January is a hard month for many retailers in the beer, wine and spirits industry. In a single week, sales can drop out significantly.
Data from the 3×3 Retail Network from 2018-2019 and 2019-2020 shows how steep this week-to-week drop can be.
It’s like the feeling you get going down the first big hill on a roller coaster—but a lot less thrilling.
We understand why: People spend and consume a lot around the holidays, then tighten their budgets and belts in January.
But it takes a little more than acknowledgement to proactively fight the sales slump.
Here are four ideas to make your store January-ready:
Don’t load up on products for January.
Focus the first 3-5 months of the year on marketing and moving the inventory you already have. Yes, you’ll have to restock, but do it selectively.
Focus more of your budget on digital marketing. Use all the communication tools you have—from social media and email to targeted ads and loyalty programs—to let people know what’s available in your store.
Spend time with the products you already have.
To effectively sell your inventory, you need to know what you have. Take a step back and evaluate what’s in stock.
- Which products have the best margins?
- Which ones can you afford to keep on the shelves?
- What needs to move to make room for spring varieties?
When you’ve found those Goldie Locks products—the ones that need to move, have good margins and hit trends (more on that below)—concentrate marketing and merchandising efforts there.
Highlight lower-priced options.
“People have already spent their money by January,” Jeff Nedeau, 3×3 Director of Strategic Account Management and wine store owner, said in our recent report.
That doesn’t mean they aren’t spending. Only that they are spending differently. Play up your $20-and-under inventory by gathering the best-margin varieties in one place. You can also offer last-available bottles at a discount on a table of their own, giving shoppers multiple low-cost options.
These groupings work in stores or online. Promote them with digital marketing and social media posts to get customers in the door.
Align inventory with trends.
January is a big month for low-and-no-ABV products. Take a look at what you have in that ballpark. Doesn’t need to be alcohol-free craft “spirits” — think aperitifs, lower-alcohol wines and warm-up liqueurs.
This year, ready-to-drink (RTD) products are also hugely popular. See what canned cocktail or spirit-adjacent options (like Rock and Ryes) you can promote.
Blend these two ideas together and create a unique experience for buyers. Build bundles for “upside-down” or “reverse” cocktails, which flip the proportions of hard liquor and lighter mixing elements.
You’ll move more adjacent products and engage shoppers while tapping into trends.
Back each of these in-store approaches with digital communication. Expand beyond email and social (which reach current customers) to programmatic ads with precise targeting.
Want in-depth analysis of which products and varieties sell best in January?
Get our exclusive report, built on data from our network of 1,500 influential retailers across the country.