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Sheri Hebbeln
 
February 3, 2014 | Sheri Hebbeln

Your Winery Needs to Streamline for Omnichannel Retailing

It isn't enough to offer an online wine store in addition to your winery experience. Omnichannel retailing is growing in popularity, and this means all of your purchase channels need to be seamless. In fact, Dale Traxler, a Practical Ecommerce contributor, wrote that retailers should drop the e in e-commerce and focus on offering a simplified experience for customers. You winery should place your clients' needs first rather than emphasizing that you sell wine online.

You can't ignore omnichannel retailing any longer. Your wine marketing strategies should account for mobility. Because omnichannel centers around providing a seamless experience, you may want to consider offering customer service over chat or creating a telesales option so shoppers can order over the phone. You may also want to assess the payment methods you can process with your e-commerce solutions. While credit and debit payments are still preferred, some customers will appreciate the option to buy wine online with PayPal or Google Wallet.

Traxler noted that focusing on your particular niche in the market is one of the best ways to create a high-quality experience. Wineries should emphasize what makes them unique rather than overstating the fact that they have an online marketplace.

Omnichannel is changing retail as a whole
You don't necessarily need to revamp your whole strategy to accommodate omnichannel. A recent study from Cognizant found people primarily want to interact with retailers that can provide consistent customer service, pricing and product availability across all channels. Shoppers no longer take a linear journey from product discovery to purchase, so offering them the same level of service across all channels is more important.

One of the most significant ways e-commerce is influencing retailing is the trend of price-matching. Consumers expect to get the same prices, no matter how they shop.

An omnichannel approach could help wineries reach the key millennial demographic. This generation is highly likely to use mobile devices, and they are constantly on the lookout for special offers. Millennials can be difficult to market to, but they are turning into a valuable group of wine consumers. However, this demographic is picky about its shopping experiences. According to a study from Merchant Warehouse and Retail Pro International, 53 percent of millennials think the supposedly seamless shopping experiences many of their favorite retailers offer leave something to be desired.

Since this group is the next generation of wine consumers, you need to adapt to their preferences to maintain high levels of online wine sales.

How to create a more seamless experience
The best way to improve customer satisfaction and loyalty is to be sure you know your target audience and meet all their needs. In the modern world of retail, the companies that are most likely to succeed are the ones that deliver the products their customers want at the right prices and use the right distribution channels, Traxler said. 

Offering customers an easy way to get in touch with you and an easy-to-use e-commerce site are the bare minimum of expectations in omnichannel retailing. Brands that gain a competitive advantage will be those that demonstrate how well they know shoppers with personalization. In addition, e-commerce fulfillment is essential for maintaining online sales. Convenience and inexpensive wine shipping are two major factors in customers' decision-making process. Wineries that deliver this experience may outperform those that don't and maintain a higher level of direct-to-consumer sales. 

A truly seamless omnichannel experience can help you gain loyal customers for life. This can translate to increased online sales and higher wine club membership. 

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