Holiday secret? It includes champagne, gift sets and a wholesale marketplace called Tundra
The holiday season is a crucial make-or-break period for many small business retailers and this year’s season is shaping up to be one of the biggest ever. The National Retail Federation projects that 2019’s holiday retail sales (during November and December) will increase between 3.8%-4.2% over 2018.
If you’re in the retail industry, or a supplier selling inventory to retailers, you need to adjust your strategies now to make sure your growing small business is ready to capitalize on the opportunities of the holiday season.
Our business, Goverre, sells modern to-go cups for wine; we founded our company in 2015 and were featured on Shark Tank, where we secured investments with Mark Cuban, Lori Greiner and Robert Herjavec. We started our business in our living rooms and garages, and now we are selling our products in more than 700 retail stores and several online channels.
This year will be our fourth holiday season in business, and here are some lessons we’ve learned along the way.
1—Incorporate Seasonality in Your Product Line
As a small business, it’s important to keep your product line-up fresh and keep adapting to consumer demand. The holiday season is often a great occasion to launch new products, especially if you have a seasonal item or a holiday-related use or tie-in for your new product.
For example, this season we timed the launch of a new product—a champagne flute—to coincide with the holiday season. We’re hoping that a lot of people will drink New Year’s champagne or other celebratory holiday beverages out of our new product.
Even if you don’t have a seasonal item, people are often curious to try new products or splurge on something unique and unexpected during the holidays.
2—Repackage Your Existing Products and Create Bundled Gift Sets
Even if you don’t have a new product to launch this year, look for creative ways to repackage your existing products as a special gift item for the holidays. For example, if you sell a line of jams and preserves, put a few of your products together in a holiday basket and call it your “Holiday Selection.” If you sell children’s toys, package a few of them together as a “Holiday Play Set.”
People are always looking for great gift ideas, added convenience, and creative presentation to make things fresh for the holidays. Think of this as a form of “suggestive selling” – if you present an attractive option to the customer, they’ll be more likely to buy it during the holiday season.
3—Emphasize Your Unique Value Proposition
Customers are bombarded with so many marketing messages and sales pitches during the holidays. It’s crucial to be clear about what makes your product unique.
For Goverre, our industry has recently seen an influx of low-quality products made of plastic and stainless steel. But we see this as an opportunity as we sell a higher-end product made of glass, providing a better flavor and drinking experience for special holiday occasions.
When we’re having conversations with buyers, we emphasize the uniqueness of our product with a concise sales pitch: “We offer a modern to-go cup for wine made with white glass, a silicone sleeve, and a drink-through lid. No other portable wine container on the market preserves the taste of the wine like Goverre.”
The holiday season can help you hone your sales pitch and clarify why people should buy from you.
4—Expand to New Sales Channels
The holiday season is also a great occasion to expand your presence to new sales channels. We recently joined Tundra, an online zero-fee wholesale marketplace, to connect with new retailers. And within the first few days of joining, we immediately landed 5 new accounts!
Tundra is fantastic because it helps us reach retailers that we couldn’t reach through other traditional sales channels, there are no fees, and they make the whole process seamless, from processing orders to receiving payments. Tundra is eliminating some of the biggest commission costs that suppliers usually have to pay, so you don’t have to compromise your margins; it’s like free money in your pocket. And we aren’t the only Shark Tank success story that thinks so. Fellow contestants Tush Baby and Lollaland are also using Tundra to optimize their sales opportunity and having great success.
But no matter what sales channels you use, the holiday season is a great opportunity to try something new. Put your products out there to a different audience or market.
5—Prepare for Growth
After appearing on Shark Tank, we grew by more than 500 stores and our sales numbers quadrupled. It was kind of nuts for a while, and we had to work hard to get caught up; we had to increase our staffing and move into a warehouse. Especially during the holiday season, your business might need to scale up your staff. You might need to find extra warehouse space for inventory. Try to arrange these contingency plans ahead of time.
The holidays are an inspiring, exciting time of year to be in business. With careful strategic planning, a spirit of adaptability, and a willingness to try new things, you can make this holiday season more profitable than ever before. Good luck, and happy holidays!
Regan Kelaher and Shannon Zappala are cofounders of Goverre.