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April 25, 2024

How to Choose the Right E-commerce Solution

Existing market tools fail to deliver one key outcome: scale. Through our lens at Accelpay, we’ve seen companies spend enormous amounts of capital and energy attempting to find a platform that is designed to grow alongside them.

As the holidays approach, expect an influx of gift purchases across the next few months — an annual event that’ll only be heightened by the post-COVID e-commerce shopping boom.

Even more so, broader delays in global supply chains are trickling down to affect availability and shipping for e-commerce brands across all segments. Our recommendation? Beat this year’s slowdown by getting a head start on your seasonal campaigns, promotions, and more. 

We’ve laid out four steps below that every alcohol brand should take to beat the annual gift rush, while also maximizing the profitability and potential of this concentrated shopping period. 

Step One: Time Blocking

First, you can start building out a major messaging campaign by looking ahead on your calendar and selecting key dates to lay out a time frame from early November up until Christmas.

Specifically, we recommend blocking out three primary phases for your campaign delivery.

Pre-Black Friday

By pushing messaging campaigns out as early as mid-November, you’re gearing folks up for the holiday season around the corner, as well as letting potential buyers know to keep an eye out for a promotion in the works. 

More importantly, you’re setting your brand up to start the season on a strong note — and to not get caught unprepared by the sudden arrival of Thanksgiving crunchtime. 

Thanksgiving & Late November

From Thanksgiving onward, particularly that first weekend including Black Friday, you’ll want to host and advertise some kind of actionable event, i.e. a special release or promotional discount, to jumpstart customers into their seasonal shopping cycles. 

Cutoffs for Christmas

Finally, you’ll want to round out the season by selecting a cutoff date for placing new orders. 

Seven to 10 days before December 25th is a safe bet for buyers to receive a bottle at their door by Christmas Day, and reminders should be sent out in the days leading up to this cutoff. 

In terms of the broader time crunch that’s anticipated due to global supply chain slowdowns, you should emphasize the convenience of purchasing from a domestic brand paired with the reliability that you offer for a timely, safe delivery of your product.

Step Two: Spice Up Your Specials

Once you’ve laid the initial groundwork, it’s time to elevate your campaign by crafting it into something creative and exciting for the spirit of the season. 

In other words, your buyer’s inbox may be flooded by holiday deals, but you can capture their attention and help them recognize the thoughtfulness through your core brand messaging.

For instance, Far North Spirits is offering a holiday two-pack for drinks that’ll warm you up in the colder months. Imagine a whiskey, rye, or bourbon for your spicy cocktail or mulled wine. 

Ultimately, you’re working with the inventory you have and considering which themed products can play into people’s holiday spirit — even better if it’s in a bundle to boost your AOV. 

On the other hand, this period offers a practical opportunity to look back at the year’s releases and offload any remaining inventory through a unique discount or exclusive holiday promo. 

Step Three: Ramp Up Your Promotion Game

Next, consider the tactical logistics of your promotions. After all, it can be tricky to time promo launches, depending on whether your customer pool skews toward early or late gift grabbers. 

There are two general approaches you can take: 1) offering enticing deals early on to preempt other sales or 2) holding off until late in the buyer’s window to pull the trigger on your promo. 

The former can snag early shoppers, or at least convince late shoppers to try an early purchase, but could also lose its appeal by mid-December when fresher deals are dropping every day. 

The latter can appeal to buyers who play the long game and wait it out for the most optimal deal, but can still ultimately result in you losing out on early or average shoppers. 

Ultimately, there’s no gold-standard method and you’ll need to use your judgement depending on what aligns with your brand’s target demographic, metric goalposts, and even inventory

For instance, returning to your campaign calendar, you can skew discounts away from marking down products and toward offering cheaper, faster shipping as Christmas creeps closer. 

Step Four: Email Marketing On Deck

As we pointed out in our advice for email marketing, setting up your email flow so your comms can run seamlessly is a simple yet essential step of the process that’s easily overlooked. 

We recommend starting with a quick info sweep: pull last year’s seasonal purchase data and make sure that customer cohort is consistently re-engaged early on. 

In turn, your team won’t be stressed out and frantically attempt to piece together the perfect layout in MailChimp just a few days before Thanksgiving — which circles back to our larger point: the holidays are a time of year with promise of high ROI for your alcohol brand. 

You can utilize this opportunity to the max by planning thoroughly and creatively, not stressfully executing a last minute, makeshift campaign. 

If your brand has these moving parts staged within the first weeks of November, you should be ready to hook the earliest seasonal shoppers and take full advantage of the holiday rush.

Sit Back and Enjoy the Holidays! 

Once you’ve got these steps locked in — a killer campaign calendar, creative promos, and ready-to-launch email marketing — you’ll be the one leading the holiday rush, not falling behind. 

Whether your user base is composed of individuals shopping for friends and family or corporate customers with high-volume needs, Accelpay is the platform of choice for your alcohol brand. 

To get access to our instant storefront setup and stress-free bulk ordering, get started here.

How to Choose the Right E-commerce Solution

Every emerging alcohol brand wants to scale faster and grow its distribution. But, the current state of commerce makes it absurdly difficult for spirits brands to sell online.

Selling alcohol direct-to-consumer is frustrating for two core reasons: complex regulatory compliance laws and the lack of first-party customer data. As a result, emerging brands are often left with antiquated e-comm tools which fail to address both frustrations.

Existing market tools fail to deliver one key outcome: scale. Through our lens at Accelpay, we’ve seen companies spend enormous amounts of capital and energy attempting to find a platform that is designed to grow alongside them. 

To save you time, we dove deep to pinpoint the two criteria your e-comm solution should deliver.

Phase I: Prioritize Three-Tier Compliance

Your commerce platform should deliver on regulatory compliance.

Regulations vary state-by-state;nearly every spirits brand owner is constantly worried that their distribution will get blocked after opening in a new market.

As you’re evaluating potential tools, it’s critical you flesh out the exact details and evolving documentation that a platform enforces around this three-tier compliance structure. As is often the case in non-compliance, licenses can be revoked and distribution is throttled.

Given our vantage point in the alcohol ecosystem, we believe that a distributed network approach through which brands distribute through multiple warehouses will soon be the enforced model for spirits brands to stay compliant with regulatory agencies.

When a brand demonstrates favoritism through a single warehouse or point of distribution, smaller shops lose business. In the coming years, based on our on-the-ground  coverage and access, we believe that compliance bodies will crack down on this behavior. 

As a result, we strongly recommend getting ahead of the regulatory curve and finding an e-comm platform which operates across a distributed system model, as opposed to an outdated fulfillment network that leans into, in some cases, monopolistic tendencies.

Phase II: Secure First-Party Customer Data

After ensuring three-tier compliance, the second criteria your chosen e-com tool should offer is end-to-end metric access and analytics around your first-party customer data.

DTC industry heavyweights like Glossier, Allbirds, and Warby Parker owned their customer data from landing to purchase journeys. As a result of this access, brands were able to test and discover high-value customer cohorts and growth channels, and, in turn, dominate them. 

It’s nearly impossible to develop effective digital marketing strategies without accessing first-party information about purchasing tendencies and analyzing behavioral analytics.But outdated e-com platforms that alcohol brands are forced to use in order to sell online fail to deliver on this criteria. The large majority of offered solutions are simply workarounds, pushing your website traffic to third-party marketplaces which yield zero access to first-party data.

As a result, brands are effectively spending ad dollars to drive their customers to a black box of information. Sure, your brand might gain short-term revenue, but you’ll lose access to incredibly valuable data that collectively forms the foundation of a scalable paid marketing strategy.

These indispensable data sets can improve on-site conversion, acquisition performance, and retention metrics across nearly every vertical. So instead of relying on a tool that bounces your sales off-site, we recommend choosing a digital e-com platform that gives you full control over first-party data.

In turn, you’ll not only deepen your understanding and relationship with your core customer, but you’ll also retain a solid growth strategy built on top of clear, concise data.

Ramp Towards National Distribution

Once you’ve found an enterprise-grade tool that satisfies these criteria, it’s time to scale your distribution into national markets and ensure you can meet customers where they live.

Stopgap or short-term solutions exist in droves, but these platforms won’t give you the foundation to scale into operational maturity as your core business hits scale.

At Accelpay, we handle the complexity of alcohol fulfillment and payments by leveraging our unique tech-enabled distributed network. We intentionally designed our platform alongside brand owners to directly address these compliance and data issues. 

To learn more about how we partner with category-defining brands, get started here.

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Braxton Freeman






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