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For the latest in Direct-to-Consumer sales.  Featuring posts on compliance, direct sales tips and trends in the wine industry.

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WineDirect Admin
May 29, 2012 | WineDirect Admin

Now Is the Time to Get Your Customer Databases Ready for OND

It’s hard to believe that nearly half of 2012 has almost gone, and before we know it the busy holiday season will be upon us. This time of year is perfect for solidifying your relationship with your customers and making sure their shipping and billing information is up-to-date, which will hopefully make for a smoother and slightly less stressful OND for you and your staff.

So how do you go about strengthening your relationship with your customers now?

Party like its 1999!

Throw an exclusive, limited capacity event for your private customers. People want to be outdoors in a beautiful setting, celebrating the warmer weather, eating great food, and of course sampling your delicious wine! Invitation only release parties, lunches, dinners with live music are just a few ways that will strengthen the connection your customers have with your winery. Treat them like VIP’s and you will be rewarded with consistent wine purchases year after year.

What better way to make sure all your customer information is up-to-date than by having them pre-pay for their tickets using a simple, but comprehensive, event sign-up form?

Handy hint: Create a sense of urgency by showing a count-down of tickets remaining on your website, Twitter and Facebook.

Entice With a Prize

Send out a short and sweet email/tweet/post giving your customers the opportunity to be rewarded if they complete an easily accessible online contact information page. Let them know that you’d like to be able to expand your ability to dialogue with them in the future. You won’t get much traction without some sort of incentive in place, so make sure it’s enticing enough to motivate someone to enter their precious personal information.

For example: Go in the draw to win a trip for two to Napa worth $1500

The Personal Touch

The most powerful and immediate way to connect with your customers is to reach out over the phone to them. People love to hear from their favorite winery and will jump at the chance to talk about their experiences with you. It’s a great way to keep them interested in you, update their details and sell some wine!

It’s a far more active and effective than an email, Twitter or Facebook offer, and on average 70% of people who purchase will be repeat customers (Call for Wine statistics – 2004 – 2012).

If you are finding this task daunting (making phone calls is not everyone’s cup of tea) outsource to the professionals at Call for Wine. They’ve been in the business for eight years and are exceptionally good at capturing the personality of each winery and authentically representing each brand. They will call through your entire non-club and customer database, updating details as they go and building a good rapport with your private customers in readiness for OND.

Call to Action!

So why wait until the busiest time of the year to get organized? Start tidying your customer data now and be rewarded with the most profitable and effortless holiday season you’ve ever had!

Genevieve Verdier
May 24, 2012 | Genevieve Verdier

Knock Knock...Who Is There?

Your wine delivery!!

It is always a treat to receive wine delivered at your home but what happens when you are not there to sign for it? Carriers are required to obtain an adult (above the age of 21) signature upon delivery. If that requirement cannot be satisfied, they will return at a later date for another delivery attempt. Carriers are not allowed to leave a package containing alcohol at the door. After three delivery attempts, the wine will be returned to the sender.

Carriers will leave door tags to notify that a delivery was attempted, and some carriers will call the consumer if they have been provided with a phone number. Consumers can await the next delivery or arrange to pick up their shipment at the local carrier hub.

Unfortunately returned orders cost money. Not only is there a carrier charge for processing the return but there are additional transportation fees to send the shipment back. If the order is sent back to the WineDirect Fulfillment Center, it will be checked for any damage and restocked. So what can you do?

  1. ALTERNATIVE ADDRESS: Ask your consumers if they have an alternative shipping address such as a work address at which there will likely be someone on hand during business hours to sign for the package.
  2. MONITOR: WineDirect clients can monitor their FedEx and UPS delivery attempts 24/7 on our web Portal. Sign in and go to the Orders tab. On the left navigation menu, there is a link for “Delivery Exceptions” to pull up a report with carrier tracking links. You can then coordinate with your consumers for the next delivery attempt.
  3. RE-ROUTE: WineDirect can arrange for order re-routing however there are costs involved for processing and potentially increased delivery charges depending on the new address.

It should be noted that for 3-Tier states, in which the order passes thru the in-state wholesaler and retailer licenses, state laws do not allow wine to be physically returned to the originating fulfillment center. Returns will be held at the state retailer for up to 6 weeks awaiting resolution (i.e. an alternative address is provided within the same state). Your Account Coordinator will email you with the return information and request resolution. If no resolution is provided within 6 weeks, the state retailer will dispose of the product.

Successful Deliveries = Happy Consumers.

Now if we can just figure out how to deliver more time in the day to enjoy all these wonderful wines!

Joe Waechter
May 17, 2012 | Joe Waechter

Getting to Know Your Customers

Stanley Marcus, who was an early President and later Chairman of the Board of luxury retailer Neiman Marcus, was once quoted as saying:

“Consumers are statistics, customers are people.”

For the wine industry, where the customer experience is vitally important, I think his words are especially meaningful. The customer experience reaches across dozens of different touch points: your product, your packaging, sales, marketing, wine club, retail tier, tasting room, and your staff (not just customer service but rather everyone involved, from your winemaker to your bookkeeper.) And don’t forget third party providers like WineDirect. We’ve been entrusted with your customer experience as well (to deliver your orders with care, provide information via email, to make sure the web experience exceeds their expectations, and to build upon your relationships through Call for Wine.)

Delivering an exceptional experience across all of these different touch points requires a deep understanding of your customers.

There are a lot of great tools and resources available today which allow us to see a broad picture of the typical wine “consumer”. Demographic information is used to understand the average age, gender, and household income of consumers. Transactional data like average order values and products purchased can be analyzed to understand aggregate consumer preferences and behavior. And all of this data can be invaluable, if used in the right way.

But it’s important to remember that customers don’t live in a data warehouse. This brings me back to Stanley Marcus’ quote: “Consumers are statistics. Customers are people.” I think the message in that quote is that in order to deliver a great experience, you need to understand the “people” behind the data, i.e. the individuals who interact with your brand and buy your wine. A solid understanding of the meaning behind the data provides one piece of the puzzle.

The other piece comes from getting to know your customers personally. What are their motivations, goals, and expectations? How do you begin to understand your customers? The easiest way that I know of is to go to them, through whatever channels you can. Talk to them on the phone, in the tasting room, at events, or through social media. After a while, you’ll begin to develop a better understanding of what their needs are and start filling in the rest of the puzzle. Some marketers develop personas as a means of gaining empathy for their customers - remember Constellation Wines’ Project Genome. Personas are a great way to focus and direct the conversation away from analytics and toward what is really important….the customer.

Sheri Hebbeln
May 8, 2012 | Sheri Hebbeln

Engage Customers with a Great Winery Video Campaign

The use of video (both for ads and as content) is way up this year according to comScore. In March, 181 million U.S. Internet users watched nearly 37 billion online content videos, while video ads topped 8 billion for the first time on record.*

I think customers have become a little overwhelmed by the sheer volume of content on the web, and video provides a better way to connect through use of sight, sound and motion. But your campaigns should be well planned, because if done right, video can be a highly effective marketing tool.

What Makes a Great Video?

  • Research and Preparation: Before attempting your first video, it’s always a good idea to do some research. What types of winery videos are more popular with your target customer and which of those appeal to you?
  • Connection: Think about who your customers are and how you can use video to engage with them in a manner they will appreciate. Your video should be tailored to your audience.
  • Personality and Authenticity: A great video will give the audience a feel for who you are and what makes your winery special. It’s a perfect way to convey your value proposition.
  • Humor: People love humor, so if it fits, don’t be afraid to use it. I’m a big fan of the Gundlach Bundschu videos.
  • Length: Your video should be somewhere in the 2 to 5 minute range, no longer. To accomplish this, try to limit the video to a single message. You’ll want to put thought into the objectives of your video before production time. 

How Should You Market Your Video?

Remember that success is not just about collecting views, butrather, it’s about generating interest and gaining customers.  

  • Use video sharing sites: You’ll want to host your video on a site like YouTube and embed it on your own website or blog. And if you’re committed, consider starting a channel for your winery on YouTube and perhaps Vimeo.
  • Prepare your video for the search engines: When you upload your video to YouTube or another video sharing site, be sure to populate all informational fields including meta-tags and descriptions.
  • Share your video: Use all of the social media channels you actively participate in to really expand your reach: Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, and Google+ for example.
  • Engage with your audience: Respond to user comments on all channels and communicate with your followers through social media.
  • Measure your success: In order to measure you need to start with a set of clearly defined goals. Are you trying to educate your audience about your winemaking or green practices? Are you interested in generating brand awareness? Or is your goal to improve sales?  

Depending on your goals, success can be measured by the number of views, by clicks to your website, or by specific user comments.

Sources for Video Creation

You can start with a Google search for video production companies in your area. A couple that I would recommend:


5 Things Every Video Marketer Should Know…Before Production Begins!
By G. Christie

Examples of Wineries That Have Done a Great Job with Video

*Source: Americans Watch Billions of Video Ads Monthly