Thursday, August 29, 2013

The stupidity of OND is exposed by the S they're trying to sneak into it.

I've got to assume if you are reading a wine sales blog, you are aware of the phenomenon of OND. It's a topic I've already discussed here. For the uninitiated. OND is October-December, and historical conventional wisdom suggests that nearly 1/2 your sales for the year is this time period. The thing is, that's just not the case anymore. I spend a lot of time staring at spreadsheets. I sell the wines of many different wineries in many different markets through many different distributors, and the truth is, OND is about 1/3 of the year's sales. What is so remarkable about it though, is July-September is closer to 1/5 of the year's sales. OND just makes up for the shortfall created when everyone else is drinking beer during the Summer.

Maybe OND exists as a thing, because it's the last chance before you close the books for the year to actually put up some numbers. Maybe it's the total bandwidth our brains can handle. For those of us in the know, OND is not "O", really at all, and frankly, it's these things-Thanksgiving, Christmas, Christmas Break, New Years and Christmas Parties. It's a 5 week run. I mean, Sbarro probably sees a bigger spike than the wine business.  The "O" is just a return to stasis. It's everyone's back to school slowdown is over, it's cooling down outside, etc. The worst 2 months of the year are usually July-August, at least in the "fly-over" states.

The current wine sales buzz term is now SOND, trying to drag September into the imagined melee. Whoever started thinking this was smart needs to go find a new career. Clearly, this is stupid. Dragging S into OND, just exposes how incredibly stupid OND really is. Planning for the holidays, is a big deal, and not anything that should be taken lightly. It's a great time to introduce new wine to new people through sharing. Volumes do increase, but along with it comes stress. The stress of anticipation starts kicking into high gear by late October (because, in their mind, people should have already been buying wine for holiday parties and Thanksgiving by then?). Then you have the stress of higher volumes of sales really starts kicking by the middle of November. It's best to accommodate and avoid as much as possible. Samples, market visits, meetings, they're all done by Nov 1.

But "S"? September is the same as February-May. October is only slightly busier. This all feels to me like misguided excuse. If we paid a fraction of the attention on the 1st 2 quarters of the year as we do on the 4th, maybe we wouldn't be scrambling to hit year end numbers. Desperation during OND is a stink that never leaves a brand. The "O" doesn't exist, I'm I'm fairly certain that means "S" doesn't either.