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Joe Waechter
 
January 6, 2014 | Joe Waechter

Take customer service cues from Amazon for better e-commerce in 2014

Selling wine online can be a lucrative business decision for many wineries, but there are additional customer service concerns when you manage an online wine store. As the retail world shifts toward a seamless multichannel approach, shoppers expect access to the same high-quality service whether they choose to make purchases in person or through the Internet. If your online customer service is lacking, online revenues could suffer.

Amazon has been the golden standard for e-commerce, and it's no accident. There are many lessons small and medium wineries can take from the e-retail giant, but none is more important than following the customer service example Amazon sets. Yahoo Finance cited the recent holiday season as a critical example. Severe winter weather caused shipment delays in many parts of the U.S. For shoppers who spend the last few months of the year searching for the perfect presents for friends and family members, not receiving a delivery on time is a major inconvenience.

Despite the fact that it would have been easy to blame “circumstances beyond our control”, Amazon stepped up to try to turn customer satisfaction around. The company gave out $20 gift cards, paid for shipping and genuinely apologized to clients who didn't receive their items on time. Yahoo noted Amazon's stock has performed better than either FedEx or UPS in the past few years, and it isn't because a single one of these companies has a logistical advantage. Both FedEx and UPS are well run organizations. However, Amazon has built its reputation on customer service. While UPS and FedEx are responsible for delivering packages shoppers order from Amazon, it’s Amazon who is ultimately accountable to the end customer.

Follow Amazon's lead to create the best customer experience possible

While you can't compete with Amazon on every level, you can make adjustments to your customer service practices to significantly boost satisfaction levels. One of the reasons Amazon is so successful at what it does is because every aspect of its user experience is designed with shoppers in mind. It's easy to make purchases with one click and shipping is speedy and reliable. The company is also there to provide support in the event that anything goes wrong. Your winery should focus on simplifying the buying process and work with clients to ensure wine shipping is as convenient as possible.

Wine e-commerce can be challenging because customers may be reluctant to purchase when they can't taste the wine in advance. However, pricing and website user experience can help wineries engage with their online customers, according to Mashable. Because retail is becoming increasingly multichannel, customers want an online experience that connects to their real lives. All Web design elements should be purposeful.

Mashable suggested e-commerce retailers should aim to design an online store that offers an experience they would want to use themselves. Your team needs to think like a customer, and it can make a big difference because it translates into shoppers' perceptions of their experience. There are less likely to be gaps in your service, and your employees will be readily able to relate to clients, particularly if any issues come up.

Responding to customer feedback is also critical to running a successful online wine store. Shoppers will be more satisfied if they feel like their opinions matter. E-commerce strategies can improve when customers are placed at the heart of the approach.

Comments

Larry Chandler's Gravatar
 
Larry Chandler
@ Jan 6, 2014 at 5:22 PM
There are two approaches a business can take. One is focused on the transaction: "how much money can I make on this sale" and the other is focused on the customer: "how much money can I make from this customer". Too many businesses choose the transaction approach and this can be costly if the customer doesn't return. Everyone appreciates good customer service, so why don't all businesses take the second approach? Being short-sighted is far too common, especially in the wine business.

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