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Karin Ballestrazze
 
April 1, 2014 | Customer Relationship Management (CRM), eCommerce , Fulfillment/Shipping | Karin Ballestrazze

Wineries Need to Prepare for the New Multichannel Norm

It's difficult to strike a balance between in-store and online wine sales. Customer satisfaction through every channel you offer is an important factor in overall success, a number of things can impact user experience - whether shoppers come into your winery or use your website. 

Surprisingly, customer satisfaction with U.S. retailers is at an all-time high after three consecutive years of increases, according to the American Customer Satisfaction Index. However, many large, traditional retailers suffered through decreases in satisfaction. In fact, these issues can both push customers to smaller retailers or improve client happiness. As disappointing in-store experiences continue to drive people to shop online, many consumers have been having better experiences in brick-and-mortar stores, Time magazine reported. Because of less overall traffic, shoppers often find better inventory availability, shorter lines and more helpful staff members to assist them. 

While some traditional retailers may be on the upswing, the online experience could be lagging, the article said. Part of the reason for this is because customers have unreasonably high expectations of what good ecommerce should look like. Because ecommerce has evolved in such a short space of time compared to traditional retail, expectations have changed just as quickly - in some cases, at a faster pace than online vendors can keep up with. 

Emphasize customer satisfaction and ecommerce fulfillment; improve scalability
While it can be a challenge, online and traditional retailers need to focus on meeting clients' needs to retain customers in the long run. It's crucial for you to remember that satisfaction is never permanent, Business 2 Community stated. You can't take engagement as a given. In many cases, satisfaction may not predict brand loyalty, or that customers will shop from you every time they want to purchase your products. There is a distinct difference between being happy with your products and clients enjoying the experience when they shop with you. It may be worthwhile to implement customer surveys to identify areas for improvement. Is your website easy to use and navigate? Are you offering the multiple, quality wine shipping options? 

Customer satisfaction may involve accounting for preferences. For example, it could be beneficial to give clients the choice to opt in to your wine marketing. This will help shoppers feel as though you're respecting their needs, which can translate into loyalty over time.

Dissatisfaction can be caused by not having the proper scale for your online wine store, according to Biz Report. Expectations are high, and shoppers expect to be able to acquire goods for a low cost with the most convenient shipping options. If shipping wine doesn't meet what clients want, you could risk them not buying from your again. Scalability can cause issues with inventory management and fulfillment operations, which are serious detriments to customer satisfaction. You need to ensure you maintain tightly controlled, accurate inventory management practices, order processing capabilities and timely shipping to meet and exceed shoppers' expectations. 

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