Jim Agger
March 4, 2014 | eCommerce , Fulfillment/Shipping | Jim Agger

Emphasize Quality Over Deals in Wine Marketing

Every online wine store needs to strike a delicate balance to continue attracting new customers while encouraging existing clients to repeat their purchases. A wine merchant needs to determine the right combination of special offers and website experience factors. If you think you need to heavily discount to generate new business, this may not be the case. Research from Duke University's Fuqua School of Business revealed that a high-quality product offering is more appealing than having the lowest prices. 

Ecommerce vendors have been promoting the quality of their products for the past few years, but consumer preferences have recently shifted. In fact, pricing has steadily dropped down the list of customer priorities. Shoppers are more concerned with customer service and building relationships with brands than being able to get the lowest deal. 

Greater focus on quality can help you increase DTC sales
It may seem like a simple idea to lead your wine marketing charge with highlights about the quality of your products. However, this is more challenging than it may appear because customers - particularly online shoppers - have notoriously short attention spans. It's not that they don't listen. Consumers are regularly bombarded with brand messages from every direction, so it's more difficult to cut through the chatter than ever before. Social media has made this even more challenging because wineries need to contend with personal communications from customers' friends and family members in addition to promotions from other brands, according to Practical Ecommerce. 

One way to stand out in the noise on the Internet is by delivering a personalized experience on your website. Many ecommerce sites generate product suggestions for registered users based on their purchasing histories, Brandwatch stated. Online shoppers are gradually becoming more comfortable sharing personal information with brands when it results in more targeted suggestions, and this may allow you to further refine your marketing efforts. Individual wine tastes tend to be unique, which means you don't want to send product recommendations for varieties a customer doesn't like. Integrating your email platform with your customer relationship management system can help you keep track of this information.

Ecommerce fulfillment acts as a competitive differentiator
Quality isn't exclusively limited to your physical products. Wine shipping is going to become more important to encourage your customers to buy online instead of from your winery or a store. Patience is starting to get shorter. Clients don't want to wait two weeks for a case of wine to arrive. An even bigger annoyance is when shoppers don't have an accurate idea of when their products are going to show up, Brandwatch said. As retail giants like Amazon and eBay race to offer increasingly quicker delivery, wineries need to offer reduced shipping times and multiple delivery options. 

Emphasizing the strength of your fulfillment operations can signal to customers that you're offering them a high-quality shopping experience, from products to delivery. Real-time delivery information can boost satisfaction and ensure shoppers keep returning. You can offer an estimate at the initial time of purchase and send updates if there are any changes during the fulfillment process. If packages are going to be delayed due to weather or any other factor, informing clients instead of delivering late can build customer trust. 


Dan Chapin's Gravatar
Dan Chapin
@ Mar 6, 2014 at 9:07 AM
Great post Jim. I agree with the advice to focus on quality over wine deals and as we start to see upticks in consumer spending (revenue per transaction, price per bottle) I agree that a sales strategy of leading with wine deals will begin to fade. I do believe there is still one missing ingredient in the mix for wine DTC and that is an effective "on-board marketing" strategy. This is by no means a new concept but simply a poorly executed sales & marketing tactic in the DTC space. It is obvious that wineries can do a lot to elevate the purchase experience by including relevant, compelling collateral in the box to bring the recipient's experience to a climax. But the right on-board marketing piece will also help to boost wine reorders and increase customer retention and ultimately lifetime value. The one exception I see for wine discounting is when positioned as an incentive for customers to share with their peers. The ideal vehicle for this type of promotion would take place via a digital experience (website, social media campaign) to increase the potential web/digital footprint for the brand. Lots of room for improvement based on what I see going out in my clients boxes every month and I am eager to see more wineries share best practices within your BLOG.

Charles Wickman's Gravatar
Charles Wickman
@ Mar 6, 2014 at 12:29 PM
Nice article Jim. However how can a consumer understand or know about "quality" of their potential wine purchase when buying online? Are you saying that online wine merchants should promote their quality via other offerings such as shipping/personal experiences/etc and not just their wine?

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