the forum

19 September, 2008

To respond to the unanswered questions below, or to ask a reader's advice, simply e mail:


Q I'm struggling to keep my website up to date with all my latest wines - and

don't get around to deleting what's sold out. Any tips?

A Do what D Byrne does: don't bother. If your range is constantly changing, you could waste an awful lot of time updating the site when all you really want to do is sell.

Gary, Melksham

A Your website doesn't need to carry a

list of every

wine on your shelves. Why not use the home page to keep customers updated about a small number of interesting wines and special offers? You could top this up with email alerts.

JY, Lancashire

A If you want to achieve online sales you have to

show customers

what 's on offer.

Think about employing a computer-literate member of staff who can look after the web site.

Sam, Cambridge

Q I'm considering running a wine festival at a local hall and selling tickets - I'm planning tutored tastings , nibbles and a decent range of wines. Do such events make money or is the best I can hope for to break even and generate some


A We tend to break even, or possibly make a small loss, which we

certainly recoup in the form of a higher public profile and increased customer numbers . There's no exact way of measuring the benefit, but

it exists.

Peter, Cornwall

A You might be better off working in tandem with a local restaurant - put together a menu which matches food with various


and agree a fixed price per head

. If you don't sell enough tickets, cancel the event and refund the money - and nobody loses.

Gerry, West Yorkshire

Q Should I start running three-for-10 deals like the supermarkets?

And if I do, will the increased volumes compensate for reduced margins?

Jay, Kent

Q Where can I get sample-size disposable plastic tumblers for in-store tastings?

Jamal, Middlesex

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I were to sum up alcohol sales over Christmas 2017 in one word, it would be “gin”. At Nielsen, we define the Christmas period as the 12 weeks to December 30 and in that time gin sales were £199.4 million, which means they increased by £55.4 million compared with Christmas 2016. There’s no sign the bubble is about to burst either. Growth at Christmas 2016 was £22.4 million, so gin has increased its value growth nearly two-and-a-half times in a year. The spirit added more value to
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