The last couple of years have seen a new form of online winery sales strategy develop: The Closed Network or Flash Site. Most of these deals center around reputable sites that receive upwards of 100,000 page views per month such as wine.woot.com, wineshopper.com, lot18.com, cinderellawine.com and winestillsoldout.com. These massively popular sites have shown a remarkable ability to move an extraordinary number of cases in a very short time, albeit at a stiff discount. However, there is an email alternative that may be more palatable to many wineries.
Flash Sites Sell Your Wine for a Pittance
The process whereby these sites sell your wine is through special limited time sales. Although there are a number of alternative methods, most will only sell one particular wine at a time and they will continue until they’re sold out. The stronger and more popular sites can sell out of hundreds of cases within hours or even minutes. They have accumulated a large group of wine aficionados who are ready to jump on deals for their favorite varietals and the sheer number of orders that can cascade in when the right wine is offered at the right price can be outright stunning. Due to the extreme discounts these sales sites apply to your wines, they are not to be considered a conventional sales outlet but only a place where you can go to turn some moribund stock into a bit of quick cash… with the emphasis on “a bit.”
Your Distributors Will Not Be Amused
Aside from the reputable sites noted above, there are many other Flash sites (which shall go unnamed) that run strictly predatory operations. They will pay the winery barely a third of the heavily discounted retail price, so if your suggested retail is $25, they will sell your wine for about $12 with less than four bucks coming back to you. Some wineries are finding that if they have to sell their wine that cheap they’re going to go out of business. If the regrettably low price they have to receive for their product is not bad enough, their distributors are going to object forcefully to the wines they are contracted to sell doing an end run around their own channel.
Try the Email Closed Sale!
If the bank is knocking on the door you might well be tempted to ship a considerable portion of your inventory to one of these sites. In those cases you’ll find that it is a superlative way to accumulate some quick much-needed cash, as many of these sites will cut you a check within a few days. If you’re not skirting financial disaster to quite that extent, you might want to consider adopting some of the Flash sites’ tactics but in a way that preserves your relationship with your distributors and allows you to actually get a respectable amount of money for each bottle: The Email Marketing Closed Sale!
A Flash Sale for Your Subscribers Only
You can start by setting up a page on your site specifically to run your own Flash sales. You can match or even beat the price of similar wines on the standard sites, but with the advantage that you get 100% of the sale price instead of around 30%. Now you can inform your subscribers of the new feature via your email marketing. Of course you’re going to surreptitiously drop in social networking share buttons to facilitate the passing along of this valuable information to their clique on Facebook and Twitter. Although your offer is being sent only to your subscribers, you certainly want to welcome their friends when they want to take advantage of the great deals! A robots.txt exclusion will keep that page from being indexed by the search engines so that the visitors can be limited to your subscribers and friends.
An Email Closed Sale doesn’t broadcast to the world that you’re blowing out your wines in a fire sale for pennies on the dollar, but will be seen by your subscribers as a great way for your special customers to enjoy your fine wines more often.