Are you considering your first step into exporting to the US market, or pivoting from another market to the US? Not sure where to start, with such a complex market? Or cautious of the cost of research and set-up, with no guarantee of success, or even recouping your initial outlay?
A market entry assessment and readiness plan will increase your chances of success and articulate a financial roadmap to grow your wine brand. It will help define what success looks like and wrap governance around your journey.
What are the US route-to-market options?
Establishing a US route to market is not a one-step or a ‘one size fits all’ process. Articulating your preferred operating model in advance will give you a head start on your business set-up, importer selection and negotiations, to align your brand profile and product price points to the most appropriate channels and regional markets.
Your operating model may be one of, or a hybrid of, self-importing to distributors, self-importing to DTC, partnering with an importer to market your brand and manage distributors, or shipping exclusively direct to a national retailer, with an importer facilitating the process as the importer of record. This will also be framed by your geographic footprint plan, by state and region or division.
How to increase your chances of success and protect your market entry.
Prepare, prepare, and prepare!
Determine which initial operating model is best for you. Set out your ideal financial scenarios and draft your ideal agreement terms in advance. This will give you a good reference point when negotiating.
Your ideal operating model may change over time, as you grow; keep this in mind when agreeing on contract terms and renewal options. Frame up your importer selection assessment matrix, to help ensure the best fit for your brand and growth aspirations.
Engage ‘in-market’ finance, legal, compliance and fulfilment professionals beforehand, even if it is just an introduction, without commitment. Check your brand trademarks are available in the US and register them. Quote up your ocean shipping cost and insurance; even if you plan to ship FOB, where ocean transport and insurance is the responsibility of the importer; understanding this cost will help you assess the importer’s laid in cost (LIC) assumptions when negotiating.
Build-in foreign currency sensitivity, and stay abreast of US supply-side market conditions, to assess the impact local grape and bulk wine supply may have on retail discounting. Trade spend assumptions in importer agreements may also come under additional pressure after long domestic vintages.
We can help you assess your market entry and set a market readiness plan with our years of international experience in the US, as you prepare to expand the business of your winery stateside.