My Least Favorite Part of Owning a Wine Club?

It’s something that friends often ask. What was your least favorite part of owning a wine club? Quite honestly, it was this week.

So some background. For most wine clubs, the period between Thanksgiving and Christmas accounts for somewhere between 33% and 50% of their sales for the year. Sure, there are a number of new, ongoing members that come in during that time frame. But, many more of the sales that come in are for prepaid gift memberships. You know the type, a 3 month gift for mom, dad etc.

What we also found is that right around now, people start getting their credit card bills for the holidays. As you might expect, they normally spent more than they should have. Unlike most purchases though, your wine club membership hasn’t delivered all of its products yet, so the cancellation rate this time of year went through the roof.

The amount of customer service in this time period, between New Year’s Day and whenever someone’s second wine club shipment was going out, was always my least favorite part of owning an online wine club. People didn’t want the money back, in many cases they actually seemed to need it back and those interactions with customers were never fun.

It’s also probably important to note, if your January wine club shipment seemed to go out awfully soon, this is normally why. There was a a year when I was batch shipping everyone at the same time instead on the day they signed up, that I would ship literally the first possible day in January to help avoid this. Yup, my January shipments about five years ago would be being picked and packed today.

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