As we begin to wrap up 2017, lets take a look at key trends in direct to consumer wine sales throughout the United States this past year. At DTC Wine Workshops, we provide direct to consumer wine sales consulting services to winery teams of all sizes throughout the nation. We keep an eye on data from survey responses and also interview our clients on a regular basis in strategic planning engagements. I have moderated two 360-Degree Customer View panel discussions this past year at WIVI Central Coast in March and at the WITS Conference Sonoma in June. I will also be moderating a panel discussion on this topic at the DTC Wine Symposium in Concord, CA in January. I keep a close eye on how 360-Degree Customer View initiatives improve customer satisfaction and with that said, have learned that loyal wine consumers want more high-touch experiences and meaningful interactions with their favorite wine brands in person and in between visits.
Wineries can no longer compete just on price as the direct to consumer wine industry has changed the game for large producers as well as up-and-coming wine brands across the nation. Wine brands now have access to real-time data insights and feedback from consumers in a variety of outlets including online ratings/review platforms such as Yelp and TripAdvisor to social media outlets including Facebook and Instragram. Whether it be a baby boomer who has invested in a wine brand as a club member for 10+ years or a millennial exploring wines from brands he or she admires, consumers are demanding more elevated experiences both in-person and online. With over 9,000 wineries competing for the attention of wine consumers across the nation, winery teams are responding to consumer demand in a more rapid pace today than ever before with use of technical tools and improved consumer engagement processes.
So what are the DTC All-Star Winery Teams doing in the US to ensure wine consumers keep coming back? Here are some key insights:
1. They provide opportunities for wine consumers to “self-identify” before visiting the tasting room with online reservation software or forms as well as mailing list opt-in tools. The winery isn’t the only place to collect valuable customer data and proper use of opt-in forms within social media outlets, online review/rating platforms and the winery website can make it or break it for a wine brand competing in the direct to consumer space today. This initial data provided by a prospective customer can automatically create a contact record in any order management system, thus beginning the process of establishing a “360-Degree Customer View”. The ability to identify the consumer point of entry provides richer customer insights when analyzing data month after month to make strategic sales and marketing decisions.
2. They create unique visitor experiences based on desires and interests. A common thread among the most successful direct to consumer wine brands is their ability to listen and learn. We see teams at Duckhorn, Hall Wines, Jordan, Ehlers Estate, Trinchero, Wente Vineyards and others going above and beyond to offer exciting and educational visitor experiences tailored to the desires of most customers. Roger Trinchero shared words of wisdom at the Impact Conference in Napa this past summer around how Trinchero Family Estates has grown their business into one of the most successful wine and spirits brands in the United States. A key take-away from Roger’s keynote presentation was that from the beginning, Bob Trinchero taught the family to “give customers what they want”. This has been one of the driving principles for success at Trinchero and the family continues to do so today by constantly listening to what customers want and by diversifying their offerings to meet consumer demand.
3. They record key findings when interacting with qualified wine consumers in-person and by phone. Today, successful direct to consumer teams are collecting, managing and using data to build 360-degree customer views and campaigns that support both front line staff and management behind the scenes. Referencing the basics such as lifetime value of a customer, order history, date of last visit and other transactional data will only take the relationship so far. Knowing that a loyal wine club couple celebrated their 20th wedding anniversary in Spain this year or that their son got married in Tahoe last summer takes the relationship to the next level when interacting with them at future visits for in phone conversations. Note: this process doesn’t need to be complicated and customer relationship management (CRM) data can live within the existing point-of-sale and e-commerce systems.
To learn more about how winery teams and technical partners are improving customer service and growing direct wine sales throughout the US, view the DTC Wine Video Case Study Series at: https://dtcwineworkshops.com/events/case-studies/.
Sandra Hess, Founder, DTC Wine Workshops