Invent your own week

This is for wine retailers and restaurants.

It’s an easy way to drive some traffic and get some attention from the local wine community. It’s repeatable and scalable. And it’s a way to train and focus your staff at the same time. And it’s a way to have fun while selling more wine.

And yet hardly anybody does it, and those that do don’t do it very well.

Here’s the recipe.

Declare a focus for a week. Burgundy, Rosé, Sauvignon Blanc, South Africa, whatever. 20% off all wines in that section. $6 wines by the glass and 50% off wines by the bottle. Whatever your deal will be. But don’t just burp it out the world. Instead, start your planning. You’re still three or four weeks out.

  1. Find a dozen good articles on your subject. Print them for your staff, save the tabs on your browser to use in social media pushes, and print extras for your customers.
  2. Get your shelf-talkers, signage, and feature cards designed well, ordered, and printed. Make them nice, make them eye-catching, and make the dates of the promotion clear (hint for retailers: get them printed on photo paper. The color and gloss of photo paper works great to catch the eye, and a 4×6 print cut down the middle is a good size for a shelf-talker).
  3. Find all the loose bottles in your inventory that fit the focus topic and gather them up. Set them aside for the big week.
  4. Plan out your in-store tasting schedule for the focus topic. Plan out the by the glass features to showcase the focus topic. Do staff training so they know how to talk the talk. Have your focus week be a way to educate the staff.
  5. Figure out some staff incentives or contests for whoever sells the most of the featured topic wines.
  6. Seven days out, start a countdown on social media, telling your followers what is coming up, with photos of featured wines.

Then the kickoff day hits!

  1. Put up all the signage. Window posters. Table tents. Shelf-talkers. Make it clear as day what is happening.
  2. Blast social media with the promotion, adding the articles you saved a few weeks ago. Sell by educating. Use live videos to talk things up. Make it a party.
  3. Use Instagram to showcase the loose bottles you collected up, along with the deal you are offering. Tell your staff to focus on selling those first and foremost, to help turn loose inventory into cash. Take some old-school style merchandise tags and write the prices for the loose bottles. Retailers: put this pile front and center with a big sign “Last chance!” Restaurants: put these wines on a cart that you wheel around the floor during the feature week, letting customers “go shopping” ahead of their meal.
  4. Each day, promote the focus topic. Be relentless. This is a good use of social media.
  5. As customers come in, lead them to the feature. Put a map in their hands. “This is our wine feature because …”
  6. Start another countdown. “The Pinot Noir week ends in four days! C’mon down to get great picks for 20% off. We’ll have this one open for free tasting tonight!”
  7. At the end of the promotion, raise a glass and figure out what the next topic will be. Take a week off, then start the process over.

The goal is to avoid simply selling average wine to average people at a discount. If you can get the wine engaged customers to come in, you have a better chance of making a longer-term impression that will pay off over time.

The other goal is to train the customers into the mindset that you have picked wines for them, not that they have to be in charge of picking wines. The difference is immense.

The final great thing about a program like this is that the whole staff can be involved. It’s not just a sale. It’s a focus. It can be gamified. It can be educational. It can have some amazing results.

It’s not just selling average wines to average people.