Jim Agger
August 3, 2015 | Customer Relationship Management (CRM) | Jim Agger

Implement loyalty programs to sell more wine online

Wineries can provide unique, customized experiences to wine drinkers who shop online through personalized loyalty programs. 


Customer loyalty programs are a valuable tool for any business to create brand affinity, repeat purchases and customer retention. According to the 2015 Colloquy Customer Loyalty Census, American households hold memberships in an average of 29 loyalty programs, but are only active in 12 percent of their enrollments. This data speaks to the importance of creating loyalty programs that add value to the consumer.

Loyalty programs are especially important for online wine sellers. When a customer walks into a winery, he or she is looking for a personalized experience that adds value to the shopping process. Wine drinkers want to taste new varietals, learn about winery news and ask questions about the history behind each type of wine. Wineries can provide unique, customized experiences to wine drinkers who shop online, as well.

Data leads to personalization 
Before your winery can create a unique loyalty program for online shoppers, you must understand your audience. While one winery may largely appeal to millennials, another winery might resonate more with luxury wine shoppers in higher income brackets. 

Leveraging data from social media commentary, customer service inquiries and surveys can provide you with valuable insights to create a loyalty program that is relevant to your winery's audience.

Loyalty360 reported that according to a recent study from Experian, 53 percent of U.S. companies with loyalty programs wanted more personalization. Understanding your audience will help you create more personalized customer loyalty programs.

Beyond wine of the month
A wine of the month program is an excellent way to encourage shoppers to try new wines at reduced prices; however, these programs won't necessarily lead to repeat customers. Instead, wineries should offer long-term loyalty engagements that are structured around their customers' unique values.

A study from KiteWheel underscores the importance of customer loyalty programs showing reciprocal appreciation for both brand and customer. The study revealed 73 percent of consumers believe that loyalty programs should be a way for brands to show how loyal they are to them as a customer. This data is especially important for online wine sellers, as wine drinkers feel attached to the wine they are drinking and want to be seen and recognized by the wineries they purchase from.

Loyalty programs help online shoppers feel closer to the tasting room.

VIP benefits are a must for wineries
According to a SaleCycle report, shopping cart abandonment rates reached 76 percent across all sectors during the first quarter of 2015. Offer shoppers the opportunity to opt in to VIP benefits.

Online wine sellers can reduce the frequency of shopping cart abandonment is to bring shipping costs down through VIP programs. For example, Amazon allows customers to sign-up for Amazon Prime. For $99 per year, Amazon Prime shoppers are eligible for free shipping on most items. Wineries can reward and encourage customer loyalty, and increased spending, by offering similar VIP programs.

Above all, customer loyalty programs are an opportunity for winemakers to reduce the barriers for customers to experience wine. WineDirect offers unique solutions to customer loyalty, including our 46Brix loyalty program for customers using WineDirect's Vin65 platform.


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