If you have a winery, tasting room, wine-centric gift shop or artisanal goods store, you’re probably interested in selling more than just bottles of booze. Although the wine and beer itself should form the backbone of your product, one of the best ways to rev up interest in you and your store is to offer a variety of types of merchandise to your customers.
Not only does branded merchandise make for pretty premises, it also continues marketing for you long after customers leave your tasting room or shop. Every time they see that glass, wine bag or corkscrew in their cabinet, they’ll think of you. Plus, every time their friends see it, you widen your circle of influence.
If you’re new to the branded apparel business, you may not know where to start when it comes to choosing merchandise for your store. That’s why we’ve created this handy mini-guide to help you get started. Follow the steps below and before you know it you’ll be on your way to better sales and a more appealing shop or tasting room than you ever could have dreamed.
Settle on Your Logo
The first step toward ordering branded merchandise is to actually have a brand. If you don’t have a logo to use on your merchandise choices, then they won’t perform marketing services for you later on. That’s no good, right?
Instead of choosing generic merchandise, work with a graphic designer to create a unique, engaging logo that your customers will love looking at. Make it interesting to look at, but be careful not to make it too complicated: it will need to look good printed relatively small on glasses, decanters, corkscrews and even wine charms. Keep it to one color or maybe two at the most, and prepare to have a monochromatic image as well, since a lot of wine-related merchandise prints in only one hue. Once you’ve got your logo – along with a business name and slogan, if you desire – you’re ready to pick a theme for your shop.
Design a Theme for Your Wine Shop
The best way to figure out what merchandise to offer is to first pick the theme of your establishment. There are tons of possible themes to choose from, but the following are a few popular examples:
- Tasting room: If you own a winery or vineyard and have a professional tasting room, then your theme is somewhat automatic, as everything in your shop should be related to the sampling and enjoyment of wine.
- Import store: Your store might focus on a variety of goods in addition to wine, like olives, oils, vinegars, aged cheeses, dried fruits and more. If that’s the case, it can be fun to focus on merchandise related to eating as well as drinking.
- Sports bar: A sports bar motif is always fun, and you can run a wine and beer shop adjacent to an actual bar.
- Wine bar: Another popular model is the wine bar, where customers can come in and sample flights of wine or buy by the glass (using branded glasses, of course!). You can close your shop early but keep your bar open later in the evening, and still sell the branded merchandise you carry in your shop.
- Cooking institute: A fun twist on the regular wine shop or bar is to offer cooking classes. You can teach people how to cook and about pairing foods and wines, and offer cutting boards, glasses, decanters, corkscrews and wine charms for sale, among other types of merchandise.
Think hard about the kind of theme you’re looking for. Once you craft your shop around it and order the merchandise, it can be hard to go back. (However, if you’ve had a theme for a few years and are looking to switch things up, don’t be afraid to do a rebrand, starting with your graphic designer and finishing up with new merchandise.)
Order Merchandise to Complement the Theme
Now that you’ve got your theme, it’s time to order merchandise that matches it well.
For instance, if your theme is a sports-centered shop with a bar attached, you might enjoy ordering a bunch of beer and wine glasses printed not only with your own logo, but with other motifs as well. Let’s say you choose stock the 16 oz Football Pub glass. Your logo will work well, as will a slogan for your shop or a phrase referencing your local sports team. Your company name will also do the trick, and provides a nice reminder to customers of the fun they had at your establishment.
If, on the other hand, you chose a tasting room theme, that means lots of glasses and corkscrews to help with the pouring and sampling of wine. Many tasting rooms also offer small snacks. Cheese and crackers are especially common, so you might benefit from some of the many branded cutting boards available. Popular examples include the Beechwood Utility Cheese Slicer or the Small Wine Bottle Bamboo Cutting Board. The latter is actually shaped like a wine bottle, and makes for a very cute addition to your own supplies, and is also popular with customers who want to take home a keepsake.
Traditional winery theme? Give customers lots of ways to carry home and enjoy their vino. You can choose between tons of different wine tote styles, such as non-woven single bottle bags and jute/burlap net wine bags. You can also set out an array of corkscrew choices, and use them when you’re opening wine as well. That way customers can get a glimpse of lovely choices such as the Wooden Handle Corkscrew & Bottle Opener or the traditionally styled Bordeaux Wine Opener.
And don’t forget about extras such as a Stainless Steel Wine Foil Cutter, which will work in any type of establishment, or the array of combination bottle/wine openers and wine charms. Once you decide what you want, simply request a quote for those items. A representative will be glad to get back to you right away.
Arrange Branded Merchandise Appealingly
So you’ve got everything chosen and ordered and on its way to your doorstep. It’s time to arrange your shop, tasting room, bar or winery gift shop so you’re ready for the merchandise once it arrives.
The first thing you’ll need are several cleared-off tables, counters or shelves. While lined up or stacked merchandise always looks nice and is certainly space efficient, people are drawn to pretty displays that tell a story. Start by arranging large items in the center of the table, such as tall wine bottles, magnums and upright cutting boards. Arrange smaller items around them, including branded glassware, regular-sized bottles and decanters. Scatter the smallest items, such as corkscrews and wine charms, across flat surfaces or gather them in pretty bowls.
Cutting boards and wine bags should lay flat or get stacked side by side or on top of one another. Even when stacking, however, make sure to leave at least one example of each item out on display so the logo is clearly displayed and customers can see what they’re buying. If you’re feeling clever or live in a rainy area such as the Pacific Northwest, you might even open a folding umbrella and set it up on the table. (Hopefully the bad luck is outweighed by good sales!)
In between the merchandise, space other items of interest: maps, utensils, foods and little placards explaining the goods.
Now that you’ve stocked and arranged your store, it’s important to keep things fresh and beautiful. Rearrange central displays every few weeks to reflect seasons and different merchandise. Offer sales to move old product and replace it with new. Most importantly, keep being creative and you can’t go wrong!