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Creating Exclusivity: When is SOLD OUT a good thing?

As we head into the largest wine sales quarter of the year, I have been talking to a couple clients about the fact that they are out of their current vintage of wine and when to release the new vintage.  Rather than just releasing the new vintage immediately (whether it is ready or not) I have encouraged them to stop and think about the best way to use their “sold out” status for some of their favorite wines.

Nothing creates more fervor in the wine industry than not being able to get the wine you love from your favorite winery.  Exclusivity sells – if your wine is available all the time, demand goes down.  So does it hurt to wait a month or so to release the new vintage?  Not at all – as long as you make a big splash when it is released.  Here are some other helpful tips to make the most of your inventory:

Let people know you are on “last call”.  Send a message to your customers that a particular wine is almost gone – this will create interest, especially if they know they can’t get any more.

Let people know it is “SOLD OUT”. Leave the product on your website with those daunting words next to it so customers visiting your store can see it.  They will be more inclined to add a few bottles of the new vintage to their cart next time they order if they see there is demand.

Tease them with the new release.  Talk about any upcoming releases so you can build anticipation and so your customers can plan – for many high-end wineries, their customers have to budget their luxury purchases, so give them plenty of notice so they can build in future buying.

Feature your other wines.  Take advantage of being out of a particular wine for a short period of time and focus your customer’s attention on other wines that may not be as popular.  It is a good way to introduce them to new wines as well as move other inventory.

Take pre-orders from your best customers. Personalize a message to your big buyers and let them know they can “pre-order” the new vintage coming out in a month so they will be the first on the block to receive it. They will appreciate being singled-out and the result will be instant sales once the wine is released.

Releasing a wine “before it’s time” can be a crucial error, possibly resulting in not only customer dissatisfaction with a wine that is too young but also a disconnect with the rest of your releases, so use your release schedule to your advantage.  Creating exclusivity by holding onto new vintages is a good strategy for customer engagement and loyalty, so be sure to use it to your best advantage.

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