Five things your winery can do to prepare for Oklahoma DTC wine shipping

Five things your winery can do to prepare for Oklahoma DTC wine shipping

Editor’s Note: The following is a guest post by Andrea Steffes-Tuttle, co-founder of Think Wine, a digital marketing education company.

Last week, Compli shared the news that wineries who want to expand their DTC programs into Oklahoma on October 1st can start applying now. You can find the rules for direct wine shippers in Oklahoma in this post.

For wineries who are looking to grow their DTC program, this could be a new source of sales. A new market is always an exciting prospect for direct shipping. But, before you go ahead and apply for a direct license in Oklahoma, first, assess the opportunity that the state offers your business.

When it comes to per capita wine consumption by state, Oklahoma lands right between Iowa and Arkansas, according to a somewhat dated study. Historically, Oklahoma, has experienced strict alcohol laws, so it’s not surprising that on a list of alcohol consumption, by state, Oklahoma is 42nd, with 1.94 gallons of alcohol consumed per capita. This is more than Utah (1.37 gallons of alcohol consumed per capita) but significantly less than New Hampshire (4.26 gallons of alcohol consumed per capita).

All of that to say, Oklahoma is not the booziest state and it will take time to understand OK residents’ demand for wine. However, if you’ve been looking for another state to expand into, then there are some things you can do now to prepare to ship to the wine drinkers of Oklahoma.

The first step is to apply for your license. You can start that process here.

Even though you can’t ship wine yet, there are some actions you can take to market to Oklahoma residents. Here are some recommendations:

  1. Open a tasting room waiting list to allow visitors from Oklahoma to enroll and receive a notification when they can buy wine and have wine shipped.
  2. Add an update to your website, letting visitors know that you will be opening up your direct shipping program to Oklahoma residents and start a waiting list, so that you have people to market to, come October 1st.
  3. Mail a postcard to urban areas in Oklahoma, where residents are most likely to be online shoppers and wine enthusiasts. I’m not suggesting that you promote your wine directly. Instead send a wine pairing and dinner recipe guide and a link to your website to begin to build trust and brand awareness.
  4. Similarly, run a social ad campaign on Instagram with a complementary promotion. One idea is a holiday themed (Summer, Fall, Labor Day, Halloween) promotion with food and wine suggestions that ultimately takes the viewer to your site, where they can opt in to be notified when you’re shipping to Oklahoma and get a special discount.
  5. If you’re uncertain whether it’s worth it for your winery to apply for a license in Oklahoma, I suggest you do some of your own market research and assess the ROI. A weekend trip to Oklahoma will cost you about $500 and will provide you with incredibly valuable insights.
    Visit liquor stores and restaurants and talk to the staff about wine consumption. Make a trip to the local wineries and talk to the customers. There’s no better way to get a sense for buyers and their preferences than to go where they are and talk to them, in person.

When looking at the ROI, consider that the initial license is only $300 and renewals are $150. It doesn’t take that many orders to make up the total cost of $450 over two years.

Learn more about Avalara's Beverage Alcohol solution here.

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