Wine Club shipping in December sucks. Seriously. I know from my friends and family, they expected me to be sitting somewhere basically counting the cash that was coming in.
But really, like busy season anywhere, you’re trying to survive.
This year, is set up fundamentally well so survival actually. Let me explain.
The biggest stress in December is of course, getting wine delivered by Christmas. Unlike shipping say tshirts, or anything from Amazon, you need someone over the age of 21 to sign for your wine club shipment. That’s fine of course, but it adds an extra complication because people travel, often without telling everyone that might buy them a gift. Even if they aren’t traveling, they’re not necessarily home as much. I know we aren’t, our calendar for the month is already fairly full. I say all that to mention that yeah, you could deliver all the wine on Christmas Eve and end up with like half of your wine club sales for the month pissed off at you, because no one was home to sign for the package.
Anyway, so the big thing your wine club is doing right now is stressing out over shipping times. We also, as an industry, not the biggest clients for the 3rd party shippers (well Winc and Firstleaf might be the exceptions at this point) so often what happens is that UPS will send an email and tell you, thanks so much for paying for that Tuesday pickup every week of the year, but we’re missing today. So you end up taking the packages to UPS yourself. Of course, at some point the UPS Stores were not allowed to accept them, so you had to take them to a “hub”…..but I digress.
So shipping wine, shipping wine and shipping wine. Why is this year better? Christmas falls on a Saturday! Why is that exciting? Common carriers don’t deliver ground on the weekend, well Fedex will if you pay an extra $5 or so. Having the holiday fall on Saturday in essence gives you the maximum days to ship.
Depending on where your wine club is based, it can be significant too. Take a California based wine club, since we make 90% of the nations wine, we have an approximate market share in the wine club space that’s the same size. Unfortunately for your California based wine club, it takes a full week to get wine to the east coast. Quick reminder that 65% of American consumers are still in the Eastern Time Zone. Sad, I know.
This year the east coast shipment deadline for you is theoretically December 17th. Seems bad right? Take an different year where Christmas falls on a Monday. Now, remember no one is delivering for small customers over a weekend, so the last delivery date has moved from Sunday to Friday, in this case that’s now the 22nd. The shipment deadline in this case has moved up to the 15th.
Stop and think about that for a minute. Has your wine club done anything wrong? Nope. But as a consumer, is it reasonable that an order on December 15th might not make it before the holiday? Also, nope.