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Joe Waechter
 
January 4, 2015 | WineDirect Buzz , WineDirect Products and Services | Joe Waechter

New Year Greetings from WineDirect

Dear friends and colleagues,

On behalf of the entire WineDirect family, it is my pleasure to wish you a Happy New Year. I hope you celebrated the beginning of 2015 enjoying the company of family and friends.

At WineDirect, we have much to celebrate as we review the progress we’ve made toward our goal of helping you sell more wine.

It’s now been more than four years since we first set out on our path to create the industry’s only all-in-one DTC platform. I’m pleased to report that we’re now shipping more than 8 million bottles of wine each year, directly to consumers in 42 states. We welcomed our 1,000th ecommerce customer this year, and transactions processed through our platform exceeded $538M.

We have one clear goal, and that determines our focus each and every day – to help you “Sell More Wine”

Our industry as a whole has made great strides in building the direct-to-consumer channel, yet the category is still underpenetrated with respect to online sales. We firmly believe that innovation will be the key ingredient driving major breakthroughs and for this reason, our focus is on nurturing a culture of innovation. In January, we published the WineDirect Culture Code in an effort to share our values with you and provide more transparency into what motivates us. If you haven’t had the opportunity to read this presentation, I highly recommend it. We are fortunate to have built a fantastic team and I’m grateful for their dedication, skill and commitment in working tirelessly toward our vision.

In 2014, we added both scalability and flexibility to our fulfillment operations.

April brought the official ribbon cutting ceremony for our new fulfillment center in Glenwillow, Ohio. Not only is this facility more than twice the size of our previous location, its state-of-the-art technology has led to tremendous improvements in efficiency and productivity.

We rounded out the WineDirect technology suite.

For us, compliance has long been the missing piece of the puzzle - but no longer. In August, we launched WineDirect Compliance in answer to the many requests we’ve received over the years to add a compliance tool that works seamlessly with ecommerce and fulfillment and simplifies the process of managing your DTC business.

We improved the customer experience.

In today’s marketplace, a superior product is not enough; your customers expect that product to come packaged inside a world class experience. With that in mind, our product focus this year was on developing innovative new ways for you to anticipate and satisfy the needs of your customers.

Those needs and expectations generally fall into one of the categories outlined below:

Value

It’s no secret that the cost of shipping weighs heavily in the customer’s mind when making a purchase decision. According to UPS’ 2014 report, The Pulse of the Online Shopper, 93% of shoppers take action to qualify for free shipping. In answer to that, we launched 46Brix, our “Amazon Prime” type program for wineries. With close to a year under our belts, we’ve been able to analyze purchase data and our statistics show that the average member tripled his or her annual DTC spend after joining 46Brix.

Convenience

Convenience is largely what drives online commerce and unfortunately for anyone selling wine online, the adult signature requirement serves as a major handicap. Consumers can’t always be home when the carrier arrives, so what they need from you is flexibility “post purchase.” To help you meet this challenge, we announced two features – automated package rerouting, and free rescheduling of deliveries via our partnership with UPS and their My Choice program.

Another challenge our winery partners face is in capturing updated credit card information when processing wine clubs. In answer, we released a credit card updater service which is currently available to all ecommerce customers. With our new automatic notifications, we estimate that the number of declined cards in the average club processing run will decrease by 30%.

A More Personal Experience

In 2014, we released several features to help you deliver a more personal and relevant experience, regardless of the touch point with your winery. In January, we moved WineDirect Outbound to the cloud. Now, all of our representatives have immediate access to each customer’s purchase history and can tailor their recommendations accordingly. The same is true in the tasting room. With our point-of-sale product, your tasting room employees have a full view into the customer’s preferences and club memberships. Finally, we rolled out a new incentive engine, which allows you to make recommendations (either in the online shopping cart or at the point-of-sale) based on any number of criteria, such as cart contents or personal information like a birthday.

Efficiency and Visibility

As online wine sales have grown, speed of delivery has emerged as perhaps the number one factor for wineries seeking to differentiate themselves from the pack. But it doesn’t stop there. To truly stand out, you need to set proper expectations, communicate important information, and deliver on your promises. This past month we released new tools like SMS (text) notifications with detailed package status and extensive tracking visibility for your customers. Couple that with our 2-Day delivery network and you’ll be sure to earn the loyalty of your customers.

Thank you for another great year.

In closing, I would like to thank you for placing your trust in WineDirect. I look forward to our partnership in 2015 and to your continued success.

On behalf of our entire team, we send our very best for a prosperous and happy New Year.

Cheers,

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