Vin65 Blog

DTC wine thoughts served up by Vin65

Andrew Kamphuis
December 21, 2010 | Ecommerce, Marketing, Technology | Andrew Kamphuis

5 Things We Learned In 2010

I was contemplating a geeked out blog post talking about some of the cool stuff we've learned at Vin65 in 2010 (some of us are learning new programming languages, others are spending time in HTML5, CSS3, iPad and mobile technologies, etc). Instead I opted for the non-geeky, somewhat more-directly-relevant to our customers, 5 Things We Learned in 2010.

1. Mobile Traffic is Up – Mobile Transactions Lag

At the end of 2009 we saw mobile traffic reach the 5% mark on some of our websites. At Vin65 we knew we had to do something to improve user experience while visiting websites from a mobile device so we created our mobile platform. Visit a site like on your iPhone, Android Phone, or Blackberry Torch and you’ll be presented with our mobile experience.

Mobile visitors who visit a website with a mobile specific experience are far more engaged than mobile visitors on a traditional site. Mobile users spend more time on the mobile website, they visit more pages, they click through more often and they purchase more frequently, but none of this is really surprising.

What is surprising is this... while mobile traffic is now closing in on 10% of traffic on some sites, mobile sales aren’t 10% of total ecommerce sales. The number one thing mobile visitors do on the mobile winery site is view wine, and the number two thing is visit the ‘contact us’ page. (On a traditional site, the 'contact us' page will often be in the top 10 but never at the 2nd or 3rd spot).

Mobile visitors do buy on their mobile phones (we aren’t going to give away the numbers), but they are different than the regular visitor on traditional sites and most wine ecommerce sales are still done on the traditional site.  This data is helping us identify new ways to engage mobile visitors.

2011 will be a big year to watch as smart phones continue to be more prominent, more websites start to embrace mobile traffic, and more customers start to use their smart phones for web surfing.

2. Our Customer Service is More Important than Our Features

We watch the competitive landscape. Inertia Beverage (using our platform), eWinery Solutions, Nexternal, Design Vineyard, and other competitors all have great platforms.

Wine ecommerce platforms are getting to a place where wineries and wine retailers now care more about customer support than additional features. Sure features matter, and we think we meet or exceed our competitors on features, but with all the great platforms available, customer support weighs heavily in the decision.

Customer support via video documentation, online training, live telephone support, responsive emails, etc. is what our customers and prospects care about the most.

3. Wineries are Embracing the iPad in the Tasting Room

The iPad was one of the most exciting technologies for consumers in 2010. We saw some of our clients, more specifically Pithy Wines embrace it immediately (long before we had an iPad app). Pithy purchased a number of iPads and displayed their web page with a 'subscribe' form to engage with tasting room visitors.

The iPad was our number one product launch in 2010. (I knew it was going to be great, but we were overwhelmed with inquiries).

The iPad (and tablet technology) has the power to replace the traditional paper signup forms to really engage visitors and wineries have been quick to embrace it. 

4. Wineries Want and Need Actionable Customer Relationship Management

Wineries want more insight and a 360 degree view of their customers. Wineries want to know lifetime value, last order, most recent visit, etc. across channels. We are seeing real time integrations between systems like ours with POS systems.  Other wine vendors are producing great CRM tools.  (The dashboard analytics being produced by VingDirect this past year are amazing.)

I first heard the phrase 'actionable CRM' from Paul Mabray at VinTank. What wineries really need is the ability to act on the information they have. For example: A visitor enters a tasting room. How do you engage this customer - not just in this visit, but also in the future? Wineries are exploring the iPad, POS integration, and other tools that not only capture, but take action with these visitors.

On the web, we are seeing some clients really mine their data. Some of our clients chase abandoned carts.  Some clients telemarket to their best customers.  Some clients contact their good customers who have stopped buying. We are also seeing clients measuring the results from these CRM activities. 2010 was a great year to watch actionable CRM start to take root with wineries.

5. Social Engagement is Up and Social Commerce is Here

Social Media has been everywhere the past couple years. We are now seeing social ecommerce taking root (sites like Groupon, wineries selling wine on Facebook thru Cruvee). It’s been fun watching Deals from the Vines and other social type of sales. We also worked with and some of their partners to do some social sales - with mixed results. In 2010 we saw social commerce start to take off and things are going to get even more innovative in 2011.

As a winery or wine retailer you should be watching the social space and starting to investigate social commerce.


2010 was a banner year for learning, not only for me personally but also for our team. In 2011 I’m sure we'll see improvements on all of these areas and we’ll continue to learn and bring those findings into strategies to enhance our platform.

What has been the #1 thing you learned in 2010? 


Rich Reader's Gravatar
Rich Reader
@ Dec 27, 2010 at 8:44 AM
Like the case of Twisted Oak, it's instructive to see that the further off the beaten path a winery may be, the more that they need to rely on innovative approaches to increasing their findability, visibility, attractiveness, and effectiveness.

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