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March 29, 2007 | Customer Relationship Management (CRM), Wine Club Management | WineDirect Admin

Bricks & Mortar - Bricks & Clicks

Have any of you been watching the battle between ‘NetFlix‘ and ‘Blockbuster - Total Access‘ these days? I find it to be a fascinating example of “Bricks & Clicks” in action. I also find some parallels to the wine industry that make me want to bang my head against the wall…I’ll get into the head banging in a moment

Bricks & Clicks as defined by the good ‘ol wikipedia:

“Bricks-and-clicks is a business model by which a company integrates both offline (bricks) and online (clicks) presences. It is also known as click-and-mortar or clicks-and-bricks, as well as bricks, clicks and flips, flips referring to catalogs…

…The Bricks-and-clicks model has typically been used by traditional retailers who have extensive logistics and supply chains. Part of the reason for its success is that it is far easier for a traditional retailer to establish an online presence than it is for a start-up company to employ a successful pure “dot com” strategy, or for an online retailer to establish a traditional presence (including a strong brand).”

With regard to my first example, Netflix vs. Blockbuster, I want to briefly recap the history. Netflix came onto the stage as a late dot.com bloomer and carved out a piece of the video rental pie. Like most ‘Brick & Mortar’ companies, Blockbuster sat by and watched as their market share was depleted by a business model that was totally foreign to them. Being a bi-product of the dot.com era myself, I thought this was the beginning of the end for the Blockbusters of the world. BUT, Blockbuster has come back from near death (ok…so I’m exaggerating a bit here). Blockbuster threw out the challenge to Netflix and their incredible inventory of movie rentals, slick order “queue” for staging movie rentals, and general youthful vibe. They attempted to copy the model in an attempt to re-gain market share from this relatively new segment of online rental consumers. Would they survive? Enter…Blockbuster Total Access.

Customers now have the option of renting a movie from the Blockbuster’s online or store inventory, and returning the movie to the store or simply mailing it back. Most importantly, they can SEE and FEEL the movies before they buy them in the store vs. online, which most people still prefer. Netflix will probably always have a larger inventory, slicker design, search-ability and ordering process…but, Blockbuster has certainly leveraged their Bricks & Mortar to enhance the rental experience that many customers have come to expect from them.

Now for the head banging -> The wine industry is perfectly suited to adopting this Bricks & Clicks model. True, most wineries are experts in the art of creating an experience for customers at their hospitality and tasting rooms. However, many wine companies fail to convey that same experience to their web visitors. That being said, one website that is doing this extremely well is VinoAmigo.com which partners with wineries to offer ALL the benefits of being a club member, without the commitment. Look for them to launch sometime next month. Click here for a sneak peek.

I believe that the concept of Total Access for the wine industry includes:

  • The EXPERIENCE of visiting the winery and spending time with the winery “family”
  • Allowing your customers to taste/sample the current release and even library wines
  • Private Tastings with the owner, winemaker or hospitality staff
  • Winery events throughout the year (especially harvest)
  • Receiving regular communications from the winery about “winery life”
  • Regular Wine Club shipments (sampling program) with each new release & the benefits that go with membership!
  • ACCESS to limited production wines and ability to purchase at the winery or ONLINE

The customer experience realized in the tasting room and at the winery should be the SAME experience that they feel on the web. Exclusive club member website areas and special allocations of product are just a few of the ways that you can reinforce that experience. Finally, leveraging the beautiful vineyards and winemaking facility and developing a solid wine sampling program (wine club) is paramount to making sure your brand message is consistent in the Bricks & Clicks model.
 

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