following the below tips, while taking all the safety precautions for you, your employees, and your customers.
1. Use social media
Yes, we are putting social media on a pedestal yet again. Like it or not, social media are key marketing tools to make and increase sales. Namely, 42% of all people use the Internet, while about 1,75 billion people use mobile social networks, which represent a huge sales potential.
The generation you will most likely reach through social media is Millenials or Gen Y, people currently in the age between 25-40. This the largest generation in history like to consume wine, but have a bit different consumption standards than other generations. Especially in sens of values they share – sustainability and environmental responsibility, double-checking information online, and value of aesthetic, creativity, and diversity. Having this in mind when preparing content for social media will help you increase brand awareness and boost sales. A great way is to share stories behind wines, provide food pairing advice, inform consumers on viticulture and winemaking techniques, and encourage participation.
Can social media really boost wine sales? Based on a study made in the USA, yes. 87% of wineries that participated in the survey perceived an impact on wine sales due to social media efforts. At the same time, at least 18% of those wineries increased wine sales by 30 or more percent due to social media marketing.
So how can you use winery social media to boost summer sales?
During the summer months, a lot is going on in the vineyard, so creating content of the grape growing process, open-door events, and winery tours should not be a problem. As in summertime, wine consumers usually reach for a more light wines; promoting your whites, rosé, or orange wines, is a great way to go. Use social media to advise wine lowers which wine to offer on BBQs, take on the beach or camping, or how to pair their favorite ice cream with your wines. You can also create a summer contest on social media so that customers share their favorite moments with your wine and, in return, offer an attractive reward for the winner(s), such as a summer wine package, winery tour or some practical items (summer hat, beach umbrella,…).
Another option you have is to pay digital influencers to help you promote wines and events, but this one will probably be a bit more expensive. You can go for established wine or food bloggers, Instagrammers, or celebrities. For example, suppose you are an organic and sustainable winery and want to gain more customers in this area. In that case you can pay to influencers, that are promoting a healthy lifestyle and organic/sustainable/natural products, to include your wines in their promotional portfolio.
2. Plan summer email marketing campaigns
Despite all the different social media platforms, email marketing is still a key digital marketing tool and the number one generator of online wine sales. It enables a cheap and fast way to reach existing (or past) customers and promote wines, events, etc., to boost sales. Email marketing is a great way to build a good relationship with your customer base.
Over the summer, you can create several email campaigns promoting your winey tours, events, summer wine sales, online store, or promotional packages for this summer and invite an existing customer base to participate in summer sweepstakes. As nobody wants to be bombarded with solely promotional and sales emails, include in your email marketing strategy emails that will provide interesting information on wine-growing, or congratulate subscribers on special occasions (1st day of summer, birthdays, 4th of July, etc.), invite them to local wine events, etc.
3. Organize tours and events
Ok, this one might be a bit tricky due to the Covid-19 pandemic, as not all wineries will be able to pull winery tours off. But where that is possible, it makes sense to organize different events by following all the safety measures. After all, people all over the world are eager to socialize and enjoy outdoor events after months of lockdown.
Winery tours represent a great way to gain more customers and to straight winery-customers relationship as it enables customers to get to know the winery and people behind it better. While on the other hand, it allows wineries to get to know the customer better – what they like and dislike and based on that improve the offer. Namely, a one-size-fits-all approach is a long past, although classical vineyard tours with wine tasting are still popular, a new and different program will enable you to gain more visitors and customers.
Due to this year’s gathering restriction that might be in place, you may want to focus more on outdoor events. Organize tours and events with different topics to attract different-minded people. For example, host summer wine tasting events that include live music, a movie night on the grounds of the winery, host food pairing events, or educational tours on organic wine growing. There are endless possibilities, make tours and events that fit best with your winery value.
4. Join open air events
Summer is usually packed with different events that are taking place outdoors. You want to take place in those events as they attract many people, from locals to tourists, which offer great opportunity to gain new customers and increase sales. Traditional events that wineries are joining are local festivals, markets, wine tasting events, and street food events. Why not get also involved in concerts or stand-up comedy days? Those events are perfect for boosting summer sales and upselling by inviting people to your winery events and tours.
Before you get involved in an open-air event, make sure that the crowd at this event is your target audience. Once you decide to join an event, go entirely into it, don’t just stand there and wait for people to approach you, instead prepare winemaking learning workshops, panel discussion, and food-wine pairing classes. What you want is to tell your story, winery story, and share your values with the audience. Purchase or rent equipment that will help you addressed that, you can use balloons, wallpaper, fortune wheel, photo booth, etc.
Another option you have is to make a joint event with a restaurant, food truck “restaurant”, local swimming pool, or theater and jointly offer an exciting event that will help you boost sales this summer. Adjust your wine offer and presence based on an event, swimming pool party vs. after theater play catering will for sure attract different customers with different values. Thus wine presentation should differ.
5. Increase online sales with special summer packages
Although online sales in the summer months usually drop as most people go on holidays or purchase wine at the winery, that doesn’t need to be the case this summer. Since a majority of the world is still facing several travel restrictions, not all people will travel for summer vacations but rather stay at home and go on daily trips. And this represents a great opportunity for you to sell your wines online as well as winery events.
Apart from offering wines on your online store, offer also gift cards and tickets for winery summer tours and events. As you are probably making gift sets for the Christmas-Holiday season, you can now make special summer packages that include a selection of your wines. Offer nicely packed wines with ideas on summer food pairings, or add summer-themed items. You can also offer a package for making wine cocktails with recipes, perfect for summer pool and BBQs parties. Many people connect summer with beer cans; why not offer wine in cans this summer if you haven’t yet joined this wine package popularity wagon.
Even though the summer of 2021 will not be an ordinary summer due to the Covid-19 pandemic, this doesn’t mean you can’t have good selling numbers. Use the above 5 tips for boosting summer wine sales as guidelines or ideas of what is possible. The most important thing is that you are proactive and creative in telling your story and sharing values with as many people as possible. In that way, you will attract like-minded people and make stronger bonds with existing customers that will keep coming back for more wines.
Sources and further reading:
Viana, Natália. (2016). Digital wine marketing: Social media marketing for the wine industry. BIO Web of Conferences. 7. 03011. 10.1051/bioconf/20160703011.
Thach, L., Lease, T. & Barton, M. Exploring the impact of social media practices on wine sales in US wineries. J Direct Data Digit Mark Pract 17, 272–283 (2016). https://doi.org/10.1057/dddmp.2016.5
5 Lucrative Marketing Tips for Selling More Winery Tours; by Peek Pro (online)
Direct-to-Consumer (D2C): 21 Ways to Get Started in 2021; by coredna (online)
Featured image: by SEAGLASS Wine Co