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August 20, 2014 | Allocation Management , Fulfillment/Shipping, Site Design and Management | Sheri Hebbeln

Technology Brings Wine Shipping Out of the Past

With the increase of online wine sales across the United States, the business of shipping it is evolving rapidly. Transporting wine from coast to coast was once nearly impossible to do, but now technology is rising to the occasion. New software platforms are making it faster, more efficient and less costly to move large amounts of product further than was possible even 10 years ago.

Managing the supply chain
As more wineries and wine clubs ship their products greater distances, many are opting to utilize software platforms to expedite the process. Maintaining balanced inventory is of critical concern to a company shipping wine.  An Inbound Logistics article stated that because U.S. law has cut the supply chain into three separate categories for the alcoholic beverage industry, staying ahead of consumer demand is a big challenge. Geoffery Giovanetti heads the Reston, Virginia Wine and Shippers Retailers Association, and he told the magazine that too much inventory can be a huge problem.

"No one wants to be overstocked," he said in an interview, but the converse, not enough stock, is problematic, as well. "If a product suddenly becomes popular, you risk not being able to provide it."

Because many high-end vintages are produced in smaller quantities, damaged or spoiled shipments may be irreplaceable. That can cause consumer dissatisfaction and monetary losses to the shipper. Wine poses unique challenges when shipping because the product can, in fact, go sour through heat or cold fluctuations and many shippers have converted to or are in the process of integrating temperature-controlled warehouses and containers.

Security and regulations
Government security and regulation compliance is also an area that poses some difficulties for wine shipping. State, local and federal laws, taxes and tariffs apply and they're different almost everywhere. 

Knowing what is expected by municipalities, growers and consumers is vital to any successful wine shipping company. Keeping abreast of technological upgrades to the supply chain in software and streamlining the chain with state-of-the-art management platforms can ensure company success and customer satisfaction, which translates to a profitable bottom line for the winery.

Contact a markerting specialist to learn more about how WineDirect's marketing solutions can help you boost sales.

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