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DTC Tips from Walla Walla and the Willamette Valley

Adrienne Stillman
May 14, 2017   |   Adrienne Stillman Recommended for:   Marketing, Ecommerce, Tasting Room & Hospitality
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Last week, our team had a great time on the road visiting the Willamette Valley and Walla Walla with our DTC Roadshows. In each location, we invited a few clients to participate in a DTC Panel where we discussed trends and best practices for tasting rooms, wine clubs and more. Here are a few highlights:

Create a Better Guest Experience with Mobile POS and CRM Tools

Many people talked about how much they rely on our Customer Relationship Management (CRM) tools in the tasting room. This includes basic flags like “Has a club shipment to pick up” or “Credit card has expired”, as well as more in depth notes that allow the hospitality team to offer great service like details about the family, special life events or wine preferences. In particular, Maddie Richards of Rotie Cellars uses the CRM tools to efficiently communicate between her two tasting rooms in Walla Walla and Seattle. Instead of sending an email that might not get seen, she can easily add a note or create a task for a co-worker directly in the winery's Point of Sale (POS).

Charles Hesson of Alexana implemented Mobile POS because he realized that his team was constantly turning their backs on their customers to process orders. With deep experience working in restaurants, Charles knew this was not optimal. Now Alexana has 4 iPads that allows the team to process transactions at guest tables all over the sprawling patio without interrupting the guest experience. It’s also resulted in a much higher email capture rate.

Ask For the Wine Club First

Tiffany Stetson of Goose Ridge trains her staff on VingDirect's “hierarchy of asks”: start with the wine club invitation, if the club is declined then ask for a case sale, then a six pack, then a few bottles, one bottle, and if nothing else, get that email address. Tiffany says “It’s easier to go down than to go up. If you start with one bottle, it’s almost impossible that you’ll be able to work your way up to a wine club sign up."

Keep Out of State Members Happy

Local club members may be attracted by perks like pick up parties and complimentary tastings. But how do you entice and retain out of state members who may not be able to take advantage of those benefits as easily?

Jess Zander of Fidelitas operates a special club for out of state customers. Instead of quarterly shipments of 2 or 4 bottles each, out of staters receive biannual shipments of 6 bottles. Shipping less frequently cuts down on costly long distance shipping fees and also reduces the chance that the wine will need to be held due to hot or cold weather. Jess also offers shipping included on these club orders, as well as on any wines members choose to add on their shipment.

Make User Choice Clubs Work For You

Chris Lopez of Archery Summit uses the User Choice Club model to easily upsell and do club add-ons. Previously, it was an administrative nightmare to accommodate all the individual requests from their members wanting to order additional wines with their club shipment. By implementing User Choice clubs, it’s easy to allow each member to do this by logging in to their account. Chris also offers free shipping on all club add ons, which he has found significantly drives incremental sales.

Fidelitas is in the process of rolling out User Choice clubs to all members because it allows more flexibility. With over 2,000 club members, Fidelitas specializes in producing many small lot wines of 200 cases or less. Obviously, those numbers make it impossible to send the same 6 bottles to all members. By implementing a User Choice model, Jess and her team can offer these wines to her club members in an efficient, easy-to-manage way.

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Offer Shipping Specials to Drive Online Sales

In keeping with our own findings, both Jess from Fidelitas and Tiffany from Goose Ridge described that they have found that shipping offers outperform price discounts by a wide margin. Even if the dollar value of the discount is greater than the shipping cost, people still perceive more value in super low-cost or “shipping included”. At Fidelitas, Jess has started to regularly offer shipping specials for one day only. Each offer has it’s own caveats - such as minimum quantity and which wines are eligible.

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