DTC Wine Sales Health Check – 3 FREE TIPS


March 24, 2021 – This spring, we encourage our clients and direct-to-consumer teams to carve out some time to conduct a DTC Wine Sales Health Check. Now, is the time to analyze performance across all direct sales channels, reward for success and, course-correct where needed. Many hospitality teams have learned to do more with less this past year. With that said, we must prioritize relationship management and brand building even when running lean. As your respective team begins to ramp back up for summer visitation, be sure to sharpen your tools and revisit some important models for delivering exceptional experiences.

Today, we give you 3 Free Tips for Developing your DTC Health Checklist and hope that this process inspires you to create a complete checklist that can be used each spring. If you would like to schedule an online DTC Wine Coaching Program, contact the DTC Wine Workshops Team HERE.

#1 – REVIEW EFFECTIVENESS OF ALL CONSUMER OPT-IN TOOLS & SOURCES                            

Take a look around with fresh eyes and document areas that need improvement. Here are some questions to consider:

> Is it easy to opt-in to your mailing list across all consumer touch-points?

> Are opt-in tools safe and secure?

> Can website visitors opt-in within a minute of arrival?

> Is there relevant value in opting into your mailing list?

> Is it easy for social media followers to opt-in to receive an invitation to visit?

> Can frontline staff easily add a name and email to each qualified order through POS? Can frontline staff easily add a name and email to each qualified order through POS? Have they been trained to replace an invitation to join the newsletter with a meaningful invitation to reengage?

#2 – DEVELOP REENGAGEMENT WORKFLOWS OR IMPROVE THOSE ALREADY IN PLACE

> Does the frontline staff have tools to position when closing a first-time customer order. “Let’s make sure you are in our system so that when you return we can upgrade you to a Reserve Tasting, OR [insert your version of an upgrade]”. This can be a simple upgrade to a reserve tasting, a comparative tasting using a printed tasting mat, etc. A few reserved table signs make it easy for the hospitality team to welcome back these new customers when they stop by for their upgraded tasting. Even better, provide reservation tools and plan for their visit to increase conversion ratios.

> Is the tasing room manager following up with qualified visitors every Tuesday morning to personally invite back? Now that the hospitality hosts are adding a name and email with every qualified order, the management team has an opportunity to invite these guests back. We have trained managers across the nation to implement our “Tuesday Morning Workflow” to increase reengagement and convert at higher levels. This is a vital step in developing long-term direct wine sales success. TIP: pay your hospitality staff for adding new customer records to your order management system. Reengagement strategies are equally as important as club conversion in the tasting room today.

> Does your marketing manager take time to thank repeat customers for ratings/reviews/social shares? Audit your top social media outlets to find out. This is an easy way to expand brand awareness to thousands of digital followers through these outlets.

#3 – MYSTERY SHOP YOUR WINE BRAND BOTH IN-PERSON AN ONLINE

> Are you maximizing indoor and outdoor visitor spaces (where permitted)? As we begin to reopen through containment of Covid, most visitors will want to be outdoors. Now is the time to ensure you have maximized outdoor spaces and have clear wayfinding signage in place. Walk your property and identify areas where “bottlenecking” could occur as this will create a negative visitor experience. If necessary, develop several Check-In spaces to make it easy and safe for guests to get seated during busiest periods.

> Is it easy for visitors to make a reservation? Take time to update your website and digital outlets with invitations to visit this spring or summer. Make it easy for guests to make a reservation and plan ahead as they will want to feel confident about their “fun and safe time” in wine country. TIP: Be sure to build in “buffer time” between table seatings so that staff can properly sanitize and prepare. Leverage welcoming and interesting visual cues to encourage exploration while eliminating printed materials during reopening phases.

> Do guests receive a warm welcome within 1-2 minutes upon arrival? Now is the time to position a Greeter at the front on busiest days during high season. Plan to have a Greeter Station in place by mid-May and ensure this person is trained on delivering exceptional hospitality while maintaining control of the visitor center.

> Can first-time customers connect with your hospitality team and wine brand through effective storytelling? Are you leveraging video to communicate an effective story about Past, Present & Future Journey in 3-5 minutes? Cut through the noise of content overload by matching effective communication tools to your consumer audiences.

> Is “Scarcity Model” in place to sell more wine online and in-person. DO share the number of cases produced if you are truly a limited production wine brand. DO message “Sold Out” if you have sold through your top selling seasonal releases. DO message “Club Release” if you produce these wines in a thoughtful manner for members only. DO message “Wait List” if your club program is at maximum capacity or you need to restructure. Qualified wine consumers want to do business with successful wine brands that will be around in years to come. Remove messaging that sounds desperate or too sales-focused and replace with effective storytelling and intriguing content. These updates should be made online and in digital tasting menus. TIP: Consider adding hidden pages to your website with digital tasting menus so that visitors can view tasting notes, scores, etc. from their Smartphones while enjoying a safe visit.

> Can eCommerce customers build a custom 6-pack or case by leveraging a strong shipping offer? Now is the time to do the math and develop a $10 shipping offer for 6-packs and $5 or “Shipping Included” offer for cases (UPS Ground, Anywhere You Ship). Wines priced $23+ in the eCommerce channel will ensure packaging and shipper fees will be covered while remaining profitable with these offers. Know your “cost of acquisition” when developing effective shipping strategies. This is how you move the needle and take advantage of one of the fastest-growing direct sales channels in the US. TIP: add Live Chat to increase conversion ratios (completed eComm order, completed reservation, completed online membership sign-up, etc.). Also, be sure to market these offers instead of waiting for online buyers to discover them in your web store.


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About Sandra Hess

Sandra Hess, founder of DTC Wine Workshops and the DTC Consultant Network is a public speaker on the subject of direct to consumer wine sales and customer retention in the US.