Jim Agger
March 12, 2014 | Customer Relationship Management (CRM), eCommerce , Fulfillment/Shipping | Jim Agger

Preparing for Shifts in eCommerce

Wineries can increase their direct-to-consumer sales through their websites. However, online wine sales aren't the only concern anymore. First, retailers needed to focus on creating a user-friendly online experience. Then they needed to offer a mobile website. While both of these components of the shopping experience are still important, online wine stores need to provide a multichannel approach.

It's no longer just about ecommerce - consumers need to be able to access the same quality experience no matter how they choose to shop or communicate with you. And smaller wineries need to pay attention to these trends just as much as larger retailers. Here are some ways that you can keep up with the times:

True multichannel approach
Because ecommerce once seemed like a completely separate arm of retail operations, companies treated it differently from their in-store sales, according to Ventureburn. However, now it's becoming more apparent that integration between all these channels can create a better shopping experience. For example, if someone visits your winery and tries to buy a bottle they sampled in your tasting room, they will have a preconceived notion about your brand. You can support this by providing a consistent experience. In particular, your reputation can be damaged if consumers can't find the same types of wine online. 

Integration with wine inventory software can not only create a better user experience, but it also can streamline ecommerce fulfillment, which is more essential to customer satisfaction than ever before. Having better visibility into who is buying through which channels can help you optimize each individual experience. Having access to data across all aspects of the business can help you identify new opportunities and refine wine marketing efforts to be more relevant.

Customer loyalty will be more important for sustained sales growth
Exclusively ecommerce vendors are cropping up all the time, but providing high-quality customer service is crucial to retaining a loyal client base, Ian Mills, CEO of Web design company Magicdust, wrote in a blog for Huffington Post. Offering extra features, such as reduced-cost wine shipping, order tracking, multiple delivery options and extended return periods, can help differentiate your brand from other competitors. Making customers' experience as easy as possible can encourage shoppers to return. 

Rewarding your most loyal customers for their continued purchases can ensure your online sales continue. If consumers are purchasing through other DTC channels, you can send them special offers to buy from your online wine store. Boosting customer satisfaction can lead to increased wine club membership, which guarantees a continued revenue stream.

Assess fulfillment operations
How good is your wine shipping? Even if you are on par with other wineries, chances are, you have some room for improvement. Amazon has set the bar pretty high in terms of what customers can expect from ecommerce deliveries. It doesn't matter what website customers are purchasing from anymore, BusinessNewsDaily stated. They want the most efficient, cost-effective shipping options whether they are buying from a small winery or Amazon. 

One fulfillment mistake to avoid is only offering flat rate shipping across the board. Some online retailers do this because figuring out other options is complicated. However, you can lose money because many customers simply won't buy wine online when they see the shipping fees. Offer multiple options when possible. It's also a good idea be transparent when it comes to shipping. Amazon Prime shoppers may be willing to spend a little more on products themselves because they know they will receive their items in two days. Small retailers can't offer the lowest prices and hope to gain sales unless they offer competitive shipping as well. 


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