Selling Accessories

Increase your Average Sale

Adding accessories to your product line will not only increase your average sale, it can attract new people into your store and offer them a better buying experience. Consider adding liquor-related items, such as flasks, decanters, glassware, non-food items used in cocktails, bottle openers, and corkscrews. Available from a wide variety of suppliers, these non-alcoholic items offer good margins and an appealing contribution to your bottom line.

Two factors will determine how many non-alcoholic items you carry as well as the selection:

  1. Floor space available − Take your lease cost and divide it by your square footage: that’s how much revenue each square foot of your store needs to generate to pay for itself. Now add a profit requirement to that. Make sure that the products you’re selling can make that space work for you.
  2. Tie-ins to existing products and product mix − Keeping your product mix relevant and tying non-alcoholic items to existing sales of alcoholic items is crucial. If you sell high-end wines, carrying a good selection of wine glasses is a natural cross-sell opportunity.

If you sell high-end wines, carrying a good selection of wine glasses is a natural cross-sell opportunity.

Consider your Demographic

Your target demographic will determine which accessories are best for your store (affluent, upwardly mobile consumers will tend to favour wine-related accessories more than youthful, value-conscious consumers who might respond better to beer-related items or drink mixes). The image you want your store to project will limit some of the items available to you. A certain number of beer accessories, for example, may seem too forward for a style-conscious retail environment.

Beer Accessories

There are many different accessories for your beer customers: cuzies, coolers, mugs, novelty bottle openers, etc. Some of these items sell well on or near the counter as impulse purchases. The majority of beer sales are to consumers who are brand-loyal, so be careful with logo items.

Wine Accessories

There are a lot more wine-related items available than there are for beer: travel/carry cases, decanters, decanting funnels, Epivacs (for preserving opened wine with a vacuum stopper), corkscrews, bottle tags, and literally thousands of specialty wine glasses.

Many of these are small items that take up little space, and can easily be incorporated into a wine corner. Others can have medium-to-high price tags, and some, such as decanters and glassware, require dedicated display areas or display cases to properly show them. Which ones you choose will be driven by the product mix in your wine section: specialty wine glasses, each designed for a separate varietal are a great choice if you carry a good selection of wines in the $20+ range. If your super-premium wine section isn’t that large, carrying a good, mid-price red and white glass, plus a rotating specialty glass as a tie-in for wine specials is a great way to introduce customers to the pleasures of good glassware.

Decanters and decanting funnels are great hostess gifts, as are specialty corkscrews, so make sure you stock these with presentation boxes to capture gifting possibilities.

Spirit Accessories

If you’re featuring a signature cocktail of the month, look at including all the non-food items used to prepare that cocktail, such as Tabasco or Worcestershire sauce, spices, hibiscus flowers, or rimmers. Liquor flasks are good to stock in your scotch or bourbon aisle.

Inventory Consideration

It’s one thing to begin stocking items, but it’s another to sell them in a reasonable time and make a profit from them. It’s as important to do sales analysis on these items as it is on your liquor products. Remember, just like your alcoholic items, inventory is not an asset. Rather, it is money tied up in stock. For your assets/stock to work for you, they have to move. The more speed they move with, the more money flows through your store and the more marginal contribution flows to you. If you see inventory sitting on a shelf for months on end, that’s cash you can’t use somewhere else in your business.

If you’re featuring a signature cocktail of the month, look at including all the non-food items used to prepare that cocktail.

There is no one perfect formula for deciding how diverse an inventory to carry, but the quickest way to see what’s working for you is to do a Pareto analysis. Rank sales from highest to lowest over a given period and go down the column until combined sales equals 80% of the total sales. Pareto Analysis predicts that this will come from roughly 20% of the products in your inventory. Be ruthless: floor space must generate revenue, slow sellers have to go.

Sales Tips

Use Good Signage – Call out your impulse items with clear, easy-to-read price tags and signage that tells your customers how to use the product, and the benefits they’ll experience.

Show Savings – If you’re discounting an item, make the discount and savings very clear. Professionally printed signs on good paper will show earnestness, and be sure to put a clear “sale ends date” on your signage. This inspires purchase urgency−“Get them before they’re gone” should be your call to action.

Keep It Clean – If an inventory item has dust or grime on it, it will never sell–certainly not at full price. Displays of glassware must be dusted on a regular basis, at minimum twice per week.

Keep Your Displays Organized – Make sure to display merchandise in a way that makes sense–decanters with decanter funnels, all corkscrews organized by type and price, etc. Consumers will spend more time looking at well-organized displays, rather than wasting time searching for related items, or the same item in a different size/colour.

Be Sure To Cross Merchandise – Place a stack of salt rimmers next to the tequila display. Put up a sign next to the Bordeax that says, “Enhance your drinking pleasure with a Bordeax wine glass.” One good sale leads to another!

Finally, set sales goals and track your results. Good merchandising and marketing are necessary to alert consumers to the products you’re offering, but sales only come from the success of your sales staff. If your retail team members are motivated with sales goals, and are properly trained to suggest add-ons and impulse items, they’ll deliver revenue and margin from your non-liquor items. As with any sales program, keeping a live tally where your staff can see it, and providing incentives for them to beat their goals will keep them working hard for your store.