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On and off-trade: Ten tips on how to upsell

Published:  02 August, 2016

We all know how comfortable customers are with a New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc and Argentinean Malbec - and it can be easy to let these tried-and-tested favourites rule the roost.

We all know how comfortable customers are with a New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc and Argentinean Malbec - and it can be easy to let these tried-and-tested favourites rule the roost.

But with premiumisation and a thirst for diversification driving innovation in the industry, now is the perfect time for the trade to hone its upselling techniques.

With that in mind, we've put together some top tips for the on and off-trade on how to steer customers to new and more exciting pastures.

1. Don't be obsessed with percentage margins

It is better to sell more expensive wine at a lower percentage margin but a higher cash margin, as your customer will have a better experience and ultimately come back for more. Enticing customers to try outside of their usual price points is key to a good up-sell.

2. Get your offering right and promote it

Volumes are in decline, but people are willing to spend on premium products, so there's really never been a better time to drive the high-quality message. So get behind your product, know its USPs and sell, sell, sell.

3. Focus on service

Because "no" is never the answer the customer wants to hear.

4. Find a point of difference

Customers are drinking better so why not sell better? Offering quality wines with indigenous varieties, interesting lesser-known regions and wines not in mass distribution will continue to drive interest for customers.

5. Listen to your customer!

Customers today are choosier and more educated, which can sometimes make things difficult. But it also means they are open to more experiences - meaning that opportunities to impress are only becoming more frequent.

Start a conversation, find out what they like and above, all listen.

6. Don't be afraid go premium - and to charge more

Although it can be a good idea to lower price points to encourage customers to step outside of their comfort zones, it is also just good business sense to charge more for your premium offerings.

The trend towards premiumisation across all categories means that no one should be afraid to offer high-end alternatives and to price accordingly.

7. Selling wine by the glass

Don't underestimate the power of by the glass. English wine for example, is often relegated to the bottle-only list, when consumers are actually more likely to explore the category if offered by the glass.

8. Reward staff

There's nothing like a good incentive. Offering staff rewards for upselling will drive engagement with customers and encourage diversification which will translate into profit.

9. Training

When it comes to ensuring staff know they can make great food and wine recommendations, training is key.

Consumers are becoming more knowledgeable and adventurous in their choices, so those in the trade need to make sure they can meet customers' expectations.

10. Have wine knowledge and understanding the needs of the business in equal measure

It's not just enough to have one or the other. Everyone on the shop floor or in the restaurant/bar/pub should have an understanding of where the business is growing and where it could do with a lift - as well as a comprehensive understanding of the drinks offering.