islander

Mail Order retail sales

9 posts in this topic

Have any of you had any experience with mail order retail sales?

We are a nano-distillery (really, really small) that is up a two mile dirt road. Our county has restrictions on the number of business related visitors we can have every day and our staff is too small for a tasting room, but we'd like to make more retail sales. We've been thinking about mail order retail and have some questions we need to answer:

  • Does anyone have any experience with shipping UPS or FedEx, and what hoops do you have to jump through to ship alcohol?
  • Who makes a good, low cost box or insert?
  • What is your experience with the typical number of bottles in a shipment, i.e. one or two, or a case?
  • If you set up an online store, that includes pricing and a shopping cart, has that affected your relationship with distributors or retailers (if you self distribute).
  • Dare I mention interstate sales? The interstate mail order retail market seems a bit more complex than we're ready to undertake, but.....maybe

Any thoughts or comments would be useful

CWest

Orcas Island Distillery

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Jason,

We are also trying to sort out the shipping conundrum, if any chance you're willing to send a PM my way to as it would be much appreciated.

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This might be a great topic to discuss at the next general guild meeting. I have the same questions.

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Good thinking! We'll definitely add it to the agenda.

As a reminder, the next meeting is on Feb 16th, from 6:00 to 9:00 at Copperworks Distilling Co. (1250 Alaskan Way. The corner of Alaskan and University St.)

See you there!

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Hi Charles,

Shipping is a nice sales addition, especially given a remote location. We get a number of inquiries and typically accommodate most requests.

Boxes are best sourced from ULINE and we usually stock up on single and double shippers. If you put the word out to wine stores, they may be able to save you their once-used shippers.

Then set up a FedEx commercial account for shipping alcohol with the special stickers. Don't use USPS and I haven't found UPS to be very helpful.

Most people will request a bottle or two, and rarely do full cases ship. Regardless, we just pass on the shipping charge and round up a bit to cover the box costs. It's a juggle getting all the information over the phone, including credit card numbers. You can also request FedEx come to your business to pickup the packages.

Hope that helps!

John

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When shipping to Out of State Customer - do you charge the Liter tax?

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