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WINEDIRECT

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CONTACT INFO

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Address

1190 Airport Blvd Suite #200
Napa
CA, 94558
United States
Phone
800.819.0325
Fax
Primary
Adrienne Stillman

Company Overview

We provide products, services and information to help you succeed.

An effective software solutions which provide control and visibility into what's going on in your business, and a fulfillment partner you can rely on. 

Founded in 2002, WineDirect is the only company in the wine industry to deliver a true connected commerce experience; combining ecommerce, wine club and point-of-sale with order fulfillment, and loyalty programs. The result is a comprehensive platform that will grow as your business grows.

  1. An industry leading eCommerce platform to drive direct sales
  2. Sales and marketing programs to build incremental revenue and customer loyalty
  3. Software solutions to manage and run a successful direct sales program, whether online or in a tasting room
  4. Seamless and cost effective fulfillment services to deliver satisfied consumers
  5. Our bi-coastal delivery network gives you 1 -2 day access to 90% of US wine customers. 

WHAT WE DO!


Our Suite of Services

Creating a word-class customer experience.
Our goal at WineDirect is to help you create a positive and memorable experience for your customers. We do that by seamlessly combining ecommerce, fulfillment, and order delivery into a single DTC platform.  Watch our video here. 

Vin65 ECommerce: Online Stores Designed to Sell Wine
Vin65 enables wineries to grow their online businesses with a feature rich, yet easy-to-use toolkit built specifically for the wine industry. We help manage the total buying experience, from customer acquisition to club and relationship management via a platform which was built specifically to handle the many regulatory requirements of the wine industry. 

Each new release of our software is built on the idea of Power vs. Complexity.  Our mantra is to use technology to remove market complexities while at the same time providing our customers with powerful tools which enable them to aggressively pursue savvy wine buyers.  Our ability to deliver a fully integrated winery-focused solution has earned us recognition as a market leader.

Marketing: Helping Wineries Maximize Direct Sales
Our Outbound Telesales Program, WineDirect Outbound, supplements a winery's sales and marketing team and extends the tasting room experience by maintaining contact with customers well beyond the initial visit. WineDirect Outbound delivers incremental sales, from both club members and non-members at higher average order values and with a longer average club member lifecycle.

Fulfillment: State-of-the-Art Facilities and Maximum State Reach
WineDirect Fulfillment was founded by wine industry, technology, and transportation veterans to solve the complex business problems associated with the interstate sale and distribution of wine. We've developed proprietary fulfillment systems that enable fully compliant consumer-direct shipping in up to 44 states.  Direct-to-Consumer orders are fulfilled from a fully automated, climate controlled, WineDirect operates 260,000 square feet of space across three facilities.  This bi-coastal network, gives 1 - 2 day access to 90% of US wine consumers.

The WineDirect Suite of Services
And finally, when all of our direct services are bundled into one package the WineDirect Suite of Services - wineries and retailers gain:

  • Business intelligence not available anywhere else in the wine industry
  • Exceptional customer service via a well versed team
  • Serious cost savings and efficiencies
  • And perhaps most importantly - increased sales!
Authored by members of the WineDirect team, the WineDirect Blog covers topics related to Direct-to-Consumer sales including such items as compliance, ecommerce best practices, wine club and allocation management, industry headlines, direct-to-trade, and technology. Visit http://www.winedirect.com/blog for more information.
WineDirect Fulfillment Services
WineDirect Fulfillment Services
Take a quick tour of WineDirect's state-of-the art fulfillment center in the heart of the Wine Country.
Size Doesn't Matter
Size Doesn't Matter
See what customers have to say about the array of services that WineDirect offers to the wine industry.
WineDirect Testimonials
WineDirect Testimonials
Hear what some of our customers say about WineDirect fulfillment, eCommerce, and telesales services.
Meet the Team at WineDirect
Meet the Team at WineDirect
Meet the Team at WineDirect
The WineDirect Customer Experience
The WineDirect Customer Experience
WineDirect manages each point in the order cycle so you can deliver the best possible wine purchasing experience.

News Archive


Top 10 Questions to Ask Your DTC Fulfillment Partner
28 March, 2017

Choosing a DTC fulfillment partner can be a daunting task. And as the last touchpoint between you and your customer, it’s crucial to choose well. With many companies claiming to oer similar services, how do you separate hype from reality? In this questionnaire, we outline 10 key questions to ask potential fulfillment providers to help you make the right decision, including:

  1. Are you constantly improving your technology?
  2. How do you handle client service and support?
  3. What is your order accuracy rate?
  4. How will I track my inventory and manage my orders?
  5. How easy is it to get up and running?

Download our questionnaire to get all 10, plus additional suggested follow up questions.

Top 10 Questions to Ask Your DTC Fulfillment Partner - Download Now


What Walmart's Free Shipping Move Means for Wineries
06 February, 2017

Last week, Walmart announced that they will offer free two day shipping on over 2 million items for orders over $35. This directly undercuts Amazon's Prime offering, where customers pay $99 for the same privilege.

What does this mean for wineries? It means that the bar has been raised yet again for consumer expectations about free and fast shipping.

At WineDirect and Vin65, we are longstanding proponents of free (or heavily discounted) shipping because we know that it works. The results from our 46Brix shipping and loyalty program show that. In the end, you're not competing against other wineries for your customers' dollars, you're competing against Walmart and Amazon. If your customers can't order wine from you and have it arrive within a few days for a low price, they are going to take their money elsewhere and buy a handbag or a pair of shoes. Walmart's latest move makes that tradeoff even more stark.

So, what's a winery to do? Check out our whitepaper to learn how you can offer shipping incentives without breaking the bank.

Download Your copy.


DTC Checklist for Success
17 January, 2017

There’s a lot to consider when it comes to direct-to-consumer wine sales.

Our checklist includes tips and best practices for your wine club, tasting room, winery website and fulfillment. Plus, two proprietary equations that will help you calculate the value of an email address for your winery, and how much wine club revenue you could be leaving on the table.

 Download Your Copy 


10 Ways to Improve Your Winery Website
29 November, 2016

Is your website working hard enough for you? In this paper, we'll take you through ten simple-to-follow steps your winery can take to begin maximizing not only your site, but every transaction for unbeatable sales and loyalty. Topics include:

  • How to make your product pages more enticing
  • Why optimizing your website and emails for mobile is critical
  • Tips on how to grow your mailing list
  • SEO: what it is and why you should care

Download your copy


2016 OND Preview: Winery direct shipping volumes on track to exceed 2015 by 23%
07 November, 2016

With the first month of OND complete, DTC shipping volumes among small and medium wineries are up sharply and are on track to exceed 2015 levels by 23%. 

These findings are based on WineDirect data from hundreds of small and medium wineries (defined as those with production of less than 500,000 cases) across California. In September and October 2016, small and medium winery shipping volumes were up 23% versus the same period last year and show no signs of abating. The OND season marks a critical inflection point for many US wineries and is by far the busiest time of year for DTC wine shipping.

Where is the growth coming from?

Although we have seen many wineries take advantage of newly opened DTC states such as Massachusetts, this made up for less than 3% of total volume in 2016 so far. In fact, traditionally strong states such as California, New York and New Jersey accounted for far more volume increases than new states.

What about wine clubs and bottles per shipment?

Although some have heralded the death of the wine club, recent data tells a very different story. Wine club shipments accounted for 56% of overall volume so far in 2016 and are growing at similar rate to non-club orders.

Bottles per shipment remained steady at about 6 bottles across small and medium wineries. Very small wineries with production less than 5,000 cases see averages closer to 7 bottles, also unchanged year on year.

WineDirect maintains service excellence during periods of high growth

In the face of this marked volume increase, WineDirect has been able to deliver winery client shipments with 99.98% order accuracy so far this year. Unlike many of our competitors, we maintain our strict service standards throughout the busy OND season. This includes our 1PM same-day shipping cutoff, the latest in the industry.

In addition, our new facility in Santa Maria began shipping in early October, and we expect volumes there to ramp up steadily there throughout the end of the year.

WineDirect’s ability to execute at such a high standard is a product of both our investment in technology as well as our excellent team of people. Across our four fulfillment centers, our teams work tirelessly to ensure that our clients’ wine ships correctly and punctually. We take tremendous pride in shipping clean every day, and on the rare occasion that something goes wrong, we are quick to address it.

Download our OND Checklist today to keep your team on track.


Meet Our Santa Barbara County Crew
02 November, 2016

WineDirect has a new fulfillment warehouse in Santa Barbara County, and our local team is looking forward to connecting with our new neighbors. Allow us to introduce David, Aaron and Taylor, who are already hard at work helping Santa Barbara wineries improve their DTC fulfillment and ecommerce operations.

Sit back, pour yourself a glass and let's get to know these great folks.

Paso Robles WineDirect Team

David Dennigmann - Director of Operations

As Director of Operations, David oversees our winery fulfillment services in the Central Coast, specifically in Paso Robles and Santa Maria. He's been in the wine industry for over 25 years, spending his time working with retailers, wholesalers and, since 2007, in fulfillment. This experience gives him different perspectives when it comes to fulfillment and customer expectations, and he uses that knowledge when working with WineDirect partners now.

"I probably have the most dynamic job, which keeps me motivated," he added. "My day-to-day focus is serving our customer base out here. I often go out to meet with local wineries to understand their needs. Our relationships are tried, true and tested - they're what keeps the community together and what keeps these wineries moving forward."

One of the things that most excites David about the new facility is its design.

"Santa Maria was custom-built with our clients in mind," he noted. “The building’s foot-thick concrete walls create a natural cave-like environment to keep wine cool and stable. Our streamlined industrial design, loading docks and fiber optic cable system allow us to provide fast, consistent service no matter what kind of volume we’re seeing. This is especially critical now, in OND, when order volumes are high.”

When he's not in the warehouse, David still enjoys the California wine experience. He and his wife spend their time at many of the local artisanal restaurants and wineries. In particular, David enjoys eating at Arigato Sushi and attending the annual Celebration of Harvest festival. He's also, of course, a huge, old-school wine enthusiast.

"I was into Pinot before the movie 'Sideways,'" he added.

Aaron Dean - Quality Control Manager

Aaron's current position is Quality Control Manager, and he'll soon take over operations in Santa Maria. Born and raised in Santa Barbara, Aaron is a Dodgers fan who attended school at California Polytechnic State University.

"I've worked on three harvests in the past, which is how I got my start in the industry,” he said “Living on the Central Coast, the job market here kind of lends itself toward wine."

A typical day for Aaron includes checking orders, reading emails, drafting reports, predicting volume and organizing tasting room deliveries. His ultimate responsibility is making sure all orders go out in a timely manner and that the customer is satisfied. Still, Aaron isn't all work and no play. He enjoys spending time outdoors, making the most of the weather.

"Santa Barbara has the best climate anywhere around," he said. "It almost doesn't seem real. I'm also spending quite a bit of time preparing for my wedding in October with my fiance, Skylr!"

Aaron is excited about where the industry in the Central Coast is headed. He loves the community for its mellow, tight-knit nature and can't wait to see what emerges in the future.

"Alcohol as a whole - local wines, craft beer and spirits - is on the upswing," he noted. "There are a lot of new brands and a lot of existing brands expanding. It's very fun to watch the industry grow."

Taylor Gilkey - Sales

For the past three years, Taylor worked as an account manager in our Paso Robles facility. Now, she brings her intimate knowledge of the WineDirect product to the new Santa Maria facility. Like Aaron, Taylor also attended Cal Poly, from 2006 to 2008. Agriculture and production are in her background: Her family grows wine grapes, pistachios and cotton.

“We’re larger cotton growers, which is a rarity in California these day. There are so many politics involved with farming that it’s become harder than ever to keep it around,” she noted. “Our long staple cotton is used in high end brands such as Brooks Brothers and Lands End. I’m super proud of my family's hard work and perseverance.”

In fact, it's this background that makes her such a perfect fit for the Santa Barbara team. When asked about the differences between the wine community in the Central Coast compared to the rest of the U.S., Taylor was quick to answer.

"A lot of the wineries here are still family owned and operated," she began. "These people work the land, and the grapes they grow are their babies. It's something I love and appreciate, coming from an agricultural family."

Taylor is passionate about the wine industry, and she enjoys bringing new wineries on board, introducing them to the technology that helps them increase sales and process orders more efficiently.

"We’re pushing the wine industry forward in terms of technology," she said. "WineDirect and Vin65 are pushing the limit. We want to enable wineries to sell more, and we've done that.  Not only do we make sure wineries are selling more wine, we come full circle in topnotch fulfillment.  We take pride in making sure wine is being delivered to the recipient fast and safely. As our clients’ businesses grow, that’s what allows us to expand our services as well.”

Interested in learning more about our new Santa Maria fulfillment center? Contact us to schedule a tour and speak to our local team about how we can help you improve your DTC operations.

Learn More

 

New WineDirect Fulfillment Center Now Open in Santa Barbara County
12 October, 2016

Local wineries can take advantage of a brand new, state-of-the-art warehouse and shipping facility just in time for the busy holiday season

WineDirect Santa Maria Wine Fulfillment Center

This week, WineDirect’s newest fulfillment center shipped its first packages on behalf of local Santa Barbara county wineries, including Zaca Mesa Winery and Stolpman Vineyards. Located in Santa Maria, the brand new, state-of-the-art facility was built to service the quickly-growing local wine industry, which according to a recent study is worth $1.7 billion to Santa Barbara County.

“There has been tremendous growth among Santa Barbara wineries over the past few years, and we’re proud to support them on that trajectory with a local, modern fulfillment center,” said Joe Waechter, CEO and President of WineDirect. “Since 2002, WineDirect has invested heavily in building best-in-class teams and technology to help wineries succeed with DTC. Our new Santa Maria facility enables us to deliver the high quality service we’re known for to the Santa Barbara community, right in their backyard.”

Combined across fulfillment and WineDirect’s ecommerce platform Vin65, the company serves nearly 200 wineries across the Central Coast including Broken Earth Winery, L'Aventure, Halter Ranch Vineyard and Saxum.

“The primary reason we decided to build a new facility in Santa Barbara was client demand,” said David Dennigmann, WineDirect’s Central Coast Director of Operations. “For the past few years, we’ve been serving the Central Coast from Paso Robles. Santa Barbara wineries have been asking for the same level of high quality execution and service closer to home, and we are happy to be able to offer it to them.”

The Santa Maria center was designed specifically to cater to the unique needs of the wine industry. Unlike many other wine warehouses in the area, which are made of steel, WineDirect’s structure is a concrete tilt-up construction, which provides superior insulation for wine storage and also reduces the building’s carbon footprint. The physical structure is complimented by technology such as a Tier 1 warehouse management system and real-time inventory tracking, enabling wineries to meet consumers’ increasingly high expectations for speed and accuracy set by ecommerce giants such as Amazon or Zappos.

"Our Santa Maria facility was custom-built for wineries," said Dennigmann. “The building’s foot-thick concrete walls and high ceilings create a natural cave-like environment to keep wine cool and stable. Our streamlined industrial design, loading docks and fiber optic cable system allow us to provide fast, consistent service no matter what kind of volume we’re seeing.  This is especially critical now, as we head into the busy holiday season.”

Santa Maria is WineDirect’s second location in the Central Coast and fourth in the country adding to existing facilities in Paso Robles, Napa Valley and Glenwillow, OH. This multi-center,  bi-coastal model allows California wineries to reach 90% of wine consumers within two days via ground shipping, a capability that is increasingly important as customers demand ever faster, yet cost-effective shipping

WineDirect’s Santa Maria facility is currently open and accepting new clients for wine fulfillment and long-term storage. 

Learn More

 

Illinois’ New DTC Requirements for Wineries and Fulfillment Partners
04 October, 2016

In August, the state of Illinois enacted a revision of their direct-to-consumer (DTC) shipping law in a way that directly impacts any winery shipping to consumers in the state, and in particular those wineries using third party fulfillment services to manage their direct shipments.  In short, that’s most wineries shipping DTC to the state. Here’s what you need to know:

Appointing a Designated Shipper

The most important item for you to know is that the new law (SB 2989), requires wineries with a winery shipper license in the state to designate the name and address of all locations from where they ship. This includes third-party fulfillment providers, such as WineDirect.  You can do this when you apply for your Illinois license.  In addition, you will need to submit a letter to the Illinois Liquor Control Commission (I.L.C.C.) appointing your fulfillment provider as a designated shipper. 

New Reporting Requirements

Another piece of the legislation requires the designated fulfillment providers to file annual shipment activity reports, detailing all shipments made to Illinois consumers.  This report is used to cross-reference against reports filed by the winery shipper licensee to verify all shipments are legal. WineDirect already provides similar reports for other states, so we are fully ready to comply with Illinois’ new legislation.

You Are Responsible for All Shipments

The law makes wineries responsible for the shipment activities of their fulfillment providers.  As such, this change creates a higher level of scrutiny and responsibility by wineries using fulfillment providers to ship DTC to Illinois, but should not be of concern for WineDirect clients: we always ship compliantly, and provide accurate and timely reporting of shipments as required by the various states. If you work with another fulfillment provider, make sure they are equipped to comply with the new regulations and are shipping legally to Illinois consumers.

Increased Licensing Fees

The new law also increases the costs for a Winery Shipper’s license:

  • $350/initial license; $250/renewal – if producing < 250,000 gallons annually.
  • $1,000/initial license; $750/renewal – if producing between 250,000 & 500,000 gallons annually.
  • $1,500/initial license; $1,200/renewal – if producing > 500,000 gallons annually.

What Happens Next

The law doesn’t take effect until January 1, 2017, and the I.L.C.C. is still finalizing the rules and forms, so you will have time to make the necessary changes.  WineDirect will monitor the situation and advise you when the new rules and forms are in place, including a template for the Appointment Letter.  Our team is here to assist you in complying with these changes, and we will keep you informed of developments as soon as they occur.


Are you ready for the busy holiday shipping season?
26 September, 2016

As summer comes to a close it’s time to start thinking about, and planning for, the busiest time of year at many wineries.

With the busy OND season fast approaching, are you prepared for the uptick in sales and the increased order volume in fulfillment operations?  Whether you self-fulfill, or use a 3rd party fulfillment partner, we’ve put together an OND checklist that includes eCommerce best practices as well as practical steps you can take now to ensure that nothing is left to chance when processing and shipping your holiday orders.

Click here to download your complimentary copy.

Here’s a sneak peek of what's included:

Make sure your packages arrive on time for the holidays! 

For your reference, you will find the WineDirect 2016 Holiday Shipping Schedules here.   Make sure you communicate your schedules to your customers and post on your website. 

Don’t forget to coordinate closely with your fulfillment house and/or shipper

  • Coordinate with your 3rd party shipper inventory requirements and setup in September
  • Make sure your shipping provider is prepared to keep up with holiday volumes
  • Consider pre-built gift bundles as an option for ease in fulfillment

Plan your holiday offerings early

Whether you’re creating an online holiday sale page, or planning for holiday emails to your customers to promote sales, creating these in advance will pay dividends as the days become more hectic.  

Ready to nail OND? Download our checklist today!


Arizona DTC Change Opens State to Larger Wineries
13 September, 2016

With the passage of SB 1381 in March, 2016, Arizona effectively expanded DTC shipping privileges to any U.S. winery holding a federal basic permit.  Previously, only small wineries producing less than 20,000 gallons annually were eligible for the direct shipper license.  That restriction will be removed completely, so the production size of the winery will no longer be an issue to getting the license.  The new law also eliminates the old “onsite” visitation requirement that permitted a shipment without a shipper license of up to 2 cases when a purchaser visited the winery tasting room.  The law requires the AZ LLC to begin issuing licenses by January 1, 2017.

The new law creates an interesting staggered volume limitation on shipments of 9-liter cases to purchasers, increasing each of the first three years from 6 cases in 2017; to 9 cases in 2018; to 12 cases in 2019 and beyond.

Arizona’s change to its DTC law is welcome and beneficial for everyone.  Large wineries may ship to Arizona consumers without a visit by the consumer; and of course that means large winery wines are now available to Arizona consumers.  The new volume limitations are generous enough that most Arizona consumers should be able to satisfy their desire for a particular favorite winery’s wines without overshooting the limit.  The state LLC and Department of Revenue should reap the accountability and tax benefits of providing a reasonable and rational direct shipment process that encourages producers to ship legally, and remit sales and excise taxes on those shipments.  This change is an excellent example of well-considered legislation designed for everyone’s best interests.  Read more blog posts by clicking here


3 Ways to Identify Your Winery’s Top Website Referral Sources
09 August, 2016

Email marketing, social media, organic search: not all traffic sources bring the same amount of engagement to your winery. Here, we look at three criteria you should take into account when analyzing referral traffic to help make better marketing decisions.

People come to your website in various ways: email marketing, social media, organic search and more. Not all sources of traffic are created equal, however. Treating them as though they all provide the same benefits can end up wasting your marketing budget and efforts. Instead, take the time to analyze each source and see which ones provide the greatest benefits. Then, you can focus on creating content tailored to your top-performing sources. Here's what you need to look for when analyzing your traffic sources:

Which sources bring the most traffic?
This is the most basic metric to understand in terms of online marketing, telling you where the bulk of your viewers come from. Some channels are better at bringing people than others, and you can draw conclusions about your marketing efforts based on how well each one does. For example, you might see a significant portion of your viewers come via direct traffic, meaning they know your website's address already. Unless you're handing out business cards with your URL to new people left and right, this means you aren't getting a lot of new visitors. Meanwhile, if most of your customers arrive through organic search, take a look at which keywords led them to your winery's website and use these in future blog posts, landing pages, product descriptions and more.

Which channels yield the highest conversion rates?
Your conversion rate indicates the success of a particular marketing campaign. It shows how many people on your website place an order, become a wine club member, sign up for your mailing list or take another desired action as a percentage of total traffic. You can also look at your analytics for email and social media advertising to figure out conversion rates for these channels.

Google has a useful feature allowing you to create custom goals so you can track individual conversions for your winery. Instead of having to rely only on metrics such as sales and wine club subscriptions, you can also track things like how many people view a specific page or stay on your site a certain amount of time.

Some channels - like email marketing - are better for conversions than others. Each blog post or email should be structured around a call-to-action (CTA) related to a particular campaign, whether it’s “Sign up for  our wine club” or “Visit our tasting room.”

Once you’ve identified which channels yield the best conversion, you can focus more time and resources on them to drive future success.

How long do people stay on your website?
Getting hits to your site is great, but one brief visit isn't enough to turn a casual online shopper into a life-long customer. Check your bounce rate - that is, the percentage of people who leave your website after viewing one page - to see how well your site engages potential customers. A high bounce rate means a lot of people aren't spending much time on your website, which could mean they aren't finding what they want right away.

In addition, take a look at which specific referring websites lead to the greatest number of page views per visitor. This usually happens because the referring website is relevant to your winery. The two of you could benefit from forming some sort of partnership - for example, you could write blog posts for each other or collaborate on sales and giveaways.

Looking at volume, conversion and visit length should give you a good idea of which traffic sources are sending you the highest quality visitors. Once you identified where they are coming from, now you can start optimizing content specifically for these channels to double down on their success.

Ready for the next step? Check out our guide on how to optimize content for popular traffic sources.


Why you shouldn't fear customer reviews
02 August, 2016

Customer reviews aren't as scary as they seem. Here are 3 reasons adding reviews to your winery’s website benefits your business - and tips on how to handle negative ones.

We've all heard the horror story: a customer writes one bad review and the business goes under. This makes businesses afraid of using reviews, fearing that one customer with a personal vendetta will bring the whole thing down.

But one negative review isn’t a reason to let a few bad eggs spoil everything for the rest of your customers. Shoppers actually want to see reviews on your site, and the happy ones leave positive feedback. Here's why you shouldn't be afraid to incorporate reviews and testimonials into your winery's website:

They're beneficial for SEO
Google uses customer ratings to determine how relevant a business is to a particular search query. The search engine lists the top three results for local search, so customer reviews can help get your winery in front of the eyes of wine enthusiasts in your area.  With Google's recent push for quality and relevant content, this is definitely not a statistic to ignore.

They're what customers want
A 2015 BrightLocal survey found 92 percent of online shoppers read reviews. This is up from 88 percent in 2014. Most people only read a handful of reviews before forming an opinion, but many said star rankings are the most important element.

Customers also trust reviews from their peers more than they trust product descriptions. You could go into the most beautiful description of a wine's aroma, but a review saying, "I really liked this wine, and their delivery was quick" could be what ultimately convinces someone to make a purchase.

They increase your credibility
Customers value transparency and are more willing to trust a winery that's open about every aspect, even the negative. Opening your website to customer reviews shows that providing value to your customers is a top priority. This increases the public's perception of your winery overall, giving you an edge over your competitors.

But what about negative reviews?
Don’t be too afraid of fake, old or bad reviews. Customers are increasingly aware of the possibility of fake reviews and therefore don't depend exclusively on reviews when making purchase decisions. In addition, customers understand that older reviews might discuss something that no longer applies to your winery. According to the BrightLocal survey, 44% of respondents said they thought reviews over a month old weren't relevant anymore.

If you do get a bad review, there are a few ways to handle it. First of all, it could be a learning experience for your team and a way to identify areas of your customer service that need improvement. Take the time to publicly respond to each review, even if the topic of discussion is out of your control. This way, other customers see you take even the most critical opinions seriously. For more tips on how to handle negative reviews, check out this Vin65 blog post.


Introducing Free Winery Websites on Vin65
26 July, 2016

At WineDirect we pride ourselves on a culture of innovation and excellence. That’s why I’m particularly glad today to announce the launch of Vin65 Free, a new free winery website offering from our commerce platform Vin65. Starting today any winery, anywhere in the world, can launch a visually appealing, fully responsive website at zero cost within a few hours.

Vin65’s free sites close the gap between generic, low-cost website services and our robust wine ecommerce tools. We’ve built Vin65 Free to serve wineries who are just getting started and want to build their brand, but aren’t yet ready to sell wine online.

This is the first time any wine software company has launched a free website offering, and we are proud once again to be raising the bar by expanding the universe of wineries who can benefit from our best-in-class tools. This launch joins a number of other “firsts” in our company’s history including:

  • Created 46Brix, a cross-brand loyalty program built around free shipping, resulting in customers spending 100% more with member wineries.
  • Added real-time tracking and shipment reroutes to Vin65 winery websites, reducing returns due to unsuccessful deliveries by 50%.
  • Introduced simplified, reliable DTC wine shipping to China in partnership with Gliding Eagle.
  • Pushed same-day order cut-off time to 1pm for WineDirect Fulfillment clients, the latest in the wine industry.

Our goal at WineDirect is to help wineries sell more wine direct to consumer.  Everything we do is governed by that overarching principle, and the belief that direct-to-consumer sales will continue to be a major driver of growth for wineries all over the world in the years ahead.

By launching free websites, we are enabling thousands of wineries worldwide, to take an important first step towards DTC success: creating a website.

If you’re interested in more information, I encourage you to check out the Vin65 website.


Optimizing content for popular traffic sources
12 July, 2016

Social media, organic search, email marketing - all are ways wine enthusiasts arrive at your website. Social media and search are two of the most beneficial sources, according to Kissmetrics, while email is a time-tested method that's great for marketing campaigns. Let's have a look at the ways each source operates so you can use them to your advantage:

Social media
Social content is brief, to the point and - most importantly - instantly engaging. Social media is also a great place to share thought leadership content and contribute to conversations people are having about industry news and trends. 

Social media channels have different characteristics. For example, Twitter has a stringent 140-character word limit, but it still allows visual elements like videos, images or GIFs that can help boost a post's visibility. Most people browse their Twitter feeds during lulls in their workdays, so try sharing content to your winery's feed during lunch and commuting hours. Facebook lends itself well to visually engaging previews and images, as well, so create posts to fit that mold.

"Organic search values content that answers questions."
 

Organic search
This traffic source values content that answers questions. What queries or keywords bring people to your website? Tools like the Google Keyword Planner help you identify what key terms your audience is most likely to search for, and you can address these topics through blog posts. For example, if a customer is looking for award-winning wines, you can blog about the International Wine and Spirit Competition.

Of course, you could add these keywords to static areas of you winery website, like landing pages. However, Google enjoys fresh content, and regularly adding new blog posts makes your website more relevant in the eyes of search engines. They'll rank your winery higher and therefore make it easier for people to find you.

Email marketing
Your content management system will tell you which of your email marketing campaigns have the highest open and click-thru rates. Don't just look at the campaigns themselves. Take a peek at the demographics - are most of these emails opened by new or old subscribers? Wine club members? This will tell you what to write, but also keep in mind how the content is designed.

These days, most people read their emails on smartphones and tablets as opposed to desktop computers. These devices are far less flexible in terms of design. Use color and images in the body for an attractive display, yet still be concise in your wording so your emails are easy to read on a phone. In addition, starting things off with a bang by using an attention-grabbing title lets people know who you are and why they should open your email.

Knowing how to optimize your traffic sources is an important part of your online strategy, one allowing you to market more efficiently and convert more shoppers. With a little understanding of each, you can design content that does well on those platforms.


5 shopping cart pet peeves that drive your customers away
28 June, 2016

It's an unfortunate fact that most of the people who add a wine to their online shopping cart never complete the sale. Don't just take it from us - The Baymard Institute routinely compiles data on online shopping carts. As of January 14, 2016, cart abandonment rates from various companies averaged nearly 69 percent.

Often, the culprit in the case of the abandoned shopping cart is the cart itself. Knowing why customers start a purchase but don't follow through helps you avoid making some troublesome mistakes with your checkout page. Here is a closer look at 5 shopping cart pet peeves that drive customers crazy:

"Online shoppers want to know what price they're getting into before making a commitment."

1. Forcing people to log in
If people don't already have an account with your online wine store, forcing them to log in before they can check out increases the amount of time and work they have to do before they can get what they want: your wine. This extra step alone can cause a lot of people to abandon their carts, so offer a guest checkout option and ask new users to sign up later.

2. Surprising people with shipping costs
How many times have you opened a phone bill expecting a particular price only to be frustrated by a charge twice the size, bloated by a bunch of additional fees? Online shoppers are the same way - they want to know what price they're getting into beforehand. It's better to avoid adding extra shipping and fees at the very end. Instead, try offering a page dedicated shipping costs or putting shipping fees based on states directly in the checkout process. 

3. Showing no end to the process
Since each business breaks its online shopping cart into a different number of pages, there's no way for a customer to figure out how close or far she is from the end of the process. This leaves customers feeling lost and, if checkout takes too long, frustrated. Try to use as few pages as possible so shoppers don't have to constantly click to get to the next stage in the purchasing process.

4. Lacking security information
With Symantec reporting that at least 429 million identities were compromised in 2015, payment security definitely isn't something to take lightly. Even if you use security best practices, your customers don't know this without some sort of sign. Using https authentication, displaying the associated lock icon and emphasizing security in your privacy policy gives them peace of mind.

5. Failing to follow up
Sometimes people are simply pulled away before they can complete the checkout process, forgetting about their order until they next log in. Make sure you aren't leaving money on the table by sending a reminder email when people don't complete their purchase.

While it's impossible to eliminate card abandonment rates completely, these tips will keep those of your winery as low as possible.


WineDirect expands operations to Santa Barbara County
20 June, 2016

We are pleased to announce that WineDirect has expanded operations in the Central Coast, opening a second fulfillment center in Santa Maria, Santa Barbara County.  This new facility, along with our facility in Paso Robles, will expand our ability to provide fulfillment and shipping services to the Tri-County area that encompasses San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara and Ventura counties.

The newly constructed facility is concrete tilt-up with climate control, with just under 50,000 square feet of space.  It is located at 1427 Fairway Drive, Santa Maria and will be up and running in August 2016. 

As there are numerous wineries in Santa Barbara County alone, the need for high-quality fulfillment services has never been higher. With our new facility, we’ll be able to provide our exceptional customer service and best-in-class fulfillment operations to even more wineries in this growing region.

For wineries interested in more information about the new facility, please contact Jena Domingue,Director of Sales at WineDirect.


Has your website been penalized by Google?
14 June, 2016

If your website site or online wine store suddenly suffers a sudden drop in incoming search traffic, don't panic. Instead, head to Google and see if your store ranks as high on the search engine results page as it once did or if it's fallen several places. This drop in traffic could be the result of a Google penalty. These sometimes occur accidentally, and there are simple steps you can take to get your site back on track.

"Google's main concern is providing relevant information to its users."

Why does Google penalize websites?
Google's main concern is providing relevant information to its users. Unfortunately, because of black hat SEO techniques, many websites with questionable or useless content are able to rank higher than legitimate pages. These dubious sites generally use techniques like invisible text, keyword stuffing and hidden links to generate a quick return on investment.

In an effort to stop these sites from gaining a higher SERP rank, Google regularly monitors and evaluates various Web pages. If it finds a site that appears to be full of spam content, the search engine issues a penalty and drops its rank.

Discovering and recovering from a Google penalty
Even though there are other methods of online marketing like social media and ads, Google is still a fantastic source of inbound traffic. As such, receiving a penalty can greatly reduce the conversion of new consumers and likelihood of consumers finding your website in the first place.

Kissmetrics went into detail about the two types of penalties Google sends out. The first, a manual action, is when members of Google's spam team identify your site and demote it themselves. The second is called an algorithmic penalty and occurs when the search engine itself demotes a website.

Algorithmic penalties generally happen when Google updates its classification for spam content, ClickZ wrote. This can have the unfortunate side effect of penalizing several credible websites accidentally, but it may also necessitate a change in your SEO strategy. To understand what you need to do, Kissmetrics advised checking out the Google Algorithm Change History. Here, you can align Google's changes with the date your drop in customers occurred and figure out what update caused the penalty. Then, you can come to understand how that update tracks spam content and change your strategy accordingly.

If your site received a manual penalty, Google will send a notification via Webmaster Tools. This message will detail the reason Google issued a penalty and the steps you can take to restore your ranking. Once complete, you should request that Google reevaluate your website.


How wine bottle labels affect sales
31 May, 2016

Wine consumers - especially those who don't describe themselves as connoisseurs - might not be able to describe the type of wine they enjoy, the Wall Street Journal has noted. However, they can easily point to the labels they like. Some can even describe why they like a label with a little more detail than, "I don't know, I just like it."

A creative label helps wine sellers reach a previously unattainable market. Dr. Corey Miller, a wine entrepreneur and former scholar, runs a company that pairs talented designers with West Coast vintners. These artists design bottles for the winemakers and also post images of the label and product on their social media accounts.

"They have tens of thousands of Twitter and Instagram followers," Dr. Miller told the Wall Street Journal. 

There are some who disagree with the idea that labels are important. Katherine Moore of Union Square Wines and Spirits told Vinepair the majority of her customers - 60 percent, to be specific - prefer what's in a bottle to what's on the outside. In addition, sometimes a humorous label has the opposite effect, making a serious wine look silly and therefore harder to sell. 

"The way a wine bottle looks helps communicate a certain message."

However, there's no reason not to pair the right type of wine with an appropriate, yet beautiful, label. It's all about matching the ideas you'd like your wine to evoke while also creating a beautiful display. You want the product to convey a certain message, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign's advertising professor Brittany Duff told Vinepair. The way a bottle looks helps communicate that message.

How this knowledge helps wineries and wine sellers
Wineries should be inspired to design the best label they possibly can. You can take the idea into two routes: personalization and exclusivity or availability and widespread appeal. Both notions benefit from a professional look and detailed designs.

Online wine stores, on the other hand, should place their best-looking bottles towards the top of their product pages. They don't need to outshine the best sellers, but putting them somewhere easy to access ensures shoppers don't overlook them. In addition, you should market these products to people who are new to the wine experience - they're more likely to buy a bottle if they like the way it looks.


Use Instagram videos to sell more wine
17 May, 2016

Instagram has become one of the most popular social media platforms, and there’s an opportunity to leverage its video feature to engage with customers and increase wine sales. Citing statistics released by research firm L2, Fast Company reported Instagram has the most audience engagement and highest rate of conversion from browser to shopper. Further, 92 percent of luxury brands that post an average of 5.5 times per week were able to increase their customer base.

Here are five ways you can leverage Instagram's video feature for your winery:

1. Inspirational videos
Customers want to feel connected to wine. One of the best parts about visiting a winery or tasting room is the opportunity to get to know the people working behind the scenes. Instagram can be used to develop a more personal relationship with customers by sharing inspirational videos about the wines, the history of the winery, the people in the tasting room and the people in the vineyard.

2. How-to videos
How-to videos are a great way to drive sales. Consider how-to videos around the following topics:

  • Pairing wine with food.
  • Hosting a wine tasting party.
  • Correctly opening and pouring wine.
  • Reading wine labels to understand the varietal.

Make the most of how-to videos by including a call-to-action that leads shoppers back to your website where they can purchase products featured in the demonstrations.

3. Behind the scenes
Wine drinkers love learning how wine is made and where it comes from. Take Instagram users behind the scenes of your winery and show them where the wines are aged and stored, where the grapes are grown and even how wines are bottled and prepared for shipment.

4. Contests
Instagram contests are a great way to build engagement and awareness surrounding your winery. Ask customers to post their own video demonstrations, tagging your winery and inserting a designated hashtag. Offer participants a chance to win a wine club membership or reduced shipping for a year. These types of rewards will create customer loyalty and keep participants engaged with your winery long after the contest is over.

5. Website integration
Increase sales by integrating Instagram videos into your website. Informative Instagram videos can serve as a valuable upselling tool and lead to greater engagement across all platforms.


Beyond Shipping Incentives: How to Wow Customers
10 May, 2016

It is common knowledge that customers value shipping incentives when they shop online. We talk about that all the time.  The 2015 UPS Online Shopping Study conducted with comScore found shipping included remains the most important option during checkout for 77 percent of online shoppers. However, beyond shipping incentives, there are many things customers look for throughout the fulfillment process.  You can increase customer satisfaction and loyalty by meeting the following four expectations:

1. Speed
Even when shipping included is an option, customers still expect quick delivery. As PracticalEcommerce pointed out, many business owners think that if the shipping is included, customers will be wait a longer period of time to receive their order. However, the reality is consumers expect orders to be processed, packed and shipped within one business day, and don't want to wait more than a week to receive their products. You can ensure that your customers receive their orders quickly by working with an experiences direct-to-consumer fulfillment partner.

2. Packaging
Packaging is also important to online shoppers. PracticalEcommerce noted in 2013, Amazon received an increase in bad reviews and returns because customers were frustrated with the poor packaging of the PlayStation 4, and over 1,000 shoppers gave the product a one-star review due to the packaging alone. Good packaging is especially important when it comes to purchasing wine online. Wine is a luxury item and the bottles are extremely fragile, so poor packaging can be very costly.

Additionally, packaging can be used as a tool to drive customer loyalty. Our white paper, "How to WOW Customers After the Purchase" shared a handful of items wineries can include in their shipping boxes to enhance the customer experience:

  • A thank you note.
  • Special offers.
  • A treat.
  • A review request.
  • A catalog or flyer.

3. Accuracy
Accuracy is crucial to creating a positive online shopping experience. If a customer expects to receive a bottle of wine on Thursday, it is crucial the product be delivered on that day, and the items in the box should be exactly what the shopper purchased. Delivering accurate orders helps build trust and loyalty and today, guests expects perfect service whenever they make purchases online.

4. Communication
Communication is key to managing customer expectations throughout the fulfillment process. By sharing information about timing and anticipated deliveries, you can avoid frustrating their customers and also prevent missed deliveries.  Online shoppers value communication about delivery:

  • Receive delivery alerts through email or text.
  • Authorize delivery in advance.
  • Reschedule deliveries in route.
  • Reroute deliveries to an alternative address.
  • Select specific delivery time windows.

Keep shoppers informed by engaging them with the shipping process, sending emails with any relevant delivery information as soon as it becomes available. Additionally, continue to communicate with customers after an order has been fulfilled. Email communications can be used post-delivery to cross-sell, upsell, ask for a product review, send reminders or follow-up on customer satisfaction.

When it comes to shipping DTC, there's a lot you can do to WOW your customers!


Managing inventory in an ecommerce environment
03 May, 2016

Over the past decade, online shopping has emerged as a top preference for consumers. In fact, CIO wrote 2016 ecommerce sales in the U.S. may exceed $550 billion. As your winery determines ways to expand and reach a larger audience, it makes sense to consider the benefits of launching or enhancing your online wine store. While there are many logistical concerns to note in this process, it is very important to understand the unique challenges of inventory management. As your winery grows and aims to deliver your products to a much larger group of people across the country, an effective inventory management process is essential.

How ecommerce impacts inventory
At the highest level, tapping into the ecommerce space will impact your winery because you will hopefully sell more products over a shorter period of time. However, another area of complexity comes from the fact that when you operate an online wine store, you are not directly removing items from your in-store inventory and handing them to the customer. Instead, you need to have an integrated solution that updates your inventory of wine as customers add them to their online shopping carts.

Ecommerce also translates to a demand for warehousing. In order to fulfill orders in a timely manner and service a wider array of regions throughout the country, you'll need to have a strong warehousing solution so you can bring your wines closer to the consumer.

Finally, you must consider the return process and how that impacts your overall inventory. Retail Customer Experience wrote that according to Dale Rogers, professor of logistics and supply chain management at Arizona State University, only 33 percent of retailers offer a truly omnichannel return process and policy. While accommodating returns may not seem like a priority for a winery, there are actually plenty of reasons a customer would need a refund, including damaged bottles or corked wines.

Working toward seamless inventory management
The fact of the matter is, to be successful in the ecommerce space, you need to be prepared to manage inventory on a larger scale. A few solutions to consider include:

  • Work with an experienced direct-to-consumer logistics partner who has expertise in warehousing and fulfillment, and has knowledge of the wine industry. Does this provider deliver "best in class" fulfillment services?
  • Integrate your order and inventory management with your online wine store, so your inventory will update in real-time.
  • Leverage shipping service integrations that allow you to ship wine to consumers quickly and cheaply.

Inventory management is perhaps one of the greatest challenges of running an online wine store. In any industry, it is difficult to expand this operational part of running a business to accommodate a larger customer base. However, seamless inventory management can be even more complex for wineries due to the production process and the necessity for flawless delivery. With the right understanding and partnerships, you can ensure your online wine store is a success.


Increase sales by offering shipping incentives
26 April, 2016

I spoke about shipping incentives at the Napa Roadshow last week.  Offering them is one way the top 20% of wineries selling DTC get to be in the top 20%.  If you're still not convinced, here's more information.

In today's online retail environment, shipping incentives are absolutely necessary. In fact, the 2015 UPS Online Shopping survey of 5,000 U.S. consumers and conducted with comScore showed free shipping remains the most important option during checkout for 77 percent of online shoppers. Additionally, 60 percent of online shoppers have added items to their cart to qualify for free shipping.

A priority for wineries
Reduced or shipping included is no longer considered a "perk" by consumers. As outlined in our white paper, "Shipping Incentives: How to Offer Them Without Breaking the Bank," there are three reasons why wineries should prioritize offering shipping incentives:

  1. Customers expect them: The UPS Online Shopping Study is evidence of this fact.
  2. Shipping incentives reduce shopping cart abandonment: As cited in our white paper, the UPS and comScore report, "Pulse of the Online Shopper," showed shipping costs are the primary reason for shopping cart abandonment.
  3. Shipping incentives drive increased sales: Our white paper draws on data from a recent study by Consumer Research Intelligence Partners, which found Amazon Prime members spend 2.4 times more than they would have spent without Amazon Prime benefits, which offer free shipping.

How to implement shipping incentives
Shipping incentives can have a positive impact on the wine industry in particular, and our white paper reveals valuable data that speaks to this point. However, reducing shipping costs can be difficult for wineries, since these businesses are not legally permitted to ship wine for free. Wineries can increase online wine sales by employing the following strategies to offer shipping incentives to their guests:

  1. Offer shipping incentives that are activated once the shopper reaches a minimum price threshold
  2. Implement a flat rate shipping
  3. Include shipping on all club member purchases
  4. Create an annual membership program
  5. Move products closer to the consumer to reduce shipping costs

Shipping as customer engagement
Shipping incentives offer a unique opportunity for wineries to provide a great experience to their customers.  Consider reaching out to regular customers and offering them the benefits of wine club membership that can include shipping incentives.


WineDirect announces free upgrades to 2Day Air!
19 April, 2016

We are excited to announce a new summer shipping program for 2016. All ground shipments with time-in-transit of more than two days will automatically be upgraded to 2-Day.

Shipping during the summer months has always been a dilemma for wineries.  Frequently, it has meant that wineries placed “weather holds” on shipments for several months until the cooler weather arrives. Now, wine can be shipped during the summer without these holds and will arrive days ahead of weekly Line Haul shipping methods.      

This summer, we're giving our clients complimentary upgrades to 2Day. It’s just one more way we’re raising the bar and shaking up traditional shipping practices in the wine industry. Along with a bi-coastal network and same-day shipping, the automatic 2-day upgrade is one more way WineDirect provides a service that allows wineries to WOW their customers.  

How it works:

  • Orders should be submitted with a designated POS code.
  • CoolPacks may be added if the order is submitted with the applicable CoolPack SKU. 
  • Standard CoolPack charges will apply.
  • Tracking information will be available via the WineDirect Portal.

The 2-day upgrades are available May 15 through September 15, 2016.  Wineries should contact their account manager for the full details and eligibility requirements.


Is Pinterest a good marketing tool for your winery?
12 April, 2016

Pinterest is the leading lifestyle social media platform. While Facebook keeps friends connected and Instagram is a virtual photo album, Pinterest is an online cookbook, interior decorator, wardrobe stylist and advice columnist all in one. This isn't just speculation. As Practical Ecommerce noted, Pinterest boards - user-created collections - span all sorts of categories. There are 300 million boards for fashion, 180 million for food and drink and 130 million for home decoration.

The 180 million statistic should catch your eye. That's a huge amount of consumer interest indicating an incredible target market. You can reach this audience by using Pinterest as an online marketing tool.

Pinterest demographics
According to the Pew Research Center, the majority of Pinterest users are women under 50. Forty-four percent of adult American women with Internet access use the lifestyle site, and almost a third of its overall users check Pinterest daily. While the numbers haven't hit Facebook levels, they are on the rise. Pinterest use doubled between 2012 and 2015, from 15 percent of online consumers to 31 percent.

How wineries and retailers can use Pinterest
Several brands already have their own profiles and boards. Nordstrom, for example, had 4.5 million Pinterest followers as of 2013 and uses the social media website to track popular items. Business Insider reported the department store began identifying Pinterest-popular products in its brick-and-mortar stores, first in Seattle and then throughout the country.

Wineries can use this same approach, displaying popular bottles in their tasting rooms with a special Pinterest signifier. Knowing the wine is already a fan favorite encourages visitors to purchase it. Meanwhile, online stores can capitalize on buyable and promoted pins. Buyable pins work with specific e-commerce platforms to let shoppers purchase goods directly from Pinterest. Meanwhile, promoted pins advertise wines and link back to their product pages on your website. They'll soon be available to all retailers, and stores can use them to run two different types of campaigns. Engagement campaigns put your product in as many Pinterest feeds as possible, while traffic campaigns are designed to get clicks to your site. Practical Ecommerce pointed to traffic campaigns as the best Pinterest resource for online stores.

Pinterest is a great way to promote wines as a lifestyle product among a particular set of consumers. Even if wine sellers don't make use of buyable or promoted pins, the platform itself spreads brand awareness and gets shoppers engaged.

To learn more about WineDirect's products and services, please click here


Direct Shipping to Arizona will Open to All Licensed Wineries Soon
05 April, 2016

Thanks to the efforts of the Wine Institute, Free the Grapes, and consumer wine advocates, Governor Doug Ducey of Arizona signed Senate Bill 1381 into law on March 30, 2016.  The new law takes effect on January 1, 2017 and revises the old, extremely limited direct shipping law restricted to wineries producing less than 20,000 gallons of wine annually.  The new law removes that restriction entirely, opening direct shipments of wine to any winery holding a federal basic permit issued by TTB and a current license to produce wine issued by Arizona or any other state. 

The law includes a couple of new wrinkles as well.  Read the full details here.


Steps to take to improve online conversion rates
29 March, 2016

Although e-commerce sales are up across the board, many e-commerce retailers suffer from low conversion rates. This is a trend seen across all industries, but there are steps your online wine store can take to improve sales and convince customers to complete purchases.

The Checkout Conversion Index (CCI), a collaborative effort between BlueSnap and Pymnts.com, measures online conversion rates among various industries. It grades - on a scale of A through F - how well the checkout process of various e-commerce sites reduces friction for the consumer, comparing elements such as shipping options and the total number of clicks it takes to complete a purchase.  Read the full article here


Same Day Shipping
22 March, 2016

As I've mentioned before, I believe direct-to-consumer is on the verge of a tipping point. While wine is still behind other categories in terms of online sales, the growth we've seen with our winery customers over the past couple of years is impressive, and we aim to do everything in our power to help you continue or even accelerate that growth.

With that in mind, we're making it easier for you to get your product into the hands of your buyers as quickly as possible. We understand the advantage the major online retailers have in providing fast turnaround to their customers and the way we see it, wine shouldn't be any different! Read Joe Waechter's full post here


5 things your winery can learn from Amazon
15 March, 2016

As we've said before, Amazon has set the bar for delivering a best-in-class online shopping experience.  There are insights you can apply to your business to improve service levels and customer satisfaction. It is important to understand how Amazon has become so successful because many online shoppers hold ecommerce sites to a much higher standard due to their experiences with a company. This article outlines five key takeaways from the Amazon experience.


Tips for optimizing your winery's loyalty program
08 March, 2016

According to Selfstartr, of the businesses in the U.S. with loyalty programs in place, 75 percent see a return on their investment. These efforts are a great way for promoting consumer engagement and encouraging repeat business. It is six to seven times more costly to find new consumers, the website said. However, keeping 5 percent more repeat shoppers on average increases overall profits up to 95 percent.

Statistics show consumers enjoy these offers as well. As of 2015, the average American is a member of about 13 loyalty programs, compared to 11 in 2014. Seventy-six percent of shoppers believe such programs are a part of the consumer-business relationship, and 83 percent said they made shoppers more likely to keep purchasing from a brand. Read the full article here.


How post-delivery surveys help your winery business
01 March, 2016

Even the most excellent winery has difficulty controlling all aspects of the consumer experience. Vintners obviously take the greatest pride in developing their wines, and they showcase them with warmth and passion. Tasting room visitors receive the utmost care, and those who wine online employ every e-commerce tip available.

Read the full blog here


The importance of creating an omnichannel experience
16 February, 2016

Over half of American retailers believe their site provides a consistent multichannel experience. This means a consumer has a seamless shipping experience whether the customer is in-store, online, on mobile or on the phone. Unfortunately, only 26 percent of shoppers felt the same way.  These numbers come from a survey by TimeTrade titled "The State of Retail 2016." Twenty percent believe businesses need to do more to create consistent usability, while only 5 percent of retail leaders agreed. Meanwhile, 55 percent of consumers and 44 percent of retail leaders feel experiences are somewhat consistent across all channels.  Read more here. 


WineDirect and Gliding Eagle partner to bring American wines to China
09 February, 2016

Back in December, WineDirect's Vin65 announced its partnership with Gliding Eagle to bring wine from American suppliers to Chinese consumers. The companies have witnessed firsthand the international demand for Napa Valley wine and are working together to help wineries sell products directly to Chinese consumers.  Read the full story here.


What to look for in your tasting room POS system
02 February, 2016

Visiting a tasting room is a rewarding experience for customers. With so many new varietals hitting the market and increased access to new wines due to ecommerce, consumers expect more when they visit your brick-and-mortar location. One key piece of technology that can enhance the tasting room is a mobile point of sale system. As a report by Boston Retail partners revealed, 300 percent more retailers plan to deploy a mobile POS systemin the next two years. In fact, the growth of online shopping actually increases the need for this technology. Choosing the right system can be a challenge, but here are three factors you should look for.


Does social shopping make sense for your winery?
26 January, 2016

Considering the social nature of drinking and purchasing wine, it makes sense to explore expanding your winery's ecommerce presence to span more digital channels. One area of digital commerce you may want to consider is social shopping. In fact, Business Insider found social media increased its shareof e-commerce referrals nearly 200 percent between the first quarters of 2014 and 2015. As you look for ways to grow your online wine store, social shopping may be an effective strategy. Read the full story here.


2016 DTC Wine Symposium Presentations recap
19 January, 2016

Just about this time last year, we wrote about our presentations that were made at the 2015 Direct to Consumer Wine Symposium.  We were back again this year, with Jim Agger and Andrew Kamphuis speaking about the success of the top 20% of wineries in DTC and what we can expect for the future. Here is a brief overview of their presentations:

Jim revisited the top 20%, taking a deeper look at the wineries that joined this elite group in 2015.  89% of winery ecommerce business is done by just 20% of wineries.  Digging into the Vin65 data, Jim discovered that 46 wineries on the Vin65 platform busted into the top 20% by doubling their ecommerce sales.  How do they do it?  What makes them so special?

What puts a winery in the top 20%?

  • They have larger email lists
  • The AOV is significantly more
  • They charge less for shipping

Andrew took a look at DTC and the next 5 years. Wine being sold online falls way behind other categories, but it will make headway in the coming years.  Although predictions are hard to make, Andrew describes the following as changes wineries should pay attention to now.

  • Clubs are changing.  Make sign up easy, offer choices and upgrades, and make marketing fun.
  • Focus on foriegn markets, but start small. 
  • Mobile will overtake desktop.  Make the shopping experience seemless. You must have a responsive site. 
  • Provide fast shipping with user choices. 

To view these presentations in their entirety, be sure to check our DTC Presentations page.  We've posted our 2015 presentations there as well.


5 strategies to increase average order value for your online wine store
05 January, 2016

If you have an online wine store, chances are one of your top priorities is to sell the most wine in any given purchase. That's where average order value - a metric that indicates the mean dollar amount spent each time a customer places a digital order - comes in. According to Statista, average value of global online shopping orders in the second quarter of 2015 were as follows:

Desktop: $124.34.
Tablet: $107.19. 
Smartphone: $89.8.

By measuring AOV and working to increase it, you can improve your profits at the end of each year. Ultimately, this comes down to convincing customers to add more items to their carts each time they visit your ecommerce store. Here are five helpful strategies to help increase AOV for your online wine store.


Update on Oregon DTC Reporting
29 December, 2015

Wineries licensed to ship to Oregon consumers will have fewer reports to file in 2016.  On January 1, 2016, new legislation, SB 583, transitioning Oregon from a monthly reporting state to a quarterly reporting state will become effective.  Read out blog post here.  


Should you market to customers using text messages?
15 December, 2015

With so many technological advancements that empower both brick-and-mortar and online wine stores to reach their customers more effectively, it's no surprise some may have forgotten about the power of short message service. In fact, Econsultancy shared data from Buzzfeed's Stacey-Marie Ishmael that showed the popular website garnered more shares from SMS than any other channel.

Additionally, Econsultancy noted Jamie Mottram of Gannett suggested SMS share buttons on websites will gain in popularity. He also mentioned his company has seen SMS share buttons used three to four times more often than Twitter buttons.  Wine and the power of sharing. 


Ecommerce challenges facing wineries in 2016
09 December, 2015

Ecommerce is growing and evolving faster each year. As more consumers turn to online stores to either research or purchase products, having an ecommerce presence is no longer an option for businesses, it's a requirement. Sites like Amazon and Zappos are setting the bar for online experiences, and as the landscape continues to change, retailers across categories will face new challenges in the future. Read about it here.


Personalized wine clubs give you access to your customers
01 December, 2015

Wine clubs are an effective way of selling direct to customer, but if a customer isn't getting what they want, they might cease to be a part of your wine club. A way to make sure that customers who are wine club members are getting what they want is to personalize each shipment based on the individual customer's preference. That way, the wine they are delivered is something they will enjoy on an enhanced level. Read the full story here.


Customers expect the personal touch
24 November, 2015

With advancements in technology and an impressive amount of data available to businesses, customers expect personalization in both their online and offline shopping experiences. Research from Accenture underscores this fact, revealing shoppers want more personalized retail experiences, with 60 percent stating they desire real-time promotions and offers. Considering these facts, we share four ways wineries can create more personalized shopping experiences.


Wine club cancellations: Create an opportunity
17 November, 2015

Wineries promote their wine clubs as a way to encourage repeat purchases, foster loyal customers and create personalized experience for their most avid fans. However, managing a wine club can be quite difficult, and cancellations are common. There are variety of reasons wine club members might cancel, and Rob McMillan of SVB on Wine listed a handful worth noting:

  • They have experienced a financial change and have begun to prioritize something else over wine club membership.
  • They have a new medical condition that prohibits them from continuing to drink wine.
  • They discovered a better wine club with better prices, selections and delivery options.

While there are certain circumstances wineries cannot avoid when it comes to wine club cancellations, there is always an opportunity available to either gain valuable insight or create a lasting relationship with a customer.  Read more.


Creating a world-class customer experience
10 November, 2015

Creating a word-class customer experience. 

Our goal at WineDirect is to help you create a positive and memorable experience for your customers. We do that by seamlessly combining ecommerce, fulfillment, and order delivery into a single DTC platform. This video speaks to the purchase experience from your customers' point of view. We think it's fun and we hope you enjoy it!

Read more and watch the video


Are you ready to measure for holiday success?
04 November, 2015

The holiday season is a crucial time for wineries. Wine drinkers love to sieze the months of November and December to purchase their favorite wines for holiday parties or give the gift of wine to their friends and family. That being said, it's not too early for wineries to determine their key performance indicators for holiday success this year. In fact, research from the National Retail Federation revealed the average holiday shopper completed 52.9 percent of their shopping before December 10 last year. There are three KPIs you should keep in mind to measure the success of your online wine store this season.  We discuss them here.


5 considerations for choosing an ecommerce partner
27 October, 2015

Wineries that sell their products online face the challenge of choosing the right ecommerce service provider for their store. An ecommerce platform can drastically impact the shopping experience as well as your bottom line. There are many important factors to consider when choosing an ecommerce partner, but these five will help you get started. 


Is your website ready for the holiday season?
20 October, 2015

Holiday shopping and preparations started early this year, and wineries can begin to prepare for the rush. In fact, RetailingToday shared findings from a survey of 1,000 respondents by G/O Digital, which showed 47 percent of holiday shoppers will begin thinking about gift ideas before November.

Whether customers purchase wine for holiday parties or as gifts, wineries can start planning in order to increase sales this season. The following five steps will help your winery prepare.


5 tips for marketing wine to millennials
13 October, 2015

Research shows millennials have an unexpected relationship with wine. This demographic is very valuable to wineries. 

Many wineries may mistakenly believe millennials are not heavily engaged in the wine community. However, Direct Marketing News wrote, according to Bon Appetit millennials drink more wine than their parents did. More specifically, Direct Marketing News found through its own research that 31 percent of consumers in the U.S. who drink wine at least once a week are millennials between the ages of 21 and 40. With this insight in mind, wineries should consider the best ways to market their products to millennials. In this blog post, we share five strategies to consider. 


Crafting effective calls to action in marketing emails
06 October, 2015

Email marketing is an essential tool for every ecommerce business. According to Econsultancy's "Email Marketing Census 2014" report, 68 percent of companies rate email as "good" or "excellent" for ROI.

Wineries leverage email as a way to distribute surveys, drive wine club memberships, combat shopping cart abandonment and show customer appreciation. Emails help wineries establish closer relationships with visitors to their online wine store, however, without an effective call to action, marketing emails are all but ineffective. Here are five qualities of effective CTAs in email.


Bridge the online and tasting room experiences
29 September, 2015

Tasting rooms are a tool to drive sales and create brand familiarity. Far too often, tasting rooms are perceived as one-time destinations. Once the experience is over and the the wines have been drunk, wineries struggle to maintain relationships with those customers; especially if they are from out of town.  Wineries can leverage tasting room experiences to create long-time customers of their online wine store.  Read the full post here.


Turn fulfillment into a customer loyalty journey
23 September, 2015

Beyond the online shopping experience, wineries can build customer loyalty with quality fulfillment.

If you run an online wine store, you know the importance, and unique challenge, of creating a memorable shopping experience for customers who don't have the opportunity to visit you in your tasting room. From detailed product pages to easy checkout and accessible customer service, there are many details wineries can optimize on their sites to encourage shoppers to buy more wine.

Beyond the online shopping experience, wineries can build customer loyalty with quality fulfillment. As our infographic "Exceptional Order Fulfillment" points out, expectations of ecommerce businesses are evolving, and 100 percent order accuracy is they key to customer satisfaction. This is especially true when it comes to wine; imagine how disappointed a customer would be upon receiving an incorrectly shipped order of wine for a wine party they are hosting in just a few days. Beyond accuracy, there are additional considerations wineries should keep in mind.

Customer expectations are changing
Nowadays, perks like shipping included are no longer a bonus; they're a demand. Citing research from the e-tailing group, our infographic notes 90 percent of customers admit they will spend more money on an ecommerce site that offers free or reduced shipping. Further, online shoppers want their orders quickly. According to Comscore, 50 percent of consumers surveyed were not willing to wait more than five days for delivery. 

Our infographic also outlines two additional customer expectations: detailed timelines once the order is received and the ability to track the shipment in real time. In addition to working with an excellent DTC fulfillment partner, wineries can display an awareness for customer expectation by sending the following transactional emails after an order has been replaced:

  • Order confirmation. 
  • Order processed notification.
  • Order shipment notification.
  • Follow-up email once order has been received.

Each of these emails should include information about the shipment and easy access to tracking and customer service.

Beyond logistics
The logistics of fulfillment are crucial to the success of any online wine store. However, wineries can take it a step further by creating memorable experiences upon receipt of the package. Our infographic states superior customer loyalty can be fostered by wineries that include specialized recommendations, complimentary surprises and review requests inside customers' packages.

These thoughtful details can go a long way in creating the personalized experiences shoppers today crave. According to a study published in the Journal of Applied Psychology, waiters who included extra mints when delivering customers their checks saw a 23 percent lift in the tips they earned. Wineries can drive this same level of reciprocity through quality fulfillment and personalization, both of which are essential ingredients for creating customer loyalty.

For more inforamtion about our servcies, please visit our webiste at www.winedirect.com.


How to establish a Pinterest presence for your winery
16 September, 2015

Wineries can leverage the power of Pinterest by establishing a presence on the platform that provides value, knowledge and real-life experiences.

It makes sense that a simple search for "wine" on Pinterest - a social media platform rooted in real-life experiences - would yield dozens of pages of results. Beyond the fact that eMarketer estimates Pinterest will reach 50 million active users in the U.S. next year, the value of the platform is that it provides users with actionable, useful content.

Pinterest also has proven benefits for ecommerce brands. According to Marketing Land, a 2013 study by Piqora showed each pin generated 78 cents in sales on average.

Wineries can leverage the power of Pinterest by establishing a presence on the platform that provides value, knowledge and real-life experiences. Here are three ways your online wine store can establish a Pinterest presence:

1. Share products
Wineries can increase online wine sales by integrating their ecommerce stores with Pinterest. Start by creating a Pinterest page for your winery and uploading product images directly from your site. Images uploaded to Pinterest should link directly back to the product page on your winery's site, and you should append tracking to measure effectiveness. Beyond these essential measures, Marketing Land shares a few pointers for effective integration:

  • Use lighter, clearer images
  • Include a call to action
  • Keep the image description between 200 and 300 words
  • Taller images perform better
  • Studies show that images without faces perform better on Pinterest
  • Post on the weekends, when people have more time to browse
  • Create separate boards to group pins based on varietals, season, food pairings and other themes

2. Encourage pinning 
Wineries can be effective on Pinterest by encouraging shoppers to pin their products. Make sure to include Pinterest icons on product pages and program your online wine store to automatically generate high-quality images, descriptions and hashtags when visitors pin content from the site.

3. Go beyond product promotion
The key to any winery's success on Pinterest is to create brand affinity and repeat visits by going beyond simple product promotion. People visit Pinterest to gather ideas they can execute in real life. Wineries on Pinterest can provide value to their customers by sharing wine pairing ideas, recipes, tasting guides, party planning guides and information about varietals. Sharing this type of content will allow pinners to develop a relationship with your product and keep your winery top-of-mind next time they go to purchase wine online.

To view all of our blog posts, please click here.


Strategies to integrate ratings and reviews into online channels
09 September, 2015

Ratings and reviews are an essential part of any business, especially online wine stores. Since wine drinkers are often unable to taste a wine or discuss a product with a professional in person before making an online purchase, ratings and reviews bring them closer to understanding the particular varietal they are purchasing.

As noted in one of our white papers, providing a place for customers to share their stories and experiences is essential to creating a great customer experience. Further, online reviews build trust. According to a study conducted by BrightLocal, 88 percent of consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations.  Please read the full blog post here.


WineDirect and Vin65 have partnered with Sovos Compliance
02 September, 2015

I’m happy to report that WineDirect and Vin65 have entered into a new, long-term partnership with Sovos Compliance. As many in the industry know, in April of this year, Sovos became the parent company of ShipCompliant.  They were formed by combining several compliance heavyweights and their expertise lies in the areas of tax compliance and reporting.

As part of this new partnership, Sovos has acquired our compliance software and will be integrating WineDirect Compliance into the ShipCompliant platform over the next several months.

Why we’ve chosen to partner with Sovos for compliance services

We’re an end-to-end platform, with the express goal of providing best-in-class DTC services to wineries. Our core competencies are in fulfillment and ecommerce and in delivering the best possible experience to your customers. Since compliance and taxes are core to Sovos’ business model, and given the vast resources they have to support ongoing product development in that area, we’ve opted to partner with them to provide compliance and tax services for our customers.

What this means for you

We’re strengthening our relationship with ShipCompliant and have worked with them over the past few weeks to develop a best-in-class integration between Vin65 and ShipCompliant; adding new features and single sign-on capabilities from Vin65 to ShipCompliant. Going forward, our plan is to offer tangible benefits to our mutual customers. We’ll continue to offer bundled pricing options and will work together with Sovos and ShipCompliant on features to help us deliver on our promise of helping you – to Sell More Wine.

We’re looking forward to working with them over the coming months. If you’re interested in more information, I encourage you to reach out directly to our team or to visit the Vin65 blog.

Cheers,

Joe


Reward loyal customers with wine pairing guides
26 August, 2015

Rewarding your best customers with wine pairing guides is a great strategy for improving customer satisfaction and brand affinity, and increasing online wine sales.

Wine is an experience; from the tasting and purchasing process to sharing with friends over a meal, wine drinkers are eager to tie the beverage into their real-life activities. According to a study published in the International Journal of Gastronomy and Food Science, good pairing recommendations may be crucial for the success of foods and beverages, both in the retail and hospitality sectors.

While brick-and-mortar wine retailers have an opportunity to make pairing recommendations in person, online wine sellers face a greater challenge leveraging this tactic. Rewarding your best customers with wine pairing guides is a great strategy for improving customer satisfaction and brand affinity, as well as increasing online wine sales.

A deeper understanding of wine
One of the key benefits of sharing wine pairing guides with shoppers is increased brand affinity and customers' deepened understanding of the products they are purchasing. When wine drinkers are empowered to better understand the product they are consuming, they are more likely to become avid drinkers of your brand. Teaching guests how to pair your winery's varietals with certain foods will enhance their experience with the product overall.

Know your customers
Wine pairing guides are meant to be educational and idea-driven. For instance, Wine Folly provides helpful guides and infographics that teach readers what foods to pair with certain wines, as well as the science behind the pairings.

Ultimately, wineries can create impactful, rewarding wine pairing guides by understanding their customers. Start by creating a few basic formats, and then delve into research and shopping patterns surrounding your customer base. A customer who is loyal to certain varietals may appreciate a pairing guide that is customized to her specific preferences. On the other hand, someone who is new to wine will benefit from something more general.

Provide added value
Wine pairing guides create an opportunity to upsell customers by offering advice and product recommendations; however, this tactic will only work if the guide offers real value to the shopper. In-depth wine pairing guides are a reward to loyal customers in and of themselves, but wineries can take it a step further. One way to add value to wine pairing guides is to create detachable shopping lists that customers can bring to the store when they are shopping for foods to pair with their favorite wines. Additionally, wineries should consider offering promotional rates on wines and products mentioned within the guide.


Are you Mobile Friendly Yet?
13 August, 2015

In April, we wrote about Google's "Mobile Friendly" Update.  Now, a couple of months later, the stats are starting to come in. According to the new Adobe Digital Index, sites that aren't mobile-friendly are seeing up to a 10% dip in organic traffic.

Our own stats have shown a steady increase, not only in mobile traffic, but also in mobile sales. Even more important, though, are the conversion rate trends we've seen on mobile optimized sites versus sites that are not optimized. Our responsive sites are showing conversion rates that are more than triple those of sites that haven't been optimized for mobile.  Read more here.


Implement loyalty programs to sell more wine online
13 August, 2015

Wineries can provide unique, customized experiences to wine drinkers who shop online through personalized loyalty programs. 

Customer loyalty programs are a valuable tool for any business to create brand affinity, repeat purchases and customer retention. According to the 2015 Colloquy Customer Loyalty Census, American households hold memberships in an average of 29 loyalty programs, but are only active in 12 percent of their enrollments. This data speaks to the importance of creating loyalty programs that add value to the consumer.  Read the full blog here.


How to survey your customers
29 July, 2015

Drinking wine is a luxury, so it makes sense for wine drinkers to have high expectations of wineries, their wine-selection process and the final product. As a result, it is important for wine sellers to survey their online customers to increase online wine sales.

As pointed out by our white paper, "Creating a Great Customer Experience," surveys are a valuable tool to measure the gap between customer expectations and actual customer experiences.  Read the full post here.


4 mobile commerce trends for winemakers
22 July, 2015

As mobile commerce continues to increase its share of online shopping, wineries should develop a deeper understanding of how to sell to a mobile audience. Internet Retailer Magazine notes that according to Andrew Lipsman of comScore, mobile commerce accounted for 59 percent of online shopping in the first quarter of 2015, compared to 41 percent for desktop.

"Mobile shopping has exploded. It has absolutely exploded and overtaken desktop," said Lipsman.  Read the full blog post here.


A decade after Granholm: Have the tectonic plates of DTC shifted?
15 July, 2015

What it was

It’s been 10 years since Granholm v. Heald, the seminal 2005 U.S. Supreme Court case pitting the 21st Amendment against established dormant Commerce Clause jurisprudence, was decided. The case was brought by two groups of wine consumers and wineries independently against the states of Michigan and New York to dispute the alleged discrimination by those states against out-of-state wine producers. The plaintiffs complained both states’ direct-to-consumer shipping laws unfairly permitted in-state wineries to ship wine directly to in-state consumers while prohibiting out-of-state wineries from doing so, in contravention of Commerce Clause limitations on discriminatory restraint of trade and the federal government’s exercise of authority over interstate commerce.

In particular, the Court sought to determine whether the 21st Amendment’s broad grant of authority to the states to regulate alcohol distribution within their borders was unfettered, or if instead it was restrained by other constitutional rights when they came into conflict? Article continued here.


Best Ways to Leverage the Data You Capture in the Tasting Room
08 July, 2015

The key to building brand loyalty lies in listening to your customers and getting to know them on an individual basis. When new customers visit your tasting room, you have an opportunity to lay the groundwork for lasting relationships. When you know customers' unique interests, you're able to better develop a marketing strategy that spans all channels.

Read our latest blog post here for more.


It's not over once the customer pays
01 July, 2015

Your customer has made his or her selections and paid for the product. Your job is complete, right? Wrong. The customer experience doesn’t end when the customer pays for the wine ordered. If something goes wrong in the time between checkout and popping the cork, there's a chance you might never get their business again. In order to ensure repeat business, and to make sure your reputation remains intact, you need to focus on getting things right after the sale has been made.

Order accuracy

Once a customer's payment goes through, the first step is to make sure you get the order right. This doesn't just mean putting the correct wine selection in the correct box. It means getting the wine the customer wanted into a box with the correct address and then delivering it within the timeframe promised. As soon as the customer makes an online purchase, they are placing their trust in you and your team. If you break that trust, you risk losing future business. Taking the time to get orders right will ensure repeat customers.

Good delivery habits

Building good habits should be a primary focus for your business. This means delivering everything that's important every time. Thank-you notes, special offers, special surprises, review requests, catalogs and flyers need to make it in every box. Shipping timelines need to be adhered to and packages tracked accurately. Also, communications with the customer should happen at every stage of the process, unless the customer has specifically asked not to be contacted. "Communication helps ensure that the adult signature requirement isn't a problem."

Communication makes the adult signature requirement easier

Perhaps one of the biggest hurdles for online wine sales is the adult signature requirement. Communication helps ensure that the adult signature requirement isn't a problem. While package tracking will help, it’s also good to communicate with your customer first through email and then, if necessary, phone to let them know when the package will be arriving and what their options are for making sure that an adult signature is obtained. Services like UPS My Choice and UPS Access Point will help make sure that products ordered actually make it to the customer.

Communication doesn't end once the product is received

A good post-purchase strategy should include both email communications and phone follow-ups. Post-purchase communications will bring customers back to your product and help you improve your business.


Seamless delivery willl keep customers coming back
24 June, 2015

When shipping wine to your club members, there's more to think about than a simple trip to the post office. Businesses need to take a streamlined approach to fulfilling orders. Here are a few ways to ensure simple, seamless delivery to your customers.

Keep delivery times and shipping costs low
Customers expect shipping incentives with their online purchases. In addition to saving money, customers have come to except speedy delivery of online purchases. Your shoppers are excited about their wine, and look forward to receiving them. That excitement can deflate if they're waiting too long for their parcel to arrive. While it's important to choose a shipping method that keeps freight costs low, you don't want to sacrifice expedient delivery.

Use the correct measurements
Automated quotes rely on accurate data. Direct-to-consumer wineries should take care to correctly enter package specifications and update any changes in dimensions, noted Internet Retailer. Otherwise, businesses risk misquoting shipping costs and setting customers up for unpleasant surprises. Shoppers are likely to cancel their orders if they're surprised by unexpected freight charges.

Choose the right packaging
Packaging choices matter, as every component can impact product integrity and delivery costs. Shipping prices will be less expensive with smaller, lighter packages. However, bottles that arrive broken, corked or otherwise damaged incur more costs in the long run. Shipping wine does incur the added cost of protective packaging, but packing wine well will save in the long run in reduced breakage.  The key is to reduce packaging costs if possible, without risking the integrity of the wine.

Audit your shipping choices
Packaging requirements differ across carriers, so pay attention to which shipping options most suit the needs of each type of order. In addition to taking care of consumer needs, look for ways to save on your own overhead costs. Some carriers offer partial refunds for the total shipping costs of online merchants. If you take a look at your costs over the long-term and follow up with carriers, you could be in for some pleasant surprises. Remember, if you save money on shipping, then so will your customers. This is one of the surest ways to build brand loyalty.


Sell more wine online by keeping things simple
17 June, 2015

Making some simple adjustments to the design and flow of your website will make vast improvements in how visitors perceive your brand as well as enticing them to purchase wine. Here are some tips to help you stand out.

Keep it simple, always
Your store's site design may have some nice bells and whistles, such as responsive design for mobile device compatibility and flat aesthetics. However, that doesn't mean that your visitors are able to easily navigate through your site.  In reviewing your site's analytics, you may find that people get really stuck navigating within the site, but not ever adding wine to their cart. You should update the site to make viewing bottles and adding them to the shopping cart as smooth and quick as possible, as suggested by hosting provide Techark Solutions.

Make everything accessible
When selling wine online, there are limits to what you can do. This is especially the case when it comes to major matters such as state compliance laws. A knowledgeable customer is a happy customer, and results in stress-free transactions. Giving people the right information on whether they're allowed to make their purchases, as well as what shipping charges to expect, will increase consumer trust, as Inc. Magazine notes. As a consequence, you should have direct links to every important store policy, and all of them should be one click away for the consumer.
 
Make the payment process painless and secure
As for the payment process, you should offer options such as one-click checkout, guest registration and persistent shopping carts. Anything that simplifies the process of payment will be a boon to consumers. In addition, you should provide as many options to pay as possible. Remove all barriers to completing the transaction.

Open the lines of communication
Even with the best site layout and functionality, mishaps do occur.  From data entry mistakes to missing information. You want your customers to stay happy by delivering an optimal experience, and to help fix their problems when they don't. Keeping the support lines open will help you do that. However, customers can’t be helped if they don't know how to contact you. Make sure you have a link on all pages that directs people to your contact information. That page should be filled with all the numbers, email addresses and other ways of reaching out that will guarantee visitors will be heard.

Promote your site as often as you can
While you may have ideal online wine store, do your patrons know about it? Do people who visit your tasting room have an idea that they could possibly purchase wine online? Promote your site person-to-person, in social media and email marketing.


Ecommerce Security – Tips for keeping financial information protected
11 June, 2015

You juggle many responsibilities when running an online wine store. One of those responsibilities is data security.  Nowadays, data security is top of mind with businesses and consumers alike.  When dealing with financial data, it's important to make sure all personal information is protected and that the vendors you entrust with that data are providing world-class security solutions.

At WineDirect and Vin65, nothing is more important to us than the security of our customer’s data.

We take a number of steps to ensure your data remains secure.  We’ve outlined some of them here.  Of course, we are always happy to answer questions you may have regarding security so please don’t hesitate to contact the Vin65 support team.

PCI Compliance
Vin65 is PCI Level 2 certified. PCI Data Security Standards (PCI DSS) are technical and operational requirements for protecting cardholder data and other information used to authorize transactions. Adhering to the PCI DSS is not a single event but rather an ongoing process, and we undergo regular scans by a PCI Security Standards Council approved scanning vendor (ASV) to ensure our platform meets rigorous standards. Along with the testing performed by third parties we select, our customers engage third parties to scan our platform on a daily basis.

How We Monitor for Threats
We regularly monitor our entire platform for intrusions and data breaches, and we perform monthly reviews of all logs. Quarterly network vulnerability scans are performed by Comodo HackerGuardian to ensure our platform, systems, and network are secure from attacks.

Securing Your Data in the Cloud
Cloud computing provides a number of benefits such as reduced capital expenditures, lower IT costs, and importantly, improved security. Economies of scale allow cloud providers to invest heavily in highly skilled security teams and the latest technologies. In fact, the security resources of cloud providers frequently exceed those that organizations can afford independently.

The Vin65 hosting infrastructure is located in the Amazon Web Services (AWS) cloud, which allows us to take advantage of their world-class protection. Their data centers are state-of-the-art and utilize innovative architectural and engineering approaches. Amazon is PCI Level 1 compliant and holds several industry security certifications in addition to that. Because we are an AWS customer, you can rest assured that the Vin65 architecture is built on top of some of the most secure computing infrastructure in the world.

Building Secure Products
From the design phase, to coding and testing, we make sure best practices are incorporated throughout the development of our products.  We’ve been an Amazon AWS Partner for over two years, and we regularly attend their training conferences to ensure our team stays on top of best practices related to data security.

Features You Can Take Advantage Of To Safeguard Your Customer Data
User security within the Vin65 platform allows you to customize permissions by user. Domain admin users have access to all information. They can configure staff as basic admins, granting them access to the specific features required for their roles. Domain admin users can also set user accounts as inactive and change passwords to ensure they are secure.  Inactive accounts are automatically deactivated after 90 days.

The Vin65 platform maintains logs of the last person to modify records. We display history for your sensitive order data so that you can review what actions have taken place on each order and create a proper audit trail.


Infographic: Expand your email reach and drive wine sales
02 June, 2015

You don't have to be a large winery to have a successful direct-to-consumer sales platform. Even the smallest of wineries can have a large reach. In fact, only 2 percent of the top-selling D2C wineries have an annual output of more than 50,000 cases, according to a recent our data. If you think price drives the most successful D2C wine sales, think again. Those at the top are only 8 percent more likely than others to sell wine priced higher than 60 dollars.

Engage your customers
What's the winning strategy for a profitable D2C model?  We found that larger email lists factored heavily into sales success. The wineries with the highest D2C sales reported an average of 29,100 recipients on their email lists. Compare that to an average of 6,010 for others. It makes sense that this would be the case. Email is the most direct and effective way to reach your customers. Through email correspondence, you can deliver individualized communication, including unique offers and invitations to loyalty programs.

Use a segmentation strategy
Software allows you to collect contact information across channels, organizing your outreach in one database. Further, the analytics allow you to segment your consumer base according to the wine-buying preferences and behaviors. The more you know about each customer, the better you can deliver individually-relevant communications that drive sales.

For example, you can increase your average order value by offering personalized recommendations, allowing you to upsell without compromising the customer has already ordered. Shipping incentives help increase sales across segments. The large majority of consumers prefer to qualify for free shipping, even if it means purchasing more than originally intended. Loyalty program rewards are another great way to encourage your customers to buy more.

Increase each sale
To understand which strategies appeal to which consumers, you can use your analytics software to highlight patterns in the ways individuals think about wine and decide on purchases. Price-conscious consumers are the largest contingent of wine drinkers, according to a recent Constellation Brands study. For those who believe a good bottle of wine doesn't need to cost a lot, an upselling strategy may not work as well as shipping incentives. Likewise, the customers who adhere strictly to one type of wine may not be inclined to follow suggestions to try new wines. But special offers can entice this segment to purchase more bottles at a time, driving up your average order value.

Direct sales strategy begins with direct communication with your customers. Through email outreach, you can get to know your consumers and deliver precisely what each wants.


Increase sales with shipping incentives
26 May, 2015

For wineries, there is no escaping the demand for incentivized shipping. In this competitive marketplace, strategies for keeping prices low will attract more customers and incent them to increase the size of their wine order.  According to UPS's Online Shopper Pulse Report, most cases of shopping cart abandonment are due to high shipping costs. If you keep shipping costs low for consumers, they'll be more likely to follow through with their purchases.

Shipping incentives can actually increase your overall sales. Shoppers are so accustomed to not paying for delivery, they'll often purchase more items just to meet a set minimum for free shipping. You too can adopt a customer-friendly fulfillment strategy that won't break the bank. Here's how:

Study your options
When implementing a plan for shipping incentives, you don't need to offer the same reward for every purchase. It’s well known that wineries cannot use the term “free shipping”. Instead, the price of your wine can include shipping. If a shipping-included platform doesn't work for your winery, opt for reduced or flat rates. You can also make lower shipping rates available to wine club members only. Each of these plans rewards consumers in some way. The analytic tools in your winery software can help you decide which strategy makes the most sense in each situation. Here are some more things to take into consideration when deciding which strategy is right for you:

Avoid surprises
Make sure to display shipping costs at the outset of a purchase. If shipping costs pop up in the middle of the checkout process, you risk giving shoppers sticker shock. This can lead to frustration and cart abandonment. 


Shipping included
Don't include shipping costs for each item, as this discourages customers from buying more than a single bottle or two at a time. Customers like the idea of no additional shipping charges.  If you set a minimum purchase amount to take advantage of this incentive, they're likely to buy more. 

Flat rate
Applying the same rate to every purchase ensures the customer won't be surprised or disappointed at checkout. In addition to preventing cart abandonment, flat-rate shipping also encourages those in other parts of the country to order without fear of exorbitant freight costs. Before deciding to adopt a uniform rate, take a look at the averages for order size, purchase price and shipping costs.

Shipping incentive programs
Shipping incentives are the number one driver of sales on the internet. For club shipments, the concept of minimum purchases doesn't apply so offer shipping included or a reduced shipping rate. This will encourage more club memberships.  You will need to evaluate the average annual spending of members.  How many people do you need to convert in order to increase revenue and offset the shipping expense?

In addition to club member shipping incentives, consider shipping incentives for non-club purchases, like Vin65’s 46Brix.  For a flat rate of $79, customers receive unlimited $0 shipping of two bottles or more for one year.  Wineries that have joined this program have enjoyed an increase in sales of over 3 times, when compared to the previous year. 

No matter which strategy you choose, you stand to increase your wine sales with shipping incentives.


Clarifying the rules of compliance: A Q&A with Matt Mann, Part II
19 May, 2015

As more wineries venture into the territory of shipping product direct-to-consumer, it's important to know the rules of compliance. We continued our discussion with our Director of Compliance/Legal Counsel, Matt Mann, about how business owners can embrace the D2C market.

What's the most common problem related to compliance that wineries experience when it comes to completing D2C orders?

The biggest compliance hurdle in getting the wine into the hands of the consumer is the adult signature requirement - which is in place for a reason - and I think a valid requirement. Nonetheless, it makes it difficult to ship to a residential address instead of a commercial address because many people work during the day and there's no one there to sign for the wine. Most consumers are unaware of this requirement and educating consumers of the rules, and why those rules are in place, will help alleviate that problem.

The other problem is that Amazon has changed the world of shipping and delivery, raising the bar so high, that it has changed consumer expectations.  That same expectation level is set for wine, even though wine is a highly-regulated product, and sometimes the consumer does not understand that, which makes it more difficult.  It's a matter of meeting the customer expectations and enhancing the customer experience despite that limitation. I think that's a huge problem wineries run into and companies like ours work as best we can to overcome.

What would you say are some misconceptions that wineries and retailers have about D2C compliance?

One misconception is that compliance is too confusing to the point of not being worth doing, or even impossible to do. There are resources available, however.  The Wine Institute website is a fantastic source.  It is pretty much a central hub of rules and regulations with a database you can access to determine the rules of the road to whichever state you wish to ship. You can access this information without having to go to each state website and figure it all out. While it can be confusing to the uninitiated, it's not undoable. There's actually a tremendous amount of uniformity in the way the rules are written and in what they cover.

The other misconception is that it's prohibitively expensive to maintain all of the state licenses. Relative to other marketing costs you could incur in terms of, say, print advertising or radio advertising - other things you do in order to reach market - it's relatively inexpensive.

One other misconception: “I don't have to follow the rules, states aren't watching anyway.” That's usually where you get into trouble. States are paying attention for the mere fact they are interested in collecting every bit of revenue that is due.

What can wineries do to make the entire process of compliant shipping easier?

First and foremost, you need to educate yourself. You can't go into it haphazardly. Develop a strategy. Plan a D2C program. What states make sense? You may not want to get permits in all states. You can eliminate some of the administrative burden just by being selective in where you want to ship. Whichever strategy you choose, think it out before moving forward and you will minimize difficulties.


Reflections from the Wine Industry Conference
12 May, 2015

The North Bay Business Journal’s 2015 Wine Industry Conference was held April 24th.  Several WineDirect team members were in attendance, along with many others in the standing room only crowd.  While several topics were touched upon, the prevailing theme that was repeated throughout the discussions was that above all else, the wine business is a relationship business.

The keynote speaker was Michael Mondavi.  His presentation was quite interesting, as he reviewed the history of wine from the 1850s to the present day.  He spoke of the challenges the wine business has faced over the years and how these challenges were turned into opportunities. Opportunities are created under distress”, he noted.

The challenge that we are all familiar with, Prohibition, was discussed of course.  But Mr. Mondavi’s description of wine distribution in the 1930s and 1940s is not as well known.  Wine was distributed in tank cars from producers to regional bottling facilities across the United States.  The wine was bottled at these facilities and labeled, not with the producer’s brand but with a local brand label.  With the onset of WWII and introduction of price controls, wine changed from a commodity business to a consumer product but the wine was still bottled in jugs.  It would take many years for the transition from jug bottles to the prevailing smaller bottles to take place.

He closed his remarks by speaking about his grandfather, Cesare Mondavi.  When Michael was a boy, Cesare told him that his most important job was to leave the soil in a better condition for the next generation.  He has done that in all of his years as wine producer. With good soil, quality wine is the result.

“Build a relationship with people, so they feel the dirt”, is as true today as it was in the beginning.

The first panel discussion was “How to get noticed in a crowded market”.  The panelists were Dan Grunbeck, EVP - Young’s Market, Bill Leigon, President of Jamieson Ranch Vineyards and Joy Sterling, CEO of Iron Horse Vineyards. 

Joy Sterling explained that Iron Horse is sold through all channels to create pull across the marketplace.  They deploy heavy social media strategy to create and build relationships with customers and visitors at every chance possible.  “What is the ROI of social media?” she was asked during the Q&A session.  Joy responded “I don’t know how to measure it, but I know that I need to do it”.

Bill Leigon told the crowd about his community outreach with Jamieson’s small herd of miniature horses.  The horses are an attraction at the winery and are also brought into the community as an outreach to people with autism.  While the horses are an important part of the winery, Bill is committed to the personal nature of the business.  Jamieson’s Light Horse wine brand, for example, has a three pronged approach:  1) food and wine, 2) music and art and 3) therapy outreach with the horses.   Each piece provides an important element to the connection with the winery.

Dan Grunbeck spoke of how Young’s works with wineries in distribution getting wine through the bottle necks in the distribution channel.  Specifically addressing the question of how to get noticed, “80% of success is showing up” he noted. 

The panel’s overall message was that building relationships in your unique way will go a long way to your winery standing out from the crowd.  Joy paraphrased a quote from Maya Angelou that sums it up nicely.  “People rarely remember what you say, but they will always remember how you made them feel.”

The second panel discussion was “Routes to Market”.  The members of the panel were Michael Osborn, Founder of Wine.com, Benoit Vialle, COO of Nakedwines.com, Joe Waechter, CEO of WineDirect and Jim Weinrott, Founder of WineAccess.com. 

Each of the three direct-to-consumer businesses deploys a different model to sell wine DTC; while WineDirect provides DTC services to wineries and retailers that sell wine online. 

At Wine.com, Michael Osborn explained that it operates seven warehouses across the country, selling 17 thousand wines (with the assortment still growing).  Of these wines 55% are imported.  They created the idea of an online sommelier, trying the concept in a call center setting and via email.  Neither approach was successful, but the third attempt, live sommelier chat has resonated with consumers generating 100k chats.  

Joe Waechter spoke about the focus of WineDirect which is to help wineries sell more wine online.  There are over 1,000 wineries online through the Vin65 platform, generating 540 million dollars in sales last year.  35 percent of these orders were received over mobile devices he noted.  Joe also commented on the increase in shipping volume WineDirect has seen the first three months of this year.  Shipments have surpassed the volume of last year’s holiday shipping season and there is no sign of letting up.  The challenge for the wine industry is to reach the online sales volume of other hard goods.

Jim Weinrott described WineAccess.com as a curated marketplace.  In his experience, “most consumers don’t know what they want, so you need to tell them what to buy”.  He described Jeff Bezos’s experience of Amazon and the thousands of books offered online.  They offered a dizzyingly wide array of books.  What was missing?  Mr. Smith, the owner of the small book store that went out of business.  Amazon needed someone who knew about books.

Benoit Vialle pointed out that most people are not experts in wine.  So Nakedwines.com takes the consumer on a journey of discovery, learning about wine and the winemakers in the process.  Naked’s angel network funds the small wine maker who might not otherwise have a way into the marketplace.

In the end, each participant agreed that you have to offer great wine, provide a unique wine experience, all the while, engaging the consumer in a two-way conversation.  “Customers are your guests when they drink your wine at their table”, said Bill Leigon during the discussion.  We couldn’t agree more.


It's all in your delivery
05 May, 2015

As I mentioned in one of my recent blog posts, Direct-to-Consumer wine sales represent just 3% of total sales, a number that is in stark contrast to categories like books, electronics, or apparel, where anywhere from 20% to 50% of sales happen online.

While I believe there’s no reason online wine sales can’t (or won’t) reach 8% or even 10% in the near future, I don’t want to discount the challenges faced by wineries trying to boost online sales. In DTC, not only are you competing with thousands of other wineries for name recognition (there are now well over 8,000 wineries in the US), but you’re competing with both online and local retailers, who almost always offer better prices than what you offer through the Direct-to-Consumer channel.

If you can't go toe-to-toe on price, though, that’s not necessarily a bad thing. Last week, Rob McMillan from Silicon Valley Bank wrote an excellent blog post about discounting in general. For wineries, discounting is rarely the key to stronger online sales. Much of the wine sold through the DTC channel is considered a luxury good, which means that the experience (including customer service and delivery) should be your winning proposition.

It’s easy to view customer service as a reactionary process when instead, a real opportunity exists to impress customers by doing the unexpected, or in other words, by going above and beyond.

That reminds me of a Trader Joe’s related story from a couple of years ago. It was December and Pennsylvania had been hit by a heavy snowstorm. A woman, worried her 89 year old father might run out of food, had been calling local stores to see if they could deliver to him. After hearing a number of “no’s” she finally called Trader Joe’s. The woman on the other end of the phone, after listening to her story, said yes, we’ll deliver to him (despite the fact that Trader Joe’s is not in the delivery business.) Not only did they deliver free of charge, but they suggested additional items for his low-sodium diet. The food arrived less than 30 minutes later and Trader Joe’s demonstrated what it means to go above and beyond.

While service is one area to differentiate your winery, the same is true of the package delivery experience. In the haste to acquire new customers and convince them to make a purchase, it’s easy to forget that the delivery experience is an area where you have an opportunity to really shine – to convert casual purchasers to faithful customers. This month, we’ve put together another whitepaper – this one titled “How to WOW customers after the purchase.” The paper covers everything from customer service and order fulfillment, to delivery times, package visibility, and overcoming the hurdles of the adult signature requirement. Yes, there are ways to avoid failed delivery attempts – and WineDirect is here to help.


The power of social proof
28 April, 2015

There are many ways marketing impacts consumer behavior. Product reviews have a powerful influence as social proof, and can greatly influence whether customers will buy online and which wines they purchase.


Power to the people
There is extensive evidence that social proof, or the presence of other people talking about products in any channel, can be fiercely influential in a person's behavior as well as their decision-making. Marketing analytics firm KISSmetrics cites two studies that describe the power of social proof, either in the form of comments or reviews, on ecommerce sites. The first study, provided by Power Reviews, said 70 percent of consumers look at product reviews before making a purchasing decision.

The second, done by iPerceptions and CompUSA, noted 63 percent of consumers would purchase from sites that have product reviews and ratings. There are likely good reasons for that: By having a place to provide feedback, people are allowed to talk about your products and help others make a decision on what they wish to purchase.

Consequently, there are ways that social proof can change the way your consumers think about your wine. For example, the Wall Street Journal noted a study where four comments were posted citing the benefits of a certain green product. Two comments cited monetary and environmental benefits; a third cited a moral responsibility, while the last one stated that a majority of a person's neighbors already had it. It turns out that the last comment, that invoked positive social proof, had the most impacton changing behavior. The use of peer pressure through reviews and other testimony can help persuade your audience to make a purchase.

Pressuring their peers
There are several ways of invoking social proof in your online wine store. As noted before, the most effective method is through reviews of your wine. This may seem risky if an unfavorable review is received. However, by having any reviews out there, people will feel more comfortable making a purchasing decision of your wine. By giving people the option to provide feedback, there is a greater incentive for them to do so and influence others to make the same decision they did if the feedback is positive.

Of course, reviews are but one part of the equation in the era of social media, as software developer Opt In Monster notes. Just having social media mentions can serve as social proof as well. For example, you can create a feed on your website that posts every time someone mentions your winery on Twitter. Posting tweets on your Facebook page will provide brand reinforcement to those who visit.   

There is the option of leveraging social media to spread word of your own content. For example, if you regularly write blogs posts, add the social sharing options to all of your posts. These posts are made to raise awareness of your winery, and what better people to spread the word that your customers through a share on Facebook or Twitter?


If you give a mouse a cookie: The benefits of cross-selling
21 April, 2015

When you're running a winery, you want to sell the most of each varietal you produce. That's no small task, as you are selling wine in your tasting room as well as on your website and in either channel, you want to make sure that purchases are maximized. That's why you should consider deploying distinct marketing methods to grab consumers’ attention and entice them to buy more and return often. Cross-selling can help with this by opening consumers’ eyes to new varietals that they've never thought about before. This applies to the tasting room and to the online store.

Learning to talk to people
Cross-selling differs dramatically between the physical tasting room and online. In the case of the physical location, winery personnel can speak with customers directly, as noted by Beverage Media. Just asking a few basic questions, such as what the customers’ favorite style or varietal, will give you a sense of what you should suggest.  From there, it’s easy to expand the conversation as you go.  As you build trust and rapport, you'll be able to direct them beyond the bottle they first inquired about, and you can make suggestions of others that they may like.

Another factor to consider is substitutes. People have their favorites in terms of blends and varietals. However, what they may not realize is that there are usually alternatives to what they usually drink that have similar style or complementary taste. Taking the conversation further, you can make suggestions that, while being somewhat similar as what the customer wants, offer a more unique experience. Consumers aren’t always open to trying something new, but often they are (which is why they came to your tasting roomin the first place). If the engagement is successful, that customer is likely to become loyal to your winery and brand.

Keep it relevant
On the other hand, ecommerce doesn't give you the chance to socialize with your customers. Here consumers are facing a flat screen (mobile or full screen) with a variety of choices. Cross-selling is accomplished through a series of algorithms based on what was added to their shopping carts. You don’t have the option of conversation to guide choices and therefore, you're not always going to be accurate 100% of the time.  To counter this, be as visible as possible, according to ecommerce blog Get Elastic. The best points to introduce cross-selling are on the store page as the bottle being purchased or in the view cart page just before checkout. 

As for the selection of wines to offer, consider matching based on what is relevant. If the purchase is a specific color, you should offer wines that are also a similar type or similar varietal.  Offer the same varietal from a different vineyard perhaps.  Mix up the selection based on a variety of price points, especially if the customer is on the view cart page. Include bottles that are on sale.

However, you should be careful in how you handle ecommerce cross-sells. Don't overload any of your pages with too many suggested wines. Instead, keep the selection small but visible.  Here you can’t personally influence a purchase, but the online influence will result in an increase in the order value, just as the one-on-one influence does in the tasting room.  Remember, at first the mouse only wanted a glass of milk, but then he wanted much more.


Proven ecommerce strategies: Upselling and cross-selling
15 April, 2015

When you're shopping online on sites, you aren't taken straight from the product page to the checkout page without being shown some similar or complementary items first. Most ecommerce companies understand the value in upselling and cross-selling and it is one of the characteristics of the wineries in the top 20%.

Are you using similar tactics in your online store? If not, your winery is missing out on significant sales opportunities. These techniques both increase sales and make the customer experience more enjoyable.

What's the difference?
While upselling and cross-selling are often lumped into the same category or used interchangeably, they aren't one and the same. 

Upselling consists of influencing a customer to choose a higher-end or more expensive product than the one they've already chosen. When one of your shoppers is browsing Sauvignon Blanc wines, you may want to suggest bottles that are in a higher price bracket, but otherwise similar to the ones they're viewing.

Cross-selling is offering items that will go well with items in the shopping cart. For example, when one of your customers puts a bottle of wine in his or her online shopping cart, your winery could suggest some chocolates that would pair nicely with the vintage, or even a new wine bottle opener. 

Which tactic drives more sales?
While cross-selling and upselling can both be beneficial tactics, one may drive more profits than the other. Research from Predictive Intent shows that cross-selling drives 0.2% of sales. While this is a positive increase, when compared to the 4% increase upselling brings, it's clear which one you should focus more on. 

That's not to say cross-selling should be ignored completely, but suggestions should be made more intelligently based on what a customer is buying now, past purchase history and the typical amount they spend. The research indicated that cross-selling can drive sales by 3% if options are shown on the checkout page, rather than early on in the buying process, according to E-consultancy.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Why are these tactics important?
There's definitely room for improvement as far as upselling and cross-selling go. According to 2013 Accenture research, a mere 11.3% of chief sales officers think their initiatives in these areas exceed expectations. Another 38.3% think their capabilities meet expectations, and more than 50% either think they need to improve in this area or have no idea how they're performing at all.

These statistics aren’t good especially considering the impact of selling more to existing, loyal customers can have on revenue. It's much more logical to keep your current consumers buying more than it is to constantly spend money attracting new customers and certainly more costly. In fact, research from Bain & Company suggested it takes four purchases for an online retailerto make a profit from a single customer. If your customers aren't making wine purchases regularly, upselling and cross-selling becomes even more critical. 

The Bain research shows online shoppers expressed a willingness to buy all sorts of products from retailers they were already loyal to, suggesting that as long as you're offering a good experience, quality service and your ecommerce fulfillment is timely and accurate, and your customers will be open to increasing their orders.

Cross-selling and upselling tactics are proven ecommerce strategies.  Check with your ecommerce provider to see if they have the tools to allow you to implement these strategies in your online store.


The Customer Service Perception Bias
09 April, 2015

Most companies believe their company provides stellar customer experiences compared to others in their industry. However, if this is an inaccurate picture of their performance, it only hurts businesses and limits their ability to improve their relationships with customers.

Perception bias is at work every day
People often overestimate their driving ability, intelligence and athletic skills - this is just part of a common thing called perception bias. While it may not be too harmful to the everyday individual, it is detrimental when it is prevalent in a business setting.

In 2005, Bain & Company conducted a study that showed 80% of businesses thought they delivered a "superior experience" compared with others in their industry. Unfortunately, customers did not feel the same way - only 8% claimed companies were actually delivering on the customer service front.

A Forbes Insight report released in March 2015 showed that this trend has persisted over the years. The research discovered that 88% of company leaders think they're making good or excellent progress when it comes to providing modern customer service, and three-quarters said they perform better in this area than the competition.

Why is the discrepancy between perceived performance and real performance so high? The Forbes research indicates that there are multiple reasons why companies may be lagging behind when it comes to customer service, even when they see themselves as building good customer relationships. 

  • Not providing warm, responsive customer service at the pre-purchase stage:
    A mere 15% of companies polled said customer service was a critical part of their marketing message or brand image. This means many businesses fail to employ customer service before a consumer actually buys something - instead they're using it solely as a post-purchase problem solver, thereby keeping them from building better relationships from the very beginning.
     
  • Conflicting priorities: 
    Even though 90% of businesses said they wanted to learn more about customer needs, 82% sited that one of their top objectives was to reduce the time spent handling customer issues. These two goals are at odds with one another and could have a negative impact on relationship building overall.
     
  • Limited perceived importance: 
    While most businesses recognize the importance of customer service and relationships, few are expanding this beyond the customer service department. Only 38% of organizations said service was a strategic goal for their entire company.  This is a mistake.  A customer-centric culture should be pervasive company-wide.

Don't forget all service channels
The most popular customer service channels aren't going away anytime soon. Over half of the Forbes respondents said their use of phone support would increase or significantly increase over the next six months to year.  Half expected an increase in the use of online self-service and mobile apps.  Text messaging customer support and online forums are becoming commonplace form of communication. 

The bottom line?
No matter how or in what form customer interactions occur, exceptional customer service begins at the first point at which a consumer touches your business, in person or online, and should be continuous throughout every stage of the relationship.


WineDirect Newsletter: Personalized marketing is more critical than ever
01 April, 2015

Welcome to our April newsletter!  Read the featured article, review the other articles of interest and take our survey!


What motivates online shoppers to make decisions?
25 March, 2015

When selling wine online, wineries must provide both convenience and flexibility or chances are, you aren't shipping wine to as many consumers as you could be. A recent study by UPS revealed what convenience aspects matter mostto individuals making purchases online. 72% were satisfied with how retailers displayed the anticipated delivery date, and 62% were happy with their ability to see the inventory of the products they'd chosen.

On the flip side, 43% of respondents were dissatisfied with a retailer's ability to save their customer information in a profile to expedite the checkout process and 47% said accessing customer service while checking out could definitely be improved.

Convenience doesn't just apply to how simple the checkout process is - it also matters when a shopper is reviewing shipping options to finalize the purchase. Nine in 10 American consumers have abandoned an online shopping cart. That's a huge number - why so many?  57% said they wanted to determine the total cost of the purchase with the shipping charges to compare, while 55% cited that they want to see the shipping cost prior to finalizing the transaction. Nearly 60% said they'd left their carts behind because the anticipated shipping charges, combined with their items, made the purchase too expensive. 

Effectively dealing with shipping costs presents a huge challenge for winereis to effectively sell wine online.  We recently published a white paper that discusses ways you can offer shipping incentives.  To read the article, please click here.

Shipping costs aren't the only aspect that's important - the length of time shoppers are expected to wait can also determine whether or not they finalize an order. 31% of Americans would abandon a shopping cart if they did not receive an estimated delivery date; while 36% said the same if they had to wait 11 or more days. One-quarter would halt an order if they found out they had to wait six to 10 days, meaning the sweet spot for delivery in the U.S. seems to be 1-5 days, according to the UPS survey.

Personalization is key
Personalization quietly influences behavior and the decision making process. A recent study from MyBuys revealed that nearly half of shoppers – 48% - spend more money with companiesthat tailor their user experience. 

More people now expect retailers to personalize their individual experience - almost 40% of respondents said they were frustrated when recommendations based on their purchase and browsing history weren't available on a business's website. These suggestions don't just make customers feel special - they also lead them to spend more. 53% of respondents reported spending more with online stores that showed them other products based on their history and behavior and 48% said they spend more with companies that send them personalized emails.

When you tailor your wine marketing and purchase process with your customers in mind, you'll reap the benefits of increased sales.


Why use business intelligence software?
18 March, 2015

March 16, 2015 | Sheri Hebbeln

Why use business intelligence software?

Selling wine online not only helps to increase overall sales but it's a great vehicle to learn about your customers' online behavior. Coupled with the data from your tasting room, you have access to mountains of information about your customers. Using this information is a great tool to improve sales and bolster wine club subscriptions. Business intelligence software can make the gathering and analysis of this data much easier.

Sorting everything out
Business intelligence software is defined by software site TechTarget as a set of data analysis tools that provide a clear picture of certain business processes. The purpose of this system is to compile information that can then be used to make business decisions. They can be basic applications, Web dashboards or even processes that read and calculate large amounts of input to determine a specific result. These results can then be projected in different ways, such as chart visualizations, reports and other mechanisms. If properly set up, all of this data can be compiled and processed automatically.

There is a good reason to see this software as useful. For most businesses, the way to record and report sales, revenue and expenses is through the use of spreadsheet programs. It's so common in business, that many company owners still use it to make business decisions. The problem is that spreadsheets can be riddled with mistakes. The incorrect numbers may have been used as input, the wrong formulations calculated junk answers, some data failed to carry every over and data may have not been properly updated to reflect new information. In fact, MarketWatch reports that 88% of all spreadsheets have errors in them. All of this information leads to bad business decisions that can adversely affect the bottom line.

Eliminate the guesswork
There are many benefits to the use of business intelligence.  Enterprise Apps Today suggests that you can eliminate a lot of guesswork . Given that many decisions are based on a combination of data analysis and gut instinct, having bad data supporting or countering your best guess can often result in bad decisions. With data analytics at hand, you can have a better idea of what’s actually occurring, and can make a sound judgment as a result. The information can also provide you with answers to important questions related to your operations.

In addition to all this, a nice benefit to using business intelligence is that you mitigate a lot of the manual data entry that is required to create reports. The software automates processes and the benefits are two-fold: First you'll minimize the amount of mistakes that appear in your data because you aren't doing repetitive, tedious input. Second, you reduce the amount of time spent actually creating reports. That gives you the opportunity to focus on what is really important, selling more wine.


Automatic credit card updating. Its time has come.
10 March, 2015

Automatic credit card updating. Its time has come.

Are you leaving money on the table?  Not only money lost due to credit card declines, but lost time and effort chasing down current card information from club members?  Credit card updater services are now available in the marketplace and should be considered a value-added service for your winery.

Obtaining and keeping your club members is top of mind for most wineries.   We know that many have processes in place to reduce the number of bad cards.  Automatic emails can be sent 30, 60 and 90 days prior to processing which results in updates to some cards.  Then after the club is processed, emails go out and phone calls are made to club members to attempt to obtain updated information.  Why not reduce the time and hassle and make payment collection a bit less cumbersome?

To determine just how much money was being lost due to card declines, we did an analysis of 10 wineries that use the Vin65 platform to process their club shipments.  These wineries processed clubs of varying sizes from just over 300 members to clubs with an excess of 1300 members. 

The results were eye-opening.  The average decline rate across the 10 clubs was 10%.  The average club package price was $245.38.  Based on the fact the credit card updaters successfully update 30% of declined cards, the amount of updated credit cards came to 242.  This equals a whopping $59,381 worth of total club package revenue that would have been processed the first time around.  Wow.  That’s an average recovery of $5,938 per winery!

The updater service captures more payments but it also reduces the number of times a winery must reach out to a customer to obtain updated information.  Plus, consider the extra time taken to update the contact records that can be saved.  This give you more time to concentrate on selling more wine. 

Information about the Vin65 updater service for MasterCard and Visa can be found by clicking here.


WineDirect Newsletter: The Direct-to-Consumer Tipping Point
03 March, 2015

Welcome to our March newsletter!  Check out the new format, read the featured article, review other articles of interest and take our survey!


WineDirect Blog: Happy employees result in happier customers
24 February, 2015

February 24, 2015 | Sheri Hebbeln

Investing in your employees is the first step toward good customer relations. Happy employees result in happier customers. They possess substantial knowledge of the industry and they pass on their expertise and passion to your customers.

Ensure that your staff feels valued
If an individual feels appreciated, they are likely to exceed your expectations. Forbes suggests challenging your employees and showing them that they are an essential part of your team.

Encourage your staff to complement one another and make sure everyone knows they have an impact on the success of the business. Recognize each person's performance and demonstrate gratitude for his or her hard work. If online wine sales have recently skyrocketed due to a new social media campaign, acknowledge the team that put together and worked on executing the concept. Knowing that their work is appreciated can help them feel more valued. 

Make work fun 
Inc. noted that employees perform at their peak when they are enjoying themselves. Create a fun and creative atmosphere at work to promote your staff's productivity and loyalty to your business. 

Organize contests, events and dinners to help foster friendships and partnerships between coworkers. Send out a poll and ask what activities your staff would be interested in doing as a team and then make it happen.

Provide proper training and education 
Your employees should be knowledgeable about your winery and should receive regular updates and important industry news. Keep staff informed on new software, point of sale systems and winery website improvements or campaigns. Hold meetings and ask for input from everyone. They have valuable knowledge due to their interactions with customers and their individual experiences within the industry. Tap into that wealth of knowledge to improve your business practices. 

In addition to training your employees in the science of wine, it is also important to supply them with resources they can refer to as they begin learning about your winery. Keep organized folders or packets for new employees and encourage them to take notes, ask questions and study the information provided to them.

A staff that enjoys their job will not only produce quality work, but they will also ensure customers have a superior experience. This can generate customer loyalty and ultimately more profit. Invest in your employees' knowledge and their overall satisfaction and watch your winery's business improve as a result. 

Building a partnership with your employees and encouraging them to foster relationships with customers is essential. Fast Company noted that today's consumers don't want advertisements; they are more interested in personal interaction and close, continuous relationships.  Investing in your employees is the first step toward better customer relations.


WineDirect Blog: Millennials are the next Boom generation
17 February, 2015

Millennials are the next Boom generation

February 10, 2015 | Joe Waechter

When Baby Boomers had long hair and marched in the streets in protest of the Vietnam War and on behalf of Civil Rights, who knew that they would become the savvy wine buyers of today?  Wine wasn’t hip.  Wine wasn’t cool.

Fast forward to today.  The consumers buying wine today are those same long haired, pot smoking, idealistic folks who marched in the streets.  They are not only buying wine, but they lead the pack when it comes to premium wine sales. 

Who is the next Boom generation?   According to the Pew Research Center, Millennials – today’s 18 to 34 year olds, are projected to surpass the Baby Boom generation as the nation’s largest living generation.  The numbers are staggering, 75.3 million compared to the 74.9 million Baby Boomers and they outnumber Gen X’ers by nearly 25 million.

Millennials are the first generation in US history to have grown up with wine at the family dinner table. And the resulting shift in preferences is evident in the numbers:  a few years ago beer accounted for 59% of this age group’s purchases in the alcoholic beverage category. Today that number is twelve percentage points lower, while wine and spirits have increased in relative proportion.

At WineDirect, we continually review the consumer data that we pull from the online activities of our ecommerce customers.  What we found was that while the millennial consumers do not have the current buying power of Boomers, we have seen a gradual increase in sales volume and value.   During the last three years, Boomers consistently have made up slightly less than 50% of the buyers across all wineries.  Gen X’ers hover just over 30% of orders and revenue. 

While millennial buyers fall behind both of these groups in order volume and revenue, their numbers have gradually increased over the three years.  Is it wise to discount a group of people that are over 70 million strong?  They are just now shaping their tastes and represent an enormous opportunity for wineries. 

According to an article in Medical Daily, millennials are drinking more than any other group before them and many are choosing wine.  They are shaping their preferences and building relationships.   The consumption of Boomers will decrease due to an aging population; millennials are shaping up to be the next Boom generation.  Their buying power will increase and their numbers can’t be ignored. 

Millennials aren’t the leaders for buying premium wine today but they do represent the biggest opportunity for future growth.  Wineries should think about how they connect with these potential buyers.  The fact that they are constantly online and engaged in social media should not be ignored.  Unlike generations before them, millennials are choosing wine.  Connecting with this group now will pay benefits in the years to come.


WineDirect Blog: What make the top 20% of wineries so special?
15 January, 2015

WineDirect's President Andrew Kamphuis and VP of Sales Jim Agger spoke at the 2015 Direct to Consumer Wine Symposium yesterday.

Andrew's presentation was Three Proven Ways to Sell More Wine Online. In the fast paced ecommerce world, with competition everywhere, and high consumer expectations, how do you compete? With wine sales accelerating online direct to consumer, Andrew outlines what you should be doing now to increase DTC sales.

  • Email marketing outperforms search engine and social in conversions at a rate of 2.5%. Email works best when it provides consumers with real value.  Use a great subject line and have a single focus. Make sure the message is mobile friendly.
  • Use technology. Mobile use has grown 76% year-over-year.  To attract buyers, you need to have a great mobile site.  Action emails and text messaging are great ways to reach consumers who are always on their phones.
  • Improve the online user experience.  Have simple navigation, great images, and focus on the buyers’ needs.  Give them a reason to buy!

To see Andrew’s presentation in its entirety, click here.

Jim’s presentation was DTC Data: What You Can Learn from the Top 20%.  In his presentation, Jim reviews the actionable data that makes the top 20% who they are.

After analyzing the sales history data of the 1000+ Vin65 customers, we found that:

  • The top 20% have 5x more email contacts than the bottom 80%
  • If you’re in the top 20%, the average order is $100 more than the bottom 80%

In his presentation, Jim goes on to detail the three winning strategies to boost average order value:

  • Upsell
  • Shipping Incentives
  • Loyalty Programs

To learn the best practices that are enabling the top 20% to fast-track their way to online success, click here.  

 


Winedirect Automates Package Rerouting and Rescheduling and Launches Four Other Features to Improve the Delivery Experience for Wine Consumers
09 December, 2014

In partnership with UPS, WineDirect has released several new features to improve package visibility, shorten delivery times, and ultimately reduce the number of missed shipments and returns.

winedirectNapa, CA (December 9, 2014) – In an effort to help its winery customers build direct-to-consumer sales and drive repeat business, WineDirect has introduced five innovative new services.

The new additions will help wineries and online retailers improve the customer experience with tools allowing them to:

  • Offer world-class service and full visibility into package progress
  • Dramatically reduce the need for multiple delivery attempts and the disappointment associated with missed deliveries
  • Alleviate the financial and operational burden of returned shipments, and
  • Expedite delivery to core customers in Southern California during this critical time of year

“Through our strategic partnership with UPS, we’ve been able to achieve solid and measurable service improvements for our customers,” said Joe Waechter, WineDirect’s CEO.  “In short, we’re helping them Sell More Wine by using service as a differentiator.”

The list of features announced today includes:

Automated Package Reroutes

WineDirect is the first company in the wine industry and the only company other than Amazon to work with UPS to automate the package reroute process.  Due to the complexities involved in shipping wine, rerouting packages has historically been problematic. The new automated service allows winery DTC staff to respond much more quickly to customer requests to reroute shipments; resulting in successful deliveries, happier customers, and a reduction in costs associated with returned wine shipments.

Free Rescheduling of Deliveries via UPS My Choice®

WineDirect now offers free UPS My Choice® memberships to customers of its winery partners. Eleven million customers strong, the My Choice program has been shown to significantly reduce the need for multiple delivery attempts; resulting in an improved experience for package recipients.  With this service, consumers can login to UPS My Choice® and reschedule deliveries at no cost (the service normally costs $5 for My Choice members.)  Those customers can also take advantage of all other My Choice features that are available for wine shipments.

Expedited Delivery to Core Customers in Southern California

UPS has established a new transportation route which is exclusive to WineDirect. This new route enables delivery in one business day (formerly two) to a core market for wineries – Southern California. Last year alone, approximately 17% of shipments made by California wineries that fulfill with WineDirect were shipped to Southern California.

Delivery Alerts via Text (SMS) Messages

This exciting new service is available to wineries or online retailers who utilize the services of WineDirect’s ecommerce subsidiary, Vin65. Consumers who opt-in will automatically receive shipment updates via SMS message alerting them to pending deliveries or changes in package status. This important new service provides customers the advance notice they need in order to ensure they are home to sign for delivery. Even more importantly, it comes in the form of a text message, which is less likely to be overlooked than an email.

Advanced Shipment Visibility

Customers ordering online, via the wine club, or through the tasting room, will now receive beautifully branded email updates with links referring them back to their online accounts with the winery. There, they have the ability to login and view detailed tracking information without being redirected to a carrier website. The newly revamped emails and account management tools provide an additional marketing opportunity for the winery, with both upsell opportunities and processes for handling exceptions.

All of these new features are available immediately for customers of WineDirect and/or Vin65. For more information, please contact your Account Manager or a WineDirect sales representative.

More information:

  • Blog: www.winedirect.com/blog
  • Website: www.winedirect.com
  • Documentation: //documentation.winedirect.com/
  • Facebook: www.facebook.com/WineDirectCA
  • Twitter: https://twitter.com/WineDirect_CA

About WineDirect

WineDirect is the leader in winery direct sales, providing technology and services that enable wineries toSell More Wine Direct-to-Consumer. Headquartered in the Napa Valley, WineDirect offers a broad range of logistics solutions including a technology-driven fulfillment system, compliance tools and marketing programs that provide access to new markets and consumers. In addition, the company offers an ecommerce and wine club processing platform with integrated marketing capabilities, and an outbound sales team to help wineries grow their businesses profitably. Each of the company’s services is offered on a standalone basis or as part of an integrated, end-to-end solution. For further information, visit www.winedirect.com.


Andrew Kamphuis Promoted to President & COO of WineDirect; Joe Waechter Remains CEO
05 December, 2014

Napa, CA (December 4, 2014) – Joe Waechter, CEO of WineDirect, announced today that Andrew Kamphuis has been promoted to President & COO. In this expanded role, Andrew will be responsible for leading the company’s day to day activities; working closely with senior management to support client needs across all lines of business.

“I am very pleased that Andrew has accepted this new leadership position,” said Joe Waechter. “Andrew is an accomplished executive whose vision and technical expertise have helped position WineDirect for growth.  We’ve worked closely together over the past three years and I look forward to the coming year as we pursue some very important objectives for WineDirect.”

Under Joe’s leadership, WineDirect set out on a mission four years ago to provide a full suite of services to enable and drive Direct-to-Consumer (DTC) sales for wineries. Since that time, the company has evolved to become the industry’s only end-to-end platform; combining its existing fulfillment business with ecommerce, point-of-sale, telesales, compliance, and financial management tools to deliver a true “commerce as a service” experience.  That strategy has been successful and the company now supports more than 1,000 wineries in their efforts to build DTC sales. This organizational change will support the company’s sustained growth by allowing Joe to focus on its longer term strategic objectives.

Andrew joined WineDirect in 2012 with the acquisition of Vin65, the wine industry’s leading ecommerce platform and the company he founded. Since joining WineDirect, he has been instrumental in cementing the company’s position as the leading provider of DTC services for wineries.  The new title recognizes his growing responsibility within the company.

More Information

  • Website: www.winedirect.com
  • Facebook: www.facebook.com/WineDirectCA
  • Twitter: https://twitter.com/WineDirect_CA

About WineDirect     

WineDirect is the leader in winery direct sales, providing technology and services that enable wineries toSell More Wine Direct-to-Consumer. Headquartered in the Napa Valley, WineDirect offers a broad range of logistics solutions including a technology-driven fulfillment system, compliance tools and marketing programs that provide access to new markets and consumers. In addition, the company offers an ecommerce and wine club processing platform with integrated marketing capabilities, and an outbound sales team to help wineries grow their businesses profitably. Each of the company’s services is offered on a standalone basis or as part of an integrated, end-to-end solution. For further information, visit www.winedirect.com.


Visit us at the Trade Shows & Holiday Open House
03 November, 2014

Our October 2014 Newsletter is now available.

Featured: Upcoming Events

Be sure to stop by and see us at the January trade shows:

Direct to Consumer Wine Symposium
Where: The Concord Hilton Hotel
When: January 14th & 15th

Unified Wine & Grape Symposium
Where: Sacramento Convention Center
When: January 28th & 29th

 


What to Look for in a POS System
23 September, 2014

At the heart of any winery business operation is the point of sale system, which handles all transactions and payments between customers and wineries. A retail POS is a critical component of running the business, and having a system that runs transactions quickly and provides a great customer experience will help a winery develop stronger sales and a lasting relationship with the consumer. Of course there are certain things to look for with a POS solution, especially with the rise of the cloud and mobile devices. This new technology will prove handy over the long term.

Dependencies on complexities
There are various systems out there which a winery can use in any setting, all dependent on the needs of the business. For the most part, what will likely suffice is a single standalone terminal, sometimes referred to as an electronic cash register. According to InformationWeek, it's more viable since you're likely selling the wine from the same place that you do production and tasting. Another option is utilizing a linked network, where multiple terminals are connected to a single "primary" station. This option is a little more flexible and useful if you have a large enough operation to need multiple terminals on the premises.

A third option, the controller-based system, runs like a network, but the primary station is usually a computer that collects data, generates sales reports and stores inventory similar to an enterprise resource planning system. If you sell wine online, you can also record sales and optimize the experience by creating an omnichannel environment: one where both the physical side of the winery and the online wine store function together to create a single customer service experience.

Then, there is the matter of picking the hardware to run the terminal. There are various card readers and computer-based terminals that can be used for optimal sales. More recently, though, retailers are turning to mobile devices such as tablets and smartphones to deliver the same level of transactions in a much more personal way.  It also allows them to take the retail experience outside of the winery itself into places like wine-tasting events. Many of these devices use card readers attached via a dongle to complete transactions.

A good vintage of software
When using a tablet or computer-based POS solution, you may want to consider the software to install with it. There are a significant amount of software-based POS systems, so looking for something that works with your winery's needs is relatively easy. The main issue to consider is what features are available for use in transactions. Wine software can be a particularly useful tool, especially if you intend to sell direct-to-consumer both on-site and off-site, in order to properly handle state compliance laws.

More importantly, though, a critical feature that should be considered is where the software stores the data. Some solutions will store locally with a hub computer, which can be useful but inefficient. Many newer solutions serve as a software as a service, storing their data on the cloud. In this situation, wineries are able to access data anywhere they go on any device. This is particularly useful in an omnichannel situation, since you're able to find out which whites and which reds are getting more attention on the website at any given time. You can also find out what times of year are strongest for particular blends.

Along with this information, you'll want to know how you're securing your customers' data. There are options such as end-to-end encryption and tokenization, which provide different methods of completing the same result: keeping your transaction data and consumer's credit card information secure. A custom solution that takes into consideration all these options can make it much easier and more effective to sell wine to your patrons.


INFOGRAPHIC: Simplifying a Complex Compliance Experience
15 September, 2014

At first glance, shipping wine direct to consumers can be a daunting prospect: 51 jurisdictions, 51 sets of rules. Throw in licenses, fees, reports and taxes and a winery manager might be tempted to question the ROI for undertaking a consumer direct strategy. Such thinking would be a mistake, as a deeper look shows the regulatory landscape for direct shipments to consumers is not as frightening as it first appears, especially when set against the tremendous potential benefits of shipping direct to consumer.

To learn more click here.


Looking at the Statistics That Matter to Wineries
09 September, 2014

Wineries in today's industry have much to take into consideration for their businesses to grow. The factors vary in great degree but include the actual winemaking process, marketing, sales andwine shipping, among other lesser-known variables. When taking into account certain statistics, you gain insight on trends that might affect how you market and sell your merlot. Finding the right trends can make all the difference in helping your business thrive over the course of the year. Here are some important findings related to the industry, as well as marketing and commerce that can be important if you have an online wine store.

Hearing it through the grapevine
There have been some shifts in the wine industry, but for the most part it has been particularly healthy. According to Impact Databank as reported by Wine Spectator, the United States remained the largest wine market in the world, with a volume of 329 million cases sold and total revenue of $36.3 billion in 2013. American wineries dominated the market within the country with two-thirds of the market share and 57 percent in particular coming from the state of California. In terms of wine pricing, the current average price range spent on bottles of wine are between 9 and 12 dollars, but signs are indicating that Americans are spending more as a consequence of increased consumer spending.

In terms of demographics, there have been some significant shifts. While women still cover 55 percent of total market share, the number of men adopting wine over other alcoholic beverages has been rising over the last decade. Millennials, coming unto their own in the last few years, have supplanted Generation X as the second largest source of wine sales behind Baby Boomers and are likely to become the largest source in the coming decade.

The mobile is the message and cashier
With the demographic changes that are occurring, wine marketing has to adjust to the changing times. However, the shifts also extend to the way marketing is presented. According to WebDAM solutions, the Internet is fast becoming a major part of the ad market and is likely to have a 25 percent share by 2015. Part of this has much to do with the advent of mobile devices as a crucial component of everyday life.  Marketing consulting firm comScore reports that 4 out of 5 smartphone users shop with their phones. In addition, marketing on mobile devices is expected to generate $400 million in revenue. Given that a survey from iACQUIRE reports that 70 percent of all mobile searches lead to action within 1 hour, this means that any marketing you undertake must consider mobile devices as a channel.

Meanwhile, ecommerce is blooming like a good varietal. The U.S. Census Bureau's Quarterly Retail E-Commerce Sales Report reports that seasonally-adjusted sales have gone up to $75 billion for the second quarter of 2014. This is an increase of 4.9 percent from the first quarter, and up a significant 15.7 percent over the same period in 2013. Again, mobile devices are playing a decisive role, with Americommerce reporting that 79.5 million mobile users will buy something off their smartphone or tablet in 2014, the number growing to around 100 million in 2015. That will translate to 26 percent of all retail ecommerce sales by 2017, a market worth $220 billion. Small wineries may have a special advantage if they develop a means to sell wine online with these devices in mind: Only 30 percent of all small to midsize businesses with websites have mobile optimization in their design. These statistics suggest that wineries have much to gain from optimizing their marketing and commerce strategies.


Update Following Sunday's Earthquake
27 August, 2014

Late Monday afternoon we completed a full inspection of our warehouse in American Canyon and are very happy to report that damage was even less than our original estimate. We currently have well over 1 million bottles in inventory and of that, a very small percentage were broken (121 bottles in total.)

Our racking systems held up well. Of course they're engineered to withstand earthquakes, but you hope they never have to be tested the way they were this weekend.

Our thoughts are with all who have suffered damage. It's heart-warming to see our community coming together as it has to provide assistance to those who need it most - we're #NapaStrong.

The Napa Valley Vintners have provided a full listing of community resources HERE.

And the County of Napa has provided a listing of buildings that have reopened to the public HERE.

All the best from WineDirect


DTC Online Wine Sales are Booming, but Consumers Need to be Cautious
19 August, 2014

More states across America are allowing or voting about online wine sales in their communities and the direct-to-consumer wine market has taken off. Industry magazine DBR, showed that DTC Internet wine sales in 2013 topped out at $1.57 billion with a 9.3 percent year-on-year projection. DTC means wine is shipped directly from the producer to the consumer.

A recent Winestyr article explained just what DTC entails and how the consumer needs to have a keen understanding of how the market works. Many retail outlets are also offering a similar but not DTC mode of shipping, according to Winestyr.

Retail outlet wine sales and shipping is not DTC
While many consumers may not care about seemingly minor semantic technicalities, Winestyr said they should because retailers claiming to be DTC shippers are being disingenuous, at best and dishonest in the worst-case scenario. By using the term DTC, retailers are trying to show that they are authentic and provide a great quality product from a wizened wine grower. But because it's a retail operation, the company is misleading its customers, claimed the report.

How does a consumer know for sure?
It's all in the language and the fine print. For example, if a consumer is buying imported wine, under federal law it cannot come directly from the producer. Domestic wines often mention that they are produced and shipped by a particular winery on the label, which is a good indication of DTC authenticity, said Winestyr.

Benefits of DTC and online wine sales
A Demand Media report quoted by Chron, recently pointed out that DTC wine shipping actually helps with record-keeping because it effectively tracks all wine purchases and shipments made by the vendor. The software programs used also generate lead lists more easily and capture  more efficiently than in the past. This gives company officials accurate and concise data to help when they crunch numbers for budgetary or cost overrun concerns. Developing a simple plan is critical and  ensures that any telemarketing operations don't contact potential or active customers during the dinner hours,early in the morning or late at night.

Timing is key to establishing an effective DTC marketing strategy geared toward building and maintaining solid online wine sales for the company.


August Newsletter | Start Preparing for the Holidays Now
08 August, 2014

Click here to view our August Newsletter.


Online Wine Sales Forecast to Explode
05 August, 2014

With recent word that Amazon is planning to become a destination point for online wine sales, the company is believed to be on the verge of an explosion in sales. Bram Duchovnay, a senior executive with the Internet giant told the online publication, Beverage Daily, that the company thinks they can generate huge sales revenues in the consumables market. Being relatively new in the beverage game - they've only been offering wine since the end of 2012 - Duchovnay admits there's a lot they don't know but research and projections point to wine as an untapped area of focus for Amazon.

Amazon a new wine merchant?
While a number of companies are conducting online wine sales following the passage of legislation in several states allowing Internet wine sales and shipping, Amazon is uniquely positioned, said industry experts, to conduct a full-scale on-line beverage operation. Already involved deeply in wine marketing and sales, the company has researched a number of markets across the world and will likely delve into the online sale of spirits in the near future as well.

Cross shopping brings advantages
Because Amazon offers customers a cross-shopping experience where they search multiple product options, Duchovnay told Beverage Daily they can draw from people who normally wouldn't think about purchasing wine or spirits online and that tasting the product as one can at a wine shop or liquor store is overrated.

In Chicago, The Daily Herald recently talked of how consumers in that city are rapidly becoming comfortable with online wine sales as an alternative to going to the store. Shopping online can be fun, said the article, and joining a wine club is even more beneficial than neighborhood discount outlets. Both sources advised that consumers triple check their online purchases for vintage, label distribution to ensure the correct size before clicking the purchase link. Being informed before surfing and buying is critical for customers to receive what they thought they were buying.

For those who are looking for a specific or special vintage the online market has something for them as well. Many wine clubs and vendors, said the Daily Herald, can find a special wine for clients and ship it in minimal time. Each winery and wine club has their information posted on the company website so there should be no confusion but it's, 'Buyer Beware' when it comes to online purchasing. Do the research so you don't get sour grapes instead of that much heralded Pinot Noir you thought you were getting.

Reputable wine clubs and winery operations are willing to bend over backwards to please their customers. Make sure that's what you find when looking for great online wine.


The Bay State Allows Wine Shipments for the First Time
29 July, 2014

After years of parochial wrangling, the Massachusetts Legislature has passed a bill that will allow out-of-state winemakers and vintners to process online wine sales and ship it to the East Coast, but not without a cost. Not only does the taxing mentality of Beacon Hill lawmakers enter into the equation - winemakers must pay $300 just for a permit to do business in the Commonwealth - but a sales tax must be paid by the consumer. There's also an excise tax of 55 cents per gallon of wine that is paid by the wholesaler and passed on to the retail market.

Shipping protocols being established
According to the Boston Globe, wine shipping to the Bay State could face some difficult obstacles if the legislature and the Alcoholic Beverages Control Commission don't change some archaic fulfillment regulations that have been on the books since prohibition. Each truck that delivers wine is subject to a special permit and fee. In most states, said the Globe, one fee covers each shipping operation. In Massachusetts, shipping companies must pay the fee for each truck delivering alcohol, which could cause prospective shipping operations to opt out of delivering online purchased wine to customers. One lawmaker who sponsored the wine-shipping bill has now introduced legislation to eliminate the individual truck fee for a fleet-wide permit program. Current truck permitting fees, according to the source, are $200 dollars apiece and could push delivery charges very high.

Star-studded backing
Former New England Patriot quarterback, Drew Bledsoe, is a vineyard owner and winemaker from Washington State and he lobbied hard and effectively for the new law. He told Boston Magazine in a Tweet on social media that the news was gratifying.

"This is great news!" said Bledsoe. "[I'm] excited that we can start shipping in January."

January 1, 2015 is the first day wine shipping to Massachusetts can begin.

While the former gridiron star isn't taking any credit for the measure's passage, it is his lobbying effort last year that some have said was the final push. Bledsoe had testified that he couldn't ship samples of his product to friends and teammates, like Tom Brady, and he was hoping that would change.

"Tom actually bought the wine, and he shipped it to his dad's house (in California)," reported Bledsoe to the Associated Press, as quoted by NewsDaily. However, Brady never got to sample the wine. His father finished it off before the quarterback and his wife could arrive to taste it.

Legislature is pushing
Ted Speliotis is the state representative who authored the bill to allow shipping and is pursuing the measure to change the truck permitting. He told Boston Magazine that one license per shipping fleet as opposed to each truck is the way to go.

"I know there's some legislation here that I think is going to be coming to me out of the Ways and Means Committee. It would create a $3,500 fleet license rather than an individual license, and I am very supportive of that," explained Speliotis.

Massachusetts Governor, Deval Patrick, signed off on the measure contained in the FY 2015 budget, bringing the Bay State - rated the fourth highest consumer state in the nation's wine drinking archives - to the forefront of a new, money-making venture.

There is no word to date on whether the shipping measure will make it to a vote before the first of the year, but the Governor has indicated he would sign the bill, as well, should it make it to his desk..


4 Important Features for Your Mobile Wine Website
23 July, 2014

Your online wine store may have the attention of customers, giving them the choices on a particular vintage of merlot or chardonnay with decent shipping options. However, that only applies to people who use your regular Web store. What about the mobile version? Is it up to the same level of quality? Having great mobile ecommerce is incredibly important, especially given that tablets and smartphones combined are set to surpass regular PC ownership by 2015. At the same time, due to a smaller screen size and resolution and touch-based interface, getting your vintages to look good on mobile devices is a different blend from standard website design. Therefore, you should put some distinct effort into making your mobile site stand out and make wine impulse buys a common part in your sales. Here are some mobile site features that would work well with your store:

Direct and easy contact
As with any site, it is important to have contact information available somewhere on the site, in case something goes wrong with an order or if a customer has second thoughts about his or her purchase. Having that info out front is very useful, especially when it comes to wine of any kind. With mobile, you can take things a step further, according to ActiveMobi. Because they are likely looking at the site from a smartphone, consumers should be able to call the winery directly about their orders using a click-to-call feature on the contact page. Merchants can take it a step further by adding a click-to-SMS feature, which is great for younger buyers who prefer texting over talking.


Geolocation to determine shipping
Shipping matters greatly when selling wine. After all, unlike other products, you can't offer free shipping to customers. The fragility of the wine bottles makes shipping a bottle a delicate and complex matter. Therefore it is important to know where your buyers are so that they can getting an accurate estimate on how much it will cost to get that riesling to their home. While entering their zip code on the product page to get an exact estimate can be useful when they're away from home, a better idea is to have them tap a button that determines shipping cost by using geolocation on the phone, as suggested by Smart Insights. This minor addition to your mobile site can save a lot of hassles on the part of consumers who don't want to spend time remembering and inputting their ZIP.


Buttons as big as a cork
OK, maybe your buttons don't need to be that big. But it is critical to remember that touch-based interfaces are the standard with tablets and smartphones. The emphasis on tapping means that unlike using a mouse, touchscreens need everything to be large to be both readable and interactive with the user. Even on a product page, you should take great care that your buttons are actually big enough to be pressed. When buttons are a struggle to tap, it ruins the customer's experience and may put them off from buying a case of sauvignon vert. According to ActiveMobi, a good range for button size is 45-57 pixels.


Images and video over text
While your product descriptions and recommendations may be a fine piece of work, they are going to be hard to read on a smartphone, not to mention tedious. Small screens mean you need to deliver detail in a more compressed space, something text cannot provide even in the most concise terms.It's critical that your product pages are optimized for media use, Smart Insights recommends. That includes easy-to-navigate image galleries, as well as video in lieu of text descriptions if possible. With those features, your customers will be able more easily decide whether or not they want your products.


Online Wine Stores Should be Mobile
15 July, 2014

Here's an interesting scenario: Say you sell your wines to a restaurant in another part of the country. One bottle of your Riesling is served with a fruit tart, and the restaurant patron is impressed with the wine. They inquire about it, and hear that you're the winery that sells it. He or she takes out a smartphone, goes to your site to look it up and discovers that you have a store where you sell it. What happens then? Will potential customers see an online wine store that was designed on a computer for a computer and thus look messy and unsuited for the small screens of phones and tablets, thus waiting to get home before they look it up again only to forget about it? Or will they see a well-designed site tailored for mobile devices with all the functionality of the regular  website — complete with product descriptions and multiple shipping options — and purchase a bottle or two?

This scenario is not all together unrealistic. Customers are increasingly using their mobile devices in place of their computers for everything from checking on news stories to finding out what song they just heard at a cafe. More importantly, they're using their smartphones and tablets to shop for anything and everything. Wineries need to pay attention to this new development in retail because it presents an opportunity for them to develop effective ecommerce solutions that mean getting your lines out there in faster and more efficient ways.

Mobile is the future
Directing your energies to mobile is increasingly important in online retail and ecommerce in general. Consider this: According to In Stat, before the end of 2015, there will be more mobile devices using the Internet in America than PCs. That alone should indicate the need for mobile version of your store. But more importantly, phones and tablets cater extremely well to impulse buying: More than 50 percent do a mobile search of a specific product because they want it as soon as possible, as reported by eMarketer.

Mobile customers also interact on the Web in a different way that allows your site to earn more money. Marketing expert Ian Mills writes in a column for the Huffington Post that the ability to buy things without even having to move anywhere makes it far easier for mobile users to purchase them on a whim. As a consequence, phone and tablet users spend more money and get more things per transaction than desktop or laptop users. A mobile store is thus more likely to bring in more money than a regular Web store.

A page you can fit on a label
Of course, mobile Web design is different from regular site design. It means creating pages for small screens, including resolutions that were standard in the 1990s. Mills points out that without a site design that works for smartphones or tablets, customers are more likely to skip shopping and therefore will miss key means to purchase that bottle of Merlot they were eyeing. One consideration to solve this problem is to make the site more image-intensive and less filled with text, keeping product descriptions short and sweet. In addition, Smart Insights notes that many users will likely hesitate pulling out their wallets for a purchase and might find remembering their 16-digit credit card number and three-digit CVV number a bit annoying. With this in mind, it's ideal to consider alternative payment methods such as PayPal where customers just enter their details and send money that way. A proper site design will lead to greater sales and more customers, including impulse buyers at restaurants.


4 Tips for Your Online Wine Store
17 June, 2014

Direct-to-consumer sales provide you with an avenue to sell more wine, and many of these transactions are taking place online. While it may seem easy to sell wine online, a lot goes into running a successful store and effectively extending your brand to your website. Whether you're opening an online wine store for the first time or looking to make improvements to your site, there are some things you can do to ensure you increase sales:

1. Make special offers to loyal customers
Whether it's your wine club or returning customers who have registered for an account on your website, exclusive offers can increase online wine sales, according to Practical Ecommerce. Special benefits can make customers feel more satisfied and thus loyal to your business. However, you need to have an in-depth understanding of your customer segments to identify relevant offers.

2. Write compelling product descriptions
This is especially relevant if you're just getting started with an online wine store, but you can also reassess existing product pages to drive effectiveness. Descriptions should be easy to digest. Bullet points often work well. Shopify recommends that you hone in on what's important to your target audience and avoid generic phrases like "excellent product quality." This type of wording can make your descriptions less persuasive. In fact, the article notes that Zappos describes the technical details and benefits of the shoes it sells rather than discussing quality. Similarly, if you're going to use superlatives, make sure you follow it up with a reason.

3. Set goals and keep KPIs in mind
It's hard to make improvements to your online store if you don't know how it's working now. Key performance indicators can provide insight into the success of your wine store and help you define goals, according to a separate article from Shopify. Rather than getting distracting by measuring too many variables at once, it's a better idea to focus on a few important metrics. Conversion rates and shopping cart abandonment rates are good places to start improving sales.

4. Create opportunities for repeat sales
Ideally, once you convert customers, they will return to your store again and again. However, there are many moving parts in any ecommerce operation, and it can make success more difficult. Even if your website offers a high-quality customer experience, slow fulfillment or problems with wine shipping can cause people not to buy wine online from you again. Giving customers multiple options in your online wine store can ensure that they complete the purchase and want to buy again. For example, many shoppers don't like being forced to register to complete the purchase. Adding a guest checkout option can accommodate customers who don't want an account. Multiple choices for shipping can improve customer satisfaction as well. Additionally, it should be easy to get in touch with someone from your winery if problems do arise. Even though the transaction is occurring online, solid customer service is still critical for a good experience. 

Contact a sales representative to learn more about how WineDirect's ecommerce solutions can help you boost sales.


WineDirect Compliance-- A Better Way
11 June, 2014

Let’s not kid ourselves, for most wineries compliance is an afterthought.  It’s certainly not why you got into the wine business.  Still, having a winery license creates obligations to go along with your license privileges.  Compliance is simply the process of following the rules that come with those obligations.  It’s the grease that keeps the wheels of your sales efforts spinning; connected to everything you do in a highly regulated industry.  Despite this, compliance is often treated as separate…and inefficient.

We created WineDirect Compliance, our direct-to-consumer compliance software service, as a reflection of the connectedness of compliance to all that you do.  WineDirect Compliance is simple, easy, and designed to support your commerce and fulfillment activities.  It is not a separate, disconnected platform.  It is not an order management system.  Rather, it is a part of the WineDirect solution, connecting the Vin65 Commerce and WineDirect Fulfillment software systems, allowing you to manage your customers and their order activity in the software platform where order management belongs.

Connectivity creates a seamless order processing system, with each platform performing its designated tasks, eliminating multiple-entry of customer, product and order data to create efficiencies by reducing data entry redundancy.  The WineDirect solution does this all while WineDirect Compliance accurately –

  • Checks order compliance status in “real-time” at checkout to assure they conform to the direct shipping rules of each state before you ship,
  • Monitors order status through the fulfillment process, and
  • Prepares the tax and shipment reports you need to keep your business in good standing with every direct shipment state with just the click of a button.

WineDirect Compliance is the better way to stay compliant.  Easy.  Efficient.  Accurate.  Connecting the WineDirect solution to allow you to do what you do best – SELL MORE WINE!

To start your free trial today, click HERE.


Increase Online Wine Sales by Improving the Wine Shipping Experience
04 June, 2014

Cost-effective ecommerce fulfillment is becoming a higher priority for customers. Many retailers are rushing to offer free shipping, which means wineries may need to find new ways to engage with online shoppers. In fact, recent research from comScore revealed that orders with free shipping reached 58 percent of overall purchases in the first quarter of 2014, which is an all-time high for the non-holiday season, according to Business Insider. This is a 10 percent increase from last year. 

In the fourth quarter of 2013, 67 percent of all orders included free shipping, the research stated. Cost-effective deliveries are increasingly becoming expected by customers, so you may need to assess your wine shipping offerings to provide a better service for shoppers. 

High-quality fulfillment doesn't just stop at offering the most affordable choice
While cost-effective shipping for online orders is certainly important, it shouldn't come at the expense of speedy shipments. Major retailers like Amazon are piloting ways to offer a combination of both aspects, GeekWire reported. Amazon and Google are launching grocery delivery services that allow customers to receive necessities on the same day. Amazon Fresh is closely tied to the company's Prime service. Subscribers can receive orders for $5.99, no matter how many items the order contains, according to The Los Angeles Times. Non-subscribers pay a base price of $9.98 per order for the first item and 99 cents for each additional item.

Even though it may not seem like something your winery needs to be concerned about, major retailers are redefining consumer expectations across the ecommerce industry. When companies like Amazon and eBay can offer same- or two-day shipping at a low price, your winery's customers won't want to wait around for their orders show up or pay hefty additional fees. However, it can be difficult to update your shipping capabilities because offering lower prices to customers may mean you have to absorb some of the costs. However, there are some ways to increase profitability while cutting costs.

How to increase online wine sales 
One of the key ways to offer reduced wine shipping costs to customers without raising your business expenses is to offer discounts with an upsell, according to Econsultancy. This also increases your average order value at the same time. Consumers are so driven by finding the most affordable shipping option, they may be willing to add an extra item to their carts to receive a lower rate. The article notes that the relative price is more significant to consumers than the actual total.

Look at it this way: If consumers have the choice of buying two bottles of wine and paying a flat rate or adding an additional bottle for a discounted shipping fee, they are getting an extra product. Even though the order total may be slightly more, they will receive something tangible, which provides more value for the customer. Shoppers will leave the transaction feeling more satisfied, and you can benefit from the increase in sales. 

Contact a sales representative to learn more about how WineDirect's fulfillment solutions can accommodate the complex needs of your winery.


Are you susceptible to these DTC myths?
27 May, 2014

Direct-to-consumer sales are a great way to increase revenue, and your winery should pursue this opportunity. However, there are a number of wine marketing myths floating around the industry. Here is a list of DTC and marketing that will make you think twice once you've read them:

1. You should be targeting millennials
While millennials are likely to shop online and are starting to develop a taste for wine, this age group doesn't have the spending power to buy premium wines, North Bay Business Journal stated. This generation is spending less on wine, which means they may not be willing to incur high shipping costs.

2. Wine sells itself
While you don't need to spend a lot on social media or print advertising to sell wine online, you do need to employ some marketing strategies to get people to purchase, according to a presentation from Balzac Communications and Marketing. Email is a great tool for wineries. Social media may not be the best technique to reach your target audience, especially if you cater to baby boomers. Although many wineries don't have a firm marketing strategy, this is important for attracting new business.

3. Aggressive discounts are the only way to convince people to buy wine online
Wine is a premium commodity, and if you think you need to slash prices or offer "buy one, get one" deals to attract sales, you could be losing revenue. For example, if you offer bottles at half off, you need to sell twice as much wine to break even, which doesn't lead to profitability, North Bay Business Journal said. Not only does this approach make it harder for you to grow revenue, but it can hurt the value of your brand and teach customers that they should expect a deal every time they buy. Here are two ways to make more DTC sales without discounting:

  • Create a sense of urgency:Change your wording, not your prices. Marketing language, such as "exclusive," "wine club favorite" and "limited run," can cause consumers to take action so they don't miss out on a great wine.
  • Offer shipping incentives instead of price discounts: Because wine shipping can be costly for customers in other parts of the country, being able to add items to an order in exchange for a significant fulfillment discount can encourage people to spend slightly more. Several studies have indicated that this is a more attractive offer than a straightforward item discount.

4. People spend more at wineries when they visit
Citing data from the "2012 Napa Valley Visitor" report, North Bay Business Journal said the average Wine Country visitor spends $485.87 per day during their trips. While this may seem like a huge sales opportunity for wineries, most of this expense is likely from travel and lodging. The average visitor only spends around $40 on wine and visits four wineries per day. Although people may not buy wine from you right away, you can create future opportunities if customers have a great experience in your tasting room. Ask visitors for their phone numbers or email addresses so you can get in touch at a later time. 

5. Run exclusive shipping included promotions with no minimum can help you sell more
Shipping-included promotions are highly effective, but when wineries use marketing messages that advertise this offering with no minimum sale or a low threshold, customers will simply wait to buy until this opportunity arises, a separate article for North Bay Business Journal stated. This approach doesn't help you grow DTC sales, and it can increase your shipping expenses. It may be better to establish shipping incentives for orders of a particular size. Customers who are close to this threshold will likely add an extra bottle to qualify. 

Contact a sales representative to learn more about how WineDirect's ecommerce solutions can help you boost online sales. 


Customer Experience Needs to be a Top Priority for Wineries
13 February, 2014

High-quality customer service is no longer an optional aspect of your online wine store. Consumers have significantly higher expectations for their experience with retailers, and this extends to the Internet. To maximize the potential of your online wine sales, you need to consider the customer experience you're offering and make improvements if necessary.

Consumer-facing businesses need to go out of their way to impress customers, according to McKinsey & Company. As expectations rise, brand loyalty is sharply decreasing. The group analyzed data from more 60,000 consumers and found satisfaction levels with television providers have dropped 20 percent in the past five years. Businesses that were viewed as mediocre when it came to customer experience saw levels of loyalty 30 percent lower than brands that wow their clients. Customers are more empowered than ever, and they have more channels to voice their displeasure if they have a bad experience. Brands need to step up. There is good news, though. Companies that make the effort to satisfy customers can see the benefits of increased loyalty and sales.

Read the full article


Wine Shipping that Makes Cents
21 January, 2014

Napa, CA (January 21, 2014) – WineDirect and subsidiary company Vin65, leaders in winery Direct-to-Consumer sales, are launching an exclusive new membership program, 46Brix. For an annual fee of only $79, members can get their ground shipping covered for as many orders of two or more bottles of wine as they would like from all participating wineries. Usually cost prohibitive, wine lovers can receive shipments from their favorite winemakers without worrying about the shipping expenses.

Here's how it works:
1. Shop online at a participating winery website
2. Select 46Brix during checkout or enroll on the winery website for $79 per year.
3. Enjoy complimentary shipping for a full year from an expanding list of wineries.

It's that easy! For wine collectors and event planners, the membership fee can pay for itself in about four shipments. This can allow you to order more wine without breaking the bank. Other wine lovers can purchase limited vintages they can't find in stores directly from the winery and start building their collections. The more you shop online, the more you save, and 46Brix isn't limited to just one winery - you can buy from any winery involved in the program.

"Most online wine buyers today are shopping from several different wineries. We make it much easier to buy direct from the winery while saving on shipping at the same time," said Joe Waechter, CEO of WineDirect. "Customers can purchase from a growing collection of wineries and continue to support the vintners."

The benefits of 46Brix aren't just limited to consumers - they're great for wineries too
Exclusive to Vin65 customers, 46Brix can help wineries encourage a higher number of online sales and boost long-term customer loyalty. Discounted shipping plays heavily into a customer's choice to buy online rather than from a brick-and-mortar store. In fact, as many as 90 percent of online shoppers say reduced shipping factors into their decisions. This program can help winemakers reach a new audience beyond their wine clubs and grow sales because of the benefits 46Brix provides to consumers. Without the restrictive costs of shipping wine across the country, wine lovers can make more frequent purchases. Participation can drive traffic to the tasting room. 

For wineries interested in participating in 46Brix please contact:
Tiffany Copland
tiffany.copland@winedirect.com
707-603-4024 

About WineDirect
WineDirect is a leader in winery direct sales, providing technology and services that enable wineries to sell more wine through Direct-to-Consumer channels. Headquartered in the Napa Valley, WineDirect offers a broad range of logistics solutions including a technology-driven fulfillment system, compliance tools and marketing programs that provide access to new markets and consumers. In addition, the company offers an eCommerce and wine club processing platform with integrated marketing capabilities and telesales services to help wineries grow their businesses profitably. Each of the company's services is offered on a standalone basis or as part of an integrated, end-to-end solution. For further information, visit www.winedirect.com.

About Vin65
Vin65 is the leading provider of eCommerce and POS solutions to wineries and wine retailers. The Vin65 platform has received attention from wine technology thought leaders and technology savvy wineries for its ability to drive innovation in the wine Direct-to-Consumer space. The platform includes: e-commerce, POS systems, wine club, content management, customer relationship management and mobile ecommerce all tailored for the wine industry.

For more information, call 1-866-852-8140 or visit www.vin65.com 


Cloud-based Access to Telesales Activity Delivers Unparalleled Visibility for Wineries
20 January, 2014

WineDirect Outbound utilizes Vin65 platform to provide complete visibility for wineries and sales reps alike

Napa, CA, January 20, 2014 - WineDirect Outbound (formerly Call for Wine) announces a full deployment of their campaign tools on sister company Vin65 technology, delivering both winery employees and telesales representatives cloud-based visibility into all customer information and call history.

This cloud-based software allows each telesales representative to maximize his or her efforts, resulting in increased sales, streamlined operations, and improved customer satisfaction. At the same time, winery personnel have unparalleled visibility into all customer interactions.

Key Benefits

  • Wineries have full real-time visibility into each customer’s call history with WineDirect Outbound. That information becomes part of the customer record.
  • Orders flow directly into the OMS and are promptly processed, with no need for re-keying of data by winery employees.
  • Live inventory counts eliminate the possibility of overselling.
  • With this new technology, winery staff and WineDirect Outbound can now work hand-in-hand on campaign planning, forecasting and execution.
  • The integration allows for rapid communication between winery staff and sales representatives.
  • Credit cards can be pre-authorized or processed in real time, preventing the need for a customer call back.

Features for Wineries

All calls are logged in the winery’s CRM, providing a view into which sales representatives are calling which customers on any given day.  

  • Purchase history, notes, and activity logs are all available in real time.  
  • Each customer record includes complete call details

“At-a-glance” reports include both aggregate and campaign level detail.

  • Aggregate reports show campaign, sales rep, and call performance.
  • Campaign level reports show both sales representative performance and overall sales for a specific campaign, allowing the winery to easily measure effectiveness.

Product and campaign setup are managed in the Vin65 OMS.

  • The Vin65 List Builder tool is used to set up campaigns, providing access to previous order data, club data, call responsiveness, or any information captured via web forms.  
  • Products and pricing are updated in real time through the Vin65 OMS.
  • Any changes made by sales reps, whether to products, orders or customer records, are logged and can be viewed by the winery.

Features for Sales Reps

  • When placing calls, sales reps have access to all customer data, including club memberships, previous purchases, favorite products, and social media activity.
  • Sales reps can authorize the credit card and check both inventory and compliance while on the phone. Orders can be held for winery review or processed immediately.
  • Sales reps have a seamless connection to the winery team, allowing them to access customer notes, preferences, and contact history.

“There is nothing more effective than maintaining close contact with your customers. But it’s equally important to ensure a seamless experience between all touch points,” said Terry Hegarty, General Manager of WineDirect Outbound. “Real time access to call data provides WineDirect Outbound and our winery clients the opportunity to fine tune campaigns and maximize results”.

In short, WineDirect Outbound and Vin65 provide the marketing tools and customer relationship management (CRM) features needed to effectively manage a winery’s Direct-to-Consumer sales in one easy-to-use system.

About Vin65

Vin65 is the leading provider of eCommerce and POS solutions to wineries and wine retailers. The Vin65 platform has received attention from wine technology thought leaders and technology savvy wineries for its ability to drive innovation in the wine Direct-to-Consumer space. The platform includes: eCommerce, POS systems, wine club, content management, customer relationship management and mobile eCommerce all tailored for the wine industry.  

Blog: www.vin65.com/blog
Website: www.vin65.com
Facebook: www .facebook.com/Vin65
Twitter: www.twitter.com/vin65team


About WineDirect

WineDirect is a leader in winery direct sales, providing technology and services that enable wineries to sell more wine through Direct-to-Consumer channels. Headquartered in the Napa Valley, WineDirect offers a broad range of logistics solutions including a technology driven fulfillment system, compliance tools, and marketing programs which provide access to new markets and consumers. In addition, the company offers an eCommerce and wine club processing platform with integrated marketing capabilities, and telesales services to help wineries grow their businesses profitably. Each of the company’s services is offered on a standalone basis, or as part of an integrated, end-to-end solution.

Blog: www.winedirect.com/blog
Website: www.winedirect.com
Facebook: www.facebook.com/WineDirectCA
Twitter: www.twitter.com/WineDirect_CA

# # #

Contact

Terry Hegarty
WineDirect Outbound
510.250.6310


Wine trends to watch in 2014
30 December, 2013

Whether 2013 was a good year for your winery or you're looking forward to better prospects in 2014, it's time to start preparing now. Maybe you already have some resolutions for January. With a number of new trends set to emerge next year, you may need to reassess your wine marketing strategies. Here are some developments to watch in the next year:

  1. Wine consumption is set to increase In 2013, Morgan Stanley released a report that predicted inadequate global supplies of wine, sending many wine enthusiasts into a panic. Industry experts have disputed these findings, especially after a large California harvest, and this may have had the ultimate effect of driving up wine sales, according to Wine-Search. In fact, 2013 could be the wine industry's 20th consecutive year of growth - in spite of the recent recession.

    But higher wine sales aren't guaranteed, especially with legitimate competitors emerging in the market in the form of  ... click here to read the full article.

Pair wine marketing with social media for greater online visibility
10 December, 2013

Many wineries have been skeptical about the power of these channels for wine marketing, but they can help you build lasting relationships with customers and ultimately increase direct-to-consumer sales. However, many wineries have been reluctant to implement social media into their existing marketing mixes. 

Why are wine and social media a good fit?


The Direct Line
03 December, 2013

Our December Newsletter is now available.

Follow this link: http://us2.campaign-archive2.com/?u=52c7dccb77943855a29864af7&id=564320c26a&e=1ef84c036b


Jet Reports and WineDirect Present: Business Intelligence (BI) for Wineries
11 November, 2013

Learn what “BI” really is, how it’s different from reporting, and how you can use it to discover trends in your business instantly.

Imagine being able to instantly see your Sales Analysis by Product Group, Sales Analysis by Channel, Inventory Quantity Available Analysis, or Profitability by Sales Channel. All on demand. All in Excel.

 Click this link to learn more: http://www.winedirect.com/About-Us/Events/Webinar-Business-Intelligence-and-Reporting


Join us October 4th for our grand opening of our new fulfillment and warehouse operation in Paso Robles
24 September, 2013

We have been working all summer to make our facility at 2758 Danley Court in Paso Robles a premier central coast facility.  More importantly, we are ready for our clients' shipping needs during this important time of the year.

Here are a few highlights and benefits about the new location and operation:  Strategic Paso Robles location - easy access and convenience (highway 46 east/highway 101) for wineries and carriers of the central coast essential for next day California delivery.

  • Modern Adobe/concrete construction for maintaining consistent and ambient wine cellar temperatures.
  • Warehouse design is maximized to manage wine club and ecommerce fulfillment with short term warehousing space.
  • Technologically enhanced to meet the requirements of paperless warehouse environment.

Our launch would not be complete without mentioning our dedicated staff and their relentless pursuit of excellence in customer service.  They bring a level of dedication and enthusiasm that will create a new standard not yet achieved in the central coast.

We would like to invite you to our open house on October 4 to see our new facility and personally meet the folks making a difference.  Click here to RSVP!


Want to increase Wine Club retention and decrease Credit Card declines? Simple, call your club members….
30 August, 2013

There are two challenges that I hear consistently from wine club managers:   Wine club retention and declined credit cards when running the club batch.  I have heard statistics anywhere from 5% to 30% declines when processing the club shipments.  Not only do you lose that potential shipment but you lose the customer if you don’t get this taken care of immediately.  As long as their card is good, the more likely they are to stay in the club.  Here are a few ideas on how to keep declines down and membership retention up.

Be proactive by calling your club members:

  • Build a better relationship and keep members engaged with your wines.
  • Make sure ALL their information is up to date.  Billing and shipping addresses (because people move), email addresses, phone numbers, and yes, credit card information changes.  This is a great opportunity to stay ahead of it.
  • Great opportunities to help them get stocked up and buy more wine, not to mention get introduced to other wines in your portfolio.  
  • Great opportunity to invite your local customers to come in and visit– Show them a little love; create a pickup party or special event, particularly during tasting room slow season to strengthen the customer bond so they want to stay in the club
  • Worried about calling them at dinner?  Guess what people do at dinner?  They drink your wine!  Nothing better than catching someone in the middle of drinking your wine.  Guess what they do?  They are happy and they buy more!
  • Customers are busy and they won’t always remember to call and update their information.  Make it easy on your customers and call them.
  • Finally, customers like to hear from you.  They want the personal relationship with the winery.  For wineries, it’s a lifestyle they live every day, but for the consumer it’s a luxury and they eat it up.

If you have to be reactive:

  • Get calling the minute you know the credit card is declined – The longer you sit on it the less likely you are to get them back.
  • Call former members and non-members and introduce them to the club, its features and benefits
  • If it’s too big a project, Call for Wine is definitely here to help.  We typically complete      these types of projects within 7 to 10 business days from when a card is declined.  We average a 50% - 60% reengagement rate.  

Final thoughts:

  • Be prepared with a structured script so you know what to say when you call.
  • Make the call fun, friendly and informative.
  • If you don’t call your customers there is a chance other wineries are – because customers buy from multiple wineries.

WineDirect Announces Acquisition of Winery Accounting and POS Provider, Elypsis
21 August, 2013

Acquisition further strengthens WineDirect’s suite of services

Napa, CA - Direct sales technology and fulfillment services provider WineDirect announced today that it has acquired Elypsis Winery from Admiral IT.  Elypsis offers a range of services which encompass Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP), Point-of-Sale (POS) and Customer Relationship Management (CRM).  The acquisition supports WineDirect’s promise to empower wineries to sell more wine Direct-to-Consumer through an innovative suite of technology and services which includes everything from online sales, financial management, and call center solutions through shipment to the customer’s doorstep.

Elypsis first introduced software solutions for wineries in 2000, building long standing relationships with many of the industry’s leading wineries. Those customers will now have access to all of WineDirect’s services with the benefits of managing everything in one place.

With the addition of these services WineDirect now offers a full set of products and services to streamline the DTC order lifecycle for wineries.

  • A complete ERP suite tailored specifically for the wine industry and based on Microsoft Dynamics NAV to enable end-to-end business processes, including financial management, sales distribution, accounting and inventory management, business intelligence, and reporting.
  • A complete tasting room Point-of-Sale solution based on Microsoft Dynamics Retail Management System (RMS) as well as mobile POS solutions for the iPhone and iPad powered by WineDirect subsidiary Vin65.
  • A comprehensive wine eCommerce platform designed to drive online growth, including shopping cart, wine club management, mobile solutions, email marketing tools, and Facebook commerce.
  • Call center services to support everything from outbound telesales to inbound customer service and database hygiene.
  • Industry leading fulfillment technology which includes 24/7 online access to fulfillment operations, a 2-3 day bi-coastal shipping network and advanced temperature controlled solutions.

"This is a great time to partner with an innovative company like WineDirect, with whom we share a vision for continuing to support our customers in their efforts to improve operations,” said Harvey Grant, founder of Elypsis.  “We look forward to jointly helping wineries drive growth.”

 “Our vision is to offer wineries a unique ‘one-stop-shop’ for their Direct-to-Consumer technology needs, which in turn allows them to improve operational efficiency and customer service,” said Joe Waechter, President & CEO of WineDirect.  “We offer customers a scalable and feature-rich DTC platform and confidence in knowing their eCommerce, POS, order fulfillment, and ERP will continue to work seamlessly in the future.”

 About WineDirect

WineDirect is a leader in winery direct sales, providing technology and services that enable wineries to sell more wine through Direct-to-Consumer channels. Headquartered in the Napa Valley, WineDirect offers a broad range of logistics solutions including a technology driven fulfillment system, compliance tools, and marketplace partnerships which provide access to new markets and consumers. In addition, the company offers an eCommerce and wine club processing platform with integrated marketing capabilities, and telesales services to help wineries grow their businesses profitably. Each of the company’s services is offered on a standalone basis, or as part of an integrated, end-to-end solution. For further information, visit www.winedirect.com.

Blog: www.winedirect.com/blog

Website: www.winedirect.com

Facebook: www.facebook.com/WineDirectCA

Twitter: www.twitter.com/WineDirect_CA

 

# # #

Contact

Sheri Hebbeln

WineDirect

707.603.4038


Telesales Tips for (S)OND
13 August, 2013

July is over and the holidays will be here before you know it. Most wineries speak of OND (October, November and December) but at Call for Wine, it starts the day after Labor Day, September 3rd.  We refer to it as SOND. 


Call for Wine, a WineDirect Company, Opens Second Location in Napa
07 August, 2013

Provides winery customers easier and better access to their customer relationship managers

Napa, CA –August 7, 2013. On July 22nd, Call for Wine added a second location in WineDirect’s Napa headquarters location.  The expansion into Napa brings some of Call for Wine’s sales representatives and their special brand of outbound hospitality closer to wine country. With this move, Call for Wine is also adding new representatives to its customer management team in support of its growing winery Direct-to-Consumer business.

Serving customers through a special relationship-based approach, Call for Wine has been operating in Oakland for nearly ten years. They are dedicated to the mission of helping wineries build brands and maximize returns through the Direct-to-Consumer channel.
This second location in Napa benefits Call for Wine customers in several ways:

•    It allows them to conduct more frequent training sessions, in which Call for Wine representatives are fully immersed in the history, stories, culture, and products of the wineries they represent. Call for Wine agents effectively serve as an extension of the winery and this knowledge is a critical component of that experience. It’s this immersion that helps Call for Wine agents deliver a more authentic experience to the customers of its winery clientele.
•    The closer proximity means Call for Wine agents are in a better position to spend more time with and fully understand the needs of its winery customers. Customers can now meet with Call for Wine prior to each and every campaign they run.
•    When adding new customer management representatives, Call for Wine can tap into a plethora of knowledgeable wine industry veterans.
•    The close proximity to parent company WineDirect means that customers have an opportunity to learn more about how Call for Wine and WineDirect help wineries Sell More Wine. Call for Wine is a perfect complement to WineDirect’s suite of direct sales tools.  Personal calls to club members, tasting room visitors, and others familiar with the winery are one of the most effective methods for selling wine.  
Call for Wine specializes in both outbound and inbound call center services for the wine industry, including:
•    Database management and organization
•    Database cleanup and hygiene, and
•    Reporting with dashboard views

“We continue to see strength in demand for the services we provide, so this expansion into Napa is particularly exciting for all of us at Call for Wine”, said Mark Parton, VP Telesales at WineDirect and Founder of Call for Wine.

“Bringing Call for Wine closer to home is in keeping with WineDirect’s commitment to providing wineries with easy access to the products and services they need to grow their direct sales.” 
 
About Call for Wine
Founded in 2004, Call for Wine helps wineries Sell More Wine via Direct-to-Consumer Telesales. The company maintains a team of inside sales professionals committed to helping clients gain success in building brand awareness and maximizing returns by capitalizing on the Direct-to-Consumer sales channel. Whether wineries need a dedicated outbound Direct-to-Consumer inside sales team or a skilled inbound customer service network, Call for Wine can plan, implement and manage compliant telemarketing projects and complete contact strategies. For more information on Call for Wine telesales programs and services, visit www.callforwine.com.

Check out Mark's recent blog post here:

About WineDirect
WineDirect is a leader in winery direct sales, providing technology and services that enable wineries to sell more wine through Direct-to-Consumer channels. Headquartered in the Napa Valley, WineDirect offers a broad range of logistics solutions including a technology driven fulfillment system, compliance tools, and marketplace partnerships which provide access to new markets and consumers. In addition, the company offers an eCommerce and wine club processing platform with integrated marketing capabilities, and telesales services to help wineries grow their businesses profitably. Each of the company’s services is offered on a standalone basis, or as part of an integrated, end-to-end solution. For further information, visit WineDirect.com.

Blog: www.winedirect.com/blog/Call-for-Wine-Expanding-to-Napa
Website: www.winedirect.com
RSS Feed:  feeds.feedburner.com/winedirect
Facebook: www.facebook.com/WineDirectCA
Twitter: twitter.com/WineDirect_CA

###
Contact
Sheri Hebbeln
WineDirect
sheri.hebbeln@winedirect.com

Mark Parton
Call for Wine
mark@callforwine.com


WineDirect Newsletter, the Direct Line, July 2013
30 July, 2013

Greetings from WineDirect! It's been a wonderful summer and once again, we have an abundance of news to share.


WineDirect/Vin65 and VinTank Partner
15 July, 2013

Connect social media and ecommerce data to get a more complete customer view.

NAPA, CA and ABBOTSFORD, BC-- Vin65, a subsidiary of WineDirect, and VinTank, two of the wine industry's leading innovators, have formed an exclusive partnership which connects wine industry social media data directly to customer ecommerce records.  Through this partnership, the two companies have created a bi-directional integration which merges social interactions (or social customers) with the records of commerce customers. This means that Social Media managers can now understand the lifetime value of the people they're interacting with, and ecommerce managers will have access to a 360 degree view of their customers including all social posts of your brand.

While CRM tools provide wineries with the means for collecting and managing traditional customer ecommerce data, the ability to supplement with social data provides a strategy for customer engagement where increased sales and lifetime values are a by-product. According to Bain and Company, customers who engage with companies over social media spend 20% to 40% more money with those companies than other customers.

The two companies place a heavy focus on helping wineries sell more wine Direct-to-Consumer. With Vin65, that commitment takes the form of a market leading ecommerce platform. With VinTank, it's via a cutting edge social media management solution for wineries. By merging crucial data from the two companies, wineries will enjoy a competitive edge, not only in revenue generation but also in managing important customer relationships.

Features and Benefits for Wineries

In VinTank

When monitoring a social media conversation of a customer, you will understand that customer's commerce value with a view into statistics such as customer lifetime value, last order date, club memberships, and ecommerce segments.  Wineries can drill down to this important information without ever leaving VinTank’s platform.    When viewing a particular Vin65 customer segment from within the VinTank admin panel (club members for example), you will see all relevant social interactions for that segment.   VinTank offers the ability to build Twitter Lists of club members or any other Vin65 Contact Types.

In Vin65

The Vin65 Platform shows the most recent social media interactions for your winery in conjunction with sales and other ecommerce information.  In the CRM tool, wineries can view a customer’s social interactions from Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, and Foursquare in one easy-to-view feed.   Vin65 offers the ability to create actionable lists to segment customers in both social and ecommerce segments.

Andrew Kamphuis, President of Vin65, had this to say: "I’ve known Paul at VinTank for a long time and we are very excited about this partnership.  The ability for our customers to relate social comments to ecommerce transactions is a step forward for monitoring the ROI of social.“

“When I look at what the future of commerce will be for the wine industry, I see Vin65 leading the way through their culture of helping wineries focus on their customers.  By coupling social media to their customer interactions we can enhance that vision like never before seen in any industry,” added Paul Mabray, CEO of VinTank.

The integration is available immediately in beta to Vin65 or WineDirect customers who request it.  It will be widely available for all Vin65 and WineDirect customers on July 31st. More importantly, it is being made available at no cost.  Vin65 has paid a licensing fee for the professional version of VinTank for every winery on its platform (a value of $1,800 per year).

About Vin65
Vin65 is the leading provider of website and ecommerce solutions to wineries and wine retailers interested in selling their wine Direct-to-Consumer. The Vin65 platform has received attention from wine technology thought leaders and technology savvy wineries for its ability to drive innovation in the wine ecommerce space. The platform includes: ecommerce, wine club, content management, customer relationship management and mobile ecommerce all tailored for the wine industry. For more information, call 604-852-8140 or visit www.vin65.com.

Blog: www.vin65.com/blog
Website: www.vin65.com
Facebook: www.facebook.com/Vin65
Twitter: twitter.com/vin65team


About WineDirect
WineDirect is a leader in winery direct sales, providing technology and services that enable wineries to sell more wine through Direct-to-Consumer channels. Headquartered in the Napa Valley, WineDirect offers a broad range of logistics solutions including a technology driven fulfillment system, compliance tools, and marketplace partnerships which provide access to new markets and consumers. In addition, the company offers an ecommerce and wine club processing platform with integrated marketing capabilities, and telesales services to help wineries grow their businesses profitably. Each of the company’s services is offered on a standalone basis, or as part of an integrated, end-to-end solution. For further information, visit www.winedirect.com.

Blog: www.winedirect.com/blog
Website: www.winedirect.com
Facebook: www.facebook.com/WineDirectCA
Twitter: www.twitter.com/WineDirect_CA

About VinTank
VinTank is the world’s largest software solution for social media management for the wine and restaurant industry.  Measuring over 350 million conversations about wine, profiling over 14 million social wine consumers and serving over 4500 wine brands, VinTank helps wineries and restaurants connect and understand their customers in ways never before imagined.  VinTank – Powering Social Intelligence for your Business.  For more information visit www.vintank.com

Website – www.vintank.com
Blog - www.vintank.com/blog
Twitter – www.twitter.com/vintank
Facebook - www.facebook.com/VinTank


What I’ve learned at WineDirect
08 July, 2013

July 8, 2013 | WineDirect Buzz  | Sheri Hebbeln

We talk a lot about culture at WineDirect. In fact, our culture is our #1 focus right now because we know that with a strong team and culture we can do anything. Our enduring focus on service wouldn't be possible without the truly amazing people who make up the WineDirect family. With that in mind, I thought it would be fun to deviate from our typical blog posts a little bit and give you a glimpse into the WineDirect family and what I’ve learned from them. 

Click here to read the post.


WineDirect Hires New Vice President of Operations
20 June, 2013

Napa, CA, June 17, 2013 – Direct sales technology and fulfillment services provider, WineDirect, announced the appointment of Phil Littleton to the role of Vice President of Operations.

In this role, Phil will assume responsibility for all fulfillment operations of the company, including expansion of both its Maple Heights, OH and American Canyon, CA facilities to meet the growing volume of Direct-to-Consumer shipments by WineDirect customers.

Phil, who joined the company on June 3rd, has extensive experience in fulfillment, logistics and operations.  Immediately prior to joining WineDirect he spent seven years as Vice President of Corporate Logistics for Harry and David, a multi-channel specialty retailer and producer of premium fruit, gourmet food products, wine, and other fine gifts.  Prior to that, he spent six years at FedEx, where he was a Managing Director in the Pacific Northwest Region.

“We are pleased to welcome Phil to our management team,” said Steve Waller, Chief Operating Officer of WineDirect. “He brings a wealth of logistics experience and is steadfastly focused on the consumer experience.  Phil will be an integral part of our expansion as we continue to add capabilities and services to support our growth.”

About WineDirect
WineDirect is a leader in winery direct sales, providing technology and services that enable wineries to sell more wine through Direct-to-Consumer channels. Headquartered in the Napa Valley, WineDirect offers a broad range of logistics solutions including a technology driven fulfillment system, compliance tools, and marketplace partnerships which provide access to new markets and consumers. In addition, the company offers an eCommerce and wine club processing platform with integrated marketing capabilities, and telesales services to help wineries grow their businesses profitably. Each of the company’s services is offered on a standalone basis, or as part of an integrated, end-to-end solution. For further information, visit WineDirect.com.

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WineDirect Opens Fulfillment Center in Paso Robles
12 June, 2013

Part of the company’s expansion in both California and the Midwest

Napa, CA –June 10, 2013  WineDirect, the Napa based provider of technology and services which help wineries reach customers directly, is opening a fulfillment center in Paso Robles, CA.  Occupying approximately 18,500 sq. ft., the new facility will be laid out for maximum efficiency.  With its expansion into the area, WineDirect aims to meet the growing demand for Direct-to-Consumer services in that area. There are more than 200 wineries in Paso Robles alone, with superb quality that improves every year.

The announcement, made last Wednesday at a DTC seminar held at Robert Hall Winery and hosted by WineDirect and Vin65, is part of the company’s expansion in both California and the Midwest. To meet the increasing level of shipments of its current winery and retail partners, WineDirect is also adding an additional 20,000 sq. ft. of space to its American Canyon facility and expanding its Maple Heights, OH facility from 60,000 to 115,000 sq. ft.

WineDirect is a technology-enabled service provider whose mission is to support the evolving needs of its winery partners. With this new facility, the company will make its full portfolio of DTC services available to wineries in the Paso Robles area.  Those services include eCommerce, telesales, fulfillment, and marketplace partnerships.

“Direct-to-Consumer sales in this part of California have surged tremendously in the past couple of years, largely due to savvy sales and marketing outreach. That growth prompted us to look for warehouse space in the area," said Joe Waechter, President and CEO of WineDirect. "We believe strongly in being agile and flexible because the needs of our customers are changing. This new facility will allow us to support local wineries that are looking for a strong DTC partner”.

Many wineries in the area fulfill their own Direct-to-Consumer orders today. However, as their sales increase, some have discovered that outsourcing fulfillment services allows employees to focus energy in a more cost-effective manner.

WineDirect prides itself on service. Its Client Services team consists of 11 professionals who go out of their way to ensure customer needs are met. The company offers a state-of-the-art online portal and ongoing customer education so that winery partners have full visibility into shipment information and are empowered to respond quickly to their own customer inquiries.

Anyone interested in learning more about WineDirect’s new Paso Robles location, should contact Jim Agger, VP of Sales: jim.agger@winedirect.com.

About WineDirect
WineDirect is a leader in winery direct sales, providing technology and services that enable wineries to sell more wine through Direct-to-Consumer channels. Headquartered in the Napa Valley, WineDirect offers a broad range of logistics solutions including a technology driven fulfillment system, compliance tools, and marketplace partnerships which provide access to new markets and consumers. In addition, the company offers an eCommerce and wine club processing platform with integrated marketing capabilities, and telesales services to help wineries grow their businesses profitably. Each of the company’s services is offered on a standalone basis, or as part of an integrated, end-to-end solution. For further information, visit WineDirect.com.


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Announcing the Vintners' Alliance Marketplace
28 May, 2013

Acquire new buyers...Access differentiated branding opportunities...Sell more wine

WineDirect is pleased to announce the upcoming launch of the Vintners’ Alliance Marketplace. Since 2009, VA has been a leading provider of Direct-to-Consumer marketing technology and services to the wine industry. And now they are focusing their data based marketing methods on acquiring new customers for wineries.
 
VA is composed of leaders from the online and retail space. Board members include the Chief Marketing Officer from Williams-Sonoma and the Head of Retail from Google. Through their unique online marketing tactics, they are tracking more than 1 Million online wine buyers and enthusiasts… every month!
 
VA’s Marketplace exists to convert those online wine buyers into sales and new customer names for you! Contact marketplace@winedirect.com to find out more!

 
Read more from our May Newsletter including Wine Telesales 101: Who Should I Call? Our Youngest Family Member, Additional New Features for the iPad POS, Join Us in Paso, Nebraska Makes Direct Shipping a Little More Restrictive.

And see the Meet Our Team video!


Observations on the New York SLA Marketplace Ruling
24 April, 2013

Answers…Questions

The declaratory ruling issued by the New York State Liquor Authority (SLA) this week in response to a request by ShipCompliant for approval of their Marketplace Platform has seemingly spawned as many new questions as it has answered.  I have read and re-read both the ShipCompliant petition and the SLA ruling, as well as watching the entire (all 3½ hours of it!) SLA Board Meeting where a discussion about the petition ensued.  Having done so, I have a few observations about the current and future standing of marketplaces in New York and beyond.

As those of you interested in the future of internet wine marketing know, marketplaces are a growing opportunity for licensed wine suppliers to reach significant new audiences by tapping into the existing customer base of established lifestyle retailers and media companies.  They are a recent development and still in their infancy as a marketing model.  As such, the rules surrounding them are also evolving, as the model and the technology enabling it is often ahead of the regulatory curve.

California has been the leader in crafting guidelines for the operation of marketplaces by unlicensed third party marketers, issuing an influential advisory in late 2011 that has served as the regulatory framework for the development of marketplace programs.  The SLA’s ruling will surely join it to play an important role in how those regulations develop.  The initial industry reaction to the ruling appears to be one of no small amount of alarm, and I have read comments suggesting such marketplaces will be shut down.  I believe such comments are an over-reaction in light of the limited scope of what the SLA has done:

Limited Application.  First and foremost, the SLA’s ruling is in response to a single marketplace program, rather than all marketplace programs, although it certainly provides insight into the SLA’s thinking.

Producer Direct Excluded.  Second, the SLA expressly excluded Producer Direct marketplace models, wherein a producer ships directly to a New York consumer under the authority of a New York direct shipper license.  Instead, it focused exclusively on the 3-tier model, considerably more complex involving multiple license holders instead of just one.

Disconnect Between Practice and Design.  Finally, the SLA’s determination was in large part fueled by the fact the Marketplace Platform was not operated as had been represented in the petition, and this disconnect between actual practice and design was an underlying consideration for much of the ruling’s language.

What do we know?
What is clear is under current New York law it is not permissible to operate a marketplace wherein the licensed seller is passive in the process, meaning they have little control over decision-making and assume little risk of loss.  This control extends to the licensed seller being responsible for performing usual retail functions such as product selection, pricing, control of funds, and the amount of profit they will reap.  Also, any unlicensed third party compensation cannot constitute a substantial portion of the proceeds of the sale.  Finally, flat fee compensation models to the license holder are disfavored as an indicator of seller passivity resulting in illegal availing of the seller’s license privileges.

What don’t we know?
What is less clear is the extent to which the SLA intends to enforce the guidance offered by its own Office of Counsel regarding license holder use of third party marketing services.  Counsel opinion allows advertisement on a third party marketer’s website, but not order taking on the site, and requires a flat fee compensation schedule to the marketer not contingent on the number of sales or the amount sold.  While stating license holders can take comfort in relying upon the opinion, meaning they do not risk violations by staying within them, the SLA also expressly did not formally adopt them.  I take this to mean that not following them will not necessarily constitute a violation.

The Big Picture
While the ruling leaves cloudy the details of how Producer Direct marketplaces will operate in New York in the future, I do not believe this model is in danger.  It is a simpler model, with many of the key indicators of availing found in the 3-tier model either absent or more directly in the control of the licensed seller.  Furthermore, the SLA made clear both in its ruling and at the Board Meeting that it is cognizant of, and even receptive to, the changing technology of the internet.  That they excluded the Producer Direct model from the Ruling and intend to hold public meetings to explore issues surrounding marketplaces is further evidence of their intention to accommodate the future of marketplace models, but to do so in a manner that comports with New York’s alcoholic beverage laws.  From that standpoint, this ruling is a positive statement and recognition that such effective marketing solutions have a future in the Empire State and elsewhere.

Read more from our April Newsletter including Wine Telesales 101: Why Call? New and Improved Cool Packs, and more!


Introducing Our New Marketplace Partner - Taste Factor!
28 March, 2013

Sophisticated algorithms that began in academia and NASA have migrated to everyday life, from music on your phone and now to wine. Taste Factor has developed a recommendation engine that takes user ratings, aggregates them, and applies a patented process to determine which wines a consumer is guaranteed to enjoy.  For wineries, critics and ratings don’t matter.  Taste Factor is about building relationships and building brands by matching consumers’ preferences to high quality wines.

If you are a winery customer interested in learning more about how you can participate in the Taste Factor program, contact us via email.  We would love to hear from you. 

Read more from our March Newsletter including MORE Uncorked: Now Live and How to Sell More Direct-to-Consumer.


Announcing New Fulfillment Portal Features
22 January, 2013

Our January newsletter went out today featuring news about updates to our fulfillment portal and the new iPad POS by Vin65.


Mobile Commerce and the Wine Industry
21 December, 2012

Our December newsletter offers news about mobile commerce, Facebook gifting, and DTC licensing strategy.


New Sales Channels Opening up for Wineries
13 November, 2012

The November edition of our newsletter features thoughts on the new marketplaces available to wineries as well as the continuation of our series on DTC best practices.


Marketing Principles for DTC Success
10 October, 2012

Our October Newsletter, the Direct Line, announces the launch of a new WineDirect.com website, and features a new "meet the team" section and a white paper on the topic of "Basic Marketing Principles for Your DTC Business".


What matters most to online shoppers?
10 September, 2012

Customer satisfaction with the online shopping experience is primarily related to communication; especially as it relates to shipping promotions and post-purchase services.

This month's WineDirect Newsletter covers the customer experience and more.


The Evolution of Wine eCommerce - What Lies Ahead?
13 August, 2012

Change is inevitable and in the world of technology companies, it happens fast. Over a very short period of time, technology has dramatically changed the way we shop. From brick and mortar to basic eCommerce, to flash models, group buying, social commerce, and mobile; we’re buying a lot more through digital channels today than we were even a year ago. It’s true that the wine industry is still catching up to other markets but the tide is shifting rapidly, due in large part to the California ABC’s industry advisory that was issued in October of 2011.

What lies ahead for wine online?

This month's WineDirect newsletter covers Wine eCommerce, warm weather shipping, email marketing tips, and more.


Creating a Customer Acquisition Strategy
19 July, 2012

Before you build your shopping cart, you need to create a customer acquisition strategy. The best web shopping carts in the world won’t generate sales unless customers are compelled to use them. Your customer acquisition plan should take into account standard eCommerce conversion rates and should include researching and defining successful digital strategies for targeting luxury consumers, and crafting a compelling story and sales strategy.

This month's WineDirect newsletter covers customer acquisition, measuring engagement, compliance resources, and more.


Now is the Time to Get Your Customer Databases Ready for OND
19 June, 2012

It’s hard to believe that nearly half of 2012 has almost gone, and before we know it the busy holiday season will be upon us. This time of year is perfect for solidifying your relationship with your customers and making sure their shipping and billing information is up-to-date, which will hopefully make for a smoother and slightly less stressful OND for you and your staff.

Our June newsletter includes tips on preparing for the busy holiday season, as well as the basics of Customer Relationship Management (CRM).


WineDirect Announces Acquisition of Wine Industry eCommerce Provider, Vin65
01 June, 2012

Acquisition Provides the Opportunity to Build Better Visibility into Direct Sales by Combining Two Cutting Edge Technology Platforms

Napa, CA and Abbotsford, BC (June 01, 2012) – Direct sales technology and fulfillment services provider WineDirect announced today that it has acquired Vin65, the leading website and eCommerce platform for wineries and retailers who sell their products Direct-to-Consumer.  The acquisition will enhance WineDirect’s integrated offering, which encompasses everything from online marketing and order capture through shipment to the customer’s doorstep.

Vin65’s highly regarded eCommerce and digital marketing platform will become the foundation for the online sales and marketing, club processing, and customer management aspects of WineDirect’s suite of services, which is aimed at helping wineries optimize their consumer direct sales programs.  In June of 2010, WineDirect signed a licensing agreement with Vin65.  Under that agreement, Vin65 is currently the hosting platform for all of WineDirect’s eCommerce customers.

Vin65 has long-standing eCommerce relationships with numerous wineries and retailers in the U.S. Canada, Europe and Asia.  Those customers will now have easy access to all of WineDirect’s services and can enjoy the cost benefits of managing everything in one place: eCommerce, telesales, and order fulfillment. 

Vin65’s founder, Andrew Kamphuis, will join the WineDirect team, overseeing all eCommerce operations.  "I think I speak for the entire Vin65 team when I say - we're excited.  By combining the experience and wine industry knowledge of the people at WineDirect with the enthusiasm of our young and innovative group, we see a huge opportunity for pushing DTC forward." said Andrew.   

“WineDirect and Vin65 have many customers in common and now our Account Management team can support those customers with an even greater degree of insight because they’ll have a view into information across both companies.  Whether they need help setting up an email marketing campaign or preparing an upcoming wine club shipment, customers can call the Account Manager they know and trust, with full confidence they'll receive a quick and thorough response” said Joe Waechter, President and CEO of WineDirect. “Vin65 has done an incredible job building a robust and forward thinking eCommerce platform.  We're excited about bringing Andrew and his team into the WineDirect family. With the passion and dedication of our two teams, combined with the technology foundation already in place, I think we have a real opportunity to drive innovation and change in the wine industry.”

Last September, WineDirect announced that it had purchased WTN Services™, the fulfillment services division of 1-800-FLOWERS.COM.  That agreement allowed WineDirect to leverage its advanced technology and fulfillment systems to drive opportunity to wineries through new channels such as 1-800-FLOWERS’ Winetasting.com® subsidiary.

For more information, visit the WineDirect and Vin65 blogs:

WineDirect Blog:  www.winedirect.com/blog/Welcome-Vin65-to-the-WineDirect-Family Vin65     

Vin65 Blog:  www.vin65.com/blog/Why-I-Sold-and-How-Does-This-Affect-You

About the Vin65 Platform

The Vin65 platform is one of the most comprehensive wine eCommerce platforms available. A focus on usability and conversion is evident not only in its design and path to purchase, but also by use of items such as social media integration, a full featured mobile platform and Facebook Commerce for wineries.

About Vin65

Vin65 is the leading provider of website and eCommerce solutions to wineries and wine retailers interested in selling their wine Direct-to-Consumer. The Vin65 platform has received attention from wine technology thought leaders and technology savvy wineries for its ability to drive innovation in the wine eCommerce space. The platform includes: eCommerce, wine club, content management, customer relationship management, an iPad app, and mobile eCommerce all tailored to the wine industry. For more information, call 604-852-8140 or visit vin65.com.

About WineDirect

WineDirect is a leader in winery direct sales, providing technology and services that enable wineries to sell more wine through Direct-to-Consumer channels. Headquartered in the Napa Valley, WineDirect offers a broad range of logistics solutions including a technology driven fulfillment system, compliance tools, and an extensive 3-Tier network which provides access to new markets and consumers. In addition, the company offers an eCommerce and wine club processing platform with integrated marketing capabilities, and telesales services to help wineries grow their businesses profitably. Each of the company’s services is offered on a standalone basis, or as part of an integrated, end-to-end solution. For further information, visit WineDirect.com.


Engage Customers with a Great Winery Video Campaign
14 May, 2012

The use of video (both for ads and as content) is way up this year according to comScore. In March, 181 million U.S. Internet users watched nearly 37 billion online content videos, while video ads topped 8 billion for the first time on record.

While customers have become a little overwhelmed by the sheer volume of content on the web, video provides a great way to connect through use of sight, sound and motion. If done right, video can be a highly effective marketing tool.

Our May newsletter includes tips on putting together a great video campaign, as well as information on the defining your Unique Selling Proposition and Value Proposition.


Actively Grow Your Wine Club
17 April, 2012

According to MKF Research, approximately 24% of your wine sales will come directly from your club. In fact, this can be the most consistently profitable part of your business. Therefore, it makes sense to nurture the club customers you already have, and make concerted efforts to increase your numbers.

Our April newsletter includes tips on growing your club, as well as information on using shipping promotions to increase conversion rates and behavioral targeting using RFM (recency, frequency, and monetary) metrics.


Spring Clean Your Customer List
13 March, 2012

Spring is the time of year when your customers are starting to think about everything summer:  outdoor barbecues, baseball, and a glass of wine.  It's also a perfect time to call your customers to check in and make sure they have some of your whites and reds on hand to last them through the hot summer days.  Making this call now, whether you outsource it or do it in-house can also greatly increase your end of year Direct-to-Consumer sales.

Our latest newsletter includes tips for cleaning your customer data as well as information on Facebook Commerce and protecting your domain name.


Are You Testing Your Email Messages Before Blasting?
13 February, 2012

Our February newsletter was recently released.  Topics include tips for testing email messages, ways to create effective promotion strategies, millennials and the trust factor, and industry updates.  

Read the newsletter here:  http://us2.campaign-archive2.com/?u=52c7dccb77943855a29864af7&id=d0c49de455&e=#Industry Updates


IBG Joins Forces with WTN Services™ to Create WineDirectSM
07 September, 2011

New Company Provides One-Stop Solution for Direct-to-Consumer 

Wine Fulfillment, Ecommerce and Marketing 

September 6, 2011 (Napa, California) — Inertia Beverage Group (IBG) and 1-800-FLOWERS.COM, Inc. today announced a strategic alliance designed to enhance both company’s position in the wine business.  As part of the agreement, IBG has purchased the WTN Services™ division of 1-800-FLOWERS.COM, which provides marketing and fulfillment services to wineries.  The newly formed company, WineDirectSM, will combine the state of the art fulfillment and highly sophisticated e-commerce technologies of IBG with the extensive consumer outreach capabilities and customer service expertise of WTN Services.  Under the agreement, WineDirectSM will now manage all facets of the direct-to-consumer (DTC) fulfillment and telesales, and it will have access to WTN Services affiliates such as major direct-to-consumer retailers, 1-800-FLOWERS.COM and Fannie May Chocolates.

“1-800-FLOWERS.COM, Fannie May Chocolates, and WineTasting.com are nationally recognized DTC retailers with expansive customer bases,” says WineDirectSM president Joe Waechter.  “The fact that they have chosen to team up with us to create WineDirectSM is a powerful endorsement of the sophisticated professional fulfillment technology and integrated direct sales system that we bring to this partnership.  In short, their retailing power is a strong recommendation for our integrated platform’s fulfillment and sales power, accuracy, technology, and reporting.  They recognize that our full service system will increase the amount of wine they sell and the efficiency of their DTC operations.” 

“1-800-FLOWERS.COM is committed to the wine gifting market and to establishing WineTasting.com as a leader in the direct-to-consumer wine business. This transaction enables us to focus on what we do best; provide great gifts appropriate for every occasion and recipient,” said David Taiclet, president of the Gourmet Food and Gift Baskets division of 1-800-FLOWERS.COM, Inc.  Taiclet noted that the Company plans to work closely with WineDirectSM to develop the wine gifting space.  “As part of our effort in wine gifting, we are pleased to be working with WineDirectSM to help build sales momentum for WineTasting.com and the growing list of wineries, throughout the world, with which we both work.”

As WineDirectSM, this new partnership opens enormous potential opportunities to the existing and future winery clients of WineDirectSM, providing them with increased access to new consumer markets and channels, like WineTasting.com, while leveraging a fulfillment and direct sales platform that is scaled and optimized for handling and shipping direct wine orders seamlessly and most efficiently.   Combined with the telesales power of subsidiary Call For Wine and ecommerce partner Vin65, WineDirectSM creates a new leader in the field of direct wine sales focused on expanding access to new markets, and increasing sales and profits for all of its winery clients.

The operational systems of IBG will continue to serve as the platform for all winery and consumer transactions.  “We are already seeing how much more efficient this new company will be for our customers,” says Waechter.  “We know how important the fourth quarter is to all of our winery clients and we are all committed to making a seamless transition with no disruption for clients of either company.  Operationally, nothing will change for our customers.  And we recognize how important it is to keep their customer service team on staff as well.  They are a great team and we are working together to make sure that there is absolutely customer service continuity for both of our companies.” 

“Joining forces in this way really allows us to take advantage of the best of both companies,” says Waechter.  “We provide the very latest platform, fully integrated sales, telesales and fulfillment, and their consumer expertise should offer some enormous opportunities for wine sales in some very exciting new channels and markets.  Their activities and facilities in the eastern US should really make a difference for wineries looking to have a larger presence there in the future.” 

 As part of the new relationship, the WTN Services warehouse on the East Coast will now become part of the new WineDirectSM network, allowing winery clients to store and ship wine on the East Coast with the most advanced DTC platform in the wine business. 

 About WineDirectSM

WineDirectSM is a leader in the winery direct sales arena, providing technology and services that enable wineries to sell more wine through direct-to-consumer channels.  Headquartered in the Napa Valley, WineDirectSM offers a broad range of logistics solutions including a technology driven fulfillment system, compliance tools, and an extensive 3-Tier network which provides access to new markets and consumers.  In addition, the company offers an ecommerce and wine club processing platform with integrated marketing capabilities, and telesales services to help wineries grow their businesses profitably.  Each of the company’s services is offered on a standalone basis, or as part of an integrated, end-to-end solution. For further information, visit www.winedirect.com.

 

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IBG STRENGTHENS POSITION AS LEADER IN DIRECT WINE SALES SOLUTIONS WITH ACQUISITION OF CALL FOR WINE
11 February, 2011

Acquisition Reaffirms IBG’s Commitment to Generate Direct-to-Consumer Wine Sales for its Customers through Call for Wine’s Leading Telesales Programs

Napa, CA – IBG, the leading provider of direct sales technology and services to the wine industry and the industry’s only fully integrated direct-to-market solution, announced that it has acquired Call for Wine, Inc., the leading provider of telesales programs and services to wineries for increasing direct-to-consumer sales. Call for Wine works with leading wineries to develop proactive strategies for growing their direct-to-consumer businesses, delivering high value wine sales and superior customer service.

Founded by Mark Parton in 2004, Call for Wine provides direct-to-consumer telesales exclusively for the wine industry through a team of inside sales professionals committed to helping clients gain success in building brand awareness and maximizing returns by capitalizing on proven direct selling methods for the wine channel. The combination of Call for Wine’s telesales expertise and IBGs fully integrated direct sales platform will allow IBG to offer winery customers proven sales programs to maximize the full potential of their customer databases, achieving improved response rates and increased revenue. Wine telesales is one of the fastest growing and most effective methods for selling wine directly to consumers, particularly in this economy. IBG is now positioned to help its winery customers maximize direct sales during the peak wine selling season which runs from October through December.

"IBG shares our customer centric focus and we're looking forward to joining forces to help customers achieve their direct-to-consumer sales goals," said Mark Parton, CEO of Call for Wine. "The business intelligence available through the IBG platform, combined with the knowledge and expertise of our sales team, will provide considerable value to wineries looking to maximize this important channel. To be able to offer a complete direct-to-consumer solution of eCommerce, logistics and telesales is very exciting.”

"Our focus is on helping clients maximize direct-to-consumer sales, and Call for Wine is an important part of that strategy," said Joe Waechter, President and CEO of IBG. "This acquisition will further bolster our ability to deliver an all encompassing direct sales solution by providing wineries with a knowledgeable and professional extension of their customer service team and a new avenue for growth."

As part of the acquisition agreement, Call for Wine’s President and CEO, Mark Parton will join the IBG Executive Management team, overseeing all telesales operations.

About IBG
Founded in 2002, IBG is the leading provider of direct sales technology and services to the wine industry. As the wine industry’s only fully integrated direct-to-market solution, IBG provides wineries, retailers and wholesalers with eCommerce technology, compliance tools, logistics solutions and state-of-the-art shipping services that give them access to new markets, consumers and products. IBG is headquartered in Napa Valley. For more information, visit www.ibgwine.com.

About Call For Wine
Founded in 2004 Call for Wine provides direct-to-consumer telesales exclusively for the wine industry. The company maintains a team of inside sales professionals committed to helping clients gain success in building brand awareness and maximizing returns by capitalizing on the direct-to-consumer sales channel. Whether wineries need a dedicated outbound direct-to-consumer inside sales team or a skilled inbound customer service network dedicated to utilizing telephone, email and social media -- Call for Wine can plan, implement and manage compliant telemarketing projects and complete contact strategies. For more information on Call For Wine telesales programs and services, visit www.callforwine.com.


Boost Your Direct-to-Consumer Sales in 2011
11 February, 2011

Call for Wine, an IBG Company, generates incremental revenue for wineries through strategic outbound marketing campaigns.  With over 30 years of telesales experience, our team understands this very profitable channel and uses that experience to build effective direct sales campaigns for our customers.   

Some Quick Facts

  • Outbound Hospitality is one of the most profitable channels for selling wine.  With response rates that far exceed both direct mail and email, and margins which are much higher than those of the traditional 3-Tier distribution system, the incremental sales generated by Call for Wine will directly impact your bottom line.
  • Call for Wine has 14 sales reps, all of whom are friendly, brand experts with a passion for the wines they’re selling. 
  • Call for Wine acts as an extension of your team, meaning that your winery name displays on the customer’s Caller ID and we answer inbound calls in your name.
  • We make over 2,500 calls per day on behalf of our clients.  This means that we can quickly and effectively execute a direct sales campaign. 

Call for Wine is a great way to boost your bottom line in 2011. We’ll work with you to: 

1.       Increase your Direct-to-Consumer sales

2.       Strengthen and nourish the relationships you’ve built with your customers

3.       Maintain, develop, and grow your consumer database. 

Contact us today to learn more!  800.946.3705


IBG and Vin65 Announce Licensing Agreement for Wine eCommerce Technology
16 June, 2010


NAPA, Calif. & ABBOTSFORD, British Columbia--(BUSINESS WIRE) June 03, 2010--IBG and Vin65 today announced an agreement that provides IBG the ability to deliver some of the most advanced sales and marketing features in the wine industry to its growing customer base. Taking the eCommerce piece of IBG’s integrated direct sales solution to the next level reinforces IBG’s commitment to driving industry innovation and providing customers the tools they need to manage a successful direct sales program.

“Vin65 delivers cutting-edge eCommerce technology that will provide significant benefits to our clients,” said IBG President and CEO Joe Waechter. “My goal since joining IBG has been to ensure that our clients have access to the best technology, customer service, and marketing capabilities available and there’s no question that this partnership with Vin65 guarantees we can deliver on that promise.”

In addition to a comprehensive eCommerce platform, IBG offers integrated compliance reporting capabilities and direct-to-market fulfillment services from its state-of-the-art facility in American Canyon. By providing these services under one roof, IBG is able to deliver significant cost benefits and operating efficiencies to its customers.

“We're excited that IBG has licensed our eCommerce platform and see it as a great step forward,” said Andrew Kamphuis, President of Vin65. “Their commitment to the Vin65 platform is not only a very powerful stamp of approval, it's a sign of their focus on delivering the technology and services that the wine industry is looking for. IBG's clients will receive enhancements to their eCommerce stores that will provide visitors with more engaging content proven to lead to higher conversions and repeat purchases.”

About the Vin65 Platform

The Vin65 platform is one of the most comprehensive wine eCommerce platforms available. A focus on usability and conversion is evident not only in its design and path to purchase, but also by use of items such as social media integration and the recent introduction of a mobile platform for wineries. Integration points include Microsoft NAV, Napa Valley POS, Vino Visit, and ShipCompliant. The platform is utilized by numerous wineries and wine retailers as well as large wine companies such as Crushpad.

About Vin65

Located in British Columbia, Canada, Vin65's parent company K1 Technology Corp. was founded in November 1999 as a supplier of content management and eCommerce systems for small businesses. It now specializes in providing wineries with solutions for managing their websites including website design, eCommerce, content management and customer relationship management. For more information, call 604.852.8140 or visit www.vin65.com.

About IBG

Founded in 2002, IBG is the leading provider of direct sales technology and services to the wine industry. As the wine industry’s only fully integrated direct-to-market solution, IBG provides wineries, retailers and wholesalers with eCommerce technology, compliance tools, logistics solutions and state-of-the-art shipping services that give them access to new markets, consumers and products. IBG is headquartered in Napa Valley. For more information, visit www.ibgwine.com.

Contacts
Wark Communications
Tom Wark, 707-266-1445
tom@warkcommunications.com

Please contact us for pricing information.

sales@winedirect.com or 707-603-4077

Winery Clients

To learn more about WineDirect's customers, please visit our site.

Title Name Email Phone
Sheri Hebbeln CFO Sheri.Hebbeln@winedirect.com
Joe Waechter President & CEO Joe.Waechter@winedirect.com
Jim Agger VP Business Development Jim.Agger@winedirect.com
Karin Balllestrazze Senior VP Fulfillment Operations Karin.Balllestrazze@winedirect
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WineDirect Marketing
WineDirect is the recognized leader in providing services that help wineries sell more wine Direct-to-Consumer and we're the wine industry's only end-to-end DTC solution.  Our services include 46Brix shipping loyalty program and expert telesales from WineDirect Outbound. 
WineDirect Fulfillment
Order fulfillment touches every area of your business, from finance and operations to marketing and customer satisfaction. Each and every shipment creates a new opportunity to WOW your customers and we’re here to ...
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All of the tools you need to Sell More Wine, both online and in the tasting room! Our commerce company, Vin65, offers a robust ecommerce, wine club, and point-of-sale system with a full selection of marketing tools to maximize your DTC sales.