More people are working from home than ever before, and as a result, companies across the country are stepping up their efforts to connect with team members and business clients. With the holiday season just around the corner, now is the time for retailers to start preparing for corporate gift orders. With this in mind, we asked Kimberly Hedmark, Drizly’s senior manager of corporate business development, to share insights and strategies for a successful holiday gift season. 

BevAlc Insights: What effect will the pandemic have on corporate gift sales this year?

Kimberly Hedmark: Order volume for gifts is already up 600 percent year over year (YoY), as many companies are looking for ways to connect with their employees, clients, and customers. Sending a nice bottle of Champagne or red wine to celebrate a team win is just one of the fun ways companies are using Drizly to connect, and we love that we can still help make these special moments happen.

How does the ordering process work with employers sending gifts to employees in many different locations? 

Orders are spread out across a lot of different retailers, as opposed to one store delivering a large order to an office. Our corporate customers give us a list of recipients and addresses, and the price-point they want to stay within. Once we have that information, Drizly’s White Glove team will start working with our retail partners to confirm availability of the product, and work through all the order logistics. It could be 25 orders or it could be 500 orders for a single customer. 

What sort of product mix do you usually see for corporate gift orders? 

During the holiday season we definitely see a spike in Champagne and wine, as well as spirits. A lot of companies are not doing events right now, but they’re still trying to send products out to hundreds of people. Instead of sending a case of beer, they’re sending a nice bottle of wine, a bottle of Champagne, or maybe a nice bottle of tequila, because they’re hosting an online virtual cocktail tasting with their team or clients. This is kind of the new normal in the way our corporate customers are ordering. 

What is the average value of a corporate gift order?

Gift orders average around between $50 and $60 right now. Back when companies were having events, the average was around $160 per order, but with people working from home we’re seeing more individual orders. 

What are some of Drizly’s most popular categories and products for corporate gifts? 

Champagne, red wine, bourbon, Scotch, and vodka were Drizly’s top-selling gift subcategories in 2019. The most popular brands were Veuve Clicquot, Moët & Chandon, The Macallan, Dom Perignon, and Johnnie Walker.

Are there any particular markets that have seen growth this year for gift orders?

Historically, New York has been one of our biggest markets, especially during the holiday season, because a lot of corporations are headquartered there. This year we expect it to be a bit scattered. Year-to-date for 2020, our largest corporate gift order markets are California, New York, Massachusetts, Texas, and New Jersey. 

Are there particular days of the week when corporate gift orders tend to come in?

We definitely see a little bit of an uptick on Wednesdays and Thursdays in terms of inbound requests for bulk orders. That’s when the team is placing these orders through our retail partners. Delivery days really depend on the virtual events that companies are hosting, which usually land on Thursdays or Fridays. 

How does Drizly choose retailers to fulfill gift orders? 

Our team has a running list of their go-to retailers, based on their experience ordering through them and knowing they’re really reliable. One of the big things we look for is gift wrapping. Delivering a well-presented gift with a clearly printed gift note goes a long way with our corporate customers. Timing is also important. Corporate gifts are usually meant to be enjoyed during a virtual happy hour or company event, so it’s important that they are delivered within their scheduled window. We also look at discounts and special order capabilities. Is the retailer willing to offer a discount if the customer orders a couple cases of wine? If the customer wants a rare bottle of wine or whisky, can the retailer turn around a special order in, say, 48 hours?

Is there a way for retailers to know when a corporate gift order is coming in? 

We’re working on a way to flag corporate orders, so the retailer will know that it was placed by our White Glove team and that it’s for a high-value customer. Right now, retailers can recognize a corporate order because it was placed by a Drizly agent, or if the order includes a company name. 

Is there anything else retailers can do to prepare for gifting season? 

Make sure your inventory is accurately reflected online so you can fulfill the expected asks for bulk purchasing of a single item. Substitutions can become an issue if a corporate customer wants to send a particular type of brand or product to all of their employees, so you want to be sure your stock is accurately reflected when orders are being placed. You should also stock up on gifting materials and make sure your printer is ready to go for creating gift messages.