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Sheri Hebbeln
 
February 15, 2014 | Customer Relationship Management (CRM) | Sheri Hebbeln

Customer retention is critical for online wine sales, are you rewarding your loyal customers?

While increasing online wine sales is a worthy pursuit, you can't be short-sighted. Acquiring new customers is important, but building loyalty can ensure you have a lasting revenue stream. If you start relationships with clients on the right foot, you may even see a rise in wine club memberships. Returning shoppers are more likely to make larger purchases as they continue to develop a relationship with your winery.

Although customer expectations have shifted in the last few years and they are more finicky, consumers want to be loyal to brands, according to an infographic from Responsys. Nearly 75 percent of shoppers want to form long-term relationships with companies that note and appreciate their commitment. However, they won't stick around if you annoy them with your wine marketing efforts. There needs to be a fine balance, and you have to cater to their individual needs. 

There are different levels of commitment. The infographic highlighted four types of consumer relationships with brands: stage-five clingers, one night stands, honeymooners and soulmates. If you bombard your email subscribers with un-targeted messages, you will lose them, and you may not realize it right away.

One night stand brands are great at getting the first sale, but have a harder time bringing customers back. Companies that succeed in building loyalty need to ensure it's for the long haul. 

Benefits of loyalty

Many of the shoppers polled by Responsys had split up with brands that sent them too many emails. In addition, one of the top reasons people broke up with companies was because messages were generic and made them feel like they didn't matter to the brand, showing that being clingy isn't necessarily the problem. Customers want relevant content tailored to their interests as well as special offers. Shoppers reported that they love brands that reward their loyalty, and this makes them form a long-term attachment. 

How can you foster these connections? One of the keys to building loyalty is demonstrating that you truly know your customers. You can get a basic idea by looking at order histories, but you need to delve further into this data, BusinessNewsDaily stated. Getting a more complete picture of your customers' desires, ages, locations and interests can help you hone your marketing campaigns with personal and relevant information. 

Relevancy is essential in your communications with customers, Forbes said. Depending on how long a shopper has been with your winery, this can mean different things. All relationships change over time, so you need to regularly assess data from your customer relationship management platform to ensure you stay relevant. And this doesn't need to be a challenge. With winery software and your CRM platform, it's easy to sort and analyze this data and split your customers into different segments. 

Although wineries often want to compete with retail giants like Amazon and Ebay, it's more important to consider your customers' positions and provide the best experience possible to them. You don't need to be able to deliver wine by drone to impress clients and build loyalty. Small steps - like providing them with engaging content and rewarding them for their business - can make a big difference and ensure that shoppers stick with your brand. 

Send emails that are related to past behaviors. For example, if customers have purchased chardonnay in the past, send emails about similar wines. This demonstrates that you have taken the time to get to know them and that their interests matter. They will be highly satisfied with your services, and you can gain increased profits. Loyalty can pay off!

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