Vin65 Blog

DTC wine thoughts served up by Vin65

Corinna Wang
March 22, 2016 | Ecommerce, Marketing, Technology, Vin65 Platform | Corinna Wang

Why Your Winery Still Isn’t Growing DTC Sales

Are you looking to grow DTC sales? Here are some reasons why you aren't seeing the growth you projected:

You believe that your customers are fine paying full shipping rates

If your winery is passing on shipping rates to your customer - you simply won't be selling as much wine DTC. Consumers consistently cite high shipping rates as the #1 reason they abandon their online shopping carts. It's a cost that a customer can avoid completely if they just go to their local retail store. Sure, they may not be able to get your 2011 Merlot - but your 2012 Merlot is on the shelf - and it has a $0 shipping tag. Take a look at the different profit margin your winery gets on DTC bottles vs. retail bottles. Shouldn't diving into the numbers and finding a good shipping strategy for your winery be top priority?

You don’t automate your processes like orders flowing to fulfillment

In this instant gratification world, customers want their product fast. If your winery is self-fulfilling at set times during the week - the customer will experience a delay in their shipment. When's the last time you ordered off of Amazon and then got a tracking number within a couple of hours? Satisfying, isn't it? Get those wine orders out fast - and use a fulfillment house, like WineDirect Fulfillment to get wines out straight away.

You still haven’t gone mobile

If your winery still hasn't gone mobile, I'm not sure what you're waiting for. Over 1/3 of winery website traffic across the Vin65 platform originates from a mobile phone, so if your website isn't optimized, you're definitely missing out. If a potential customer Googles you and finds it hard to find your address, hours of operation, tasting fees and the wines you sell, there's a good chance they'll get frustrated and move on from your website.

You aren’t capturing email addresses in the tasting room 

Wineries that actively capture customer data in the tasting room are selling a lot more wine DTC. In fact, the conversion rate across the Vin65 platform is at 7.5%. It's great to entertain guests in your tasting room - but what about when they get home? Are you happy selling 6 bottles of wine - or do you want to sell 2 more cases to them this year? Wine club memberships are becoming a harder ask as savvy customers want the wine they like (not what you select for them), they want wine when they're running low (not in quarterly shipments) and they want flexibility (delay their shipments for the summer months), so asking for their email address and then sending targeted emails based on their wine preferences does an excellent job of keeping wine flowing regularly from your winery. 

You're treating all of your customers the same

People are individuals - and they want a personal experience. Use some of the technology and learn to appeal to these customers. Implement a user-choice club at your winery. You set up easy-to-follow parameters and your club members get to customize their wine shipments before a specified cut-off date. You can setup carrots on your POS system to remind tasting room staff what this customer prefers, what their LTV is and to suggest wine pairings they may like. Carrots work great for upselling wine and converting customers in the tasting room.

You aren’t emailing your customers monthly

Somehow you feel that if these customers had a great experience in your tasting room they will come back. This doesn't work for a couple of reasons. First, they may be from out of town. Emailing out of town customers and asking them to buy again is a great touch point. Secondly, people may have loved your wine - and may want to order more, but they may not be aware they can order online from you. Email them to introduce your wine store and highlight the benefits of buying direct from their local vintner.

You’re over technologied (yeah - that's a word)... 

You use videos and iPads rather than a personal touch in your tasting room. Yes, kiosks and iPads are awesome and effective at capturing data, but at the end of the day, people visit your tasting room for an experience. They want to learn about your wine, know your story and try out different varieties to find their new favorite wine. Don't substitute technology for a personal touch. Give your customers an experience they'll remember - even after they get home.


Larry Chandler's Gravatar
Larry Chandler
@ Mar 23, 2016 at 8:54 AM
A winery can absorb all or part of shipping costs, but for many people, the ability to receive wine can be a problem. They may not want to wait around a whole day, or may not want to pay for a receiving service. Since wine has to be signed for, perhaps a way can be found to get wine to people without the inconveniences currently imposed. Can UPS stores receive packages from the carrier without charging customers? Would the winery be willing to pay for this service or share the costs? Could the winery locate receiving services for the customer perhaps on its website once it knows the relevant zip codes? Could UPS and FedEx offer smaller windows when wine will be delivered? Books and electronics can be left on the front porch or at the back door if no one's home, but wine cannot.

Corinna Wang's Gravatar
Corinna Wang
@ Mar 23, 2016 at 9:17 AM
@Larry - you're absolutely right. There are a ton of hoops consumers have to jump through to get their wine delivered. Without someone guaranteed to be home to sign for the wine - shipping to a business address or UPS store is a better solution. Costs vary - so as a winery, incentivizing customers with discounted or flat-rate shipping is a huge plus to the consumer.

DTC is growing - so I do hope that some of the red tape with wine delivery will be cut away for the delivery companies like UPS and FedEx.

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