It’s all in your delivery
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.
I hope you enjoy!