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There were 245,203,319 Internet users in the US (representing 78.1% of the population) at mid-year 2012, according to Internet World Stats, December 2012*.  The amount of time spent online rose about 20% to more than 30 hours weekly. Affluent Millennials, defined here as those aged 18 to 29, spend more than 40 hours a week online, essentially a full-time job. (Ipsos Media, October 2011).  $1.35 billion in wine was shipped in 2012*.

  • Are you using your website as an e-commerce tool and providing an informative, fun and easy to navigate shopping experience?
  • How are you engaging with your biggest online Fans and Followers?
  • How are you monitoring online mentions of your brand?  How are you responding?
  • How often are you updating blogs, content and online news and promotion boards?
  • Are you using Online Marketplaces to expand reach and visibility?
  • Who is creating your online content?  Is content relevant and being refreshed regularly?



What is a brand without a story?  It’s just another brand that will get lost in the crowd.  Think about your brand as it relates to the five senses.

  • Sight:  How does your logo, labels, packaging, website design and tasting room look to your loyal followers?  Have you asked? Now that you know who your loyal customers are, is it time to revisit your branding to create an experience that is more appealing to your buyers?
  • Taste: Are you using preference based marketing tools to maintain an up-to-date profile for each of your customers?  Are you using this valuable data to market your varietals based on taste preferences?  Are you designing events and club shipments with the customers taste in mind?  Wineries have the ability to understand customer preferences in a very detailed and intimate way – take advantage of this power by using a proper combination of technology and best practices to cater to your customer’s tastes.
  • Sound:  What is your brand story?  What does it sound like?  What stories are your biggest fans telling others about your brand?  Are you delivering fresh content every month that reinforces your brand story?  Are you using video to create a more familiar experience on your website?  Who is telling your story – winemaker, owner, operations manager, tasting room manager?  Does the story sound genuine and consistent?  Wine is more than a beverage – it becomes an experience through tasting, smelling, exploring and story telling.
  • Smell:  Are you tantalizing the taste buds?  Does your staff educate every sipper about the unique characteristics of the wine they taste and how smell plays a big role?  Do new customers leave your tasting room with an Aha! feeling after discovering something new?  You have the ability to convert each taster into a club member, online shopper and fan if they had a truly memorable tasting room experience.
  • Touch:  What are your DTC customer touch points?  Have you taken time to identify all touch points?  The greatest opportunity to interact with a customer is in person.  Are your tasting room and events staff members delivering high impact customer service experiences?  Is your brand experience being reflected through their knowledge and customer interactions?



Identifying where your customers are spending their time online is essential when staying connected.  Understanding who your biggest online fans are will help your brand managers stay current with online conversations.  At a bare minimum, connecting through Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest will keep your brand in front of your online buyers.  Setting up a daily online monitoring task will instantly improve your online visibility and keep you informed of both positive and possibly negative conversations.   Writing a blog post on a regular basis will keep your customers informed and interested.

  • Are you monitoring online conversations about your brand daily?   If you don’t have the time to monitor all social outlets daily, let technology do it for you. VinTank is a social monitoring tool that informs you of all online conversations about your brand so that you can interact in a more timely and effective manner.
  • Beyond social monitoring, how easy is it for your customers to find your wine online, at the store or at a restaurant?
  • Are you giving customers enough online information and the ability to connect with you?
  • What do your wine club shipments look like?  Are club members WOWED when opening up their club shipment?  Are they telling their friends about their club shipment experience?
  • Can your fans easily find your wine online, at the store or at a restaurant based on brand recognition?



Check out the FACTS about mobile shopping in the U.S.!   Mobile commerce sales hit $24.66 billion in 2012, up 81% from $13.63 billion in 2011, research firm eMarketer says. EMarketer counts sales made on smartphones, tablets and other mobile devices such as Apple Inc.’s iPod Touch. It excludes travel and ticket sales.  U.S. m-commerce sales will rise 55.7% to $38.40 billion in 2013, 35.8% to $52.17 billion in 2014, 30.9% to $68.29 billion in 2015, and 27.2% to $86.86 billion in 2016, eMarketer forecasts.  Retail sales on smartphones and tablets accounted for 7% of U.S. e-commerce sales in 2011 and 11% in 2012, eMarketer finds. They will represent 15% of e-commerce sales in 2013, 18% in 2014, 21% in 2015 and 24% in 2016, the research firm predicts.  Vin65 recently announced the release of their new iPhone POS product and their Mobile POS on the iPad has been in high demand this past year.  Wineries now recognize the need to provide the level of customer service that luxury brands offer in their retail locations.  Mobile POS tools are no longer a luxury but a necessity when remaining competitive.

  • Have you shopped your brand using various mobile devices?
  • Is your website optimized for mobile devices?  Is your designer using responsive design processes?
  • Are you using an e-commerce solution that provides a secure, one-page check out process?
  • How many clicks does it take for a returning customer to make a purchase with a mobile device?
  • Is your e-commerce provider offering statistics around AB testing so that you are constantly refreshing your website and mobile shopping experience based on ease of navigation and check out?
  • Are you using Mobile POS solutions to improve purchasing process?  You can have more meaningful conversations in the tasting room and at events when customers aren’t waiting in line to check out.

Is your brand an EVENT DESTINATION?


In 2012, there were 3,754 bonded wineries just in California alone*.  Wine buyers are sophisticated online buyers who work hard and play hard.

  • Are you working with local tourism agencies to become a destination visitors must visit the next time they are in your community?
  • How are wine lovers discovering your brand? Do you know where your customers live?  Are you running monthly reports to identify growing markets by state and inviting those shoppers to become club members?  Do you offer shipping discounts by state to growth markets?
  • Are you creating exciting and original events that appeal to your customers?
  • Are you providing lodging and dining recommendations on your website and in person?

To schedule a complimentary DTC Sales Check Up, fill out the contact form below.


About Sandra Beals

Sandra Beals, founder of DTC Wine Workshops and the DTC Consultant Network, is a subject matter specialist and public speaker on the topics of direct to consumer wine sales and consumer engagement strategies.