Drive DTC Wine Sales and Keep ‘em Coming Back!

In 2013, 3.4 million cases of wine shipped in the United States (ShipCompliant 2014 DTC Report). Online sales are growing at the fastest pace in history and staying connected to your customers is critical. Here are five customer touch points that will drive DTC wine sales and keep your biggest fans coming back:

1. Give them what they want
In some cases, your e-commerce website is the customers first touch point with your brand. Analyze your data to better understand the top varietals customers are purchasing and display those first. Make it easy for customers to shop by setting up your website to cater to the interests of your top-tier customers and providing easy drill down tools by category.

Know your customer demographics and ensure images and content on the homepage are relevant. For example, if females represent your highest demographic, add teasers and event announcements for fashion shows, cooking classes, Pinterest parties and so on. Keeping customers connected beyond the initial purchase will build brand loyalty.

2. Be sure to say thank you
This customer touch point is first and foremost. Customers want to hear from you and it isn’t always the first sale that’s the most important. You want to drive repeat sales, so focus on the second sale. When the second sale happens, you’re doing something right. You’ve converted a first time buyer to a repeat customer. Set up an email that is sent following every online or tasting room transaction that includes a personal note from the winery staff, order confirmation, maybe a few notes about the wines purchased, and an invitation to connect at an event or through the wine club. Communicate your brand story in all customer interactions.

3. Map out the tasting room experience
Many of us have had an unfortunate tasting room visit that has felt more like a cattle call on a busy weekend. By mapping out the tasting room experience, your team can better serve customers at the tasting bar, in private areas, or at seated tastings. Add advance reservation tools to your e-commerce website so that first-time visitors are given choices for the type of tasting experience they prefer. Do visitors want a sit down wine and food pairing, a descriptor tasting, or are they celebrating a birthday or anniversary with friends? By offering 3-4 tasting options by price tier, your winery can better qualify visitors and provide personal service upon their arrival. Cross reference reservation information in the e-commerce system to understand if visitors are club members or have previously purchased. Have a birthday gift or decorations set up if a club member or large group makes a reservation to celebrate their birthday with friends. This customer touch point gives your staff the tools needed to have meaningful conversations and establish long-term relationships.

4. Dazzle the customer with a mobile POS
In the tasting room, at a sit down tasting experience, or outside at a member pick up party, the use of a mobile POS has improved customer service. In many cases, it has even increased the average spend per customer. Not having to wait in a long line to check out in the tasting room makes an incredible impression. Carrying the purchase to the customer’s table is an excellent customer touch point. Mobile POS tools give winery staff the information needed when interacting with members and first-time visitors. By recording customer preferences, future communication can be tailored and better received.

5. Personalize club member experiences
Your club members are your biggest fans and continue to reinvest their time and money in your brand. Wineries have the greatest opportunity to grow DTC wine sales and expand reach through the club sales segment. Set up an annual member touch point plan to include a mix of phone calls, emails and hand written correspondence. Don’t make the club shipment the only time a member hears from your staff. Revisit each member touchpoint quarterly and improve messaging, recommendations and personalization whenever possible. Use social CRM tools to better understand your club members by interests, hobbies, job titles, affiliations with charitable organizations and community groups. Include custom messaging in the member portal and update bi-monthly to keep surprising with thoughtful touches. Set up alerts within your e-commerce and CRM systems to notify staff of customer birthdays, club anniversaries and important member milestones. Create VIP touch points for the top 30-40% of club members by lifetime value and treat them well. Showcase your members through social outlets and club newsletters. Let members shine and help share your brand story!

About the Author:

Sandra Hess, Founder of DTC Wine Workshops, supports wineries large and small in the areas of technology and process improvements to grow DTC sales and retain loyal customers. DTC Wine Workshops is a consulting company serving wineries throughout the United States.

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.