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Sheri Hebbeln
 
December 24, 2013 | Fulfillment/Shipping | Sheri Hebbeln

Successful Online Wine Sales Call for Effective Order Management

When you sell wine online, there are a number of things you need to take care of. Say you have the inventory, the fulfillment procedures, a dedicated wine club and committed customer service representatives. Unless you have tightly connected inventory management procedures, the customer experience could slip. Although inventory management is often considered the least glamorous part of online retailing, it's the glue that connects all these disparate pieces of your e-commerce strategy.

Amazon recently made headlines by announcing a pilot program for same-day deliveries by drone. While this possibility may be in the distant future, online retail is definitely moving in the direction of nearly instantaneous shipping, according to The Associated Press. Retail giants like Amazon intend to make e-commerce shopping as convenient as making a purchase from a vending machine. With the widespread adoption of e-commerce, it's highly likely that more product categories will move online. Although some things will always be purchased in a strictly offline environment, such as automobiles and pets, some items are already seeing an increase, wine being one of them.

Same-day deliveries will pose challenges to online wine stores because they can be costly, but some wineries may feel pressured to keep up with major e-commerce providers like Amazon. Some retailers are coping with this by offering in-store pickup, but this may not be an option for wineries unless they process a high number of orders from the region. However, convenience is becoming almost as important to consumers as price competitiveness, the AP said.

Order management boosts convenience and creates a better customer experience
No matter what the product, when shoppers order it online, they want it as quickly as possible. Because people still have the option to purchase items in retail outlets and receive them immediately, online wine stores need to find ways to ship wine as quickly as possible. But many online retailers struggle to connect their disparate sales channels and monitor inventory levels.

In the world of the multichannel experience, no one wants to shop in a disconnected, chaotic environment. The more channels you add, the more complicated it is to juggle different orders and keep an eye on inventory levels. Customers don't care to see the processes that go on behind the scenes, but you better believe they will switch vendors quickly if these procedures fail to deliver on time.

This can be especially critical during the holidays and other busy times. Some online retailers make the mistake of not connecting data from all orders, and it can lead to shortages, Business 2 Community stated. And worst of all, some retailers may neglect to inform customers that an item is out of stock until it's too late. Nothing will sink client satisfaction faster than a late Christmas present for a friend or family member. Even a slight delay of one or two days could prevent someone from ordering from your winery again. 

In this respect, wine software is absolutely essential to maintaining a multichannel approach. An integrated platform can help wineries view inventory in real time, process orders efficiently and send shipments as quickly as possible while reducing errors and avoiding shortages. This can streamline your processes as well as contribute to a better customer experience. Online retailing is growing more competitive all the time, and wineries need to keep up. 

E-commerce fulfillment is extremely important in creating a top-quality online shopping experience for your customers. They may not stop to consider how much work goes into delivering their packages on time, but they will take notice and appreciate when packages arrive quickly.

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