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November Cover Story: 2019 Holiday Gift Guide

By November 4, 2019Connecticut, Rhode Island, Top News

Text by W. R. Tish & Marlena Hoffman            ⊗            Photographs by Samuel Bristow

Q4 O-N-D. By any name, the final three months on the calendar represent the most wonderful time of the year for wine and spirits merchants. Also the most harrowing. In November in particular, time and space collide as stores hustle to make room for season-specific merchandise. As is the case every year, suppliers have dug deep into their sacks of merchandising tricks to create gift-worthy pre-packed wines and spirits.

The idea behind Value Added Packs—aka VAPs, as they are often called—is simple: to make gift-giving even easier for shoppers. People love shortcuts. People love “extras.” VAPs deliver both. Whatever their motivation, VAPs offer prepackaged routes to gifting success—a resolution to which merchants and shoppers alike aspire.

Of course, not every VAP is going to suit your current store and clientele. Be mindful of stocking new products at varied price points—for the Prosecco budget and Champagne budget, so to speak.

Here are a few tips to incorporate these seasonal special-editions into your store:

  • Whatever you decide to carry, make sure your staff is given the details they need to explain the “added value” item; it’s not always obvious.
  • Avoid overkill. Huge piles of any product tend to make them look cheaper. One table or shelf section devoted to gifts will require less shifting of product and still score shoppers’ attention.
  • Be prepared to accommodate a good-ol’ bottle gift. Have gift bags available—as simple as mylar bags with yarn or as fancy as a spinning floor rack of decorative bags.
  • Keep small items near the cash register as impulse buys. This includes corkscrews and accessories that take up little space, as well as stocking-stuffable 50ml miniatures. This year maybe try some canned wine.

No matter how many of this season’s VAPs you stock, it’s important not to overlook perhaps the most important added-value of all when selling product to the public: Smile early and often!

Note: Bottles are all 750ml unless otherwise indicated. Availability may vary by market; check with your sales representative.

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