With ecommerce being the most underutilized sales channel for wineries selling DTC today, there is an incredible opportunity on the table right now for your winery. The average value of an online order is 2.5 times greater than the average tasting room order. So why haven't wineries been focused on this channel all along?
One brand that has increasingly prioritized ecommerce is Gary Farrell Vineyards & Winery. For several years, ecommerce and digital have been primary strategic initiatives for this Sonoma County winery. Those initiatives were already slated for growth this year as a way to pursue additional sales channels in the face of declining winery visitation. So when the time came to pivot, they were ready with the integrated digital strategy they'd been mapping for some time. Here's what they did.
Leverage Social Media
According to Alyson White, Gary Farrell’s DTC Manager, their ecommerce efforts include a robust segmentation strategy with a combination of email and digital touch points. "Our approach hasn’t changed, but our resources have," she noted. Fortunately, Gary Farrell has been able to re-assign tasting salon staff to marketing and ecommerce projects. They are also producing more video content: winemaker vignettes pre-recorded at home, and live tastings.
Pre-recorded content is leveraged on social media, which has produced tangible results -- not only in the form of sales but also new mailing list members: “We have seen an increase in sales generated from the social content and in particular have been impressed with the number of new customer traffic to our website as a result of social media.”
Here's how the winery has promoted two different types of virtual tastings on Instagram, one private and the other public:
Stay True to Your Brand
When it comes to virtual tastings, the winery’s portfolio of single vineyard Pinot Noir and Chardonnay lends itself to a curated experience closely aligned with the type of experience you’d find in person at Gary Farrell. Alyson emphasized the importance of staying true to your brand when designing your digital offerings: “When pivoting from in person to virtual tasting experiences the goal was to provide the same level of intimacy, personalization and engagement that we achieve at the winery in an online virtual environment.”
Plan for the Future
Alyson shared that virtual tasting experiences were already built into the 2020 road map which positioned the winery to get up to speed up quickly, even if unexpectedly. The team is next working on tiered virtual tastings as a way to target various segments of their audience.
With online sales up 500% last month compared to the same period last year, it’s clear that Gary Farrell’s strategy is working.
As part of our ongoing ecommerce series, we will continue sharing our clients’ online sales success stories to help inspire your efforts during this time. Here's another recent feature about how one family-owned winery that hadn't previously prioritized online sales is now excelling at ecommerce. We hope that by sharing what’s working and what isn’t for your winery peers, we can provide you with helpful tips and better position you for success.