Great conversations are powerful creative fuel, especially when the topic gets everyone excited. In the new podcast, Wine Tech Insiders, that topic is (you guessed it) wine, particularly how technology can boost our industry and make your life easier.
There is so much tech out there designed specifically for wineries, to improve your workflow, help you sell wine, remove busy work, and ultimately provide your customers and audience with a peerless experience.
What if we told you there were easy, affordable, and approachable moves that you could implement right now?
We will. So here’s what we’ve got for you today—hacks and tips from each member of our roundtable, plus the overall theme that emerged: There is no substitute for an excellent experience.
Let’s start with this quote from Laurie: “People expect an experience that they feel confident about putting their credit card on.” In the end, this is exactly what you want someone to do. Maybe your brand has sold wine online for years, or perhaps the pandemic pushed you into some new virtual outlets. Either way, the impression you make online has a bottom line goal and that’s to make someone feel comfortable enough to let your brand into their homes.
Entering their credit card is only one step. They are also sharing all of their contact information and will be waiting in their homes from something you sent to arrive on their doorstep. Then they will enjoy it in the most intimate setting, on their table (or maybe their couch, should they be more relaxed) with someone they love (or like a bit). Brands need to ramp it up to make their online presence as attractive and trustworthy as their actual presence.
Seb reminds us to use messaging to tell a story of experience, to solidify the image of your winery with every touchpoint. He sees most wine brands having the most success with Facebook and email, but he says to keep emails short, a “tidbit” worth of information.
“Go all in for operational excellence,” advises Nick. The wine market already has logistical friction, so make sure your business has top-notch post-sale transactions. Deliver a predictable experience that allows your customers to understand what will happen next after they place an order. They need to know when and how the wine will arrive, and how they can reach you if they have questions.
We all know that friction usually rears its head after the product has left your winery, but even if delays or problems aren’t your “fault” customers will see it that way, so don’t wash your hands of the sale when the truck leaves with your deliveries. Keep in touch. Make sure your customers are happy.
For inspiration, look outside of the wine industry. Jonathan suggests to register for communications from other brands that you admire and see how they treat you as a customer. Get into your own inbox and dig into marketing emails that impress you. Wineries and wine businesses don’t have to communicate in a single winery-style way.
Send text messages, comment on social media, deliver thank you notes to recent customers with suggestions of other items they would enjoy. People love getting something just for themselves, Seb says, so consider all the ways you can make that possible.
Laurie warns that big email blasts are no longer acceptable. Don’t send one general note to everyone you know. Segment and personalize the messages you send. Seb agrees—his peeve is long quarterly emails that pack in a ton of information and then hope that people will read it. There is plenty of tech out there to help segment your audience and allow for hyper-personalized emails.
Don’t drag down good employees with administrative tasks that tech could relieve. Connectivity helps your customers understand and trust your brand and it also helps your team prioritize and be efficient. As Nick says, 2020 prompted a “rush to reinvestment” and your brand can’t afford to be left behind.
Jonathan says that having customers come to you and “help themselves” isn’t a great way to sell more wine. Wine brands don’t have the luxury of wasting our customers’ time. This is the year to differentiate yourself on excellent customer service.
The vast majority of wine businesses are small businesses, and new technology can seem daunting, but it’s not! It makes life better! “Tech can spark possibility and curiosity, and provide a renewed sense of what’s possible,” says Laurie. “Technology can demystify and delight people.” How exciting is that?
Subscribe to the podcast here.