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WINEDIRECT (FORMERLY VIN65)

WineDirect (formerly Vin65) logo


CONTACT INFO

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Address

450 Green Island Rd
American Canyon
CA, 94558
United States
Phone
866-437-7064
Fax
Primary
Kevin Williams

Let's sell wine on your terms

Since our founding, we’ve had one core goal: to help wineries sell directly to consumers in the way that works best for them. Today, we do that by providing our clients with end-to-end sales solutions—from ecommerce; to fulfillment—as well as educational materialsdesigned to help them grow. 

 

For wineries looking to stay competitive, a smart DTC strategy is critical.

It lets you reach new customers, engage current ones, and keep more of your profits. But to really excel, you need to also meet your customers’ sky-high expectations for service and delivery. 

Today’s consumers want it all. And we can help you give it to them.

Convenient ordering, great customer service, speedy delivery, and impeccable accuracy are all par for the course these days—and the stakes are only getting higher. As the only company providing end-to-end DTC sales solutions, we’re the partner who can help you exceed their expectations at every turn.

But we’re also dedicated to showing you how to optimize your DTC sales.

Because we process so many ecommerce and fulfillment orders each day, we have access to data and insights that no one else does. We use that to create educational materials that can help all wineries learn anything and everything they want to about the DTC channel, no matter what stage of growth they’re in.

> Visit www.winedirect.com to learn more

End to End DTC Solutions


When they order from your winery, today’s consumers want it all: an easy-to-use interface, free shipping, impeccable accuracy, and more. WineDirect’s integrated suite of tools makes it easy to exceed their expectations, freeing you up to do what you do best: delight your customers with great wine in your tasting rooms and beyond. With expertise in all areas of ecommerce and fulfillment and a longstanding commitment to wineries’ growth, WineDirect can help you at every stage in your development.

 

Wine Club

Whether you’re starting out or running programs for multiple brands, we make managing your club seamless.

  • Use one system for managing every facet of your wine club, from sign-up to club processing to email alerts.
  • Personalize orders, upgrade services, and conduct simple batch processing.
  • Access in-depth reporting, available in real time.
  • Leverage built-in marketing tools to engage customers and drive sales.
  • Increase member retention and club growth with easy-to-manage user choice clubs

Point of Sale

Close sales anywhere with an entirely mobile point of sale (POS) system that’s compatible with any device.

  • Sell anywhere with a mobile-first system that can be used on any browser or iOS device with a data connection or WiFi.
  • Intuitively manage your products, customers, and inventory.
  • Easily access customer data to provide VIP customer service in the tasting room and capture email addresses during checkout.
  • Segment lists for targeted campaigns and follow up tasting room visits with personalized emails that encourage repeat purchases.

Ecommerce

From free website templates and easy product management to robust email and reporting tools, our direct-to-consumer ecommerce platform offers everything you need to maximize your sales—or scale up your operations.

  • Design your winery’s digital storefront with our clean, mobile-friendly website templates.
  • Drive sales with a streamlined “always on” shopping cart and built-in upselling tools.
  • Understand your customers in-depth—and reach them—with advanced CRM software.
  • Market more effectively with sophisticated segmentation and email tools that let you send the right message at the right time to the right person.

Marketplace Distribution

Build your customer base with WineDirect’s integrated marketplace distribution network —the only one of its kind—that enables you to seamlessly connect to third-party platforms including Amazon, eBay, and many top travel and luxury loyalty programs in the United States.  

  • Reach the types of buyers you’re looking for with smart, strategic cross-promotions with our partners.
  • Setup is easy, and you can manage all orders through your existing ecommerce account.
  • After getting set up, make new products available to our marketplace partners with one click.
  • Take advantage of explosive marketplace growth, and be part of the first generation of wineries selling this way.

Fulfillment

If your winery is located in California, take advantage of our industry-leading fulfillment services and state-of-the-art warehouse facilities in Napa Valley, Paso Robles, Santa Maria, and Glenwillow, Ohio. If you’re located outside of California, take advantage of our self-fulfillment options.

  • Ship faster—and better—with the latest order cutoff in the industry and an accuracy rate above 99.98%.
  • Manage shipments with an intuitive online portal, fully integrated with our ecommerce platform.
  • Offer more personalization to infuse your brand into every shipment, with order-level customization, branded box toppers, gift packages, and more.
  • Rest assured that our team cares for your wine as carefully as you do: from robust temperature and humidity controls, to easy-to-use weather hold tools, and processes built to minimize handling.

> Visit www.winedirect.com to learn more


News Archive


New! Loyalty Points Program
07 November, 2017

We're thrilled to announce our new Loyalty Points program, available today. Over the years, this has been one of our most-requested features, and with good reason. Loyalty programs encourage repeat customers who spend more on their purchases and return to your winery more often. With loyalty points, you can easily reward your biggest fans, and keep them coming back for more. 

Why You’ll Love Loyalty Points

  • Create a seamless experience for customers to earn and redeem points
  • Leverage points as an extra bonus or customer service perk
  • Incentivize club members to join premium clubs and receive a more favorable earning rate
  • Customize which product SKUs customers can redeem with loyalty points
  • Ability to customize a redemption rate that makes sense for your winery

Details

Loyalty Points is a paid add-on feature that can be used by wineries of all sizes; the pricing simply fluctuates based on the number of contacts you have in your Admin Panel CRM at the time of billing.

Pricing

Up to 5,000 Contacts --- $49.00/month
5,001 - 15,000 Contacts---  $99.00/month
15,001 - 30,000 Contacts ---  $129.00/month
30,001+ Contacts ---  $229.00/month


How To Get Started

  • Sign up here to start using the new loyalty points features
  • To learn more, please read the documentation
  • Once you’ve signed up for loyalty points,you can easily manage and apply points on your Admin Panel and POS

Sign Me Up

 


Vin65 is now WineDirect!
03 November, 2017

Meet the new WineDirect

WineDirect has always strived to be the champion that wineries need, empowering them to sell directly to consumers more effectively and create delightful experiences in the process.

We continually focus on new and better ways to deliver on this goal—and today we’re making some of our biggest changes yet!

Vin65 is now WineDirect.

Since acquiring Vin65 in 2012, we’ve evolved and improved our ecommerce offering to make it part of a truly seamless end-to-end solution—from point of sale through order delivery.

Now, by formally integrating our teams and brands under the WineDirect name, we can continue to find new ways to provide you even better service and tools.

All of our clients can expect a better experience:

  • More closely integrated ecommerce and fulfillment teams dedicated to developing products and providing services that complement each other
  • A growing client support team that will provide even more collaborative and responsive customer care
  • Simplified service packages that bring together our ecommerce and fulfillment offering
  • A free DTC Advisor tool that helps wineries identify exactly where they fall on the direct-to-consumer spectrum and how to take their wineries to the next level

> Visit our new website


Fire Update & Disaster Relief Donations
13 October, 2017

Thank you to each of you who has reached out over the past few days to express your concern. We are humbled by the outpouring of support from members of our community near and far. The Vin65 and WineDirect team is all accounted for and we are very fortunate that our Napa Valley fulfillment center remains out of harms way.

We are incredibly grateful to the brave and tireless work of the first response teams that are working around the clock to keep our community safe and minimize the impact on our industry. Our hearts go out to everyone affected and we hope you and your families remain safe.

To support our clients, friends and neighbors who have lost their homes and businesses, we have made a $10,000 donation to the Napa Valley Community Foundation Disaster Relief Fund. We are also matching donations up to an additional $20,000. This fund was established in 2014 following the Napa earthquake and funds will go towards immediate relief as well as long term recovery.

I and the entire Vin65 and WineDirect teams are committed to supporting our winery clients and helping our community rebuild in the wake of this terrible tragedy.

With best regards,

Joe Waechter

President and CEO

WineDirect and Vin65

joe.waechter@winedirect.com


Top 3 Under-Utilized Features on Vin65
02 August, 2017

Beyond the basics of wine club, online store and point-of-sale, there are many features that can have a big impact on your direct-to-consumer (DTC) sales. But with so much to do, it can be hard to figure out what to focus on first. Here are my top 3 recommendations that will help you grow sales, provide great customer service and work more effectively with your team:

  1. Carrot Engine Upsell Tools
  2. Customer Relatioship Management (CRM) Features
  3. Automated Email Marketing

> Read more on our blog.


3 Ways to Boost Summer Wine Sales with Social Media
06 July, 2017

How can you sell more using Facebook & Instagram?

By now we all know that making great wine is not enough to sell great wine. In this digital age you have to beat the jungle drums and get the world excited about your product. You also have to beat those drums in person, in store and online. Take note of our strategies below to make this summer shine for sales!

In 2017 one the best ways to connect with your customers and make your product top of mind is with social media. Here is the equation I like to work by:

Online presence + customer engagement = loyal customers + sales

Sounds good, but where to start? Check out the Vin65 Blog to learn my top 3 tips.


3 Ways to Boost Summer Wine Sales with Social Media
06 July, 2017

How can you sell more using Facebook & Instagram?

By now we all know that making great wine is not enough to sell great wine. In this digital age you have to beat the jungle drums and get the world excited about your product. You also have to beat those drums in person, in store and online. Take note of our strategies below to make this summer shine for sales!

In 2017 one the best ways to connect with your customers and make your product top of mind is with social media. Here is the equation I like to work by:

Online presence + customer engagement = loyal customers + sales

Sounds good, but where to start? Check out the Vin65 Blog to learn my top 3 tips.


Niagara & Finger Lakes DTC Roadshow Speakers Announced
28 June, 2017

We're excited to announce a great line up of speakers for our upcoming Niagara and Finger Lakes DTC Roadshows!  Join industry experts and winery professionals for presentations and discussion about the future of wine clubs, successful tasting room tips and more. Plus, get the scoop on the latest Vin65 updates. 

Roadshow Agenda:

  • Unlikely Lessons From Over $1bn in DTC Wine Sales: 3 Ways to Grow Your Sales 15% This Year
  • DTC in Niagara: Panel Discussion with Local Pros from Strewn Winery, Southbrook Vineyards and Great Estates Niagara
  • Beyond Shipping Wine: Differentiating Through Your Customer Experience (Niagara Only)
  • DTC Updates from WineAmerica: Federal Regulations and Your Bottom Line (Finger Lakes Only)
  • 5 Ways to Boost Sales & Improve Customer Satisfaction
  • What's New with Vin65?

Register for free on our website:


Announcing New DTC Roadshows in Niagara, Finger Lakes and Virginia!
09 June, 2017

Our popular DTC roadshow series is hitting the road and heading east in July. We'll host half-day conferences full of DTC tips in Niagara-on-the-Lake, the Finger Lakes and in Virginia. 

Join industry experts and winery professionals for presentations and discussion about the future of wine clubs, ecommerce trends, hospitality best practices, and more. Registration is free and includes light breakfast.
 
Get more details and register here:

DTC Tips from Walla Walla and the Willamette Valley
22 May, 2017

Last week, our team had a great time on the road visiting the Willamette Valley and Walla Walla with our DTC Roadshows. In each location, we invited a few clients to participate in a DTC Panel where we discussed trends and best practices for tasting rooms, wine clubs and more. 

>> Read the highlights on our blog.


How To Turn Tasting Room Visitors into Online Buyers
04 May, 2017

Tasting Room sales account for a large percentage of DTC winery sales and often an even larger share of new customer sales. But once your guest has left the Tasting Room, how do you turn that first sale into a long term relationship? And since many guests will never return to your physical location, how can you keep them engaged and buying online? 

Check out our blog for one simple way.


You Can Break Into the Top 20% of Wineries
17 April, 2017

With over 1,600 wineries around the world using Vin65’s DTC software tools, we have a lot of data. So we set out to discover: what makes successful wineries different? What are the keys to their success? We analyzed 9 million DTC sales transactions worth $1.8 billion across 1,200 wineries to find out.

The first thing we learned is that DTC success has no correlation to scores, bottle price, production size or winery location. 

What does, and how can you emulate their success? Download our eBook to find out.


DTC Roadshows in Willamette and Walla Walla
03 April, 2017

Our popular roadshow series is coming to the Willamette Valley, OR and Walla Walla, WA in May!

Join industry experts and winery professionals for presentations and discussion about:

  • The future of wine clubs
  • Email marketing and social media case studies
  • How to successfully sell wine on marketplaces
  • Hospitality & Tasting Room best practices
  • and more

Registration is free and includes light breakfast.

Plus, Vin65 clients can sign up for our Essentials Bootcamp from 1-4pm led by our Client Services team.

Event Details:

  • Willamette Valley: Tuesday, May 9th at Archery Summit Winery, 18599 NE Archery Summit Rd, Dayton, OR 97114. Register here.
  • Walla Walla: Wednesday, May 10th at Goose Ridge Tasting Room, 9 N 2nd Ave, Walla Walla, WA 99362. Register here.

3 Things to Think About When (Re)Designing Your Winery Website
07 March, 2017

Johnny Hanshew, Digital Art Director at Vin65 Certified Design partner Kraftwerk Design, shares his top tips on what to consider when you design or redesign your winery website.

His first directive? Don't start with design! It may seem counterintuitive, but design should be the LAST thing you think about. Instead, start by thinking about your customer - who are they? what are they looking for when they visit your website? - then create content that supports those findings, and finally, make a plan to build it well.

>> Read the full story on our blog. 


5 Tips on Building an Effective Winery Hospitality Program
01 March, 2017

Last week, we kicked off our annual DTC Roadshow series in Santa Maria. One of our presentations focused on how to build an effective hospitality program featuring Katy Rogers, Director of DTC, South Coast for Jackson Family Wines. In her role, Katy oversees four hospitality programs for Byron, Cambria, Carmel Road and Nielson and previously she launched Presqu'ile's DTC program, so it's safe to say she has some serious experience when it comes to winery tasting rooms. 

Check out five of her top tips on our blogincluding whether to offer reservations, why customer relationship management tools are critical, and how to approach incentives and compensation.

Read more.


5 Reasons Online Marketplaces Are Important for DTC Wine Sales
06 February, 2017

Online marketplaces - like Amazon and eBay - represent a big opportunity for wineries selling direct-to-consumer. They make up a large percentage of ecommerce sales, they are growing quickly and, most importantly, they allow you to efficiently reach large numbers of new buyers.

That's why today we're excited to announce a new partnership that enables all Vin65 clients to sell wine direct-to-consumer through eBay. With 167 million active buyers and a recently launched wine offering, eBay is an ideal channel for wineries and joins Amazon and Vivino as part of our marketplace network.

Check out the Vin65 Blog to see five reasons why we think marketplaces are important for DTC wine sales.


How to Get More Revenue from Your Wine Club
17 January, 2017

Where do wine clubs belong in today’s highly personalized online economy, where almost every imaginable thing can be purchased in a matter of minutes? Contrary to what some people may think, wine clubs are stronger than ever. In 2015, wine clubs across the board experience 16% net growth, and conversions increased to 6%, versus only 2% in 2013.

Converting new wine club members is a top priority for many wineries, but to stay ahead of the competition, it’s important to look for innovative ways to keep your existing members happy and engaged. Simply offering discounts and complimentary tastings are no longer enough. Our eBook includes five ways to increase sign ups, decrease attrition and get more revenue from your wine club.

 Download Your Copy 

Vin65 Wine Club Ebook Cover


Prepare Now for DTC Success in the New Year
19 December, 2016

New Years Calendar

As we power through O-N-D and round the corner toward the holidays, it’s important to sustain momentum and make every last business day of this year count. Sure, we’ve worked hard all year long and deserve to relax with friends and family this season, but the reflection and planning activities you engage in now are what will set you apart from your competition and position you for success in the New Year.

Follow these tips to hit the ground running January 1 (okay fine, January 2).

Read more on the Vin65 Blog.


5 Examples of Great Holiday Winery Marketing
05 December, 2016

Looking for some holiday marketing inspiration? Here are five examples of what Vin65 client wineries are doing to promote their wines during the last weeks of the year.

1. Vinum Cellars Thanksgiving Promo

Sometimes, simple is best. Targeted email marketing campaigns with holiday language and imagery, and a special offer of course, are a great place to start. The "Order by 11/16 for Thanksgiving delivery" in Vinum Cellars' email creates a sense of urgency.

Vinum Cellars Thanksgiving Promo

See four more examples on our blog.


5 Ways to Prepare Your Winery Website for the Holidays
15 November, 2016

The first month of OND is over and November is upon is. Is your winery website ready for the holiday onslaught? Make sure you’re making the most of this critical time of year for your online wine sales with these five easy-to-implement ideas.

Read the full story on the Vin65 Blog


Are your tasting notes hurting your wine sales?
26 October, 2016

Tasting notes are an important part of a winery tasting experience. Most wineries provide visitors with a tasting menu that contains at least a small amount of information about the wines. Since it is important to provide your customers with enough information to help them choose which wines to taste, or at the very least provoke a conversation about the wines, it seems as though tasting notes should be an absolute must-have for running your winery. They’re not. In fact, they can be detrimental to the experience, which can lead to your customers not finding wines they enjoy and ultimately not making a purchase.  

Continue reading on the Vin65 Blog for tasting note Dos and Dont's from Jay Christianson of Tin Sheets Consulting.


How to Win With Shipping Incentives During OND
28 September, 2016

Regulations make it so advertising free shipping for wine isn’t possible in all regions. But shipping incentives go a long way to helping your customers fill their shopping carts, and offering almost free shipping, flat rate shipping, or including shipping in your bottle price can be a great way to sell more wine during your busy OND season.

When you remove or reduce shipping costs, your customers feel better about buying more. Witheight consumer holidays in just three short months you have plenty of opportunity to design promotions that entice customers to stock up on wine during the fall and winter months.

See how you can make OND a success >

Here are three ways you can leverage almost free shipping during OND to sell more wine:

Create a sense of urgency with a limited time offer

There’s nothing like a time limit and a little competition to drive action. By creating a promotion for 1 cent shipping that is limited to say, the first 50 purchasers, your customer base is going to be excited to be one of the lucky few to gain access to the sale.

If you’re wary of cutting into profits in order to provide a shipping incentive, this is one quick way to control just how many customers benefit from your promotion.

Clear out some old stock with buy-one get-one

Sales are a great time to clear out old inventory and make room for the fresh and new. Build a buy-one get-one promotion where customers have to add a certain number of bottles to their cart to qualify for 1 cent shipping.

By selecting bottles that have healthy margins, or that you’re simply looking to clear out, you can eat the cost of shipping without it damaging your bottom line.

When you’re designing these promotions make sure they are clearly advertised on your website, and leverage email tools to spread the word to customers early and often.

Offer a shipping loyalty program

For your most loytal customers, offering shipping incentives is a great way to drive repeat business and increase your share of wallet. Our 46Brix program makes it easy to reward your top buyers with an Amazon Prime-like model: for a $79 annual fee, customers receive ground shipping included from participating wineries. Wineries who have implemented 46Brix have experienced a 108% increase in average annual sales per customer. With many wineries offering holiday deals, a unique offering like 46Brix can really make you stand out from the crowd, and drive repeat business during other times of year.

What else should you consider to make OND a success? Take a look at our check list >


Make a List, Check it Twice: the Dos and Don'ts for OND
21 September, 2016

As summer comes to a close it’s time to start thinking about, and planning for, your busiest time of year: the critical OND season.

Sales soar for all retail businesses, including wineries in October, November, December (OND). With your favorite time of year fast approaching, you need to make sure you’re ready for action.

To make your life a little easier we have compiled a checklist of all the dos and don’ts surrounding OND so you can make the most of your DTC sales this holiday season.

See the full list > 

Here’s a sneak peek at what you can find:

Do track important holiday dates

You’ll want your team to know when important dates are coming up, and you’ll need to keep your website up to date with the hours and contact information for your winery so your customers know that you’re ready to sell to them during the holidays.

Here are the major dates to consider:

  • Canadian Thanksgiving - October 10th
  • Halloween - October 31st
  • American Thanksgiving - November 24th
  • Black Friday - November 25th
  • Cyber Monday - November 28th
  • Green Monday - December 12th
  • Free Shipping Day - December 18th
  • Christmas - December 25th
  • New Year’s Day - January 1st

Do bundle products or create custom gift baskets

Everyone loves a good deal, and it’s all about perception. Bundle one of your not so best sellers with a popular wine that you can afford to discount. You’ll clear out unwanted inventory, and your customers will be happy that they got a deal.

Don’t ignore consumer-oriented events like Black Friday and Cyber Monday

Consumers expect discounts on Black Friday and Cyber Monday on all goods, including wine. Design a promo that maximizes basket size, like a flat shipping rate after $X and make sure to advertise so consumers realize you’re participating in the sale frenzy.

Don’t forget to coordinate closely with your fulfillment house and/or shipper

Make sure you know when your shipping cutoff dates are so you can communicate these to customers. Coordinating with your shipper will also ensure any bundles or baskets you sell get prepared and shipped correctly.

What else do you need to consider? Download the checklist to see the other best practices to prepare for OND >


Where Do Your Feature Requests Go?
13 September, 2016

Vin65 thrives on client feedback -- on your feedback. It’s how we decide everything that gets built on our platform, from the priority of bug fixes to major enhancements and new features.

Your suggestions are behind all the new features we introduced this summer, including gift cards, the social dashboard, enhanced club tools and increased POS speed (thanks to Twisted Oak, Elmaro Vineyard, Ravines Wine Cellars, Domaine Carneros and more) -- not to mention some exciting things we have up our sleeve coming out later this year.

In the past, you may have felt that your feedback hasn’t been heard or that feature requests fall into a black hole, floating forever in no man’s land.

That’s our bad. We personally read every feature request that gets sent our way. So although we’ve always been listening, we didn’t do a great job of letting you know your request helps shape our software. We appreciate your input! Keep it coming (and we’ll get back to you on every single one).

Hey, I’m Sarah. And I’m here to help fill that communication gap.

Since I joined Vin65 in June, you have submitted over 100 feature requests (that’s 1 request per day, 7 days a week). I have done my best to read and reply to every one of your requests, and I speak to many of you regularly about your needs.

My main goal is to listen and keep you informed. I’m taking your feedback and sharing it with the rest of our team; we’re prioritizing what we can, and leveraging your ideas to build innovative features. When features or upgrades get built, I’m working hard to make sure that you’re in the loop every time we make an update.

While we’d love to implement every single amazing idea you have, we’re a small team. But we’re striving to build the best ecommerce and POS software in the wine industry, with a large diversity of wineries using the tools in different ways.

That means we want to hear from you, so keep those ideas flowing in, and together we’ll continue improving the platform and building a product that truly helps you sell more wine.

The tools evolve every day and we value direct feedback and insights from all of our clients! So, I’d love to hear from you. Shoot me an email or send over a feature request.

PS - State of the Union 3.0 is coming up! We’re going to do things a bit differently this year and the event is February 1, 2017. Stay tuned for details!


3 Easy Ways to Build your Email Lists
22 August, 2016

Email marketing is an important part of increasing customer engagement. In fact, it’s one tactic that contributes to the success of high-performing wineries: those with the greatest amount of online sales have an average email list that is four time larger than the rest.

Since email is still the number one method for increasing conversions - it’s 40 times more effective than both Facebook and Twitter - you want a large, healthy number of email list subscribers to build a successful email marketing strategy. Here’s how you can get started:

Collect emails in your tasting room

Your tasting room provides great opportunity for you to capture customer emails. Your visitors just enjoyed a pleasant sampling experience, drinking wine and having fun, and they want to extend that feeling by remaining connected with your winery. Email is the best way to do so, with 72 percent of adults preferring this channel to all others.

After touring your facilities and sampling your wine, customers who want to get more engaged with your winery should be able to add their email address to your list right then and there. Having kiosks in your tasting room makes it easy for customers to sign up and serves as a great way to build and maintain excitement about your business. The kiosk automatically syncs data to your point of sale system and updates your email marketing list, then instantly sends a welcome message ready to greet customers the next time they open their inbox.

You can also have your staff collect customer emails as they check out. For a little extra incentive, give your employees a reward for every address they record.

Give your customers a few perks

Sometimes a little incentive goes a long way. Consider giving your visitors perks when they give you their email address. This could include offers like discounts, exclusive content, limited-edition products and more. You can introduce these incentives on specific pages of your winery's website. For example, a form or call-to-action on your About page could read, "Sign up for our mailing list and get 15 percent off your next order!"

Use custom sign-up forms

Custom sign-up forms help your winery stand out from the get-go. Instead of simply asking for an email address, you can ask for a customer's birthday, whether they prefer varietals or blends, lean toward red or white, or any other criteria of your choosing.

Collecting this information helps you create targeted email lists and personalized messages. You can contact these customers on their birthday, for instance, with suggestions of wines that match their tastes. Custom email list sign-up forms also give you valuable marketing data so you can compare preferences among your customers. You can then use this information in future online campaigns.

Building a substantial, targeted email list is just the first step in your online marketing journey. Once you have this list established, you can segment it based on customer loyalty, demographics and interests, then determine how frequently to send marketing materials.

Want to build your email lists and sell more wine? Reach out to learn more about adding kiosks to your tasting room - one of the many benefits of Vin65 Plus.


3 Ways Social Media Data Can Improve your Winery’s Marketing
02 August, 2016

The more context you have surrounding your customers, the easier it is for you to provide them with a superior customer experience. Social media data is one slice of context that can help you engage customers by enhancing insight into their behaviors, especially when combined with the commerce data in the Vin65 CRM.

At Vin65, we strongly believe in the powerful combination of social and commerce, and are excited to announce that a new social dashboard is available in your Admin Panel as of this morning. For the past month, our team has been hard at work building these new features to replace our previous integration with VinTank/TMRW Engine, who wound down operations on July 31.

The new dashboard serves up your customers’ social media information to help you more efficiently engage them on social media. The dashboard includes customers with the highest potential social influence, a keyword based social feed, and a network stats board which shows which social platforms wineries should be focusing their marketing efforts on.

Here are the top 3 ways you can leverage these tools to improve your winery’s marketing:

1. Give shout outs to your top customers

Using social and commerce data to calculate last order date, LTV, and number of followers, the dashboard populates your top 3 social influencers so you can quickly see which of your customers would be great to target for a shout out. Maybe you want to thank them on Twitter for buying that last case, or offer them some free swag with a tag on Instagram. Reaching out personally to customers with a lot of social influence improves the likelihood that they’ll reply, share, and engage in a conversation that positively promotes your brand in the social mediasphere.

2. Go where your customers are

No one likes to waste money. It can be hard enough to calculate ROI on advertising spend so we’ve tried to make it easier by showing you the social media platforms that are most popular among your highest LTV customers. If you have 400 customers with a LTV of $16,000 on Facebook but only 300 customers with a LTV of $10,000 on Twitter, it’s going to make more sense to sponsor a post or place an ad on Facebook to reach your best paying customers.

3. Stay on top of chatter in your market

Keeping track of what is being said about your brand online is important so you can thank people for positive comments, and nip complaints in the bud. With the social keyword feed you can search for any combination of handles, hashtags and keywords. Posts with those words from Facebook, Twitter and Instagram are served up so you can have one place to glance at what’s happening around you.

Over the next few months, we’ll continue to expand our social media functionality to bring you additional value and insights. 

Questions about the dashboard? Check out our FAQs > 


Introducing Free Winery Websites From Vin65
20 July, 2016

We love the wine industry and we love focusing on how to help all wineries sell more wine. So we're excited to announce our newest product offering: free content websites.

Free content websites are the perfect solution for wineries that want to establish an online presence, but aren’t ready for ecommerce. The offering includes pages, photo galleries, blog functionality, event calendars, recipe and wine product tools, as well as beautiful templates, web hosting and contact management. And when the time comes, our powerful ecommerce and POS tools can easily be layered on.

Why Free Sites?

At Vin65, our #1 goal is to help you sell more wine. In 2008, we built our core platform with ecommerce, wine club, and contact management tools. In 2012, we added a fully mobile point of sale system for use in tasting rooms, farmer's markets, concerts or any other event where you can dream of selling wine. Now, in 2016, we’re expanding that vision to wineries who are just getting started and want to start building their brand.

Vin65 free content websites close the gap between generic, low-cost website services (think WordPress or Squarespace) and our robust wine ecommerce tools. Now, instead of starting out on a generic system and later migrating to something wine specific, wineries of any size - even if you are teeny-tiny or making a barrel of wine in your garage - can work with a software partner with a laser focus on the wine industry from day one.

Is It Really Free?

Yes. We'll host it for free, our customer support is free, and there are a bunch of beautifully designed website templates to pick from that are also free! Don’t like our templates? You can even design your own.

This isn't just a weird version of a 'free trial', it's a legit free package. Free site users get access to all our content management tools indefinitely. There's an easy, one-click upgrade button once you're ready for ecommerce, a POS, or a wine club, and you can upgrade on your own time, even if that means never.

Intrigued?

Learn more about free sites >


How to Use Gift Cards to #SellMoreWine
07 July, 2016

Retailers and consumers alike love gift cards. They don’t take up much shelf space, they are easily brandable and they promote customer choice. But gift cards also make plain good business sense.

Customers that pay using gift cards often spend higher than the gift card value, and when they forget to use the cards (which 6% of consumers do) it means more money in your pocket. Gift cards also help get new customers through the door, and customers using gift cards are more likely to pay full price for your wine which is great if you’re watching margins.

So how can you make the most of them in your tasting room? Here are 3 ways to get started:

1. Design promotions that increase adoption.

Kick off the addition of gift cards to your tasting room with a new promotion, like a simple discount. For example, buy a $50 card and pay $45. This not only teaches your customers that gift cards are available for sale, but increases the likelihood that they’ll pass on the love to their social circle, attracting potential new customers to your tasting room.

2. Keep gift cards top of mind and within view.

Training your staff to encourage sales of gift cards to your customers will certainly help, but so will keeping them visible. Design your till to make impulse buys easy -- if you already have corkscrews or bottle stoppers at the register, feature gift cards alongside them. You likely have a cork or two (or hundred) lying around. Carve a slot into the top of a couple like this, toss them on the register et voila -- you have a unique way to display your gift cards.

3. Sell multiple designs.

Holidays mean busy periods for you. They also present an opportunity for you to sell special occasion gift cards -- keep “Happy Birthday” and “Thank You” gift cards in stock with your generic cards throughout the year, and break out the “Happy Holidays” cards in November for good variety. No need to stop there. Whatever occasion you can think of, there’s a gift card for that.

Making gift cards available for sale in your tasting room creates new opportunity for customers to share their experience at your winery with their friends and family. More revenue is of course always a plus, but finding new customers and increasing the lifetime value of existing customers is the real sweet spot.

Did you hear? Customizable, physical gift cards are now available in Vin65. Better late than never! Join the program.


Using customer data to create your marketing plan
22 June, 2016

It can be tough to build a marketing plan for your winery. What promotions will bring the most sales? What kind of photography should you use? Should you focus on lifestyle content, or terroir and winemaking details?

Luckily, your customers can help you answer many of these questions. By taking a look at your most profitable customers, your social media super-fans and your website data, you can get a better picture of which marketing strategies will help you sell more wine.

Identify your most profitable customers
You might think that your best customers are your most frequent customers, the ones who make the largest number of purchases throughout the year. But your most frequent customers can also be the most costly. Each shipment increases shipping costs, and frequent buyers tend to use discounts or other incentives that can eat into your profits. Customers who make a smaller number of large-scale purchases can therefore sometimes be more profitable.

Have a look at your customers and compare your biggest spenders to your most frequent buyers. Does the AOV of those making bulk purchases compensate for the fact that they only buy a few times each year? Does the amount of money spent fulfilling recurring orders heavily eat into the sum of these purchases? Identifying which group is more profitable can help you better target your marketing campaigns.

If your frequent shoppers bring in more money than your bulk buyers, consider having several small sales throughout the year, for example, around holidays such as Mother's Day and Valentine's Day. On the other hand, if people who make large orders are more profitable, consider creating a rewards program for grand purchases. This could be in the form of shipping incentives when a customer’s shopping cart hits a certain threshold, or offering special perks such as free tastings.

Find your social media super fans
Take a look at your social media followers to identify your biggest fans. Who leaves positive feedback and goes out of their way to sing the praises of your latest varietal? What kind of photos and comments do they share that indicate why they invest in your brand?

Every social media mention of your brand can help you understand why your customers enjoy your wines. For example, a comment that includes tasting notes or winemaking details indicates an interest in the technical side of wine. On the other hand, one that reads, "Great way to spend a day with friends," shows that person appreciates your wine for social reasons. Our partner TMRW Engine offers a great way to track social mentions of your brand and analyze this kind of customer sentiment.

You can use these insights to inform how you talk about your wines. For example, if your customers show an interest in technical information, consider sharing behind the scenes winemaking photos and vineyard details. If you see people posting about your wines in a social setting, use language and imagery that promotes that.

Analyze your website data
Your site has tons of data about your customers - and prospective customers - that you can use to market your wines more effectively. Take a look at what pages people spend the most time on, where they come from and what their path to purchase looks like.

If you notice that customers spend a lot of time on your winery’s About or History page, consider weaving more of that information into your emails and promotions. If certain product pages are more popular than others, feature those wines on your homepage, or creating a special promotion around them.

On the flip side, what pages have the highest exit, or bounce rates? Bounce rate refers to the percentage of people who leave your site after viewing that page. If certain pages have high bounce rates, think about what you could do to keep people interested and engaged. Adding links to product pages, related blog posts or other relevant information could help move them farther along the purchase funnel.

 

Whether it’s order purchase patterns, social media mentions or web browsing, your customers are constantly giving you feedback about what works - and what doesn’t work. By keeping these metrics in mind and regularly reviewing performance, you can take advantage of this valuable information to make better, more informed marketing decisions that will help you sell more wine.


Want to grow DTC sales by 108%?
24 May, 2016

Two years ago we launched 46Brix, a unique all-in-one shipping incentive and loyalty program.  We built 46Brix because we know that shipping incentives sell more wine, and our most recent batch of data further proves that point.

Here’s what happens after customers sign up for 46Brix:

  • Average annual sales per customer increased 108%
  • Number of orders per year increased 107%
  • Average order value increased 86%
  • Number of bottles per order increased 53%

What’s happening here?  We’ve observed that your A-list customers realize the value of 46Brix and sign up right away - these are generally “super-consumers” who already buy multiple times a year.  And that’s when the magic happens: after joining 46Brix your best customers buy even more wine, more frequently.

Here’s what that looks like over one year:

This chart shows how 46Brix can impact a typical winery’s gross profit for a single customer over time.  In this scenario, before signing up for 46Brix, you would have made $183 in gross profit from four orders. Not bad. However, after joining 46Brix, profit from that same customer more than doubles to $394.

Those are powerful results!

The power of 46Brix extends to wineries of all shapes and sizes. Currently, we have wineries across the US including California, Oregon, New York, Idaho and Texas, as well as Canada's Okanagan Valley. Jay Christianson of Canyon Wind Cellars in Colorado has this to say about the program: "46Brix has been a great tool for increasing the lifetime value for our wine club members by removing the burden of paying for shipping. The results are fantastic - never before have we had the ability as a tiny winery to compete with deals that companies like Amazon can offer. This is an amazing program.”

 

Ready to sell more wine with 46Brix?Schedule a demo.

 

Want to learn more about how 46Brix works? Check out our FAQs.

 

 


Register for the Woodinville DTC Roadshow on May 10th!
02 May, 2016

Learn from direct to consumer wine industry experts how to grow your DTC wine sales. We will be discussing a variety of topics including selling more wine online, social media for the wine industry, DTC wine stats, running a successful wine club and how smart email campaigns sell more wine.

Register Now
 

Map
 

Location: Fidélitas Woodinville (map)

Contact: Corinna Wang (email)

Date: Tuesday May 10th, 2016

Time: 8:30am start, light snacks provided

After the Event: Wine Tasting and Networking

Cost: Free!
 

Register Now

Learn More

 
Space is limited to the first 50 attendees so register now.


Free Support at Vin65. 5 Reasons Why We Made The Change.
25 April, 2016

A lot of software companies offer support as a paid option, charging per incident, or per hour. Often, support is offered as a feature, and is only available for specific packages, so if you pay more, you have access to more. Today, there is a big change, we’re excited to offer all of ourclients free customer support! Now all of your ‘how to’ questions and troubleshooting that we used to bill for is free.

 

Why did we do this? Here are the top 5 reasons why we made this change for you.

1. We Love You

As a software firm, one of our core values is to keep getting better for our clients. We add new features to our platform daily, but we haven’t changed how customer support works for a long time. It’s time that we modernize and keep pushing the bar in not only in the wine industry, but in the software industry for all of you.

2. We Want To Hear From You

We want to remove any hesitation you might have to get in touch with us. You’ll always get a person who works at Vin65 on the line (we hate automated phone trees) and we’re here to listen and understand how we can help. We love it when wineries call in or send us an email; whether it’s just to say hi, ask for help, or offer suggestions. It makes for a better platform for all 1,300+ wineries using Vin65 today.

3. We Want You To Sell More Wine

There were times where we saw a winery looking for help, but they didn’t want to call in because they didn’t know if they’d get a bill for the call, so they ended up not setting up a feature. We want to eliminate this completely. We’ve got your back!

4. You Asked For It

This one is simple - you asked for free support, so we wanted to give you free support.

5. You Want To Know What You Pay

Some feedback from wineries is that they want to know exactly what they will be paying every month. Having variable support billing based on how much support time you used per month left some wineries uneasy.

It Sounds Too Good To Be True, What’s The Catch?

A goal of ours is to be clear and upfront with all of our fees and there are a few areas that fall outside of our standard free support offering. Support for webservices, design, RMS, database, and clients using over 10 hours of support per month are all still billable (there are only a handful of our 1300+ clients that use 10+ hours. If you’re wondering if this is you - it’s not, we would have already talked with you personally).

Individual training sessions for a specific winery or person is still a paid option (i.e. if you hire a new staff member who needs an hour or two of training just for them, or if you want to kick off summer TR staff with a training session). We’re offering some exclusive support channels, that we’re calling ‘Premium Support’ which include live chat, priority ticket/phone, and 2 hours of individual training sessions for your winery per month. You can upgrade to Premium Support here (If you were previously on a paid plan, you’ll be getting an email with details on transitioning your plan).

View all of our support options here.

Bonus: New User Forum & More Webinars

We’re launching a new user forum which harnesses powerful tools to engage our vibrant community. We thought it was time to offer a fully supported forum moderated by Vin65ers, to help cultivate winery to winery tips, tricks, feedback, etc. and we’re excited to see our involved Vin65 community help each other. Check out the new Vin65 ‘Community’ forum here: http://community.vin65.com (you have to be a client to experience the love!).

We’re adding one more webinar to the mix and offering a Thursday afternoon session in addition to our Friday morning session. Hope to see you there.


How Carrots Are Selling More Wine
18 April, 2016

We are well into 2016 and are looking towards the first club runs and the upcoming busy season for tasting rooms. What can you spend a few minutes on now in order to get ready for increased traffic in both your tasting room and online store? Setup carrots!

What Is A Carrot?

A carrot is a message that helps to guide your online buyers to take action. They usually coincide with current promotions that your winery has. Carrots are helping wineries upsell wines, increase average order value and prompt the customer to take action during purchase in order to qualify for the promotion.

How Do Carrots Work Online?

Carrots are designed to trigger your customers at key touch-points and prompt them to buy more wine. They work in the background and only appear when your customer takes action. Carrots appear in the modal cart and the shopping cart based on items the customer has added to the cart. Let's take a look at some great examples of carrots in action.


Example 1: Trisaetum

The offer:"Join our Email list & receive a discount code for your next order."

Why it's good:Trisaetum is collecting customer data and expanding their email list. A customer would want to sign up for the mailing list in order to get a discount on their order. It's a win-win for both winery and customer.


Example 2: Alma Rosa

The offer: "Don't want to pay for shipping? Receive shipping included for a year when you join 46Brix. LEARN MORE."

Why it's good:Alma Rosa knows that a major deterrent to buying wine online is the shipping costs consumers have to pay. They joined the 46Brix program to drive loyalty and sales - and this carrot lets all of their potential customers know that they can be a part of this $0 shipping program, similar to Amazon Prime.


Example 3: Summerhill

The offer: "Purchase 12 bottles or more and shipping is on us!"

Why it's good:Summerhill is driving bottle sales with the promise of free shipping. A customer who originally was going to buy 6 bottles will add 6 more to their cart to qualify for the free shipping promotion. This carrot is effectively driving up their average order value and promoting sales.


Example 4: Clos Du Bois

The offer: "Ship up to 9 bottles at no additional shipping costs!"

Why it's good:Clos Du Bois is aware that shipping costs are the #1 reason people abandon their carts online. A lot of shipping strategies are setup to penalize the customer as they add more wine to their cart. For example, 1-3 bottles costs $25 to ship, while 6-9 bottles costs $35 in shipping. Clos Du Bois is getting their customers to buy more wine, without charging more in shipping costs.


How Do Carrots Work In The Tasting Room?

Carrots help out your tasting room staff by helping them to ask the right questions during the customer journey. The POS will recognize your club members and prompt staff to upsell and mention discounts, promotions and special offers right in the tasting room! These work exceptionally for seasonal staff and help to highlight promotions and offers for specific customer types.


The DTC Roadshow Comes Home to Napa on April 21st!
11 April, 2016


DTC Napa Roadshow

We're bringing our DTC roadshow home to the Napa Valley!

The Meritage Resort & Spa
875 Bordeaux Way (map)
Napa, CA  94558

April 21, 2016
8:30am - 1:30pm (Registration 7:30-8:30am)

Continental breakfast will be served before the event.  A buffet lunch will be served afterwards.

Registration is limited to 200 guests, on a first-come, first-served basis. A separate registration for each attendee is required. Free to attend!

REGISTER NOW 

 

 

Why Your Winery Still Isn’t Growing DTC Sales
04 April, 2016

Are you looking to grow DTC sales? Here are some reasons why you aren't seeing the growth you projected:

You believe that your customers are fine paying full shipping rates

If your winery is passing on shipping rates to your customer - you simply won't be selling as much wine DTC. Consumers consistently cite high shipping rates as the #1 reason they abandon their online shopping carts. It's a cost that a customer can avoid completely if they just go to their local retail store. Sure, they may not be able to get your 2011 Merlot - but your 2012 Merlot is on the shelf - and it has a $0 shipping tag. Take a look at the different profit margin your winery gets on DTC bottles vs. retail bottles. Shouldn't diving into the numbers and finding a good shipping strategy for your winery be top priority?

You don’t automate your processes like orders flowing to fulfillment

In this instant gratification world, customers want their product fast. If your winery is self-fulfilling at set times during the week - the customer will experience a delay in their shipment. When's the last time you ordered off of Amazon and then got a tracking number within a couple of hours? Satisfying, isn't it? Get those wine orders out fast - and use a fulfillment house, like WineDirect Fulfillment to get wines out straight away.

You still haven’t gone mobile

If your winery still hasn't gone mobile, I'm not sure what you're waiting for. Over 1/3 of winery website traffic across the Vin65 platform originates from a mobile phone, so if your website isn't optimized, you're definitely missing out. If a potential customer Googles you and finds it hard to find your address, hours of operation, tasting fees and the wines you sell, there's a good chance they'll get frustrated and move on from your website.

You aren’t capturing email addresses in the tasting room 

Wineries that actively capture customer data in the tasting room are selling a lot more wine DTC. In fact, the conversion rate across the Vin65 platform is at 7.5%. It's great to entertain guests in your tasting room - but what about when they get home? Are you happy selling 6 bottles of wine - or do you want to sell 2 more cases to them this year? Wine club memberships are becoming a harder ask as savvy customers want the wine they like (not what you select for them), they want wine when they're running low (not in quarterly shipments) and they want flexibility (delay their shipments for the summer months), so asking for their email address and then sending targeted emails based on their wine preferences does an excellent job of keeping wine flowing regularly from your winery. 

You're treating all of your customers the same

People are individuals - and they want a personal experience. Use some of the technology and learn to appeal to these customers. Implement a user-choice club at your winery. You set up easy-to-follow parameters and your club members get to customize their wine shipments before a specified cut-off date. You can setup carrots on your POS system to remind tasting room staff what this customer prefers, what their LTV is and to suggest wine pairings they may like. Carrots work great for upselling wine and converting customers in the tasting room.

You aren’t emailing your customers monthly

Somehow you feel that if these customers had a great experience in your tasting room they will come back. This doesn't work for a couple of reasons. First, they may be from out of town. Emailing out of town customers and asking them to buy again is a great touch point. Secondly, people may have loved your wine - and may want to order more, but they may not be aware they can order online from you. Email them to introduce your wine store and highlight the benefits of buying direct from their local vintner.

You’re over technologied (yeah - that's a word)... 

You use videos and iPads rather than a personal touch in your tasting room. Yes, kiosks and iPads are awesome and effective at capturing data, but at the end of the day, people visit your tasting room for an experience. They want to learn about your wine, know your story and try out different varieties to find their new favorite wine. Don't substitute technology for a personal touch. Give your customers an experience they'll remember - even after they get home.


A Bottle Shot Is Worth A Thousand Words
28 March, 2016

This is a guest blog post by Laurie Millotte, founder of Outshinery.com and an avid wine enthusiast. Laurie is a designer & art director who believes in the power of well-crafted brands and ideas, focusing on innovative and narrative branding and packaging for the wine industry.

A picture is worth a thousand words, and might as well be worth a thousand dollars in revenue. Let's ponder some data:

  • People remember 10% of what they hear, 20% of what they read and 80% of what they see. (Source: National Retail Federation)
  • 67% of ecommerce shoppers say the product image is “very important” in their purchase decision, even more so than product description (54%) and ratings and reviews (53%).  (Source: Syntactic Theory of Visual Communication)

If those numbers aren’t compelling enough, take a stroll on Etsy (a peer-to-peer ecommerce website focused on handmade items), where all of the hand picked featured products are polished and professional. Airbnb (a website for people to list, find and rent lodging) offers a free professional photo service to Airbnb hosts around the world, because places with professional photos get booked 2.5 times more frequently than those without. Adding photos to a restaurant menu increases sales of an item by as much as 30%.

A great photo can tell a story, inspire, and persuade. A great photo can sell. Online, it is usually the initial touch point your product has with customers. In this blog post, a designer shared 6 things that made a good bottle shot.  Here are 3 additional tips for you to bring your bottle shots from good to great, in order to nail that first impression.

1. Consistency is key

We can’t stress enough the importance of having the same camera angle, same lighting, same scale/ratio, same drop shadow, etc. Consistency brings your whole portfolio together and is the very first thing that screams “professional” and “trustworthy”.

2. The beauty is in the details

People can’t touch or taste your product online. Always strive to give them the most complete brand experience possible. Because it’s the embossing, varnish, metallic foil, paper texture, or unique die-cut that makes your bottle feel like a million bucks.

So what else can you show?

Your high-gloss varnish detailing and gold foil for starters.

Maybe you can reveal your stunning backside illustration next:

Or you can be original and focus on the varietal name with a creative angle:

3. Let the inner beauty shine through

While packaging is crucial, the fact is, the real gold is hidden inside the bottle, and very often, behind a thick layer of tinted glass. Show off that liquid jewel you’re so proud of by simply adding a wine glass. Presenting your collection this way enhances the consumers senses and makes the visual experience evocative.

You can now get these results with just a few clicks from the comfort of your office. Here's some additional inspiration to get you excited!

A Few Things to Remember

Beware of sizing. In the age of retina screens, there’s no excuse for pixelated photos. Print or digital, do not settle for anything that is less than flawless. The key word here is resolution.

There are two solutions to this:

First, if you’re using traditional photography, a high-performance DSLR and professional lighting are essential for getting the sharpest image possible. Secondly - you can ditch the camera altogether! Did you know that all the examples mentioned above were done entirely digitally? No real bottles, no shipping and no waiting. You are no longer bounded by the camera’s technology: your images look great however big and small your heart desires!  


 

Bring it to the next level

A successful online business depends so much on the quality of your presentation. Great visuals can answer questions and trigger emotional responses much faster than words. It not only boosts sales, but also enhances your overall brand image. You’ve been working so hard all year on perfecting your wine. Make sure you're presenting it right!


You're Invited to the Niagara DTC Roadshow on April 5th!
21 March, 2016

Learn from direct to consumer wine industry experts how to grow your DTC wine sales. We will be discussing a variety of topics including selling more wine online, social media for the wine industry, DTC wine stats, running a successful wine club and shipping options for wineries.

Register Now
 

Map
 

Location: Inniskillin Wines (map)

Contact: Corinna Wang (email)

Date: Tuesday April 5th, 2016

Time: 8:30am start, light snacks provided

After the Event: Wine Tasting and Networking

Cost: Free!
 

Register Now

Learn More

 
Space is limited to the first 50 attendees so register now.


Best Industry Software Supplier 2016!
11 March, 2016

Thank you for voting us a the best industry software supplier of 2016!

Our goal is to always help wineries sell more wine - so thank you so much for taking the time to give us a shout-out! Much appreciated!

BIS2016


Vin65 and WineDirect DTC Roadshow in Hye, Texas March 15th
29 February, 2016

Learn from direct to consumer wine industry experts how to grow your DTC wine sales. We will be discussing a variety of topics including selling more wine online, social media for the wine industry, DTC wine stats, running a successful wine club, growing your tasting room sales and compliance updates for Texas wineries.

Register Now
 

Map
 

Location: William Chris Vineyards (map)

Contact: Corinna Wang (email)

Date: Tuesday March 15th, 2016

Time: 8:30am start, light snacks provided

After the Event: Wine Tasting and Networking

Cost: Free!
 

Register Now

Learn More

 
Space is limited to the first 50 attendees so register now.


Vin65 and WineDirect DTC Roadshow in Santa Barbara March 1st
09 February, 2016

Learn from direct to consumer wine industry experts how to grow your DTC wine sales. We will be discussing a variety of topics including selling more wine online, social media for the wine industry, DTC wine stats, running a successful wine club and shipping options for wineries.

Register Now
 

Map
 

Location: Alma Rosa Winery (map)

Contact: Corinna Wang (email)

Date: Tuesday March 1st, 2016

Time: 8:30am start, light snacks provided

After the Event: Wine Tasting and Networking

Cost: Free!
 

Register Now

Learn More

 
Space is limited to the first 50 attendees so register now.


Winning With DTC In 2016
25 January, 2016

Fresh from the Direct to Consumer Wine Symposium in Concord last week and off to the Unified Wine & Grape Symposium next week in Sacramento - I'd thought we should take a look at some stats from 2015 and why 2016 is going to be the year of DTC.

1. Vin65 processed over $772 million DTC sales through the platform in 2015. This is 46% increase in DTC sales from 2014.

2. Mobile traffic is sitting at 35% across the platform. This means that over 1/3 of winery website views are originating from a mobile phone. You've got to optimize mobile and make it easier for visitors to buy wine with their smartphone.

3. General retail statistics show a general ecommerce increase of 14% in 2015, while mobile ecommerce increased a whopping 32%. This was the first year in history that Black Friday sales on mobile overtook desktop sales. Wine has a long way to come (only 5% of wine sales are currently completed on a mobile phone), but this shows huge opportunity to sell more wine if wineries can get the experience right.

4. Email is still the best way to sell more wine online. Email conversion is up, while search conversion is dropping (email conversion increased from 2.4% to 2.75% in 2015). Wineries that are sending great emails are definitely getting better conversion rates - and are selling more wine.

5. Shipping is the #1 deterrent to buying wine online. Wineries that pass on the carrier rates and/or view shipping as a revenue booster aren't nearly as successful selling wine online as those using shipping as a marketing strategy. Flat rate shipping is winning - and those that are using shipping incentives to get their average order value (AOV) up per order are killing it. 

DTC is growing. Your winery should focus on creating targeted and personal emails, getting the mobile experience right and making your shipping strategies work to increase your AOV on every order.

Let's #sellmorewine in 2016!


DTC and the Next 5 Years
18 January, 2016

Selling wine direct to consumer has come a long way. In 2008, you could on only ship wine into 34 states. Thanks to the efforts of organizations like Free the Grapes, we can now sell into 44 states.

Wineries are getting better at using their data to really get to know their customers. They know their LTV, what wine they like, what club they belong to, the last time they purchased and what emails will drive sales from them. We need to do more as an industry to push the bar and give wine lovers a better overall, omni-channel experience.

Yesterday, at the Direct to Consumer Wine Symposium in Concord, I spoke about DTC and the next 5 years - and gave some pretty bold predictions.

  1. The traditional wine club is dying
  2. Personalization is king
  3. 20% of your sales will be global
  4. Mobile will overtake desktop sales
  5. Wine shipping will be less than 2 days

Take a look at the slide deck and feel free to agree or disagree in the comments. I love when things get heated in the wine industry - it means we're changing and pushing the bar.

In 2016 - one thing is for sure - we want you to #SellMoreWine.

 

 

 


8 Ways to Reduce Cart Abandonment This Holiday Season
28 December, 2015

Cart abandonment stats are a hard pill to swallow. People have made the effort to visit your website and have added wine to the shopping cart - but are jumping ship just before they give you their credit card. Across the Vin65 platform, abandon cart rates get higher over the holidays because people are browsing.

Vin65 has a great cart abandonment action email to remind those browsers that they've left items in their cart. It even re-populates their cart for easy purchase completion. Unfortunately, a small percentage of wineries have that email turned on.

The holidays bring a lot of window shoppers. Here are some tips to shrink those abandoned cart numbers down and to start converting more this holiday season:

1. State your shipping upfront

High shipping rates are the #1 deterrent from buying wine online. State your shipping costs upfront, preferably on the wine page, along with where you ship to. This decreases cart abandonment because people are able to weigh the cost-benefit for shipping wine, rather than going through most of the check-out process and, ultimately, leaving.

2. Make forms simple

Across Vin65, over 30% of website visitors are on a mobile phone. Filling out forms on a mobile phone is a cumbersome experience - and it's made much worse when you ask a lot of irrelevant questions. Cut down on form fields to get the order - after that you can start your profiling for better marketing and re-orders.

3. Show the cart summary

Remind consumers what they've added to their cart. Give them the opportunity to estimate their shipping costs and taxes so they know exactly what their card will be charged. You'll want to make the button for 'checkout' the biggest and brightest, with the 'continue shopping' prompt visible, but more understated than checkout.
 


 

4. Don't force registration

Forcing people to register prior to buying your wine is making them jump through hoops. Let them checkout as a guest and make the online experience as easy as the tasting room experience. If someone walks in to your tasting room to pick up a couple of bottles - do you make them fill out a bunch of paperwork and create a username and password? Of course not! Don't make them do it online either! 

5. Reassure security

We've seen our share of shady websites. We've heard the horror stories of security hacks and credit card exposures from modern retailers like Target, Home Depot, etc. You need to show your SSL compliant security in your URL and ease consumer doubts on the checkout page and show them that your site is secure and that security is a top-priority.

6. Encapsulate the checkout process

You've got the wine lover right where you want them - about to give you their credit card. Make sure the checkout page has the navigation removed and that there aren't any distractions. The checkout process shouldn't have recommended wines or a newsletter subscribe. The goal of the checkout page is to get them to buy your wine. Look at how Amazon does it – there is no menu in the checkout area.

7. One page checkout

The checkout process needs to be clean and simple with only one page to submit. Get all the payment details on this page as well - with one submit button. This is a faster, easier experience for the customer. Less steps during the checkout process gives the customer less reasons to abandon their shopping cart.

8. Get it faster

Your site needs to be fast - people aren't going to wait for the page to load. When adding wine to their cart they'll want to see it add-to-cart instantaneously. If your website is slow, customers will get impatient and may leave if it lags. You can chat with your designer to speed test your site and reduce lags by decreasing image sizes, etc. 

Final thoughts

Technically, once an order has been submitted, the cart abandonment is no longer applicable, however, after sales marketing matters. Show your customer you care about them getting their order quickly. An order confirmation should be sent within a couple of minutes, you should provide a tracking number by the end of day and give them an estimated date for delivery. Since wine delivery requires a signature, it's important to keep the lines of communication open. This ensures that first time customers continue to buy - eventually becoming a repeat customer, and ultimately, a club member.

#SellMoreWine this holiday season - and turn on your cart abandonment action emails to help you do just that.

 


State of the Union 2.0 Summary from Vin65
14 December, 2015


Vin65

A Summary From Our State of the Union 2.0

Today, we announced some awesome new features for 2016

In case you missed the live broadcast, you can watch it here

Video

 

  Webinar  Learn More 

Introducing Base3 - A new frontend

We’ve been working on a new frontend within Vin65 for quite a while. There are some great improvements for every winery on the Vin65 platform ahead, including personalization, dynamic pricing, a new checkout process and new design tools. »Read more about Base 3 here.

Introducing V2.1 Emails - What V2 emails were supposed to be

In case you haven’t heard it enough, emails are the best way to sell more wine. We've got some awesome new email tools including a new integration with SendGrid, new list management tools, great email stats to measure your email campaign health and new templates available. »Read more about V2.1 emails here.

Introducing Kiosks - To capture data in your tasting room

Now you can capture guest data right in your tasting room and grow your email list with qualified leads. Automatic customer data flows to Vin65 with simplicity. »Read more about Kiosks here.

Introducing DTC to China - The future of DTC is global

We've got an exciting partnership with Gliding Eagle to ship wine from the US to China. This allows US wineries to go global easily. There are even some built-in fraud protection features. »Read more about DTC to China here.

Introducing Split Tenders - It's finally here!

Last year, we promised split tenders in 2015- and we have kept our promise. Now, you can split payments any way with any amount of people. It comes with a lot of changes to reports, orders, etc. »Read more about Split Tenders here

Introducing Customer Capture - A new roll-out plan

There is now a special flag on the POS for the customer capture recipient - so you will know that they came from another source. We are now allowing you to add a person to your subscriber list when they give you their email. »Read more about Customer Capture here

Introducing New Pricing - Simplified for 2016 

We're introducing some new pricing. The goal is to simplify tiers so you know exactly what you'll be paying and can focus on selling more wine. Support plan pricing is changing too. »Read more about pricing changes here and/or »Read more about support plans here - changes will take effect in 60 days.

 

Here at Vin65, we are focused on building features that give you the tools to sell more wine. Register your email with the webinar button below for our future webinar series to learn more about the features announced today and how to use them. Here's the schedule:

  • Dec 18th - DTC China
  • Jan 8th - Split Tenders
  • Jan 15th - V2.1 Emails
  • Stay tuned for Base3

 

 Webinar  Learn More 

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Join us for 'State of the Union 2.0'
30 November, 2015

  Vin65 

You're Invited!

To Vin65's State of the Union 2.0

We've got news for you. Big news. Join Andrew and some of our partners for one of our biggest feature launch announcements ever. We're sharing some brand new, top-secret features to help you sell more wine in 2016. We're talking emails, personalization, an upgraded checkout experience, split tenders and more. Register now for the 45 minute webinar on Thursday December 10th - don't miss out!

Register Now
 

Andrew

Live stream online from the Vin65 Office in Vancouver

Date: Thursday, December 10th, 2015

Time: 10:00am Pacific

Register now to receive further instructions via email

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EMV - Why Your Winery Should Care
23 November, 2015

October 1st came and went, and your winery probably wasn’t affected. Yes, the EMV ‘deadline’ to get your winery ready to accept credit cards with chip technology is now in the past. All the hoopla that the credit card vendors, banks, merchant processors and payment gateways created to make you fear that October 1st deadline has subsided. Everything is still ok and you’re still selling wine. Likely you haven’t had any fraudulent transactions - let alone one from a chip card.

What Should I Do Now?

EMV is something your winery will need and you should decide what your timeline is. The new EMV devices protect you from any onsite fraud from chip credit cards. It does not affect non-chip card orders that are on site, online orders, or wine club orders. Simple math can tell you if/when it’s worth it to buy new hardware from how many fraudulent transactions you get on site:

As more and more Americans receive their chip credit cards, having an EMV device will become more and more important for your business. The migration to EMV card readers shouldn’t be taken lightly because as the number of credit cards with chips grow, the percent of fraudulent transactions from those chip cards will also grow. Hardware companies are still playing catch up with the payment industry. We’re seeing more and more EMV devices come to the market, and the newer devices are getting better.

Should I Upgrade?

When you decide it’s the right time to upgrade to EMV devices, you can start with a combination of non-EMV swipers along with EMV devices depending on where you’re selling your wines. A key thing to note is that the EMV hardware creates a ‘lock-in’ to your merchant processor since the device is setup specifically for your processor. This means changing payment gateways or merchant processors becomes more difficult and costly.

So all that being said, should you upgrade? Yes.

Should you upgrade right now? You don’t need to unless you’re getting a large amount of fraudulent transactions, but it’s all about risk management. If you’re holding out and waiting, it’s something you’ll want to rethink every few months.

How Can I Sell More Wine with EMV?

EMV has caused a lot of wineries to worry, but the bottom line is that it won't help you sell more wine. It will make your controller or legal team happy (if you have one).

When you notice consumers walking out of your tasting room because they cannot pay with Apply Pay, Google Wallet, etc., then it's a good time to get EMV because they provide that option for you (or if you're seeing a lot of onsite fraud). Until then, focus on what will help sell more wine in your tasting room.

I recently did a Free Training Friday webinar all about EMV - and what you need to know. Watch it here.


The WineDirect Customer Experience Video
16 November, 2015

Our parent company, WineDirect, has an awesome new video explaining the customer journey when buying wine online.Watch it here:


OND: Step 4 - Do the Heavy Lifting.
02 November, 2015

We're almost done our OND boot camp. 

You've got the framework to sell wine online, you've got some killer promotions and you've told the world. Now, get the heavy lifting done for your customers so that all they need to do is checkout.

Curate Gift Packs

Everyone wants to serve a perfectly paired wine with their Thanksgiving feast, however, where do they start? How do they know which wine is best with turkey? You're the expert - and you have the ability to recommend the perfect gift pack. All the customer has to do is checkout. I'm basically clicking the add to cart button below right now.

Gift Pairing Instead of Food Pairing

Usually recommend a smoked gouda with your 2011 Merlot? During the holidays, you should be recommending the 2011 Merlot for Dad. After all, dad likes Merlot, but the point is that you've sold wine and just crossed off one person on your customers Christmas list.

Show Off Your Promotions

It's hard to resist a great deal - flash sales create urgency, while shipping promotions increase AOV. Displaying promotions on your website may help you convert a browser to a buyer. You can also target customer segments with specific promotions with email. For VIP promotions and discounts, you can beef up security by requiring them to login to their account in order to qualify for the promotion.

Use Carrots to Increase AOV

Another great way to show browsers what promotions you have running is with carrots. A carrot is a targeted message that shows in both the modal cart and cart page and it's based on what people have added to their cart. The great thing about carrots is they work with the customer to show them ways to save and usually drives up AOV in order to qualify for the promotion.


OND: Step 3 - Make it Easy to Buy Your Wine.
26 October, 2015

"If you build it, they will come." 

Well, not really. You may have some killer promotions and gift packages to get people excited for the holidays, but it'll only help you sell more wine if people know about them. Your best weapon? Emails, of course.

Email Often

Wineries don't email nearly enough. Everyone is so worried about "spamming" their customers that they end up sending out nothing at all. Emails are the most important tool in successfully selling wine online. You're only as good as your email list, your genius segments and the data you capture from your customers. You'll want to target and segment your email blasts to make sure emails are relevant and personal for the recipient.

Have a customer that ordered a case of Meritage last October? Send them an email asking if they need a fill-up before the holiday season. This customer is treated to some great customer service - and you get a repeat order.

Dig into your data and reach out to people who have abandoned their cart. If you email consumers that have left wine in their cart - 70% of people will click to get their original cart repopulated. If you pick up the phone and actually call clients - your conversion rate soars to 90%. This is a personal experience - and excellent customer service.

Use Direct Recommendations

Create an email series and curate gift packs, such as a 12 days of Christmas campaign.

  1. Wine picks for Dad
  2. Grandma is giddy for these wines
  3. Wines reserved for someone special
  4. Unusual wines for unusual friends
  5. Wines to treat yourself
  6. Thank the kids teachers wine
  7. Gift baskets for Mom
  8. The in-laws need gifts too, right?
  9. Reserve wines for the wine snob
  10. Secret Santa suggestions
  11. Gifts with fast and free shipping
  12. Holiday feast wines

Set Expectations

Prepare a shipping calendar and display it on your homepage, wines page and on the view cart page. Emails drive people to your website, so you'll want to manage the expectation of when the wine will be delivered, especially for those last minute shoppers during the holiday season.

Try Flat Rate Shipping

Reassure customers on their shipping costs. You need to be upfront with your rates - right on the homepage or the wine product page. We recommend promotional flat rate shipping, such as “All of December - shipping is $10." This is a great email enticement for people to click to buy your wine. Flat rate shipping works to grow your AOV because it ensures customers who are buying more wine aren't being penalized with higher shipping rates. 


OND: Step 2 - Get People Excited About Your Wine.
19 October, 2015

Ok, you've completed step one - and you're prepared for OND. The framework is in place to capitalize on the holiday season and to start selling more wine online.

There are a lot of wineries out there. What is going to make yours stand out? You're going to have to get people excited about your wine - and here are some tips to do just that.

Focus on Added Value

Encourage bigger orders with your promotions. Don't just say 20% off - get them to spend $200 to qualify for free shipping. Find out what your average order value (AOV) is - and then structure your promotions to exceed your AOV. This is where you'll sell more wine - and as an added bonus, customers perceive they're getting a break.

Hold a Blowout Sale

You can stage a big Christmas blowout sale. Look at what excess inventory you have and then auction it off to your best customers. This is a good push for customers to join the club, recommend a friend, or sign up for the newsletter - in order to qualify for the sale.

Create urgency so that your buyers don't procrastinate. You can countdown until the last day of the sale, or the amount of inventory remaining for purchase to help convince people to buy right away. 

Stage a Makeover

Jazz up your logo for the holidays. Everyone likes seasonal charm. Offering little extras such as gift wrap or a decorative box goes a long way for gift giving. Amazon does a great job of curating wines for the holidays. Who doesn't want Zombie Zin for Halloween?

Stay Current

Use your homepage to feature gift sets, promotions for the upcoming holidays and current offerings - just don't forget to take them down. You don’t want to have Christmas imagery and promotions still on display come January.


OND: Step 1 - Get Your Winery Ready.
06 October, 2015

Here in Vancouver, it’s pretty apparent that summer is over. The rain boots under my desk are constant reminders that fall is here. Pretty soon Christmas music will be playing absolutely everywhere.

October, November, December (OND) is chalked full of important dates during the last quarter of 2015:

  • Canadian Thanksgiving - Monday October 12th
  • Halloween - Saturday October 31st
  • American Thanksgiving - Thursday November 26th
  • Black Friday - Friday November 27th
  • Free Shipping Day - December 18th
  • Cyber Monday - Monday November 30th
  • Green Monday - Monday December 14th
  • Christmas - Friday December 25th

What is your winery doing to prepare for the upcoming holiday season? Here are three tips to ensure you have the foundation to prepare for the larger volume of online OND sales.

Ensure Systems Are In Place

Here at Vin65, we double the volume going through our platform during OND compared to all other months of the year. We add more servers to handle the spikes in website traffic - and to cover the extra logins through the admin panel.

Heading into OND, make sure you have the foundation in place ahead of time in order to support increased traffic. If you're having a massive flash sale, or featuring your new release on TV - make sure you have the servers in place to account for the spike in traffic. Nothing is worse than getting an email about a flash sale happening this weekend - and then not being able to access the website.

Pay Attention to Order Flow

Pay attention to the online purchasing process. It's simple in the tasting room; your customer grabs a bottle and pays with cash or credit card at the register. The process for online sales should be just as intuitive but, unfortunately, it usually isn't. Just because your website order flow makes sense to you - it doesn’t mean it works for your potential customers. One thing I always find really confusing is when wineries have 2 sections for their wine. One section talks about your wine (‘Wine’) - and another section allows you to buy that wine (‘Acquire’). What? Why would I want to read all about your wine, just to be taken to another area of the website to try to find it again, and then complete the sale?

Get a few friends or relatives to order wine from your website. What type of things do they struggle with? Are they unable to access the site because of the cumbersome age gate? Do they have to search to find the 'add to cart' button? Can they easily view their shopping cart? Do they know what shipping will cost straight away? Are they annoyed by a forced account creation? Uneasy about entering credit card information because your site isn't secure? Do they get an email confirming their order? Do they know when to expect delivery?

Be Transparent

Wineries need to have a clear telephone number and email address where customers should contact you. If you have an info@abcwinery.com address on your contact us page that hasn’t been checked since 2006 - get that updated. Have an actual human checking this account - and make sure that person can delegate to others. Better yet - these emails should come from the top down; otherwise, you may be losing out on sales, customer service opportunities and local events featuring area wines.


Squashing Negative Reviews
21 September, 2015

Reviews are important for your winery business. Whether they're product reviews (your wine), experience reviews (your tasting room), or customer service reviews (your team) - they help people determine if they should buy from you, visit you, or what to expect once they get there.

Product Reviews

If you don't have product reviews turned on for your website - that is your first step. Open up the conversation and allow customers to share their experiences. After all, people love talking about wine.

Your second step is to utilize VinTank to monitor what people are saying about your brand. Bring comments and mentions from Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and FourSquare to one place where you know who the customer is - and can treat them accordingly.

VinTank

Everyone likes seeing positive reviews of their brand - but what happens when the review is bad? How do you handle negative reviews with tact?

Respond promptly and consistently

Most likely, a negative review is from a new experience. Answering promptly ensures you're showing the customer that you're in tune with the complaint - and are ready to correct it.

Be real and admit your mistakes

Even if complaints are unjustified - don't get defensive. Maybe you were understaffed last Saturday - so rather than say "We did the best we could with limited staff" be real and say "We were short staffed last Saturday and failed to provide you with the service that we should have - and for that, we're sorry. We're going to make this better going forward so this doesn't happen again."

Correct inaccuracies

Let's say staff was great and your tasting manager remembers this customer as difficult; demanding additional tastes of library wine. It's okay to put the customer in their place - but keep it polite. "We understand you were disappointed in the level of service - however - Sarah did allow you a few tastes of our library wine free of charge and spent some time with you one-on-one discussing the wine composition."

Highlight your strengths

End the response with some KPI's from your winery. "We do staff training every week and keep everyone up-to-date with current releases." Or "We pride ourselves on being organic and reducing our carbon footprint."

Write like person

Be professional - but not stuffy. You can leave that to your legal team. "ABC Winery values you as a customer and hope you will return" (boring!) vs. "Thanks for visiting us - we'd love to see you again soon! Bring friends!"

Take it offline

Some people just won't quit. After a couple of exchanges - it's best to take it offline. Provide a phone number or personal email address where the conversation can continue out of the public eye.

Provide compensation (if necessary)

This call is completely up to your winery. Would you refund a purchase just because someone didn't like your Merlot? Was it just them - or have there been several complaints? Was the wine damaged due to heat or worse - was it corked? You have a bottom line - but try to view it from your customers point of view.

Ask loyal customers to share their experiences

Beef up your positive reviews by asking some of your best customers. A simple ask will do the trick - you can even sweeten the deal with a giveaway, such as a discount on the next purchase, access to a premium wine, or a free tasting. 

Negative reviews happen - but they can actually serve your winery by humanizing your brand and showcasing your great customer service.


Vin65/WineDirect Form Long-Term Partnership with ShipCompliant/Sovos
08 September, 2015

We are excited to announce that we have entered into a long-term partnership with ShipCompliant/Sovos.  

We’ve worked with ShipCompliant for a long time and we’ve had some good times together.  Today we have over 300 winery customers in common, and we’ve now come together along with our parent company WineDirect to formally announce a partnership to provide a best-in-class direct-to-consumer experience.  

As a bit of background, recently ShipCompliant was acquired by Sovos, a global tax and compliance firm.  Sovos has also just acquired WineDirect’s compliance software, known as WineDirect Compliance.  As part of the agreement we have formed a long-term partnership to work together on several DTC initiatives.

Why We’ve Chosen Sovos/ShipCompliant:

We believe in providing an end-to-end experience for wineries that enables wineries to sell more wine direct-to-consumer.  Sovos is a large company with experienced legal, compliance and content teams.  They are the leaders in the compliance and tax field and to us it made sense to partner with the leader.  

At Vin65 we have the leading ecommerce and POS product. Our parent company, WineDirect is the leader in fulfillment.  It made a lot of sense to have the compliance and tax come from the leader in that area.  Furthermore, our teams already have a good working relationship with the developers and team at ShipCompliant/Sovos and we have several initiatives in the near future that are going to create better experiences and really help you sell more wine.  

What Does This Mean To You:

  • We’ve greatly enhanced our integration with ShipCompliant/Sovos to include product sync, single sign-on and one click setup. And we resolved the few little issues in the existing integration (this is available today).
  • We will be bundling ShipCompliant/Sovos in our new Vin65 Plus packages (this is available today).
  • Over the next 5 years we look to bring you more features and tools, more support and training, and more resources to help you sell more wine direct-to-consumer.

For me personally, and for the team at Vin65, we have a great relationship with ShipCompliant and we plan to continue that and we are very excited about things to come.

Read thoughts from our CEO Joe Waechter here.


Ecommerce UX - How Does Your Winery Stack Up?
25 August, 2015

When you look at your winery website - do you like what you see?

A lot of people get frustrated because what they want doesn't come through with their website design. While good design is important to appeal to your customers - a good user experience (UX) should be your key concern.

Have you heard of the KISS principle? Keep It Simple Stupid. It states that most systems work best if they are kept simple rather than made complicated; therefore simplicity should be a key goal in design and unnecessary complexity should be avoided. 

In the world of ecommerce - this is true to a point. The user experience should be easy to navigate, however, people really do want helpful information when shopping online. Simple, yet informative. Easy right?

Let's step outside the world of wine and look at what's happening in the world of ecommerce in general. Who's pushing the bar?

Amazon

Amazon is always pushing the bar  - they've got the ecommerce experience dialed. Their customers know what to expect and because of that, they have a loyal shopper base. Amazon knows what their customers want and deliver. In the example above, you can see they display customer reviews, show you products you'd probably like to buy - and allow you to checkout with the click of one button. Perfect.

Apple

Apple has some amazing product photography. They show you a 360 degree view and every angle that you would look at if you were holding the product in your hand. Apple ensures their products look beautiful, with large, clear photography. When is the last time you closed your browser not wanting Apple's newest offering?

John Fluevog

Fluevog has a loyal following of unique shoe lovers. They bring the in-store experience online seamlessly with timely offers, zoom in, more colors, a fit expert and product description. Since buying shoes online can be difficult, they go the extra step to give you the fit and width so you can confidently decide what size is best.

How does your wine website stack up?


Buying Wine Online: Isn't it Time to Relax the Restrictions?
04 August, 2015

I went out for lunch in downtown Vancouver recently – and got really excited when the restaurant carried my favorite Cabernet Franc from a local BC winery. “This Cab Franc is so hard to find – the winery is even sold out online,” I said. The server responded with “You can buy wine online? Who knew?”

Let’s face it, Canadian consumers are a little behind their American counterparts when it comes to shopping and buying online.Ecommerce makes up only 3% of total retail economy spending in Canada. Online wine sales have been increasing in the United States at double-digit rates for the past five years, however, online wine sales are still at less than 2 percent of all U.S. wines sales. (Source: Nielsen) 

The convenience of picking up a bottle of wine from the local store is sometimes easier for wine consumers. When you add in the additional cost of shipping, what gives the customer incentive to buy online?

Well, variety for one. Wine lovers have unlimited access to their favorite varietals, rare vintages and are free to support vintners they choose, not just those with the best distribution. It opens up new experiences, wines that are rare or small-batch - and even allows wine lovers to taste wines they may have discovered while on holiday.

Unfortunately, one of the biggest reasons more people don't buy wine online is because of the complicated shipping rules that differ state by state.

If you look at the U.K. - where shipping rules are more uniform, online wine sales are currently at 15 percent. 

Australians are free to buy wine from any winery across the country. They've become increasingly price savvy, but are on the hunt for special varietals - with unlimited access to all Australian wine, they have a lot to choose from. According Wine Intelligence, more people buy wine online than at the cellar door in Australia.

So, if the regulations are relaxed in the U.S. and Canada, buying wine online should increase.

Organizations like Free the Grapes in the U.S. and Free My Grapes in Canada have been instrumental in petitioning DTC restrictions. They encourage consumers to write their local government and finally put an end to complicated anti free trade restrictions.

Recently, carriers have gotten involved. FedEx Canada has publically said that restrictions on wine shipments should be removed. They're right: 85% of Canadians view inter-provincial wine barriers as unreasonable.

So, write your legislators in your state or province and let's all try to sell more wine!


How Smart Systems Will Help Your Winery Sell More Wine
27 July, 2015

I just got back from Texas Hill Country, located about an hour outside of Austin, Texas. I was there to present Vin65 features and show wineries how smart systems could help them sell more wine. There were about 40 people in the audience - and they asked some great questions.

Just like how wine consumers palates vary, your winery operates a certain way. There's no one perfect way to run your wine club, email customers, or display promotions. It's easy to get caught up in the day-to-day operations of your winery. Once a week, you should take a step back and ask yourself how you can sell more wine. Brainstorm some ideas - and then make your technology stack work for you.

The world of wine is complicated. We have all felt the pains of compliance, returned packages and club cancellations. More and more, wineries are interested in an integrated system - something that provides ecommerce, POS, club and CRM options in one package.

Be omni-channel.

One system not only saves you time and money - but makes sense with so many fragments of DTC. Automate your efforts - save the manual labor for the vineyard and use technology in your back-office operations. Vin65 puts a huge emphasis on ease of use and having one customer, one product and one transaction across ecommerce, POS, club and CRM. One database keeps costs down - but also gives you insight into your customers. Customer data equals smart marketing. Smart marketing equals sales. Sales equals referrals. You get the picture. Make sure your systems can keep up with your goals and growth.

Look for a platform that grows with you.

A platform that grows with you is essential. Your club may only have 250 members now, but what will it look like in 2 years? 5? 10? How do your system providers prices increase as your sales volumes grow? Will you be charged per user login on the admin panel or per device with the POS? Is there a contract - and if you do leave - do you have to pay for exports? 

Vin65 pushes up new features every Monday. These are performance improvements, bug fixes, but also new features our programmers build to help you sell more wine.

Ask about the little things.

You need to learn about the little things, such as: what tools work for me in the background? Can I automate some of my marketing? Can I segment my email lists? Are there automatic enticements to get my customers to buy more from me? What were the last 3 new features your platform has pushed out? When? Why were they built in the first place? 

Do some research and find a platform that works to improve regularly. In this technology driven world - you'll want to make sure your platform keeps up.

You can view the entire presentation below.


Wine Ecommerce 101
15 July, 2015

So, you want to sell wine online?

There are so many options when it comes to wine ecommerce. Where do you start? First things first - do you pick a wine specific platform? The answer should be - absolutely.

Wine is a game changer. You're not just selling t-shirts or cookies. Wine has a ton of red tape, special taxes, shipping restrictions, complicated compliance and more. But - you already knew that.

Here are some questions to ask when you're deciding on a winery ecommerce provider:

1. Do you know the world of wine inside and out?

You'll want to look for a platform that is 100% focused on the DTC wine industry. They should be up on the newest developments and build features to help you succeed in an ever-changing environment. The world of wine is much different than candy, jewelry and homemade crafts.

2. Can you grow with me?

If you're planning to grow - make sure your ecommerce provider is too! Don't be caught with a platform that has capped out after a few years. You'll have to recover more costs down the line from training and data imports into a new system.

3. Can I work in a single platform?

You know what's annoying? Having 20 tabs open just to make sure an order is completed. Choose a platform that allows each component to speak to each other. Online, tasting room and point of sale sales should all pull from a single inventory pool. Your club member John Smith should get the same discounts and treatment online as in the tasting room. Look for an integrated CRM, ecommerce, wine club management and point of sale system that is customer focused.

4. Can you help me market to my customers more effectively?

Do you get dashboard analytics? Does your platform include mass marketing email tools? Can you measure email marketing success rates?  Can you blog? Quickly upload products? Easily edit your website content? Add promotions and events ad hoc? You want a platform that is complex, but easy to manage day-to-day.

5. Are there other tools to make my life easier?

Can you self-fulfill without logging on to a bunch of third party supplier websites? Is compliance baked in? Can you use a fulfillment house where orders flow automatically? Do you have access to package tracking? Can you auto-update credit cards before your club run? Is there a user forum where you can ask the community questions? Is there a support team for when you need a little extra help?

There are a lot of wine ecommerce providers out there. Make sure you pick one that aligns with your winery's goals. Choose a provider that wants to make DTC sales better, can build new features, and is responsive to your needs. Most importantly, choose a platform that doesn't oversell its features. Buy the platform for what it is today - but also what it can grow to be.


Shipping: The Wine Industry Roadblock
06 July, 2015

DTC wine is reaching its tipping point, as discussed in a recent blog post from WineDirect’s CEO, Joe Waechter. Wine shipments have increased drastically as it becomes easier and easier to order wine anytime, anywhere. As more wine lovers shop online, shipping continues to be a major roadblock for most DTC wineries. It's a complicated process - and it isn't cheap. Let's take a closer look, shall we?

Roadblock #1 - Shipping Is Complicated

Wineries know it's tough to get wine out all across the country. You have to deal with correct shipping addresses, an adult signature, weather holds, shipping carrier fees, licensing, taxes and more. American wineries have to deal with compliance and even states that ban DTC wine shipments completely. Canadians have provincial shipping laws, so, unless you live in Ontario, you're probably not going to taste any of Niagara's wines. 

Getting Past Roadblock #1

  • Find a compliance management system that runs in the background so the administrative work is easier for you
  • Maintain an accurate CRM database with correct customer details so the shipping process is successful
  • Allow redirects to avoid returns due to customers not being home or incorrect addresses
  • Clearly explain weather holds on your website and set carrots for tasting room staff to mention this in the summer months

Roadblock #2 - Customers Are Impatient

Customers have become impatient – we live in a world of instant gratification. Other ecommerce giants have set the bar high with fast delivery. Customers don't care if they've ordered wine or a new shirt - they want it now. A confirmation email detailing their order is expected within minutes. If one isn't received, chances are they’ll call the winery to confirm that the order went through. Wine customers want an estimated delivery date and updates on where their wine package is in real time, so that they can be there to sign for the package.

Getting Past Roadblock #2

  • Send an automatic order confirmation email
  • Get your shipment out quickly by scheduling regular pickups at your winery
  • Give customers an expected delivery date
  • Allow text opt-ins to give customers real time delivery details straight to their phone

Roadblock #3 - It Ain't Cheap

Shipping is expensive. It is the single biggest hurdle in getting more DTC customers. From the customer's perspective, they can get your wine retail for the same price as DTC - they don't have to pay for shipping and they don't have to wait for it. Don't just pass on the carrier cost to consumers. Since your winery profit margin is higher DTC, encourage customers to buy from you directly and give them a bit of a break on shipping.

Getting Past Roadblock #3

  • Setup accurate product weights so shipping companies charge you the correct fee
  • Send out 'your order had shipped' emails with an expected delivery date
  • Join a shipping loyalty program and crowd-source shipping costs with other wineries 
  • Offer 1 cent shipping promotions to your top 50 customers, red wine lovers, local buyers, etc to drive sales

The Future of Wine Shipping 

There are a lot of barriers shipping wine DTC. Support organizations like Free the Grapes which has successfully opened up states for DTC wine shipments. We've come a long way as an industry, but are still looking for ways to improve the shipping experience for consumers. If you have any great ideas for making shipping better for all wineries - we'd love to hear them in the comments below!


Do You Care About Your Online Customer Experience?
15 June, 2015

What experience does your website give online customers? Is it easy to navigate? Does it contain details on products for purchase? Can information be found quickly? You want to ensure that customers can easily purchase wine and have a great experience while doing it. The bottom line is that if your customers don't enjoy spending time on your website, they are less likely to visit it or spend time on it. Shopping should be enjoyable, right?

Mr Riggs Readable Text

 

Make Your Text Readable

Remember that your site is for audiences of varying ages. You don't want people straining to read the text on your website. The truth is that if your text is too hard to read, they may just skip over it. Here are some tips for improving readability:

  1. Give a good amount of contrast between the background color and the text itself
  2. Increase the font size, but try to avoid all caps
  3. Don't use scripted fonts for body text, only large headings
  4. Give your text some room to breath with line-height

 

 Simplify The Main Menu

Short term memory can hold only seven items at once. If your main navigation has more than that, there are too many options for your users to process at once - making it harder for them to find where they want to go. Go through your main menu, put the pages into groups that fit and try to get this number down to six or seven at the most.

When naming your pages, also be sure to make them self explanatory. For example, name your store page, 'Wines' or 'Store', not 'Experience' as it's more vague and could hold a variety of content such as wine tastings or information on visiting the winery. Keep your page names as clear as possible.

Keep Content Organized

Don't clutter your pages with unnecessary content. Keep it short and sweet. Read through your text and see if there is anything that can be cut down on. Having detailed information is great, but having too much information makes it difficult for customers to find what they are looking for.

Be sure that your content and pages are grouped in categories that make sense. Don't put your shipping information on your contact page. I know what you’re thinking - my content is well organized. It only takes a little browsing to find what you need. Remember that you need to think of that first-time customer who has never visited your website. Make sure that they can find what they're looking for without getting frustrated or having to look through every single page.

If you’re unsure, run some user tests. Give a list of tasks to a couple of people who have never visited your site before to see if they are able to find various details. If certain tasks take a while, consider reworking your website appropriately.

Do Those Buttons Right

Buttons done well make a big difference. They are what guide a customer through the purchasing process. Limiting the button colors to two is important; one for primary actions such as adding a product to cart and one for secondary actions such as continuing shopping. You want the primary action buttons to stand out and draw the eye of customers so make sure that they pop and aren’t hidden on the page. Bonus points go to making them easy to click on mobile devices. Make sure that those buttons won’t take no for an answer.

Read more about how your buttons can increase conversion.

Show Off Your Products

Provide your customers with detailed product information. I don't know the last time that I purchased a product without reading up about it first. People want to know the details before making the decision to purchase.

Also be sure to use hi-resolution bottle shots. These customers aren't in your tasting room, they are online. Don’t force them to choose between online convenience and in-store experience. Give them the closest experience to what they would have if they were physically holding your product. Make the images close cropped to ensure that they really stand out on your page. 

How does your site measure up to the list above? Is there anything you’ve found that makes it unenjoyable or even difficult to browse and shop on a website?


Insider Tips to Sell More Wine - Part 2
04 June, 2015

This is Part 2 of a guest post from Jessie Poshepny Vallery (read Part 1 here). 

The key to selling more wine is capturing email addresses so that you can market to people after they've left the tasting room. With Vin65, I have been able to capture thousands more emails because we do not print receipts. We let people know that they’ll be added to our mailing list and we urge them to have their receipt sent via email. 9 times out of 10 they give us their email address.

Vin65’s list builder has been my best friend. With the ability to tailor lists, I have been able to e-market to 5,000+ people over the last year vs only 2,000+ the previous year (before Vin65). I have utilized the list builder to help me form new wine clubs too. An idea I had was to offer unlimited free shipping to a new tier of members, on club shipments and all other orders. However, I needed to know that it would be worth it for us. I figured out how much we would be paying vs. how much additional we would bring in with sales. I looked at all buyers from out of California, then looked at key wine buying states, as well as states that cost a lot to ship to: Texas, Ohio, Florida, Illinois, Nevada, Michigan, North Carolina, Georgia, New York, and Virginia. Then, I generated an email to them stating what the new wine club was, how it includes free shipping on the quarterly commitment of one case, as well as anything outside of the club selection. I then broke down the shipping cost to their state based on 1, 6, and 12 bottles. We had 10 people join right away, bringing in a revenue of $7,000 per quarter.

I can attribute our e-marketing success to knowing and listening to our customers, tailoring our lists, and utilizing all of the extra boxes, auto emails, and fields within Vin65. Take the time to learn about all of the features offered. You never know when something will come in handy that can be used to sell more wine (such as carrots).

Timing is Everything:

People love to buy wine for holidays, after they’ve filed their taxes, for birthdays, anniversaries, graduations, etc. The more information you have about a person, the more wine you will sell to them.

I use action emails to email members on their wine club anniversary. Everyday someone, somewhere receives an email saying:

“Happy wine Club Anniversary! You’ve been a member for XX years, thank you so much for being a part of our wine club family! As a thank you from us, we want to offer you 50% off on any of our current [LINK to current wines online] release wines for TODAY ONLY. Visit us at the winery, email us, or buy online”

Since January 1, 2014 we have generated $30,000 in extra sales thanks to this automatic email for club members. This is money that we did not bring in before Vin65 because we had no easy way to track club anniversaries. Like everyone else in my position - I had every intention to send emails like this on my own but that task quickly became buried under more important tasks.

Know Your People:

It’s much easier to sell online to our mailing list and members because they know our team - and they know that they’re buying from us. They know when they reply to an email from us, we get back to them with answers. They appreciate that we pay attention to them.

Check Abandoned Shopping Cart Orders:

When running a flash sale (or any kind of sale), I always check on the abandoned carts. If I have their info - I email or call them to find out if they need help finishing the order. Sometimes I have found that shipping was an issue so I’ll make the call to offer them a deal on shipping in order to get the sale (if it’s worth it). Other times, it was someone who wanted to pick up at the winery but ordered online so I helped them by creating an order over the phone and setting the wine aside for pick up. (** I have since turned on the “pickup at winery” option online for flash sales).

Figure Out What is Worth Emailing About:

  • I email flash sales because I have excess inventory - but it's also what my consumers want.
  • Events go out as a calendar to all. They may live out of state but could possibly be visiting during an event - we don’t know their travel plans. Last minute event tickets go to a local club and or local mailing list only.
  • Pickup party invites go only to our members because it’s wine club only.
  • Winemaker dinners in various states go to the buyers who live in that state.
  • Wine releases go out to everyone. If there is a discount or promotion involved it goes out as two emails - one to non-club and a deeper discount for club members.
  • Any good press needing promotion should go out to everyone. I will typically add this into another email instead of creating a dedicated email for press.
  • When a wine is running out - let your mailing list know. This can boost sales too. Example: I have 40 cases left of my Zinfandel, it was the very first vintage and it was released last October so it sold fast. I am going to send an email to all of the people who purchased the Zin and offer them the last of it. I’ll offer wine club 35% off and non-club 20% off. I will send the same email to everyone using it to entice non-members to join the club since they’ll see that members get deeper discounts.
  • Baby your club. People join because they like you, the winery and the wine. Make sure you do your part to separate your brand from the sea of other brands who make great wine. I don’t like hearing from members that they “didn’t know about the wine release” or they “didn’t know about the event”.
  • Shipping discounts are fantastic - people will always buy. There is a caveat to the tailored list here: sometimes I’ll send out shipping discount emails to only out of state, but then if it’s around the holidays (Cyber Monday deal, Thanksgiving or Christmas), I will email everyone because a lot people like to mail wine as a gift - you don’t want to lose out on sales.
  • Some things are best not included in your newsletter; they can be on your blog or Facebook page. Make sure to link to those posts in every newsletter. Keep people in the loop on the happenings around your brand, property, family, and wines through the blog or on Facebook and let the newsletter contain key points, sales, releases, events and deals.

This is the second post of a two-part guest post from Jessie Poshepny Vallery. She has been working at Trione since 2008, has been in the wine business for 13 years - and a Vin65 client since 2013. Jessie serves as the President of the Geyserville Chamber of Commerce, writes for Sonoma Discoveries magazine and enjoys promoting the local businesses and area.


Insider Tips to Sell More Wine - Part 1
27 May, 2015

This is a two-part guest post from Jessie Poshepny Vallery. She has been working at Trione since 2008, has been in the wine business for 13 years - and a Vin65 client since 2013. Jessie serves as the President of the Geyserville Chamber of Commerce, writes for Sonoma Discoveries magazine and enjoys promoting the local businesses and area. This post will give you concrete examples on how she sells more wine.

Personalization. People want to see emails that are targeted just for them. We all get a barrage of emails between certain hours and on certain days because somebody somewhere said it was a good time to email blast. When emails are blanketed and don’t even apply to you, they get deleted automatically without even reading the second paragraph. I know I often delete emails after reading the first line. I can’t count how many times I’ve received an email, “welcome to our wine club!” having never even visited that winery. I’ve even gotten a “your allocation has increased because you’ve met our required allocation over the years”, without ever purchasing the wines… you get the gist.

Through my experiences and what I have heard from my customers, I have tailored lists based on location, wine likes, event attendance, people with children, cancelled members, wine club tiers, people who pick up their wine clubs, people who have their wine clubs shipped to them, people who live out of California, and more as they come up. I have found that people appreciate our efforts in ensuring they receive relevant emails about our winery and our wines. Through Vertical Response, I can see a huge change in unsubscribes and opens because of the targeting.

Around Easter, I had 200+ cases of our Pinot Noir to sell. Luckily Pinot is a nice red wine - light and fruity, popular and pairs well with meals. I created a 50% off any amount (unlimited) promo for two days only. I kept the email short and sweet so everyone would read it and if reading on mobile, they could see the point of the message before even opening:

I emailed 4,700 people and 1,582 opened the email, 487 clicked through to our website, 196 clicked the buy online link, and 181 clicked the Pinot Noir link. We sold $17,000 worth of wine in two days.

Checklist Items to Sell More Wine: 

  • Have various templates: one for a quick email blast that requires minimal content, one with pictures of wine bottles (if that applies to you), and one for more copy.
  • Make sure your email templates, website, and any other online marketing look and feel the same or similar. You want to ensure consumers always know they are clicking on your brand, not something that looks foreign.
  • Link to the shopping cart - and link to the wine within the cart.
  • Test out the coupon code - and make the code user-friendly. I always just use all caps to make it easy to read. 
  • Make sure bounced emails are fixed so those people receive emails.
  • Keep a running calendar on your newsletter template with current and upcoming events so that people will always know what's going on and you don’t have to use up the space in the body of the email for it until you’re ready. Link to your events page on your website.
  • Put ongoing deals in the template so they are always there. Example: we offer a bag discount of 5% whenever someone brings in their Trione wine tote, they receive 5% in addition to whatever the discount is they are getting that day. We put that in the bottom of every email to remind people. They all bring their bags and as a result we have brought in an additional $5,700 in revenue.

Ideas for a Successful Email Marketing Campaign:

  • In my Easter example, I emailed on a Friday night at 6pm. Most people were probably off work, thinking about their holiday plans and already thinking about buying wine.
  • Set a deadline to create a sense of urgency. I have found that less than four days makes people jump on an offer right away whereas giving them 30 days - they wait and then forget.
  • Email people who buy a particular wine. In my case with the Pinot, I emailed everyone on my list because it’s versatile and great Spring wine for most people. You have to be flexible and make the call on a case-by-case basis.
  • Stop thinking about the number of times you should email and start thinking about relevance. Keep an editorial calendar and list out the campaign names, dates to be sent, and who these will be sent to.
  • Ask people what kinds of wines they like when they sign up for your mailing list. Talk to your consumers in the tasting room and find out what they like to see in newsletters, ask them what makes them open or delete an email from a winery.

Continue reading Part 2 »


Walla Walla DTC Roadshow - Join us Tuesday May 26th!
19 May, 2015

  Vin65WineDirect 

You're Invited!

To the Vin65 and WineDirect DTC Roadshow

Learn from direct to consumer wine industry experts how to grow your DTC wine sales. We will be discussing a variety of topics including selling more wine online, social media for the wine industry, shipping strategies, compliance updates and running a successful wine club.

Register Now

Map

Location: Walla Walla Community College
Center for Enology & Viticulture (map)

Contact: Corinna Johnson (email)

Date: Tuesday May 26th, 2015

Time: 8:30am start, light snacks provided

After the Event: Wine Tasting and Networking

Cost: Free!

Register Now

Learn More

 Space is limited to the first 50 attendees so register now.

Connect With Us

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Shipping: Wineries... Can You Keep Up?
04 May, 2015

You're not Amazon, Walmart, or Target, and you don’t have the clout to demand killer shipping rates from UPS and FedEx.

What are your options as a winery to live up to the expectations that these monsters retailers provide?

Speed Matters

When a customer places an order in your online store, don't wait to ship it! Figuring out a system for how to ship things quickly and efficiently will keep your customers happy. If you ship right from your winery, work with UPS, FedEx, GSO, etc. to have regularly scheduled pickups. If you ship with a fulfillment center, key in on the time from when the order is placed online or from the POS to when they ship it out. Partner with a firm that is able to get the wine out fast.

Speed is key on the tracking number as well. Consumers love to track their packages - often anywhere from 5 to 7 times before it gets to their door. Knowing this should change a few things for you:

  • Get the customer the tracking number early. As soon as it leaves your facility, the customer should be getting a notice of their package status.
  • Don’t miss out on marketing opportunities. If you're sending your customer to track their wine shipment on UPS or FedEx's site - you're losing your brand story. Since consumers track their package numerous times, there are great marketing opportunities to connect with your consumer. Get them to signup for your newsletter, show them your latest blog, showcase your next release or even join your wine club.

Free Shipping

Let’s call it for what it is: free shipping. If you’re in the USA California, don’t actually call it free shipping, but you can call it ‘shipping included,’ ‘1 cent shipping,’ or something similar. Consumers still know what it is and value it the same. Even something small like a set of headphones costs approximately $9 to ship through FedEx - so if you pass on the cost of shipping to your consumer, they will think you charged too much (thank Amazon, Zappos, and others for that expectation).

Upon initial inspection, offering free shipping may seem like it will hurt your profits. You may find in the long run that customers are willing to spend more money if you eliminate shipping costs. Thus, in all likelihood your shipping costs will cover themselves, and you may even increase your profits with larger average order values.

Don’t turn your shipping policy into a profit tool. If you try to make money off of shipping, customers will notice, and they will not be happy. Selling online is all about keeping customers happy.

Be Upfront

Showing your shipping information upfront in a clear way is important. Have the information easily accessible on the pages that matter. Look at adding this information to your product pages, shopping cart and website footer/bottom navigation. By having this at the consumers' finger tips, it will streamline the purchasing process and will remove the negative experience they would get from having to navigate to find the page.

Naked Winery (image below) takes it one step further by putting the shipping information right in the product menu.

A customer who faces a bad experience will first blame the website for bad experiences (they don't blame FedEx for high shipping costs, and they don't blame the government for compliance regulations).

The quickest way to ease some of those frustrations is to be up-front with customers. At the cart level (or even on the product page) show your customers their shipping costs, if the product is in stock, and if you can ship to their state or province.

Some wineries have great messaging around which states they are compliant with. Duckhorn (image below) is a good example of this.

Join A Program

There are several programs out there for retailers to use to help keep up with new shipping options. Amazon - one of the large retailers started Amazon Prime, a paid membership to get free shipping. This has been hugely successful (profitable) for them, and it's not only successful for Amazon. Constellation has implemented a very similar program called 'Star Shipping' where consumers pay for a membership and can get $0 shipping from any of their Constellation's USA brands.

For smaller wineries, a program like 46Brix, which is the same as Amazon Prime or Star Shipping, is designed so that consumers can pick from a large number of wineries and get $0 shipping from any of them. Wineries on average see a 3 times increase in consumer spending once the consumer signs up for 46Brix.

Beyond a consumer-facing program, the Wine Institute offers their association a discount on FedEx rates. They can do this by using the power and lure of many wineries to help FedEx ship more volume. Vin65 just launched something similar with UPS, called Easy Ship. Vin65's parent company, WineDirect, partnered with UPS which means great UPS rates are passed along while providing a direct integration to make printing labels and emailing or texting tracking numbers a simple process.


Hood River DTC Roadshow Invitation
21 April, 2015

  Vin65WineDirect 

You're Invited!

To the Vin65 and WineDirect DTC Roadshow

Learn from direct to consumer wine industry experts how to grow your DTC wine sales. We will be discussing a variety of topics including selling more wine online, social media for the wine industry, trends in DTC, marketing outreach and the importance of good data.

Map

Location: Naked Winery (map)

Contact: Corinna Johnson (email)

Date: Thursday May 7th, 2015

Time: 8:30am start, light snacks provided

After the Event: Wine Tasting and Networking

Cost: Free!

Register Now

Learn More

 Space is limited to the first 50 attendees so register now.

Connect With Us

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Calaveras County DTC Roadshow Invitation
06 April, 2015

  Vin65WineDirect 

You're Invited!

To the Vin65 and WineDirect DTC Roadshow

Learn from direct to consumer wine industry experts how to grow your DTC wine sales. We will be discussing a variety of topics including selling more wine online, social media for the wine industry, shipping strategies, marketing outreach and running a successful wine club.

Map

Location: Bunting Winery (map)

Contact: Corinna Johnson (email)

Date: Thursday April 23rd, 2015

Time: 8:30am start, light snacks provided

After the Event: Wine Tasting and Networking

Cost: Free!

Register Now

Learn More

 Space is limited to the first 50 attendees so register now.

Connect With Us

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Help, get me off this list. I didn't ask to be here. Your email sucks, you can't spell, and I already get enough junk mail. (Okay to get off our list, just unsubscribe)

 


Start With Why: What's Your Winery's Value Proposition?
23 March, 2015

“How do I tell a story that makes my $15 Cabernet different from your $15 Cabernet?”

This question came from a great recap blog post I read the other day. It's the million-dollar question. The differentiator. What makes your wine stand out from the crowd?

Let's take a step back from the wine industry for a minute. Why do people love Apple products? At the end of the day - they're just computers. They come in different shapes and sizes, just like any other company that makes computers, tablets or mobile phones. If you get a reaction to reading that last statement, it's because Apple isn't JUST a computer company. They inspire us. They innovate. They make cool products. They're also in the business of making memories (iPhoto), keeping in touch with loved ones (FaceTime) - and the list goes on.

Apple figured it out early. They're selling a lifestyle and not just a product. When you make the decision to purchase an Apple product - you're doing so at a premium. You're not getting the most cost effective product; you're getting a cool product. (Android users everywhere are shaking their heads). This is true for tons of products - wine included.

So, you make a pretty mean $15 Cabernet. How do you tell people about it?

There's a great TED talk by Simon Sinek. He coins a term called 'The Golden Circle' - which asks what your purpose, call, or belief is. Why are you making wine at all? Why do you get out of bed every day? What is your passion?

Everyone knows what they sell - and that is wine. You also know how you sell wine - great customer experiences, the history of your brand, and communicating your story in an amazing tasting room. The why is always harder to figure out. Wineries need to figure out their why and lead with that. Why do you get out of bed each morning to make wine? What are you passionate about? Does it relate to your family legacy and the blood, sweat and tears of your great-grandfather who planted the original vines? Inspiring, right? This is what captivates consumers and what keeps them coming back, over the $15 Cab next door who is saying "Here's our 2011 Cabernet, try some."

Let's look at two specific examples - the first leads with what - the second leads with why:

  1. We make great wine. The land has perfect terroir and we make an amazing Cabernet. Want to buy some?
  2. Everything we do, we believe in challenging the status quo, we believe in thinking differently. We're passionate about making organic products with a deep respect for the land. We've been doing this for generations and it comes naturally to us. Our product just happens to be an amazing wine. Want to buy some?

People don't buy what you do. They buy why you do it.

Next time you have visitors in your tasting room - start with why. Chances are - you're only one stop on their day of wine tastings. Be the winery that sticks with them - that they tell their friends about. When they're back home, be the winery that they continue to buy from online when they are kicking their feet up after a long day of work.


Vin65 and WineDirect Roadshow Coming up in Mendocino March 26th
11 March, 2015

  Vin65WineDirect 

You're Invited!

To the Vin65 and WineDirect DTC Roadshow

Learn from direct to consumer wine industry experts how to grow your DTC wine sales. We will be discussing a variety of topics including selling more wine online, social media for the wine industry, shipping strategies, marketing outreach and running a successful wine club.

Map

Location: Barra of Mendocino (map)

Contact: Corinna Johnson (email)

Date: Thursday March 26th, 2015

Time: 8:30am start, light snacks provided

After the Event: Wine Tasting and Networking

Cost: Free!

Register Now

Learn More

 Space is limited to the first 50 attendees so register now.

Connect With Us

twitter  facebook  G+  linkedin 

 

 


Email: The Biggest ROI for Wineries
24 February, 2015

You're busy - there are a million things to do today on top of selling your wine. So, where do you focus? Where should you spend time to get the biggest bang for your buck - or in your case, ROI?

It's simple. If you're going to focus on selling more wine, focus on one email - this should be the email sent to your first time purchasers.

There's no magic - but there are a ton of stats that back this up. Of all the emails you can send, the email that targets customers who have only bought once is the most effective by far. With an average open rate of 59.2%, it outperforms any other emails you send.

Let's take a step back. Looking at general emails - the open rate is about 28.9%. These are your newsletters, club emails and events. This is a decent open rate vs. comparable industry averages.

Going deeper, if you send highly targeted emails that are very personalized, the open rate jumps from 28.9% to 40.5%. Meaning that emails that speak to their recipients outperform the mass newsletters or promotional emails sent. Consumers want to be treated as a person with individual needs, not as a group of people who might be interested in similar things. Highly targeted email examples would be a birthday message, club anniversary, thanks for tasting with us, or rate the wine you just bought.

From these personalized emails - the best performing one is the targeted email sent to first time purchasers. The purchase could be from the tasting room, website, farmer's market or anywhere you sell. Consumers will open this email 59.2% of the time - or in another way to look at it, 6 out of 10 people will open this email.

These people bought from you and like your wine, and there a huge opportunity to turn them into repeat purchasers. First, make sure the tasting room staff are capturing email addresses for every purchase - in the tasting room, via phone, or at an event. Ringing in wine without any customer information stops the relationship. Wineries in the top 20% of DTC performers are paying their staff anywhere from $0.50 to $1.00 per email every time their staff collects an email. These wineries understand the value of turning that consumer into someone that will buy again and again.

These are the top 4 things to say in a 'first time purchaser' email:

  1. Thank them for their visit and/or initial purchase.

  2. Recognize that they are a first time buyer.

  3. Solicit feedback.

  4. Give incentives to buy more.

Below is a good example of a first time purchaser email. It definitely hits all four points.


Mobile Point of Sale is Changing the Tasting Room Experience
09 February, 2015

Mobile POS systems let you sell where you couldn’t before. When your POS is portable - you can use it at a private tasting, out on a deck, or as you’re walking through the barrel room. If you’re at an off-site tasting event, it’s now possible to take a sale right then and there. Using a point of sale system that gets you out from behind the tasting bar and creates a more intimate experience. 

There are a lot of relatively simple things happening on the mobile POS that traditional systems just don't do. If a customer has an expired card on their wine club, the system will prompt the staff. If the customer has a package to pick up - the system prompts the staff. The mobile POS is definitely “smarter” than a traditional system. Really, it focuses on the user experience. Each mobile POS system is different - but if you look at the Vin65 POS, or something like Square, there is a larger focus on capturing customer data - especially email addresses. The single most important factor in selling more wine is obtaining an email address - and emailing the customer receipt is a great way to accomplish this. The customer information is often more important than the transaction itself. From the mobile POS, the staff can easily see the customer, their lifetime value, if they belong to a club, plus any important notes. 

Customers are experiencing the mobile POS at stores like Apple, at small retailers using Square, inside taxi cabs and at all sorts of places; they can tell you what they like about it. If the line gets long in the tasting room and you only have one or two registers you can use the mobile POS to “line bust”.

Here are 5 tips for using the mobile POS as a sales booster:

1. Number one priority should be capturing an email address when entering a sale. This is the best way to follow up with the customer and get them to repeat purchase on your online store. 

2. Make sure your mobile POS is connected to your other channels (such as ecommerce, wine club, etc.). When you have all of your customer information in a central spot, and available to your front line to act on - it becomes very powerful.

3. Setup carrots in the carrot engine. Use prompts, helpful tips and messaging to guide tasting room staff with different customers. Ensure your staff knows if this person is a first time visitor, a repeat visitor, or a club member, so that they know how to treat them. If the customer has been to the tasting room 2-3 times this year, the carrot could display a prompt asking them to join a wine club to save.

4. Constantly look for ways to improve the customer experience. There is nothing worse than having a great experience during a private tasting and then coming out having to wait in a long line to buy wine. Mobile POS systems are cheap - and they run on phones or tablets (giving you the ability to scale up or down). You can move the sales experience into a private tasting, the vineyard, or wherever makes sense for your winery.

5. Train and empower staff. Most mobile POS systems tend to be easier to use than traditional cash registers, but keep in mind that it’s still important to train and empower staff. Ensure they know how to use it. 


Observations from an Emerging Wine Market (Colorado)
02 February, 2015

Last week, I attended the VinCO Conference and Trade Show in Grand Junction, CO. I was able to give two presentations to some of Colorado's most prominent winemakers, winery owners and emerging wineries. There were a lot of questions about selling more wine online - and I thought I'd share some insights.

Overall, Colorado wineries are small compared to the 'Napa' and 'Sonoma' regions of the US, and the majority are family run. There are no corporations that own multiple wineries such as Constellation, Diageo, Crimson, Pernod Ricard, etc. The same people that are getting their hands dirty harvesting grapes are the ones talking to you selling wine in the tasting room. This provides a very authentic experience and you can tell that blood, sweat and tears were shed to create those bottles of wine. This is a great opportunity for smaller markets because you get the chance to really interact with customers in the tasting room. The best way to keep those customers buying is with highly targeted action emails. Thank them for visiting, ask them to rate the wine they bought, or invite them to purchase a suggested wine.

Wineries in Colorado are on the cusp of becoming second-generation businesses. The 'kids' are now taking over from their parents and this is bringing in a wave of new processes. The 'kids' are all looking at technology as a key way to take their businesses to the next level and to sell more wine. Wine clubs are a great way to use technology to maximize your business. While some wineries are looking at starting a wine club, others already have them and are using them as an opportunity to grow. Even though you're from a small market, you don't need to be a pioneer because wineries in larger regions have tested and proven ways to implement successful wine clubs. Colorado wineries have the ability to look at clubs in a fresh way - and can tailor them to their specific needs. You can play with number of shipments per year, user choice clubs and wine club exclusive events.

The 'kids' are great winemakers, and really understand their business. One thing that really stood out is the agreement that shipping incentives are an important way to help them sell more wine. A lot of these small wineries don't currently offer free shipping; but most of them understand the value of shipping discounts and incentives. They are well aware that they need to change their shipping policies. At Vin65, time and time again, shipping discounts outperform price discounts. Shipping discounts are the #1 way to convert online customers and grow your sales. This leads to my next observation - the most asked question was about 46Brix. How does it work, how do they join, or how they could run a similar program to get 3X more sales

A struggle for Colorado wineries is their location. A lot of wineries don't ship outside of CO and the ones that do have an up-hill battle. Shipping to states like CA, NY, NJ, FL, TX, the 'heavy drinking' states, often take 3, 4 or 5 days. Getting wine shipped to the customer fast is a big challenge. Years ago, getting a order delivered online in 5 days was acceptable; today's consumers aren't willing to wait 3 or more days. Amazon is starting to ship before someone orders with their Anticipatory strategy - which is setting shipping precedents. In the wine industry, forward staging, or storing wine in locations on the west or east coast can cut down on shipping times significantly. 

Colorado can make good wine - but consumer perception is a struggle (they had a winery win best Riesling at IEWC in 2004). They are not only competing against known regions, but they are also competing to secure good land for their vineyards against peaches (their #1 agriculture product). It's an battle, but they have been growing year-after-year, benefiting from great complementary tourist activities near the wine region. The best way to drive sales after guests leave the tasting room is to email them and invite them to buy online. Wineries in emerging regions should make collecting email addresses in the tasting room and at events a #1 priority.

Finally, the Colorado area is considered (by who, I'm not sure) to be the "Napa of Bourbon". And it's damn good :) Who says you have to drink wine all the time?


Vin65 and WineDirect Roadshow Coming up in Paso Robles February 19th
21 January, 2015

Vin65WineDirect 

You're Invited!

To the Vin65 and WineDirect DTC Roadshow

Learn from direct to consumer wine industry experts how to grow your DTC wine sales. We will be discussing a variety of topics including selling more wine online, social media for the wine industry, shipping strategies, compliance updates and running a successful wine club.

Map

Location: Robert Hall Winery (map)

Contact: Corinna Johnson (email)

Time: 8:30am start, light snacks provided

After the Event: Wine Tasting and Networking

Cost: Free!

Register Now

Learn More

 Space is limited to the first 50 attendees so register now.

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New Year, Old Website?
30 December, 2014

2014 is coming to an end. It's that time of year where we pack up the holiday decorations, discontinue killer promotions and get back to wine club reality. Is your website looking as tired as you feel?

Be honest andtake a hard look at your winery's website. Does it function well? Is the ecommerce experience good for first time purchasers, repeat buyers and club members? Does your website reflect your brand, messaging, tasting room and overall experience? Do you have a beautiful tasting room, yet feel that your winery website is an eyesore?

What's a winery to do?

1. Get mobile

If you do one thing in 2015 - you should focus on mobile. There's been a huge emphasis on going mobile in the last few years - and rightfully so.  If a customer hits your site on their phone or tablet and can't buy wine easily - you'll lose the sale. Vin65 statistics across all of our winery websites see over 28% of traffic coming from a mobile phone. Make buying wine from a phone simple; no signups, no long form fields and no pinch and zoom.

2. Keep your site up-to-date

Figure out if a redesign is necessary. Sometimes all you need to do is set aside some time every quarter to spruce up your website. You don't want to stay still in this fast-paced ecommerce world. Read industry articles, have a conversation with your designer and get better. Hire experts where you need them - content, photography, etc. Make sure you have proper resources allocated so you can be consistent. You should repeat this process at least 4 times per year.

3. Do your homework

If you do undertake a redesign, know that all designers aren't created equal. A website redesign is a big commitment - you wouldn't marry the first pretty girl that walked by - would you? Projects can get delayed, budgets can get blown, and stress can be high. Set realistic goals and timelines for redesigns and keep your goals in mind as you work through the project. Ensure your chosen designer has experience on the platform, can challenge some of your ideas, and can tell you what ecommerce best practices work for wineries. Touch base with one of Vin65'sCertified Designers.

4. Have some fun

This is your brand. Share your story, talk to your customers and have some fun with your new website. Chances are, you'll be staring at it quite a bit over the next couple of years.


Happy Holidays from Vin65
22 December, 2014

  Vin65  

Happy Holidays from Vin65

 

We're working hard to make 2015 the best one yet. We've included 4 things we've learned in 2014 below. Wishing you and yours a safe and happy holiday season! Thank you for being such amazing clients!

   

   

4 Things We Learned in 2014


1. Email is Still #1

Across the Vin65 platform, action emails have a 60% open rate. MailChimp records ecommerce industry standards for email open rates at 17%. This is proof that action emails (highly targeted and based on an action) are well received. There's one catch - you have to capture the email address. One Vin65 customer recently shared that he pays his staff $1 for every email address they capture. He's figured out that each email address is worth $206 in repeat purchases, pulling his customers back to his online store with action emails. Brilliant.

2. Mobile Matters 

Website? Check. Mobile site? Question mark. If these mobile stats don't convince you, maybe we can. In July 2014 - Vin65 saw 28% of winery website traffic originating from a mobile phone.  We also saw another 14% who were viewing winery websites with their tablet. That's a staggering average of 42% of your customers that are viewing your website on a mobile device. Mobile matters! Talk to one of our certified designers and get a move on!

3. Shipping is King

Here's the deal; the Pareto Principle prevails. Vin65 wineries in the top 20% of sales only charge about 5% for shipping. Shipping discounts win over product discounts time and time again. Recently, a Vin65 winery A/B tested their product offering on Amazon. One promo was free shipping; the other was 40% off the wines. Shipping outperformed. Then, the winery tried it again; with free shipping, or 60% off the wines. Free shipping outperformed again. Free shipping is a no-brainer - speaking of which - 46Brix, anyone?

4. User Experience is Key

This isn't new - but it's important. This is where you need to step out of your role as a winery owner, winemaker, tasting room manager, club processor and think about your customer. We've discussed tactics to pull this off in the past (secret shopping, empowering your staff, having your tech systems talk to each other). Vin65 has made a conscious effort to build tools that create a seamless experience for your customers. In 2015, you should be using carrots, action emails, SMS messaging, package tracking and knowing who you're dealing with in your tasting room, online and over the phone. Use your smart CRM tools, thank customers and reward your #1 fans.

Here's to 2015 - let's sell more wine!
 

 

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Vin65's State of the Union
11 December, 2014

  Vin65 

Vin65 Special Announcement Webinar "State of the Union"

On December 9th, we announced Vin65's newest features and where we're heading in 2015.

In case you missed it, you can watch it here.

We're focusing on tools that will help your winery sell more wine. We're excited about the Vin65 Plus package because it includes everything you need to sell more wine:

  • Ecommerce
  • Point of Sale
  • Package Tracking
  • SMS/Text Messaging
  • Credit Card Updater
  • Compliance
  • 46Brix

To learn more about using the new features, register your email to receive our webinar series: 

Webinar

Introducing Package Tracking to Sell More Wine

Our mission is to help you sell more wine. Integrating package tracking with the Vin65 platform is one step closer to effectively managing your DTC efforts. Pull customers to your website instead of a 3rd party shipper to track their wine delivery. Your customers will get real-time tracking information and can even re-route or delay packages if they are a WineDirect fulfillment customer. Using our SMS feature or action emails, you will provide excellent after sales service with minimal effort. >> Read more about package tracking here.

Introducing SMS / Texting to Sell More Wine

The new SMS feature allows you to take the guesswork out of your wine delivery by sending text messages to keep customers updated. SMS messages can be sent at key touch points, such as when wine has been shipped, expected delivery date and a delivery confirmation. We like to think of it as an excellent after sale service and another tool to help you sell more wine. >>Read more about the SMS feature here.

Introducing Automatic Credit Card Updating to Sell More Wine

Our mission is to help you sell more wine. Integrating credit card updates with the Vin65 platform helps you effectively manage your DTC efforts. Spend less time recovering expired credit card information and more time signing up wine club members and processing orders. >>Read more about the credit card updater here.

 

You can stay exactly where you are, however in this fast paced world, we recommend upgrading to Vin65 Plus for all of the cutting edge features your winery needs.

Vin65 Plus Upgrade

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3x More Sales – The Effect of an “Amazon Prime” Like Program in the Wine Industry
01 December, 2014

A year ago we launched 46Brix, an "Amazon Prime" type program for the wine industry. Let's start with the premise: a customer pays $79/year and receives shipping included on all of their wine purchases from 29 different wineries. Let's look at how we are doing one year into the program.

From a wineries perspective, the two goals of the program are to:

  1. Build loyalty with their top online customers 
  2. Attract new customers who are top ecommerce customers at other wineries

From our internal data at Vin65, we know that the top 10% of online wine buyers all buy at multiple wineries on our platform. We were wondering if we could shape their habits.

So how does the program measure up now that we are almost one year in?

Building Loyalty

We’ve previously announced the results at the 6 month mark - which stated that joining 46Brix increased wine sales by 3.75 times. Now that we’re approaching a year - we’re finding some new results.

Most customers who joined the 46Brix program have been buying wine online directly from a winery for a little over 2 years. Their average yearly purchase value before joining 46Brix was $738.42. The immediate 12 months prior to joining 46Brix was $653.52. (It appears that these customers were actually slowing down in their buying habits from the wineries in the program in the year right before signing up).

After signing up for 46Brix, customers stepped up their buying to have a yearly value of $1941.47 on average. 46Brix members bought 3 times more wine than they did before.

Attracting New Buyers

Only 11.3% of 46Brix members have tried a new winery in the program this year.  The other 88.7% of 46Brix members continue to be loyal and buy wine from the wineries that they previously purchased from.  

Determining the ROI

For a winery calculating the cost of the program, they would have to look at how many orders a customer had (this is easy using our 46Brix reports).  $79 in shipping revenue (from the initial signup) would pay for 2-4 of those shipments.  The remaining shipments would be shipped with the winery bearing the costs of additional shipments.  The winery would need to determine if the increase in sales from a customer ($1941.47-$653.52= $1287.95 average increase) was worth the amount given up in shipping.

Where is the Program Heading?

Over the last couple months we’ve seen an uptick in new customers signing up.  The program is still relatively young but it’s clearly working.  I think of my own personal habits - having a prime membership at Amazon makes me want to check Amazon first for products I want to purchase.  I’d like to think that consumers feel the same way about their 46Brix membership.  

At Vin65 we are committed to selling more wine direct to consumer.  We will continue to encourage wineries to connect with their best customers and 46Brix is one program to do that well.

--

If you would like to talk to us more about the program email sales@vin65.com or info@46brix.com.


6 Ways to Sell More Wine During The Holidays
17 November, 2014

It's November and the holidays are fast approaching. You could have put Christmas off when Costco had festive gear on display in September - but there's no fighting it now. Wine sales peak over the holidays. So, how do you get consumers to buy direct, versus grabbing a bottle at the local store on their way to a holiday party? Here's how:

1. Promote gifting

Offer custom gift sets where customers can choose from a variety of options to create the perfect gift. Make it easy by creating wine bundles or gift baskets. Do the heavy lifting so that all customers have to do is hit the add to cart button and checkout. According to Nielson, alcohol ranked in the top 10 most popular gifts last year.

2. Add a gift card

We all dread buying for that one person who has everything. Cue gift cards. Setting up gift cards is a no-brainer and works great for that person who has everything. Bonus points for offering several monetary options and different designs.

3. Custom gift messaging

Here's the fun part - customization. Allow users to include a gift message during the checkout process. With Vin65, this is automatically included on the packing slip and invoice. Go all out for the holidays and include the same message on a festive card, or on a gift tag. 

4. Good old gift-wrap

Good things come in small packages; even better things come in gift-wrapped packages! Allowing customers to add gift-wrap to their wine purchases makes sending wine as a gift easy for your customers. 

5. Be clear about cut-off times

Be clear about your holiday cut-off times to manage gift arrival expectations. We recommend adding a shipping calendar with key dates right on your wine page. 

6. Think about shipping

High shipping rates will kill your holiday sales. Shipping costs are the number one deterrent to buying wine online. Make sure your rates are realistic.

More ideas

Vin65's Free Training Friday this November 7th at 9:30am PDT will discuss ideas on how to sell more wine this holiday season. If you're interested, you can register here.

What has your winery done in past years? Feel free to share using the comment box below.


Keep Posts Flowing With A Wine Blogging Calendar
06 October, 2014

Did you know that blogging is a top way to boost your website’s ranking and drive sales with both current and potential customers?

Search engines love fresh content and will reward updated sites with a higher ranking and increased visibility. According to Hubspot, a major inbound marketing platform, companies that blog have 55% more visitors and generate 88% more leads per month.

Once a potential customer finds your site on a search engine results page and reads your keyword-targeted post, there is a greater chance they will opt-in or purchase than if your winery did not blog. Ultimately, the more targeted visitors your site attracts, the more chance it has of making sales.

Essentially, wine blogging is storytelling. A good blog post has a beginning for introductions, a middle for stating and supporting facts, and an ending to tie up the story and bring it back to the beginning. The more personal the blog’s tone, the more readers identify with the story and thus be open to following and purchasing.

Blog posts don’t need to be long – 300 - 500 words is optimum – yet they do need to launch consistently.  I suggest posting once a week to keep your customers intrigued without inundation.

But what will you blog about? It can’t be the same post every week. Wineries need to spread out their topics to make their content more of a buffet than a cafeteria.

What every winery blogger needs is an editorial calendar.

Wine Blogging Calendar

Here are eight topic areas to write about almost any week of the month.

  1. News - new wine releases, upcoming events, past events, label changes, fresh hires, community efforts, special offers
  2. Food - wine and food pairing, original recipes, dining ideas
  3. History- wine history of your region, little known facts about your winery, background on obscure varietals, meaning behind your name, logo, or label
  4. Seasonal - wine drinking ideas for Christmas and Valentines Day, as well as minor holidays like secretaries day or even Superbowl Sunday
  5. Cellar and Vineyard - what’s happening with veraison, crush, blending, why you use screwcaps, how to grow organically
  6. People - highlights of employees in tasting room, wine club, cellar, vineyard, kitchen as well as principals and emphasizing their values and philosophies
  7. How To - buy wine, store bottles, open bottles, taste wine, preserve leftovers, detect flaws, pair with food
  8. You Asked - answers to questions raised by customers in the tasting room, on the phone and via email

Let it Roll

Practice breeds proficiency, so after a few dozen posts you won’t need this calendar. You’ll begin to see blog ideas everywhere. When incorporated with social media, the effort you put into wine blogging will be rewarded with stronger sales.

Because behind every bottle there is a great story to tell.

About the Author:

Mari Kane is a writer, blogger and WordPress consultant living in Vancouver, BC. She blogs about wine at Tasting Room Confidential.com and about blogging at Blogsite studio.com. Follow her on Twitter, Facebook or Google Plus.


September Update from Vin65
29 September, 2014

 





 

End of Summer Round-Up

That's right - summer is officially coming to an end. We've been busy at Vin65 and have unveiled a bunch of new features to help you sell more wine. Here are two that you need to use - and here's why:

 

Carrots Sell More Wine

A carrot is an incentive message. Basically, a user is prompted with a reminder or upsell that is activated during their purchase. Online carrots appear based on items in the shopping cart - and you can use carrots to prompt staff in the tasting room for targeted customer service.

The Carrot Engine is provided for free and has automatically been turned on for your account. Access it by going to the Store area and on the ‘Promos’ drop down. Start with the 'Quick Configure' tool. Read some documentation on setting up carrots.

 

46Brix Shipping Program

46Brix is a shipping program for wineries. Shipping discounts are the #1 driver of sales on the Internet. Once you become a 46Brix partner winery, your customer pays $79 per year for a 46Brix membership and receives $0 ground shipping on purchases of two or more bottles from all partner wineries all year! The checkout happens on your site, and your winery retains highly qualified customers from a bigger pool of wine lovers.

Customers who become 46Brix members' increase their average spend 3.75 times. 46Brix memberships drive reorders and extends the lifetime value of your club members.. Become a 46Brix partner winery today!

 

Compliance Simplified

Our compliance tool does compliance checking in real-time, reports are auto-filled for you and sales tax is calculated in real-time. Orders are managed in Vin65 and compliance is automatically checked so there is no need for a third-party compliance tool. All of your products, labels, brands, orders and users are synced, reducing the need to enter data twice. You can easily manage compliance right in Vin65 eliminating the need to login to a compliance tool regularly. Start using compliance today!

~~

Thanks,

The Vin65 Team

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Become an Email Marketing Ninja in 3 Easy Steps
09 September, 2014

Email marketing is an effective way to reach your customers and drive them to your website. Emails have been around for a long time because they are such a powerful tool. Did you have a busy Saturday in the tasting room? Visitors came to your tasting room and bought some wine. How many email addresses did you capture? Make sure you send those visitors an email and retain them as a customer. The best emails will thank them for visiting, asks them to rate the wine they bought and (bonus points!) gets them to purchase again – this time from your online store.

 

You're lucky. The wine industry is unique because people love wine. They love the experience of learning about it, the story behind it, talking about it, giving it as a gift, or stocking up their own collection. They actually want to hear from you - especially if you have something to offer them.

After all, passion for wine drove each and every one of you into this business. Extend the story to your customers - and use email as your communication channel, moving them up the permission ladder to a repeat customer.

So - how can you become an email marketing ninja? Follow these three steps and sell more wine!

1. Segment Your Lists

Make it relevant. Wine club members don't want an email about why they should sign up for your wine club. Create segmented lists to craft emails that spark action. You should definitely be sending club members club-only email with access to discounts, shipping incentives, exclusive events and treat them well. They need to know that they have real benefits by being a loyal customer. Remember that any email you send that isn't relevant is considered spam by the recipient.

2. Choose a Clear Call to Action

What do you want the recipients to do with this email? Open it? Click on the learn more button? Add to their cart? Rate the wine they just bought? Become a club member? Whatever a successful call to action looks like for you, make sure it's defined. You now have a segmented list, therefore, you're sending relevant email to everyone. Make the call to action clear and irresistable - and monitor it!

3. Increase Email Frequency

Stay top of mind, but don't be an inbox clogger. What's the magic number, you ask? It depends on your winery, your relationship with the customer and what the call to action is. This goes back to segmenting your list and offering relevant communication. What does a typical morning for you look like? A cup of coffee and about 17 irrelevant emails waiting for you. Make sure your winery email doesn't fall into the irrelevant category!

Don't have time to send emails? Activate action emails and let your platform do the work. Vin65 has set up action emails for cart abandonment, rating your wine, thanking people for visiting the tasting room and more! You can personalize these and it's a win-win. Keep those potential customers top of mind - or risk being forgotten...


4 Reasons To Kill Your Home Page Carousel
19 August, 2014

Carousels (or homepage sliders) became popular because they were a quick fix for two constant dilemmas: "How can I cram all of my content into a small space?" and "What content is the most important?". They are used to provide a solution to both of these problems, while keeping content above the fold.

Technically, a carousel provides some solutions for your marketing woes, however, don't think for a second it's a good idea. It's lazy. A huge part of content is determining what is relevant, what action people should take from it and how to test and improve your marketing efforts. Ditching your carousel forces better content and design decisions. Still not convinced? Read on...

Source: http://shouldiuseacarousel.com/

1. Only 1% actually click on your carousel image

Ok, so you've put all of your important content on the homepage slider. High fives all around! Problem is, only 1% of users actually click on the banner image. That means that out of 100 people coming to browse wine on your website, only one will actually click on that $0 shipping promotion. To make matters worse - of that 1% who do actually click your slider, 89 times out of 100 it is only the first image. So, why are we still using carousels?


 

2. Carousels distract visitors

Too much movement, too many images and too many offers. Carousels distract visitors from the main reason they visited your site - to find out about your winery, or (more importantly) to buy some wine. Don't bombard visitors and distract them from purchasing. Instead, choose your most important piece of content and display that on your homepage as a static image.

3. They kill conversion rates

Because sliders look like advertisements, your customers will ignore them. If someone comes to your website to buy a bottle of Pinot their friend recommended to them and they're inundated with random images on an annoying fast scroll - they may not complete their purchase. They may navigate to your wine page, or worse, just leave altogether.

4. Design matters

Keep content fresh for your visitors. Good design is important, but a lot of website design is personal opinion. Try it out for yourself and see what gets the most hits. Either way, the carousel has to go. If you absolutely must keep the carousel - switch from auto scroll to manual controls and try to keep the number of slides to a minimum. Make your customers' experience a top priority!


Vin65 & WineDirect DTC Roadshow Comes to Lodi!
06 August, 2014

On Thursday August 28th, Vin65 is hosting a DTC Roadshow event at Klinker Brick Winery in beautiful Lodi, CA. This is the last of the VIn65 & WineDirect DTC Roadshows for the year. The event is free - register here.

Agenda

5 Ways to Sell More Wine Direct to Consumer

Andrew Kamphuis, President of Vin65 and COO of WineDirect

Five actionable (and easily implementable) ways that successful wineries and modern retailers engage customers and sell more wine direct to consumer.

 

Simplifying Compliance

Jim Agger, VP of Sales at WineDirect

You didn’t get into the wine business to worry about compliance. Jim shares ideas on why wineries should bring Compliance tools into their back office operations. 

 

How to Sell More Wine in Your Tasting Room

Scott McCormick, Sales Manager of Vin65

Scott will take you through customer experience and the importance of delivering consistent customer service across all channels, including your tasting room.

 

 Wine Telesales 101

Terry Hegarty, General Manager of WineDirect Outbound

What does an effective wine telesales program look like? Terry will share success stories of wineries that are using tried and true telesales techniques.

 

Tapping into Social Media

Paul Mabray, Founder and CSO of VinTank

Paul will share best practices on how to create new customers and extend the lifetime value of current customers through social media. 


Vin65's Point of Sale
22 July, 2014

Vin65

Vin65's Point of Sale "Everywhere"

The Vin65 Point of Sale now works with your favorite Android device and on a desktop computer.

Use any Android or Apple tablet in your tasting room, ring in orders right from your Android mobile phone, use a laptop, or a stationary POS terminal. Now, you have more options to get you out from behind the tasting bar and interacting with customers - no matter what device you prefer.

Sell Everywhere on "Anything"

The Vin65 POS system is truly versatile so you can step away from the tasting bar and interact with your customers. The POS can be used on Apple or Android devices the second you download the app. You can even access the Vin65 POS system on any desktop computer that has the Chrome browser - all you need is wifi or a 3G connection.

Easy to Use

This isn’t your traditional POS system - it’s portable, simple and it requires no training. The Vin65 POS has a single interface across devices, making it easy for your staff to sell more wine.

Scale When You Need It

All data is stored in the cloud so the system can be scaled up for events and scaled down for everyday use. Easily bust up a line waiting to pay. Use any tablet or phone - just download our free app from the Google Play or Apple App Store - or visit http://pos.vin65.com on your Chrome browser and start selling wine!


Our mission is to help you sell more wine. We're always on the lookout to improve the tasting room experience for your guests and help you sell more wine. 

 

Thank you.

The Vin65 Team


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Finding Bigfoot: ROI in Social Media is Not a Mythical Beast
14 July, 2014

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been asked the same question, “ What is the ROI of social media?” You may have even asked it yourself. The problem with this question is that it is inherently flawed. ROI means Return On Investment and does not always directly relate to a correlation in sales. For example, if you advertise in the Wine Spectator and on Google for the same cost, but get ten times the result with Google, you get a better ROI from Google advertising. Likewise, it is also good ROI if you save time and money on customer service with Twitter as opposed to phone service. Most importantly, there is always ROI in talking with your customers. You would never ignore emails or phone calls from customers, so start thinking of social media as just another channel where customers connect with you.

That being said, we can fundamentally understand the source of the question, "How does social media affect wine sales?". This is one of the key questions when trying to provide a true 360 degree view of your customers.

The first step in the process is appending your customer records with social profiles so that you can better understand who they are, what they say, and how they interact with your brand. Second, is displaying the lifetime value of customers that are on social media and how their average order relates to non-social customers. Here is a screenshot of a VinTank report for Vin65 customers:

This once and for all answers the question, “Are my wine purchasing customers using social media?”. Over the past few years things have really changed, but we haven't kept up. 44% of customers media consumption is digital, however, the 2014 Federal Trade Commission Report stated that only 7.9% of marketing dollars are spent on digital.

The wine industry needs to focus on the mobile world. As much as 28% of website traffic is from users on a mobile device. These customers are not second class citizens and should have just as good an experience as when they come from their desktop computer, laptop, or tablet.

Source: http://www.slideshare.net/kleinerperkins/kpcb-internet-trends-2013

Every day there are organic conversations about wine. There are 450,000 new people talking about wine on social media every month. Customers are out there, you just need to be listening and respond to them, just like you would if they sent you an email or called your tasting room. 

This is truly an exciting time in customer relations.  At the end of the day, it shows how social media relates to direct sales. These numbers can finally be analyzed and quantified. There is no Bigfoot, just bigger ways to interact with your customers and sell more wine.

About the Author:

Paul Mabray has been in the wine and spirits industry for over twenty years and is the Chief Strategy Officer & founder of VinTank, a wine specific social media monitoring platform.


Vin65 DTC Roadshows are Coming to Santa Barbara, Willamette Valley and Lodi!
02 July, 2014

Vin65 is bringing some Direct to Consumer knowledge to your area. Meet with direct to consumer wine industry experts and learn how to grow your DTC wine sales. These educational seminars are free to attend. Our next Roadshow brings us to Santa Barbara on July 18th:

5 Ways to Sell More Wine Direct to Consumer
Andrew Kamphuis
President of Vin65 and COO of WineDirect

The bar is constantly rising and consumers expect better experiences from your website and in your tasting room. Andrew Kamphuis, founder of Vin65 will look at 5 actionable (and easily implementable) ways that successful wineries and modern retailers engage customers and sell more wine direct to consumer.

Simplifying Compliance
Jim Agger
VP Sales for WineDirect

You didn’t get into the wine business to worry about compliance. Using a compliance tool can bring efficiencies to your day-to-day business activities, leaving you and your staff more time to dedicate to selling more wine! Jim Agger, a 12 year wine business and technology veteran will share ideas on why wineries should bring Compliance tools into their back office operations. 

Create Lasting Impressions through Excellence in Order Fulfillment
David Dennigman
Director of Operations of WineDirect

The expectations of modern eCommerce consumers are changing rapidly as service and technology focused companies such as Amazon and Zappos continually raise the bar. Next-day fulfillment and immediate communication of tracking numbers are now minimum requirements, and same-day delivery services, once thought to be impossible, are becoming a reality. David will share some ideas on how your winery can meet these rising expectations and use excellence in order fulfillment to make brands resonate with consumers.

How to Sell More Wine in Your Tasting Room
Scott McCormick
Sales Manager of Vin65

Are you selling wine effectively in your tasting room? Is your point of sale working for you? Scott McCormick, Sales Manager at Vin65 will take you through customer experience and the importance of delivering consistent customer service across all channels.

Wine Telesales 101
Terry Hegarty
General Manager of WineDirect Outbound

Terry will provide an overview of effective wine telesales programs and share success stories of wineries who are using tried and true telesales techniques to nurture relationships with existing club members and also drive new direct to consumer sales through meaningful conversations.

Tapping into Social Media
Paul Mabray
Founder and CSO of VinTank

Paul Mabray, owner of VinTank, will share best practice tactics on how to create new customers and extend the lifetime value of current customers through social media. Social media is an untapped resource for customer acquisition, customer retention and customer awareness. By implementing best practices with a keen eye on DTC sales, you can leverage the most powerful communication platform since email.

 

For more information, call Corinna at 1-866-852-8140, or email at corinna@vin65.com. Click here to register.


3 Ways To Get Quality Customer Data
24 June, 2014

Nurturing relationships with your customers is critical for growing a successful business. Problem is, not everyone wants personal relationships with businesses. Develop trust with your customer in order to open up the information-sharing floodgates.

What can you do to connect with your customer on a personal level? Have you trained your staff to ask the right questions? Do you make notes in your CRM each time you interact with a customer? Are you collecting good data, but using it ineffectively?

Here are 3 ways to get quality data and use it effectively:

1. Ask Only What You Need

People get annoyed when they’re asked for irrelevant information; so less is definitely more. What will you do with the data you’re collecting? All of the data in the world is useless if you aren’t applying it in a way that personally impacts your customers.

Start with the basics: name, email and mailing address. You can market directly to them, add a bit of customization and contact them should there be a problem with their order.

2. Show How It Benefits The Customer

Up to 60% of consumers will pay more for a better customer experience. (Source: desk.com).

Are you collecting data to reward loyal customers? People are more willing to give up information if it means a promo code or loyalty reward will be in their inbox. Be transparent and let them know what the information is for.

Source: http://blog.kissmetrics.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/03/transparency.jpg

3. Share The Data Back

Everyone knows they are being tracked online. People trust private companies more because they think they’re monitoring the data for a purpose. For example, Amazon makes recommendations for products you may like based on recent purchase history or product searches. It helps you find the products you’re interested in, so it’s a win-win.

Conclusion

Use data to help your customers buy more wine from your site. Develop metrics to improve customized marketing and impress visitors, build their trust, and move them up the permission ladder. Work on curating quality data and then find strategies to market effectively to your clients. They’ll appreciate the extra effort!

 


5 Annoying Friction Points At Checkout
10 June, 2014

Ready for some Spring cleaning? Spend some time this month and actually buy wine from your website from beginning to end. You may just find some room for improvement.

Conversion rates don’t lie. Getting potential customers to your site takes a great deal of effort. If they leave without purchasing, it could be because they are bumping against an annoying friction point. Customers have become increasingly savvy and have little patience for awkward ecommerce sites. The best way to improve conversion rates is to identify and eliminate major friction points during the checkout process.

For someone looking to buy wine on your site, keep in mind that these are the 5 most annoying friction points:

1. Not mobile friendly

Mobile is not second class. Over 25% of your website visitors are coming to your site with their mobile device. Don’t make them suffer with pinch and zoom and tiny products. Give them a great experience with all of the information!

2. Birth date validation to enter site

This is a major friction point before consumers even browse your site. Website bounce rates are 20% higher when you add an age gate. Think of your user’s experience and reduce clicks when you can. If you must use an age gate, instead of a birth date selection (which adds at least 4 clicks), try a one-click button that confirms that the consumer is over the legal age. Monitor your bounce rate on Google Analytics and adjust accordingly.

3. Forcing people to create an account

Another password? Your customer hasn’t tasted your wine yet, so how can you ask them to commit? Instead of forcing account creation, focus on moving new customers up the permission ladder to repeat customer to club member. Develop a relationship with your first time buyers. Set up personalized action emails with a specific call to action. First time buyers have a high email open rate of 60% so it’s a great way to connect. Personalized, effective, awesome.

4. Hidden shipping costs or up-front state shipping restrictions

Customers want to know what their purchase will cost before they head to the checkout. How many times have you abandoned a cart once you realized that shipping costs to your address were too high? Wouldn’t you have rather known the cost up-front? Hiding the costs just results in delayed cart abandonment.  Allow customers to select their state or province and see the shipping cost, or better yet, include shipping costs right on your wine page. Shipping discounts outperform product discounts in A/B testing, even when product discounts are a better deal.

5. Too many form fields

Don’t force customers to give you every detail. Focus on what information you need from them in order to complete the sale and make those fields required. Then you can look at the details that would be nice to have. Request information wisely, because long forms are daunting for a potential customer. Form fatigue occurs when billing and shipping forms display side by side. Two forms? Ugh. You should display the billing form and default to the same address for shipping. If the user chooses a different ship-to address, then display the shipping form at that time. By reducing clutter upfront, you’re able to effectively guide the user through the mundane task of filling out forms and you can successfully complete the sale.

 

Have I missed anything? Let me know what frustrates you the most while buying wine online in the comments below.


Five Touch Points to Drive DTC Wine Sales and Keep ‘em Coming Back!
03 June, 2014

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 your DTC wine sales and keep your biggest fans coming back:

Touchpoints

1. Give them what they want

In some cases, your ecommerce 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 critical. 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 ecommerce 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.


Compliance Should Be Simple - And Sell More Wine
13 May, 2014

Our parent company launched WineDirect Compliance.  Our CEO, Joe Waechter, has a blog post here explaining why we built a compliance tool, and the thought process behind it.

As the COO of WineDirect and President of Vin65, I got to sit in a lot of the compliance meetings - here’s our thought process:

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For years compliance has been difficult.  While there are a lot of rules and red tape – we want to tell you that it shouldn’t be that hard.

We look at compliance like we look at credit card processing. It’s an important piece of the business, with some complexity under the hood, but it's largely in the background. You have to get compliance right, but it should really stay out of your way.  You should spend your day figuring out how to sell more wine – not the ins and outs of compliance. Like credit card processing – you should setup compliance and largely forget about it. It should just work.

We wanted our compliance tool to be simple. Everyday you login to your POS, you login to your ecommerce system - we didn’t want you to have to login to compliance everyday (even with single sign-on). We want you to focus on selling wine instead of looking at compliance.

The WineDirect Compliance tool isn’t a place to manage weather holds.  Progressive wineries should do that in their ecommerce. Others will do that at fulfillment. The WineDirect Compliance tool doesn’t email you every day with package exceptions – that’s what fulfillment is for.  The compliance tool isn’t where you should manage your fulfillment – your fulfillment provider has the data and they should have the tools.  The WineDirect Compliance tool isn’t where you do benchmarking – you should have BI tools for that. The WineDirect Compliance tool isn’t for editing orders – that’s your order management system's job.  Compliance should simply handle orders, calculate taxes, check compliance, and run reports.

At WineDirect, we want to make compliance simple.  It should be something you setup – and then forget.  You enter the rules, your orders follow those rules, and at the end of the month you generate some reports.  While you can login anytime, it shouldn’t be something you visit daily.

If we look at our new WineDirect Compliance tool – there isn’t much to it.  There’s great product integration – you setup your product in Vin65 and it’s automatically added to WineDirect Compliance. Your orders automatically flow to WineDirect Compliance - with the county level taxes. It has a one click setup if you’re on Vin65 - so everything is preconfigured and ready to go. You review some rules, perhaps change or suppress some rules, and then that’s it.  You don’t get a daily email – you get one a week. You have a little dashboard with some reminders of reports due. At the end of the month you simply print some reports and others you can electronically file.

WineDirect Compliance is simple for you, but truthfully, there’s a lot to WineDirect Compliance.  It has a ton of rules in the background, we’ve simulated it against a massive load (our entire traffic volume in October, November, December). We spent a lot of time validating everything, it has been carefully scrutinized by an attorney, we have hundreds of hours in testing, and there's a team of people behind it to ensure it’s accurate and up-to-date.  But from your point of view – there's nothing to it.  Just like credit card processing.  It either accepts orders, or pushes them back to you to modify and try again or simply not take the order.

--

On May 12, WineDirect launched compliance.  If you’re a Vin65 customer, it’s one click for us to set you up. There’s a free trial until September. There’s a “dual mode” if you want to run it alongside your existing compliance system. If you currently use Compli, we’ve partnered with them so they will use our real time compliance checks with the compliance they do for you (no need to switch vendors).  For more information click here.


Vin65 Introduces Carrot Engine Incentive Technology
29 April, 2014

Vin65 Introduces "Carrot Engine" Incentive Technology

Wineries can sell more wine by upselling, cross-selling, and personalizing messages to their customers online and in their tasting rooms.

Vin65, the leading innovator in direct to consumer software for wineries, now offers a "carrot engine" to message and incentivize winery customers in the tasting room and online.

What's a carrot? It's an incentive message. A user is prompted with a reminder that is activated during the purchase process. The message can be anything from giving birthday greetings to club member discounts to an offer of reduced shipping in exchange for adding a few more bottles to the order.

Carrots can be based on customer profile information such as lifetime value, last visit, number of visits, previous purchases, their club memberships and numerous other parameters. Carrots can also be triggered by items in the current order, order size, or products not being purchased. Carrots can show different messages based on the order channel and use different priority levels and colors. Furthermore, a 'quick configure' tool will guide the winery through the process of setting up the most effective carrots with a number of preset messages and criteria to choose from.

Carrots provide wineries with several important advantages:

  • Sell more in the tasting room. Tasting room staff will see carrots on the Vin65 POS, assisting them in upselling and cross-selling to customers - leading to more effective conversions. Tasting room staff will be able to suggest other wines, communicate savings based on purchases and distinguish the importance with priority color from carrot engine prompts
  • Sell more online.Incentivize customers to buy more as they add products to their shopping cart. Increase a customers order size with targeted messages unique to them. Online customers will benefit from customized marketing based on current and past purchases and enjoy a personalized experience not yet seen in the wine industry.

"After secret shopping a few wineries, our team watched both long term and temporary tasting room staff help dozens of customers and offer them their current wines. They treated each customer well, exactly how you'd like a customer to feel, but the message was generic", said Brent Johnson, General Manager at Vin65. "We built the carrot engine as a tool to help the tasting room staff deliver a more personal message based on each individual's information."

About Vin65:

Vin65 is the leading provider of ecommerce and POS solutions to wineries and wine retailers. The Vin65 platform has received attention from wine technology thought leaders and technology savvy wineries for its ability to drive innovation in the wine direct to consumer space. The platform includes: ecommerce, POS systems, wine club, content management, customer relationship management and mobile ecommerce all tailored for the wine industry.

For more information, call 1-866-852-8140 or visit www.vin65.com.

Blog: www.vin65.com/blog
Website: www.vin65.com
Documentation: documentation.vin65.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Vin65
Twitter: http://twitter.com/vin65team

###

Corinna Johnson, Marketing Manager
Office: 604-852-8140
Email: corinna@vin65.com


Get Social at ShipCompliant Direct '14
22 April, 2014

Join VinTank and our partners such as Vin65, SimplyPlatformed and Delectable in an executive suite for wine, training and social media tune-ups. We want to personally thank you and share all the best VinTank has to offer. Learn about how to take advantage of powerful VinTank integrations like monitoring Delectable for customers drinking your wines, Vin65 for ecommerce history of your social customers and much more.

Additionally our partners will be there to also give you personal attention.

From Vin65: Need an ecommerce tune-up? Vin65 will be on hand for 1:1 training or 1:1 demos of their platform and POS systems. Need support? Bring your questions and try to stump them!

From Simply Platformed: Thinking about a redesign to your existing website or ready to add ecommerce? Have questions about trends in winery website design and user experiences? Want to talk about the options for managing your website? Chat with the folks from Simply Platformed who will be sharing how they are helping simplify DTC.

Exact location will be sent via email on event day.

Thursday, May 8, 2014 from 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM (PDT)

CLICK HERE to Register

 

Limited registrations available


4 Reasons To Develop Your Wine Ratings
25 March, 2014

Product reviews are good for business. Reviews give your product a human level of interaction and are a powerful convincer for the savvy consumer. When’s the last time you bought something from Amazon and didn’t read at least the first couple of reviews?

By developing reviews for your wine, you’re attracting new customers, because reviews increase conversions. Here’s why:

1. 92% Of Consumers Trust Peer Reviews

It’s no secret that the success of many websites is attributed to peer reviews. Consumers have had to block out marketing noise for years now. Sites like Airbnb have exploded on the scene as people have made an untrustworthy concept (staying at a stranger’s house) into a brilliant travel alternative (non-hotel pricing with an authentic, local experience). Peer reviews that are honest and compelling builds trust in your brand. Over half of Millennials (consumers aged 18 to 34) trust the opinions of strangers online over those of friends and family. (Social Trends Report 2012).

2. They Make Your Products Credible

You think your wine is great. We bet your winemaker does, too. What makes your product credible is that other people like it enough to actually take the time to review it. It’s honest and posting reviews on your site show that you are confident in your wine.  84% of millennials say user-generated content has at least some influence on what they buy (compared to 70% of Boomers). (Bazaarvoice 2012).

3. Makes You Pay Attention To Your Biggest Fans

This is the classic example of give and take. People take the time to review your wine, so you should reward them with something. Thank them, give them a shout-out on social media, or email them a promo code. After all, 4.7% of your customers generate 100% of your social referrals. (Engage Sciences 2013).

4. Allows You To Handle Negative Reviews Like A Champ

Scared of getting negative reviews? Don’t be! Negative reviews actually make your wine reviews more credible. Consumers will take the bad with the good (as long as there’s more good than bad). Reevoo research has found that  68% of consumers trust reviews more when they see both good and bad scores, and shoppers who go out of their way to read bad reviews convert 67% more than the average consumer.

Be responsive to dissatisfied customers because 95% of dissatisfied customers will do business with a company again if their complaint is resolved quickly, according to TARP Worldwide. Think of a time when you’ve been unhappy with a product or service. Doesn’t great customer service usually leave you feeling better about the brand than you did originally? Responding to negative reviews can make dissatisfied customers connect with you and your winery on a whole new level.

Tips On Getting Product Reviews:

1. Offer Incentives

2. Send follow-up emails after purchases

3. Just ask!


Now, go get some reviews!


Functionality Improvements on the Vin65 Mobile Point of Sale
26 February, 2014

The Vin65 team has been hard at work! Introducing 3 new functionalities on the Vin65 mobile POS:

1. Tipping Function

The tipping function is now an optional feature on the mobile POS, which means your tasting room staff can be rewarded for their great service. Customer can select a tip percentage and see its corresponding dollar amount.

2. Putting an Order on Hold

 

Easily place an existing order on hold and resume the order when it’s convenient. Send emails to customers reminding them that their order is on hold through the Vin65 platform.

3. Marking an Order as Picked-up

 

Keep track of orders that have been picked-up by a customer. Orders awaiting pick-up are up-to-date on the system so you can easily track them and send reminder emails through the Vin65 platform.


Wine Shipping That Makes Cents
23 January, 2014

46Brix

WineDirect and subsidiary company Vin65, leaders in winery Direct-to-Consumer sales, are launching an exclusive new membership program, 46Brix. For an annual fee of only $79, members can get their ground shipping covered for as many orders of two or more bottles of wine as they would like from all participating wineries. Usually cost prohibitive, wine lovers can receive shipments from their favorite winemakers without worrying about the shipping expenses.

Here's how it works:
1. Shop online at a participating winery website
2. Select 46Brix during checkout or enroll on the winery website for $79 per year.
3. Enjoy complimentary shipping for a full year from an expanding list of wineries.

It's that easy! For wine collectors and event planners, the membership fee can pay for itself in about four shipments. This can allow you to order more wine without breaking the bank. Other wine lovers can purchase limited vintages they can't find in stores directly from the winery and start building their collections. The more you shop online, the more you save, and 46Brix isn't limited to just one winery - you can buy from any winery involved in the program.

"Most online wine buyers today are shopping from several different wineries. We make it much easier to buy direct from the winery while saving on shipping at the same time," said Joe Waechter, CEO of WineDirect. "Customers can purchase from a growing collection of wineries and continue to support the vintners."

The benefits of 46Brix aren't just limited to consumers - they're great for wineries too
Exclusive to Vin65 customers, 46Brix can help wineries encourage a higher number of online sales and boost long-term customer loyalty. Discounted shipping plays heavily into a customer's choice to buy online rather than from a brick-and-mortar store. In fact, as many as 90 percent of online shoppers say reduced shipping factors into their decisions. This program can help winemakers reach a new audience beyond their wine clubs and grow sales because of the benefits 46Brix provides to consumers. Without the restrictive costs of shipping wine across the country, wine lovers can make more frequent purchases. Participation can drive traffic to the tasting room. 

For current Vin65 customers or wineries interested in switching to the service or learning more, please contact:
Andrew Kamphuis
Andrew@vin65.com
707-666-5265 

About WineDirect
WineDirect is a leader in winery direct sales, providing technology and services that enable wineries to sell more wine through Direct-to-Consumer channels. Headquartered in the Napa Valley, WineDirect offers a broad range of logistics solutions including a technology-driven fulfillment system, compliance tools and marketing programs that provide access to new markets and consumers. In addition, the company offers an eCommerce and wine club processing platform with integrated marketing capabilities and telesales services to help wineries grow their businesses profitably. Each of the company's services is offered on a standalone basis or as part of an integrated, end-to-end solution. For further information, visit www.winedirect.com.

About Vin65
Vin65 is the leading provider of eCommerce and POS solutions to wineries and wine retailers. The Vin65 platform has received attention from wine technology thought leaders and technology savvy wineries for its ability to drive innovation in the wine Direct-to-Consumer space. The platform includes: e-commerce, POS systems, wine club, content management, customer relationship management and mobile ecommerce all tailored for the wine industry.

For more information, call 1-866-852-8140 or visit www.vin65.com  


Vin65 Transforms Traditional Point-of-Sale with Ecommerce Integration
16 January, 2014

Logo 1

POS 

quoteHere's the story - Vin65 has some great ecommerce tools and an iPad POS. What we're doing here is taking Microsoft's powerful POS system and making it a part of our family too.

All orders, customers, and club memberships, whether from the traditional POS system, online store, or iPad POS are captured in a single cloud connected database in real time.

Single View of the Customers
Quick and easy access to all customer information including club membership, notes, tasks, pending orders and order history, regardless of where that information originated.

Product Synchronization
With products entered just once, duplicate data entry is a thing of the past.

Real Time Access to Order Information
View all orders in real time from either the web, the POS terminal, the iPad POS, or Vin65's mobile admin panel and dashboards.

~~

The Microsoft RMS POS and Vin65 project comes from our parent company, WineDirect's purchase of Elypsis. The Elypsis Retail business, which includes Microsoft RMS POS is now merged into Vin65. We are selling Microsoft RMS, the iPad POS, and Vin65 ecommerce together. Support is merged into one system, and we are keeping all of the Elypsis retail staff, and pushing all the product development into one team.

Microsoft RMS is available immediately thru Vin65. To learn moresee a demo, or have a question, I'm pretty sure you know what to do.

Thank you.

The Vin65 Team


Vin65 and VinTank Partner to Show Real Time Social Media ‘GEO’-Notifications on Your POS.
06 November, 2013

See what your customers are saying through social media, and respond while they’re at your winery.

Customers love to share their tasting room experiences via social media. Imagine being notified in real-time when a visitor tweets or posts an Instagram photo.

Now imagine your staff responding to those posts in person, while the customer is visiting. 

VinTank, the wine industry’s leading social media monitoring platform is working with Vin65’s mobile POS to provide wineries the ability to see and take action on social media posts using their geolocation tools.

What is ‘geo-fencing’? Geo-fencing, simply put, is the ability to set a predefined area or radius (like your winery’s property or surrounding neighborhood) and receive notifications based on the activity of people talking about your winery within that area.

Features & Benefits:

  • Social Monitoring. Your staff can have a direct impact on the experience both in-person and through social media and can monitor customer posts.  
  • Deliver A ‘Wow’ Experience. Get better insight into your customers’ experiences from their posts and provide an extra level of personal treatment.
  • Integrate Social. Enjoy a true 360 degree view of your customers, their social media activity, interactions, purchase history, and lifetime value, from your mobile POS system.
  • Put Out Fires. Your staff receive real-time notifications, good or bad, and can respond to any negative experiences in person.

Brent Johnson, General Manager of Vin65, had this to say:

“Geo-fencing allows wineries to truly make social media a personal experience in the tasting room. VinTank is a leader in the wine/social space and only with their expertise can we use geofencing in conjunction with our POS to bring social notifications into the hands of winery’s tasting room staff. We’re excited to be the first in the industry to innovate in this space.”

Social media geo-fencing is available to all Vin65 clients using the POS system and is added at no additional cost. 

To learn more about geo-fencing or the POS from Vin65, contact sales@vin65.com or visit www.vin65.com/Platform/Social-Meets-Commerce/Geofencing.

About Vin65:

Vin65 is the leading provider of website and ecommerce solutions and mobile point of sale systems to wineries and wine retailers interested in selling their wine direct-to-consumer. The Vin65 platform has received attention from wine technology thought leaders and technology savvy wineries for its ability to drive innovation in the wine ecommerce space. The platform includes: ecommerce, wine club, content management, customer relationship management, mobile ecommerce, and mobile point of sale systems all tailored for the wine industry.

For more information, call 1-866-852-8140 or visit www.vin65.com.

Blog: www.vin65.com/blog
Website: www.vin65.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Vin65
Twitter: http://twitter.com/vin65team

About VinTank:

VinTank is the world’s largest software solution for social media management for the wine and restaurant industry.  Measuring over 350 million conversations about wine, profiling over 14 million social wine consumers and serving over 4500 wine brands, VinTank helps wineries and restaurants connect and understand their customers in ways never before imagined.  VinTank – Powering Social Intelligence for your Business.  

For more information visit www.vintank.com
 
Website – www.vintank.com
Blog - www.vintank.com/blog
Facebook - www.facebook.com/VinTank
Twitter – www.twitter.com/vintank

 

 

###
Brent Johnson, General Manager
Office: 604-852-8140
Cell: 778-240-4155
Email: brent@vin65.com


Vin65 Adds Hardware To Their Mobile POS
11 September, 2013

Adding hardware to the POS creates a fully integrated system for in-store and online sales for wineries.

Vin65, a leading innovator in wine ecommerce released a line of integrated hardware that connects with their mobile POS.

The mobile POS for iPhone and iPods now works with cash drawers, receipt printers and barcode scanners to create a seamless integration between POS and ecommerce to give wineries a complete view of who their customers truly are.

The mobile POS is easy to use and now with supported hardware it offers a number of additional benefits, including:

  • Mobility for staff. Staff can roam the tasting room, events and concert and take payments anywhere while still connecting to a printer and cash drawer.
  • Increased transactional speed. Use a wireless barcode scanner to speed up orders by scanning products, or a customer’s driver's license to ship it directly to them.
  • Manage everything in one place. One product, order, and customer database between the POS, website, Facebook page, and tasting room app.
  • Email or printed receipts. Email receipts instantly or print them with a traditional thermal printer.
  • Affordable. Starting at $100 per month you can have a mobile POS and nominal fees for hardware, turn it into a full blown register.

“At Vin65 we realized that the progression of wine sales isn’t only ecommerce,” said Brent Johnson, General Manager of Vin65. “But it’s the combination of having a seamless customer database between tools like your website and POS to enable wineries to know their customers and sell more wine.”

Before the Vin65 POS was purely a mobile POS option but after connecting the cash drawer, receipt printer, and barcode scanner it’s a perfect POS for any size winery. It’s single contact database will empower your staff to know who the customer is and their true value without limiting by being stuck behind a counter to see that information.

Learn more about Vin65's POS, or about the hardware.

About Vin65:

Vin65 is the leading provider of ecommerce and POS solutions to wineries and wine retailers interested in selling their wine direct-to-consumer. The Vin65 platform has received attention from wine technology thought leaders and technology savvy wineries for its ability to drive innovation in the wine ecommerce space. The platform includes: ecommerce, wine club, content management, customer relationship management, mobile ecommerce, and mobile point of sale systems all tailored for the wine industry.

For more information, call 604-852-8140 or visit www.vin65.com.

Blog: www.vin65.com/blog
Website: www.vin65.com
RSS feed: http://feeds.feedburner.com/Vin65
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Vin65
Twitter: http://twitter.com/vin65team

###

Brent Johnson, General Manager, Vin65
Office: 604-852-8140
Cell: 778-240-4155
Email: brent@vin65.com


From iPad to iPhone, Vin65’s POS is now more compact and portable.
22 July, 2013

Allows wineries to arm their tasting room staff with a POS that  can be carried in their pockets.

July 23, 2013 - Vin65, the leading provider of wine commerce software, announces the launch of their iPhone Point of Sale system (POS). The iPhone version of Vin65’s POS is the next step toward helping winery employees get out from behind the tasting room bar and closer to their customers. The Vin65 POS was originally designed for the iPad to help wineries be mobile and sell their wine anywhere; at a pouring, concert, farmer's market or around the property. The addition of the iPhone version makes carrying the POS easier and less cumbersome.

Like the iPad POS, the iPhone POS is fully integrated with Vin65’s core CRM, Club, ecommerce, and reporting tools. Winery staff are able to process transactions, sign up club members and provide a seamless customer experience in the tasting room and online.

The iPhone POS makes purchasing a breeze by allowing staff to meet customers where they are and reduce time spent waiting. This means the winery can focus on cultivating relationships; getting to know their customers through one-on-one experiences and leaving a lasting impression.

Features & Benefits:

  • Increased Mobility.Staff can keep a POS system handy in their pockets so they will always be ready for a sale (no need to carry an iPad around with them).
  • No Waiting Lines.Customers don’t have to wait in line at a register, the sale can happen where they are, when they want.
  • Focus On Building Relationships. The customer is the central focus – not the cash register. 
  • Manage Everything In One Place. One system for products, orders, customers, clubs, and reports.

Brent Johnson, general manager of Vin65, had this to say: "Moving from the iPad to the iPhone is a natural step in helping wineries be mobile. We wanted to challenge how wineries sell in their tasting room.  By giving wineries a powerful tool that is simple to use and fits in their pocket we are trying to remove the focus during a transaction from line-ups and cash registers to fostering relationships with visitors."

The iPhone POS is immediately available for all Vin65.  For existing Vin65 POS customers it is provided at no additional costs.

About Vin65:

Vin65 is the leading provider of ecommerce and POS solutions to wineries and wine retailers interested in selling their wine direct-to-consumer. The Vin65 platform has received attention from wine technology thought leaders and technology savvy wineries for its ability to drive innovation in the wine ecommerce space. The platform includes: ecommerce, wine club, content management, customer relationship management, mobile ecommerce, and mobile point of sale systems all tailored for the wine industry.

For more information, call 604-852-8140 or visit www.vin65.com.

Blog: www.vin65.com/blog
Website: www.vin65.com
RSS feed: http://feeds.feedburner.com/Vin65
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Vin65
Twitter: http://twitter.com/vin65team

###

Brent Johnson, General Manager, Vin65
Office: 604-852-8140
Cell: 778-240-4155
Email: brent@vin65.com


Social Meets Commerce
11 July, 2013

WineDirect/Vin65 and VinTank Partner to Bring Social and Commerce Together

Connect social media and ecommerce data to get a more complete customer view.

Vin65, a subsidiary of WineDirect, and VinTank, two of the wine industry's leading innovators, have formed an exclusive partnership which connects wine industry social media data directly to customer ecommerce records.  Through this partnership, the two companies have created a bi-directional integration which merges social interactions (or social customers) with the records of commerce customers. This means that Social Media managers can now understand the lifetime value of the people they're interacting with, and ecommerce managers will have access to a 360 degree view of their customers including all social posts of your brand.

While CRM tools provide wineries with the means for collecting and managing traditional customer ecommerce data, the ability to supplement with social data provides a strategy for customer engagement in which case increased sales and lifetime values are a by-product. According to Bain and Company, customers who engage with companies over social media spend 20% to 40% more money with those companies than other customers.

The two companies place a heavy focus on helping wineries sell more wine Direct-to-Consumer. With Vin65, that commitment takes the form of a market leading ecommerce platform. With VinTank, it's via a cutting edge social media management solution for wineries. By merging crucial data from the two companies, wineries will enjoy a competitive edge, not only in revenue generation but also in managing important customer relationships. 

Features and Benefits for Wineries

In VinTank

  • When monitoring a social media conversation or customer, you will understand that customer's commercevalue with a view into statistics such as customer lifetime value, last order date, club memberships, and ecommerce segments.  Wineries can drill down to this important information without ever leaving VinTank’s platform.
  • When viewing a particular Vin65 customer segment from within the VinTank admin panel (club members for example), you will see all relevant social interactions for that segment.
  • VinTank offers the ability to build Twitter Lists of club members or any other Vin65 types.

In Vin65

  • Vin65 shows the most recent social media interactions for your winery in conjunction with sales and other ecommerce information.
  • In the CRM tool, wineries can view a customer’s social interactions from Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, and Foursquare in one easy-to-view feed.
  • Vin65 offers the ability to create actionable lists to segment customers in both social and ecommerce segments.

Andrew Kamphuis, President of Vin65, had this to say: "I’ve known Paul at VinTank for a long time and we are very excited about this partnership.  The ability for our customers to relate social comments to ecommerce transactions is a step forward for monitoring the ROI of social.“

“When I look at what the future of commerce will be for the wine industry, I see Vin65 leading the way through their culture of helping wineries focus on their customers.  By coupling social media to their customer interactions we can enhance that vision like never before seen in any industry,” added Paul Mabray, CEO of VinTank.

The integration is available immediately in beta to Vin65 or WineDirect customers who request it.  It will be widely available for all Vin65 and WineDirect customers on July 31st. More importantly, it is being made available at no cost.  Vin65 has paid a licensing fee for the professional version of VinTank for every winery on its platform (a value of $1,800 per year). 

Watch a video and learn more about our bi-direction integration.


How to Sell More Wine Online
21 June, 2013

The Vin65 Direct-to-Consumer Roadshow has kicked off with the first event launching in Paso Robles today. Future events to be held in Mendocino and Calaveras County (and if you want us to come to your area please email sandra@vin65.com).

Here is the content delivered today:

How to Sell More Wine Online - Andrew Kamphuis

 

Excellence Through Fulfillment - Jim Agger

 

DTC Analytics - Ahin Thomas

 

Wine Telesales 101 - Mark Parton

 

Tapping into Social Media - Paul Mabray 


Does Mobile POS Really Work?
03 June, 2013

On May 25th, the Vin65 team set out to eating our own dog food (aka Dogfooding) and drove four hours to the heart of wine country in Canada to see the iPad POS in action, learn from our customers/end consumers, and drink some wine.

We aren't really retail guys, we are software guys and truthfully you know a lot more about retail than we do, but here is what we did.

On May 25th, the Vin65 team set out to eating our own dog food (aka Dogfooding) and drove four hours to the heart of wine country in Canada to see the iPad POS in action, learn from our customers/end consumer, and drink some wine.

The Back Story

The iPad POS was built to give wineries the ability to take payments anywhere. It was meant to get the staff out from behind the tasting bar and the stationary computer and connecting with the consumer.

Andrew, Karson, and I called Tinhorn Creekand asked if we could simply shadow their staff using the iPad POS to learn from how they used it and see way it could improve. Instead, they wanted us on the front line and put us to work at their event selling shirts, cork screws, bags, and wine tastings armed with the two iPads with swipers and a cash box.

The Event

The event was called the Half Corked Marathon– picture a ½ marathon, drinking wine at over 15 wineries, and ridiculous costumes. Seeing the POS in action (at an outside event on a 3G connection) was perfect. We had lots of feedback from consumers and our client.

The 'Dogfooding' Results

Mobility

A huge part of what the POS was designed for was to be mobile. This means getting out from behind the tasting bar and walking around with customers. At this event the two iPads were on a fairly stable 3G data connection but we also tested it on a personal hotspot from our phones. Testing this was important because wineries should be able to take orders at a farmer’s market, a club party, concerts, etc. which likely don't have wifi.

  • We found the 3G connection quite snappy so anything better, like 4G or LTE, would work well.
  • If you're not able to get a data plan, try a personal wifi hotspot from your smart phone.

Speed

When you’re taking orders with the person standing in front of you, you need the system to be quick. We found that the overall experience was good but saw several key areas to make this even better:

  • Changing how it’s currently load balanced.
  • Number of clicks for certain tasks.

The speed varies depending on your wifi/data connection, so it’s good to test the POS at the location so you have a good connection. We were at a park on 3G with 3 to 4 bars.

Consumer Adoption

We were surprised at the reaction from consumers when (a)we could take credit cards in the middle of a park, and (b)when they we happy to give up email addresses to get a receipt emailed to them.

  • People seem to love iPads and were pretty impressed that a winery was using an iPad POS.
  • People were more than willing to tell us their email address (this is great so you can get more consumer data and market to these contacts later).
  • Keep training your staff on the importance of capturing that email to build your contact database.

Sales

Just imagine Sheldon Cooperfrom The Big Bang Theory trying to sell shirts – needless to say it was entertaining. It might have been all the wine everyone else was drinking, but after a while we seemed to get the hang of it and upsold a few clients on some cork screws. These are perfect consumers to have in your database. You know they like wine and they went out of their way to run a ½ marathon for it, so:

  • Send a follow up email with suggested wines they might like
  • Increase engagement by emailing them to rate and review the wines they tried the event.


Google Analytics are awesome
27 May, 2013

They're free, easy to set up, and tell you everything you need to know about how your website is performing.

But, they also encompass a confusing array of data, can be time-consuming to set up, and involve a dictionary of Google-speak.  (What is a visit versus a pageview anyway?)

Don't worry if you don't have hours to dive into this.  Here are three key stats to look at to see if your site is on track at the highest level.


Mobile %

The percentage of website traffic coming from mobile devices jumped from 17.5% in Q3 2012 to 23.1% in Q4 2012, according to a new report from Walker Sands.  On the Vin65 platform, our clients average about 17%.  To find out what yours is:

  1. Select Audience
  2. Select Mobile
  3. Select Overview
  4. Choose your viewing option.  We chose the pie chart.

Implication?This example shows a smaller viewership - only 4.4% are on mobile.  But if you are one of the wineries where 1 out of every 5 of your customers are on a mobile device, you better make sure that your mobile site and cart are optimized or you could be losing valuable sales.

To take this a step further, drill down to remove iPads.  Why?  Because iPads are "mobile" in the Google Analytics world but tend to use computer monitor resolution.  So if you're trying to see if you need to redesign your site for the small screen, this is important.

To do this:

  1. Select Devices
  2. Select advanced search
  3. Select Exclude, then choose Mobile Device Info
  4. Type in iPad

Home Page Traffic Flow

Did you know that things like static home pages and flash movies can stop up to 95% of your traffic on your home page?  One of the cooler visual stats in Google Analytics is the Visitors Flow view.   To access this area:

  1. Select Audience
  2. Select Visitors Flow
  3. Look at starting page drop off by clicking on the red area visualizing the drop offs

Implication? This example isn't too bad - but 20% of all traffic that started on this home page left.  What are your numbers?  You could be working hard to drive traffic to your site, and then traffic leaves after the first page.  So, either your visitors are finding what they want right away...or or you've lost them.

Social Media Traffic

Many of us spend large amounts of time worrying about Social Media.  But is it doing anything for your business?  Here is one of the simplist ways to answer that question.

  1. Select Traffic Sources
  2. Select Social
  3. Select Overview
  4. Look at what social media channels are driving visits to your site

Implication? You can see if the work that you're spending on various Social Media channels is driving traffic to your site, and then adjust accordingly.  This is the tip of the iceberg in the Social Arena, to be sure. In this example there are also conversion goals attached to the shopping cart, and you can put specific Social urls in here as well.  But at a high level, this will tell you if you're making an impact.

So, don't be afraid, dive in to these, and more Google Analytics, and keep your site on track working hard toward your goals.


Five Automatic Emails and Why We Like Them
21 May, 2013

1. The Tasting Room Visit Receipt

Driven by sustainability and customer service, large retailers like Macy's, Wells Fargo, Citibank, Nordstrom, Best Buy, Whole Foods, Kmart, Sears and Gap all now offer consumers the option to have their receipts emailed to them.  In fact, a third (35%) of retailers offer digital receipts, and half of them do so at all their stores, according to a survey of 3,900 retailers released in 2012 by marketing firm Epsilon.  Is your tasting room taking a cue from this growing "green" trend?  This might be a great time to implement a reciept, or follow-up for a tasting room visit before the busy summer season.  Say "thank you for visiting" and watch them come back!

2. Website Abandoned Cart

If you think follow-ups are creepy, get over it.  There may be many reasons a customer would start to purchase something in your eCommerce cart and then stop.  The phone could ring, maybe they didn't have the credit card handy, or they got sidetracked.  A polite quick email touching base with this lost customer can be appreciated.  Numerous studies have now showed the effectiveness of this practice when done thoughtfully, quickly and helpfully.  Chief Marketer reported about a test that Movies Unlimited performed which including the title of the movie left in the shopping cart and an offer.  Their test resulted in a 13% conversion rate on the follow-ups, and these sales contributed 10% of all future sales.  That kind of a lift in sales is not bad at all for an automated email!

3. New Club Membership

Every customer wants to feel appreciated.  After all, the ultimate gift a customer can give you is approval to charge their credit card periodically and send them wine.  So, don't you think a "Thank You" is in order?  Whether they sign up in the tasting room, on the phone, or online, you can acknowledge the fact that they put their trust in your and gave you a standing order for wine.  Combine this welcome email with an offer or introductory combination of wine or merchandise and you can make them feel appreciated, and reap the sales benefits as well.  Then follow up with a thoughtful recontact strategy in email and you've got a customer for life.

4. Happy Birthday/Anniversary

One thing technology allows us to do is keep track of data.  This includes key dates, like birthdays and club sign-up anniversaries.  These are great opportunities to let your customers know you appreciate them, and provide them with a special offer to say "Thank You."  You can get creative with this as well.  How about reminding them of the last time they visited, or the fact that they purchased their holiday wine at this time last year.  If you think about it, there could be lots of milestones you could use to encourage repeat purchases.  It is automated, easy to set up in the system, and if done correctly can be very thoughtful and appreciated by your customers as well.

5. Credit Card Expiring

This is always a hot button before club processing time.  While phone calls are usually necessary for the stragglers, why not initially start with setting up an automatic email alerting customers 60, 30 or 10 days out that their card is about ready to expire.  You won't get everyone, but if you can decrease the phone call load, isn't it worth it?

These are just some instances where a little set-up can save you some time, show your customers you care, and maybe increase your sales.

For more information on setting up Action Emails, see our documentation site.


Your Website as a Tool to Grow Your Mailing List
30 April, 2013

Typically, marketing is responsible for two things:

  1. Getting sales from the existing customer database, and
  2. Growing the potential customer database.

Are you using your website to the best of it's ability to capture and grow your database?  If you monitor Google Analytics, you'll see the % of new visitors to your site - that is a large group of potential new customers to add to your mailing list.

Furthermore, these new visitors that come to your site via search or SEO are high-quality potential customer.  Search-engine optimization (SEO - bringing people to your site who are searching in search engines like Google) is the digital marketing channel with the biggest impact on lead generation for both B2B and B2C companies, according to the August 2012 survey results from Webmarketing123.

59% of B2B marketers said SEO has the biggest impact on their lead generation goals, with social media (21%) and pay-per-click (PPC – 20%) trailing distantly. Their B2C counterparts also ranked SEO (49%) first for impact on lead generation, followed by PPC (26%) and social media (25%). 

So, are you doing everything you can to capture them?  Here are some ideas:

Use the Homepage

Gone are the brochure-website days of the 1990's where a home page was a static picture of your logo, winery, or product.  Such "billboards" require someone to click a top navigation to get to any information.  Assuming a large percentage of visitors are new to you, why not have your sign-up right on your home page?  Or, on a universal side-bar?

Offer Redundant Options

A 2012 study by Adsense indicated we all process information differently.  47% of web surfers polled indicated they always clicked on text, 18% said they always clicked on graphics, and 35% of us click on either/both depending on the page layout and information. 

The implication?  Have a linking graphic picture asking for newsletter sign up, then have a text link next to it. (And, you can have it in your navigation as well.)

 

Strike When the Iron is Hot

The shopping cart is an ideal place to continue to the dialog with customers.  Providing them opportunities to sign up to different mailing lists not only gives you segmentation opportunities to improve your communication, but shows you care about their interests.

Don't interrupt them when they are completing the transaction, but after the transaction, ask they their preference.  In the Vin65 system, this is an option, that when turned on, will provide customers the option during confirmation after check-out to sign up for your mailling lists.

There are many other ways to capture visitors to your site to add to your mailing list.  What are your favorites?


Customizing Wine Clubs
25 April, 2013

The more "custom" your club, the more specific, hands-on processing is necessary to meet each requests which increases the opportunity for mistakes

If you’re like most wineries, you love your club members.

There is no other industry that we know of where a customer says, “Just keep my credit card on file and charge me periodically for whatever you’re selling.”

So, when one leaves, it hurts.

Sometimes it is outside of your control, but one of the most common reasons for leaving a wine club is that the customer didn't like the wine you sent. Instead of the customer being glad you sent them your chosen wines, they cancel their membership because they now feel comfortable enough with your wines to choose their favorites.

To meet the customer desire to have more input on the wines in their shipment, many wineries have tried to offer “customized” clubs. A custom wine club can be an administrative nightmare as it often involves special instructions, individual orders, and a lot of manual work.

Over the years we've worked with a lot of websites managing customer clubs in many different ways, and wanted to pass on a few tips:

Beware of promising special requests - instead give everyone the option.
It is better to lose a club member and keep a customer, than lose the customer altogether by over-promising and under-delivering.  The more "custom" your club, the more specific hands-on processing is needed to meet each request which increases opportunities for mistakes.  Instead of one-off requests, why not make a choice open to everyone?  For instance, they can chose a new Chardonnay release, or a second bottle of the Merlot if they prefer your red wines.  In this way you're giving choice, but not creating an administrative nightmare for your staff, or potential disappointment for the member.

Be consistent with how you process these orders.
If you go down this path, encourage your call center, tasting room staff or club manager to be consistent with how you mark customer requests for replacement wines. Thoughtfully set up the choices for swaps, check inventory, and inform the staff. If everyone knows what the choices are and processes it the same way, there is less chance for error.

Limit the choices for the swap.
We heard of one winery recently that had over 100 club options because the call center was afraid of saying “no”. This is no longer a club, these are processing one-off orders.  It is ok to provide choice - like everyone can swap the Chardonnay (default) for a Merlot - but when you get into a "pick your own" type of solution, you will enter into the realm of individual orders and not a club shipment.  There are two pitfalls to a "pick your own" club.  One is errors (see the first point above) but the second is scalability.  It may be ok to note "always replace the Chardonnay wth the Sauvignon Blanc" for one big buyer (if you can remember to parce out his club shipment), but when that applies to 10 or 20 people, and the replacements vary...the administrative costs eats away at the profit too much. Keep your options simple and universal so your club is scalable as well as error-free.

Listen to your customers.
If the request is common, consider creating a new club tier. For instance, if you only send six bottles and you are hearing people cancel because they have too much wine, consider a two or four bottle club.

They key here, as with most things, is to listen and think through the implications. Frequent meetings with your staff selling the club might provide more ideas. We’d love for you to share them!


Top 5 Questions asked at January's Trade Shows
19 February, 2013

Like many of our colleagues and wineries, we attended both the Direct to Consumer Wine Symposium in San Francisco and the Unified Wine & Grape Symposium in Sacramento last month.  We were on-hand to demonstrate our new iPad Point Of Sale (POS) system, and answer questions about Vin65. 

We thought we'd share the top 5 questions, and link to some of our documentation.


Question 5: "Can I sell wine on Facebook?"

Yes, there are a few different ways you can sell wine through Facebook. You can sell wine directly from your existing Facebook fan page or you can sell wine through Facebook’s gifting program.
 
Selling through your existing fan page can be a great way to engage your fans where they are spending their time. Your fans can interact with your brand, buy wines and sign up for clubs or newsletters. All of the orders, contacts, products, inventory, etc. are synced with your website ecommerce so you only need to manage one database. Facebook does not see this data and doesn't take any commission or fees.
 
The Facebook gifting program is setup for Facebook users to gift wines to their Facebook friends for birthdays, anniversaries, etc.. This program is set up for select wineries that use WineDirect fulfillment services. For more information about this, contact WineDirectdirectly.

Question 4: "How much control of my website's design do I have with a Content Management System (CMS)?"

A Content Management System, or CMS, allows every-day users to change content on websites without knowing complex HTML, CSS and Javascript.  If you don't know what any of those mean, that's ok, you don't need to with a CMS.  Most systems offer a variety of options to import content from programs like Word and Excel, and import photos.

While people typically chose a Content Management Sytem for the flexibility they offer, there is a common fear that with a CMS you will be tied to a handful of designs and relinquish creativity.  This is not true.  While the Vin65 CMS has templates, if you don't like our templates, you can hire a designer to custom design your site on the Vin65 CMS.  We offer "designer" authoring toolsthat allow a web designer to develop your own custom site.  And, once it is live you can take it from there.  All the content, product, pricing and tasting room updates can be done by you, and you don't have to return to the designer.   So rather than limiting a winery, this actualy frees you up to get the site you want now, but then access and change your content without relying on a design, coder or outside agency in the long-run. 

Question 3: "Are you really from Canada?

Yes! We are a very passionate Canadian technology team based in a town just outside Vancouver, Canada – which is directly north of Seattle. We feel being ‘remote’ from most wineries actually helps us develop our eCommerce tools as we're forced to buy our wine online.  We "eat our own dog food" and buy all of our wine online...just like your customers.

Our parent company, WineDirect, does have a US presence with offices in Napa, American Canyon and Oakland. Technology makes the world small and enables wineries from all over the world to hire a company from any country.

Question 2: "How much does a website from Vin65 cost?"

Usually there are two costs for a website, a monthly fee and a setup fee. The monthly fee for a website on Vin65 is $250.
 
The setup fee varies depending on the design and scope of the project. We have a range of options that start at $0 (templated designs and using your own web designer) and go up from there. A custom website design from Vin65 typically starts at $10,000.
 
We have a few other add-ons like the Facebook app ($50/mo), the Tasting Room iPad App ($50/mo) and the new iPad POS (starting at $100/mo).

You can find all of our pricing options online on the Vin65 website.

Question 1: "I heard about your mobile iPad POS system, why do I need one?"

Mobile POS systems are like having a cash register, or a website ecommerce checkout, anywhere.  These may be particularly helpful for wineries without a tasting room to enables sales of products at tastings and dinners.  But existing wineries with busy tasting rooms also benefit from a mobile check out system for over-flow or off-site events.
 
The key functionality to look for with these mobile systems is the synching with your customer / product database, and the ability to set up different inventory areas to keep your compliance and accounting manager happy.


Do you have a question for us?  Just ask.


Using Scarcity Tactics Effectively
06 February, 2013

Any marketer will tell you that scarcity is one of the most effective and often used strategies.

Why?  Because the biggest barrier to a sale is procrastination.  This can either be for a tangible reason ("let me see if I can find it cheaper somewhere else before I buy") or an emotional reason ("I want to but I really should cut back").

Sales are a great procrastination buster, but used too often, these can both devalue your wine, and train your customers to wait for when the prices go low.  It is best to arm yourself with a variety of scarcity tactics in your arsenal and rotate them to keep your customers buying and your marketing fresh. 


Members Only Offers

While most often used for Wine Club Members, a savvy marketer can get creative with this idea.  Why not offer those attending an event a special bottling of the wine they tasted?  Or segment out a group in a certain geography and give them a set-shipping offer.  Many wineries create entire blends, formats or merchandise just for a customer segment.  This not only creates loyalty but drives sales as well.


Here, the winery has created a category in the store just for wine members' wines.  These wines are not shown in the general store page, and are only set up in the back-end to be sold to club members.

Showing the Quantities Left

If you are tied to an inventory system, this is a handy way to show the dwindling quantities during a set sales period.  The cautions here are to make sure it is accurate, because otherwise your customers will feel lied to.  Also, only use it in truly low numbers.  Remember 50 cases may seem low to a winery that produced 20,000, but for a customer that drinks a bottle a week, 50 cases may seem like a huge amount of wine and you may lose your urgency.

This discount retailer not only counts the bottles of wine left in inventory, but also employs a small animated .gif of a wine-hourglass dripping to create a sense of urgency.

Allocations

Allocations are great when you have an established customer base and you need to manage distribution of your wines.  You can ensure that everyone gets some, and it isn't being horded, or resold which could hurt your brand.  Set these up thoughtfully with knowledge of your customer, and add in incentives to buy more if possible, as in the example below.

Limited time Sales/Promotions

All sales have limits - either time or until supplies run out.  But if you're creative, you can try a variety of pre-releases, library releases, sales windows, re-purchase club wines or other offers to see what resonates with your customers.

Here the winery combines several scarcity tactics. 
There is a time factor as the wine is a pre-release.  This wine is also a wine club exclusive, so only members can log in to buy.


Limit on Purchase Volume

Limiting the quantity can be combined with a sales timeframe, or just always in place.  Either way it is an effective nod to the scarcity of your wine.

In this example, a bundle has been created, and then a limit set on the number each customer can purchase.  It is coded in the back-end of the website, but also explained to the customer about the purchase.


If you use a combination of the above, not only will your customers keep engaged, but over time you'll start to see which customer responds to which type of offer, and be able to target more effectively.


Vin65 Introduces iPad Point-of-Sale System for Wineries
17 January, 2013

Now your Point-of-Sale System is anywhere you can carry an iPad

Vin65, the leading provider of wine ecommerce, announces the launch of their iPad Point-of-Sale System for wineries. This tool allows winery employees to access the customer, product and sales database on the spot for instant sales, wine club sign-ups and shipping order management without being tied to a cash register counter.

According to “The Mobile POS Effect” research report, 21.4% of retailers say their long-term plan is to remove five or more fixed POS stations per store, a dramatic finding that indicates retail is on the verge a paradigm shift. While not intending to replace a winery's POS system, the Vin65's iPad Point-of-Sale System will allow a winery to bring their customer database, product database, and sales history into the crowd of the tasting room, at events, and on the road, and connect directly to the Vin65 website’s payment gateway.

Features and benefits:

  • Increase customer sales.Never have to say to a line “I’ll be with you in a minute” when you can move into the crowd to sell wines, merchandise, tasting fees and wine clubs anywhere.
  • Enhance customer service.Sell and redeem gift cards, email receipts, offer coupons, manage shipping orders and pickups, and add new credit cards to a customer record in an instant.
  • Increase data acquisition accuracy.Having access to the database reduces need for consuming and error-prone paper data entry. With the Vin65 iPad POS System employees can add a new customer, or select an existing one, choose from saved shipping addresses, see lifetime value and club membership to apply the correct pricing.
  • Easier Reporting and Security. Manage inventory and multiple locations, inventory reports, sales and customer reports in PDF and Excel.
  • Manage everything in one place. One product database, one order database and one customer database between a Vin65 website, Facebook page, Vin65 mobile site and iPad tasting room app.

The Vin65 iPad POS system is immediately available for all existing Vin65 customers and will be made available shortly to all wineries.  It includes swipers for credit cards and licenses, and has two flexible payment plans. Wines and other content are managed inside the Vin65 platform. Transactions are secured by SSL and all processing flows through the winery's existing merchant account and directly to the winery.

Andrew Kamphuis, president of Vin65, had this to say:

"We are very excited about the iPad POS.  The ability to take a POS system to a customer rather than forcing a customer to come to the counter creates a great customer experience. It is perfect for events, picnic areas, and small-to-medium traffic tasting rooms.  Combine the portability with the ability to capture customer data within the Vin65 CRM and the iPad POS is a tool that can really enhance your relationships with customers."

Vin65’s iPad POS System is available today for Vin65 clients as well as WineDirect clients who are on the Vin65 platform.

Blog: www.vin65.com/blog
Website: www.vin65.com
RSS feed: http://feeds.feedburner.com/Vin65
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Vin65
Twitter: http://twitter.com/vin65team

About Vin65:
Vin65 is the leading provider of website and ecommerce solutions to wineries and wine retailers interested in selling their wine direct-to-consumer. The Vin65 platform has received attention from wine technology thought leaders and technology savvy wineries for its ability to drive innovation in the wine ecommerce space. The platform includes: ecommerce, wine club, content management, customer relationship management and mobile ecommerce all tailored for the wine industry. For more information, call 604-852-8140 or visit www.vin65.com.

###

Andrew Kamphuis, President
Office: 604-852-8140, Cell: 604-613-5343
Email: andrew@vin65.com


Be a Customer for a Day
06 November, 2012

Thanksgiving is three weeks away.

I’ll say that again, Thanksgiving is only three weeks away.  While you’re working through your holiday promotions, special offers, and gift offerings, let’s take some time and look at these offerings through your customer’s eyes. The best way to do this is to become one.

Walk through your order process.  

Browse, research, and review your product list pages and product detail pages.  What changes and additions would your customers find helpful in making purchasing decisions? I suggest reading 6.5 easy fixes to the wine list page and 5 tips to effective ecommerce merchandising for some helpful tips.

Another idea is to add an up-front shipping widget to display shipping costs, or even better, offer a holiday shipping promotion.

(Example: Castello di Amarosa's shipping widget)

Place an order completely through your checkout process. Look objectively for any barriers. For example, ensure your calls to actions and buttons guide the checkout process. We tout button color contrast, but placement matters as well.

Finally, review the complete process of fulfillment, shipment, and delivery. Send a gift of wine to a client or a friend, and ask them about their experience. 

Go online, buy, and compare.

Have a few packages sent to your home and analyze the experience. Did you get an order confirmation, look at order tracking, was the order shipped in time? How does the experience on your site compare with ones from Amazon, Zappos, or Apple? It will be the one of the rare times you can call shopping at work legit.

All done, now what?

You’ve made product updates, a few small changes to your order process, and analyzed other purchase processes, now what?

  • Continue reviewing your data, to see how the changes take effect. Read How to be a Web Analytics Rockstar.
  • Prep your support team; make sure your offline and online efforts match.
  • Enjoy a glass of wine.

~


Read more Vin65 blog posts here.

 


5 Holiday Tips to Sell More Wine Online
11 October, 2012

Is your wine ecommerce site ready to go at it again this holiday season?

Aside from prepping for the ugly Christmas sweater parties you’ll attend this season, it’s also time to prep your website for another big online shopping season. 

Here are 5 tips to help you spruce up your wine ecommerce site for the holidays.
 

1. Speed Matters

47% of consumers expect a web page to load in 2 seconds or less (according to kissmetrics.com). The biggest turn off for visitors is slow load times, people are impatient and this is especially so during the holiday season.  Optimize images in the right file format, and talk to your designers/programmers about further ways to decrease your load time.

 

2. Easy Navigation

Put yourself in the shoes of your visitors, and the process it takes them to find your wine list page.  If locating where to buy your wine is like playing a game of "Where’s Waldo?", chances are you're losing a large amount of holiday shoppers.  Ensure it’s clearly labeled and easily found on your homepage navigation.

 

3. Think Mobile

Fact: Over 15% of people visiting your website are on a mobile device and this number continues to climb. It’s time to get busy updating your mobile site (or get one if you haven’t already) since more customers this year will use their mobile devices to look up and purchase your wine. 

 

4. Offer Gift Cards

What happens if your site doesn't offer gift cards, and visitors are not sure what kind of wine their Auntie Bonnie prefers?  They'll leave. Gift cards provide indecisive customers with an easy option and make for great last minute gifts. Plus, as an added bonus, you'll bring in some new customers.

 

5. Tis' the Season to Promote and Plan

Clearly show your promotions on the homepage and throughout the site. It is also the time to test and ensure your holiday promos are running smoothly on your ecommerce site.  Run a few orders through your system. Are your promos working properly?  Are they giving you the correct sales price?

Side tip:all of our internal testing show that shipping promotions outperform discounted products.

Another side tip:  show personality and get in the season with some holiday graphics for your site.

~

More Vin65 Blog Posts

http://www.vin65.com/Blog

 


 


7 Ways to Get Customer Wine Reviews
18 September, 2012

It’s nice to get a little public shout out for all the hard work that you put into making your wine. While media reviews and PR articles are awesome at getting some attention, you want the very people trying and buying your wine to be talking publicly about it. And for good reason, according to iPerceptions, 63% of customers are more likely to make a purchase from a site that has product reviews.

There are many great reasons why you should include reviews on your site, but how can you get customers to actually physically click like buttons and type a wine review on your site?

Here are a few ideas.

1. Post-Purchase Email

Action email (trigger based email) is a great, automatic method to follow-up after purchase. In the email, politely ask customers to write a review and include the link to where they can review the wine.

 

2. Offer an Incentive

In the follow up email, offer some sort of incentive if they write a review. You don’t want to come across that you’re bribing your customers for their endorsement, so instead of offering a discount on related products, consider an entry to win a prize, gift card or event tickets.

 

3. Social Networking Widgets

Monkey see monkey do - everyone is a follower and nobody likes to be the first to review something. If you include social networking widgets such as the Facebook like count on your list page, customers can easily see the popularity of your wine and be more inclined to write a review.

 

4. Approach Happy Customers

Personally ask customers for reviews, be honest and tell them you’d love it they shared their experience with others, in order to help others make better decisions about purchasing your wine. Happy customers are almost always willing to oblige.

 

5. Just Ask

Tell your customers to review your wine. Capture their attention on your site by making use of call-outs and badges that say “Review this wine” or “Tell us what you think.”

 

6. Something New

Give them a reason to review your wine, with interesting unique selling propositions, new wine releases, or something that could spark discussion/debate.

 

7. Keep it Simple

Ensure customers can easily see where to rate and review your products and ensure that it can be done within a few clicks.

 

While you may have included reviews and social media widgets on your site, is it really driving interaction? Consider some of these ideas to bump up conversion and allow your customers to interact with your products.

To read more Vin65 blog posts, click here.


Upcoming Webinar - Club Processing
12 September, 2012

Learn to Effectively Manage Your Wine Club

Club Processing Webinar

  • September 26th, 2012
  • 9:30 AM (PDT) or  3:30 PM (PDT)

Vin65 will be offering a Club Processing Webinar at two different times (morning or afternoon).  Pick a time that works for you and learn how to effectively manage your wine club - from reoccurring shipments, member benefits, to exclusive products, and more. This webinar will train you in the club processing basics, and will be followed by a Q&A session at the end.

For details, and to sign up click the link below.

http://www.vin65.com/Support/Webinars


Get Some Action - New Trigger Email Feature
16 July, 2012

Action emails – they’re the bigger, more independent brother to regular  mass email and the latest feature to be added to the Vin65 platform. With an open rate that is more than double regular mass  email, this is an awesome email marketing tool that will help you maintain relationships and connect with new customers. Plus, you’ll  likely see some positive conversion rates.

Also known as trigger emails, action emails are a pre-written set of messages that are sent based on an event or triggered action your
customer takes, (orders for the first time, repeat purchase, abandons a shopping cart, credit card expiring, etc).

Here's why it's so awesome:

You Choose the Action

Select from a variety of different actions:  Credit Card Expiring, Credit Card Expired, Club Anniversary, Club Signup, Birthday, Abandoned  Cart, New Order, First Order and Repeat Order.

It's Relevant and Timely

Vin65’s trigger email allows you to control which actions, the timing around the action, and control the message you want to send to the  customer.

Set it and Forget it

You create the message; Vin65 will automatically send it out.  We’re not saying to you not monitor your email campaigns – you can setup action emails and let our system do the daily sending for you.

Make it Personal

All messages are sent to a queue several days before sending the email. Review the queue at any time.  Open an email before it’s sent and add  your personalized comments.

One-Click-Configuration

While you have full control over emails, Vin65’s one-click configure  button allows you to choose from a pre-set list (our recommendations for a typical winery) of 15 different action emails with just one-click.

Pre-Written Content

There are a number of professional pre-written emails already for you to use as a guide. Pick the action and the pre-written content will appear to help you get started and you can go from there.

Maintain Control

Setup is made easy with an unsubscribe/do-not-send list and the ability for you to control/avoid over-sending of action emails.

Reporting Tools

Like our general email tools, you can monitor the effectiveness of your action email campaign, such as open rates and click through rates.

The Action Email feature is available today for Vin65 and WineDirect clients who are on the Vin65 platform

For more information, call 604-852-8140 or visit www.vin65.com.


Introducing Facebook Ecommerce for Wineries
07 November, 2011

There are over 800 million active users on Facebook and internet users spend more time on Facebook than on any other website. Vin65's Facebook app allows a winery to bring their wines and their content directly to Facebook users. The app allows a winery to take advantage of the social features inside Facebook such as showing different content to visitors who “like” a winery.

Vin65, the leading provider of wine ecommerce, announces the launch of their Facebook ecommerce app for wineries. The Facebook app allows visitors to view and purchase wine on a winery's fan page without leaving Facebook.

Features and benefits:

* Sell wine without leaving Facebook. Full ecommerce inside Facebook. Optimized experience for Facebook users to fit the Facebook experience.
* Custom content for fans. App allows wineries to create custom Facebook pages and engaging content using a combination of Facebook and Vin65 tools.
* Club sign ups. Sign up for wine club and receive club benefits inside Facebook.
* Monitor consumer interactions. Full Google Analytics and Vin65 report (including dashboards).
* Manage everything in one place. One product database, one order database and one customer database between a Vin65 website, Facebook page, Vin65 mobile site and iPad tasting room app.
* Customer convenience. Customers who use Facebook don't need to click over to your ecommerce store to buy your wine. Fewer clicks to purchase.

The Vin65 Facebook app is a custom fan page on Facebook run in a secure iframe. Wines and other content are managed inside the Vin65 platform. Transactions are secured by SSL and all processing flows through the winery's existing merchant account and directly to the winery.

Andrew Kamphuis, president of Vin65, had this to say:

"I’m overwhelmed by the activity happening on Facebook. At Vin65, we saw this trend in traffic and wanted a very easy way for our clients to be able to sell wine to this group of people. We’ve done social integration and social sharing inside our platform, but we wanted to bring the purchasing experience even closer to these people. The Facebook app represents our first step in this direction."

Jeff Stai, owner of Twisted Oak Winery, comments:

I'm very excited about the new Vin65 Facebook ecommerce app especially now that we are headed into the holiday season. We have a large, active, fun fan community of almost 3,000 Twisted wine lovers. To be able to bring the wine that much closer to their social experience - and keeping it all within Facebook - will only add to the fun, and profit.

Ariel Ceja, General Manager of Ceja Vineyards had this to say:

The Vin65 platform has become an extension of us. It’s part of our system and how we communicate and work together..... The launch of their Facebook ecommerce application is a testament to their ingenuity in incorporating new and emerging technologies that any winery can easily implement. These guys "get" it.

Paul Mabray, CEO of VinTank, a digital think tank for the wine industry, adds:

Once again Vin65 moves forward with innovation by helping extend the reach of their shopping cart to Facebook. This is a good thing for their winery clients.

Vin65’s Facebook app is available today for Vin65 clients as well as WineDirect (IBG) clients who are on the Vin65 platform.

Blog: www.vin65.com/blog
Website: www.vin65.com
RSS feed: http://feeds.feedburner.com/Vin65
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Vin65
Twitter: http://twitter.com/vin65team

Live Facebook Commerce Examples:
Demo Store: http://www.facebook.com/PineWines?sk=app_193215334038550 
Ceja Vineyards: http://www.facebook.com/CejaVineyards?sk=app_169449413139909
Twisted Oak: http://www.facebook.com/twistedoak?sk=app_123395964431766

About Vin65:
Vin65 is the leading provider of website and ecommerce solutions to wineries and wine retailers interested in selling their wine direct-to-consumer. The Vin65 platform has received attention from wine technology thought leaders and technology savvy wineries for its ability to drive innovation in the wine ecommerce space. The platform includes: ecommerce, wine club, content management, customer relationship management and mobile ecommerce all tailored for the wine industry. For more information, call 604-852-8140 or visit www.vin65.com.


3 Easy Email Design Changes That Help Boost Response
12 August, 2011

(This is a guest blog post from Kristina Palko, Marketing Director at WineTasting.com. Kristina is responsible for an enormous amount of direct-to-consumer email and has seen first-hand what works and what doesn't.)

I create and analyze results from over 15 million wine marketing emails every year. What I've found is that email response rates vary enormously depending on audience, subject line, email content & design, and timing. It is an area in e-commerce marketing which is constantly evolving but, here are 3 easy, sure-fire ways to help increase your response.

1. Add a Top Navigation Bar to the Top of Your Email
What is it?
A top navigation or "nav" bar is the horizontal bar across the top of your website that enables customers to click through to popular product categories or pages such as home page, shop wines, join a club, visit the winery, award-winning wines, customer top rated, library selections and/or about us. Adding a similar top nav to your email is a fantastic way to improve click through rates and increase sales.

Why do it?
I have seen incremental increases as high as 100% generated from the top navigation bar within an email. It becomes a sales “catch all” in that if your primary offer is not of interest to your customer, the top nav may remind your customer of what else you have to offer.

How to apply it to email.
Implementing a top nav bar is simple and does not necessarily involve a designer. In fact, you can easily add a text based top nav by inserting a table with 1 row and 4-5 columns just under your main header or logo. If you have a designer, you can ask him/her to create a graphic and use hotspots to link the corresponding surface area to the correct landing page however, a text based version will function just as well.

2) Design "Above the Fold"
What is it?
The term "above the fold" means the email creative that falls within view without scrolling down. This space generally varies based on email programs and screen size. My advice is to design so that your sales message is fully visible within about 600 pixels or about the size of your hand (fingers together) if turned horizontally.

How to apply it to email.
Simple. When you are designing or writing your email, be sure that your core message is visible "above the fold". Some believe that the fold theory is outdated and that people have learned to scroll. This is certainly true thanks to our interactive phones and tablets, however, whether customers scroll when it comes to your email depends on 1) How engaged the consumer is with your products/brand and 2) How much time they have. Either way, getting your offer across in a couple of seconds without additional scrolling is never a bad thing.

Why do it?
So that your offer is fully optimized ensuring the highest degree of communication possible.

3) Infuse Your Unique Brand Personality Into Subject Lines, Titles & Buttons.
What is it?
Say the same thing…but differently. If it sounds like an oxymoron, it is. The fact of the matter is that many of us employ the same cookie-cutter methods such as ratings and reviews, tasting room, new releases, etc to drive awareness and increase sales for our brands. But, how often do we really think about what we are saying and how we might say it just a little differently for maximum impact? There are three areas of any campaign where you can maximize your message:

Subject line. If they never open it, they’ll never get your message.
Titles & Subtitles. Think of this area as you would in an advertising campaign – this is where you want to make maximum impact in a few short words.

Call to Action button. The one click that matters. Get them to your product page quickly and directly.

How to apply it.
There are three impactful areas of any email campaign that benefit the most from this principle.  Here are some examples of how I have effectively used them in some of my own campaigns.

Email 1: Valentines Day email featuring eco.love wine

Subject line: Share the Bottle-ly Love"
Title: …eco.love Wine That Is!
Subtitle: Two sisters reunite as adults to share their passion for winemaking and the environment. A true love story.
Call to Action Button: Share the Love

Email 2: Buoncrstiani Rose’ offer

Subject line: Real Men Drink Pink Wine
Title: Who Said Pink is For Girls?
Subtitle: The Buoncristiani brothers have been hand crafting Rose’ since 1999.
Call to Action Button: Go Pink

Why do it?
Greater engagement. And think of it this way, even if it doesn't result in a sale, it likely resulted in an extra moment of consideration and your customer will be more apt to open your email next time…and that is always a good thing.

Re-examine your wine email marketing designs, test these strategies and compare your response rates to those of your current campaigns. Infuse your brand's personality into your call-to-actions. These simple changes may lead to more sales and increased engagement that will lead to more sales in the future.


Introducing the Vin65 Dashboard & Mobile Dashboard
13 July, 2011

Real time "business at a glance" overview and in-depth visual reports.

Extensive Graphics
There are more than 20 pages and over 50 graphs and Key Performance Indicators.

Multi-Vendor Data
View data from multiple vendors (such as Napa Valley POS and Call for Wine). Data is available from any vendor utilizing Vin65's APIs.

Full Mobile Version
View your dashboard from your iPhone, Android Phone, or Windows 7 phone. (A great way to look at sales data while your on the road).

Comparative Info
Most of the graphs allow for customizable date ranges and comparative analysis.

Customizable Home Screen
Customizable home screens on both the mobile and the regular dashboard to serve up the data that matters the most.

Actionable Alerts
Key information that needs attention is brought to the alert screen (such as orders stuck at fulfillment).

Integrated with Call for Wine
View data like total calls made, total contacts, sales by call, and other call statistics.

~~

What's it Cost?
Vin65's dashboard and mobile dashboard are available today for free to all Vin65 clients as well as Inertia Beverage clients who are on the Vin65 platform.

"...Innovative snapshot tool for busy executives..." - Chris WineTasting.com

"...One click to view details relating to sales, memberships, etc." - Raynette Locatelle

For more information contact brent@vin65.com


Wineries: 5 Easy Ways to Improve Your Customer Service
17 June, 2011

 When consumers interact with your brand in any way, whether it be at the vineyard on a tour, in the tasting room, the vineyard restaurant, or in your retail store, you have a responsibility to maintain a certain level of customer service. These five points will challenge you to rethink how your customers perceive your brand and how you can improve your customer service.

1 - Make Them Feel Appreciated

Think about the experience your customers get when they purchase from you. What encourages them to keep coming back to your winery as opposed to trying the new winery next door? You might think it's the service, or the atmosphere, or the events that you hold. Perhaps it is, but do your customers know that they're appreciated? I suggest demonstrating this in the form of a promotion on your website, or an event geared as an appreciation night. Even the smallest initiatives can make the biggest differences in how your customers feel.

2 - Exceed Expectations

Think of the times you've been blown away by customer service. I can bet you that the underlying theme in most of those situations has been that the business has exceeded your expectations. When you throw in something extra and give more than what's expected, you leave your customers in awe. They're so excited by it that they'll remember your name, recommend you to their friends, and they'll keep coming back over, and over, and over. It can be something as simple as a coupon for a future discount with their purchase that you haven't advertised or maybe it's a sincere hand-written thank you note sent out to each club member for being such loyal customers. The question to ask yourself is, "what can I give my customers that they cannot get anywhere else?"

3 - Be Personable

It's hard to think of a business I've called recently that doesn't have some sort of automated response - it's frustrating, isn't it? This doesn't just apply to phone calls. When someone enters your tasting room, the attendant should be personable, not an automated machine. Try to ensure that the tasting room attendant engages in conversation with your customers rather than just pour wine and swipe credit cards. As Andrew says, don’t forget the personal service. Learning your regular customer's first names and using them when you see them or talk to them on the phone will make them feel valued and important.

4 - "It's My Fault"

I once read a story of a man who needed an extra set of keys for his apartment and, on his way to work, stopped at the locksmith around the corner to have keys cut. After going back to his apartment to check the new keys, one didn't work. He returned to the locksmith where a new copy was made and when he returned home it still didn't work. Now being 30 minutes late for work, he returns to the locksmith for a third time in a place of rage, ready to unleash his anger on the locksmith. After looking at the key again the locksmith says "ah. It's my fault,"; and the man's anger evaporated. Taking the blame when appropriate can make the difference between inspiring a customer and bad publicity via word-of-mouth. Keep in mind that word-of-mouth spreads much faster than it used to with the use of social media.

5 - Conduct Mystery Shops

As we careen through 2011 and the influence of social media continues to grow, it is important to remember the potential reach that your brand has. By finding ways to impress and inspire your current customers, you not only retain their business, but you gain new customers when these inspired customers share the experience with their friends.

 

Now that you have new insight on how to improve customer service, what will you consider changing?


Social Media - Are More Buttons Better?
10 June, 2011

It's been a little more than a year since Facebook introduced the 'Like' button. We’ve had it in the Vin65 platform for a long time, and this week the statistics really rolled in. Ecommerce companies everywhere are reporting increased traffic and increased sales after implementing the 'Like' button (read the stats here).

  • American Eagle found that Facebook 'Like' traffic spends 57% more money than non-Facebook traffic.
  • Giantnerd.com saw a 100% increase in revenue after adding the 'Like' button.
  • Levi's saw a 40X increase in referral traffic from Facebook after adding the 'Like' button.

If the Facebook 'Like' button is good, is having more buttons better? This week we implemented the newly released Google +1 button and the recently released Facebook 'Send' to our social bar. If you want to talk about social media buttons or you want us to look at what you're doing, feel free to email (brent@vin65.com) or call 604-852-8140.


Vin65's New Dashboard Shows Key Data for Clubs, Sales, Contacts and More.
03 June, 2011

Everyone who drives a car understands the importance of a dashboard. How fast are you going? How much gas do you have left? Are there any warning lights flashing?

Business data is the blueprints of businesses and should be used to make data driven decisions not and not only from gut feelings. Your data needs to be management and if it’s not organized it will be impossible for your company to use it effectively.

We used Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) so your business can monitor progress in specific areas or overall performance. Areas like e-commerce sales, wine clubs, contacts, alerts, and many more.

Email Vin65 (brent@vin65.com) to have a personal demo of the new dashboard.


Vin65 Blog: What makes a great wine marketing email?
14 March, 2011

Why are some emails opened and read while others are only glanced at and deleted?

During my presentation at Unified I showed the variance in open rates among the top email blasts from our systems. This weekend I decided to look further and compare the open rates and click through rates of these same email campaigns and there were a few interesting highlights.

There were a few interesting highlights. One large campaign only had a 13% open rate but had a click through rate of 9.1%. This means the majority of people opening were clicking through (70% of the people opening the email responded). It was that statistic that got me to think 'what makes a great email?'. Why do some emails have huge open rates but no click response, and why did this email have a relatively low open rate but had a high percentage of click through.

In unscientific fashion (aka this is my opinion) - here's my list of what makes a great email.

1. Targeted to the recipient it's sent to. This past week I received three emails inviting me to events at wineries in California. The problem is I live in Canada and don't have a chance of attending. There is no substitute for an email that is specific to its audience. The highest open and click through rates on our system come from emails sent to specific lists rather than sent to the entire contact list.

2. A great subject line. You can debate subject line content, but there is no debating that a great subject line prompts a reader to open the email. (There are cool A/B subject line tests here, as well as some pointers on writing great subject lines here).

3. Consistency. One of the best ways to build trust with your customers is to maintain consistency. If you send out weekly or monthly email, don't miss a week or a month. If your from address is always 'info@yourwinery.com' make sure you keep that consistent and keep your style consistent. People who read your email read it for a reason. If you want to try something new, do an A/B test - or target the people who aren't opening your email.

4. A compelling image. You need great photography for a great websites. You need great photography for great emails. (However please don't make your email one giant image - if images are blocked you'll see a low open rate and a low response rate).

5. Short compelling content. Images are often blocked in email so you'll need some text in your email. Make it short, compelling, easy-to-read; short sentences that are broken up into short paragraphs make for easy reading.

6. Single focus.  Again this is an unscientific list, but it's my opinion that customers respond a lot better when there is a single message and it's not overloaded with products.

7. A great incentive and a sense of urgency. People respond to great incentives and to value adds, people also respond when there is a deadline (at least that's how I work).

-Andrew Kamphius

To read more Vin65 Blogs click here


Vin65 iPad App
23 January, 2011

iPad Tasting Room App

We've watched a lot of visitors pass through our clients' tasting rooms.  Instead of just letting them walk away, we wanted to do something to capture those visitors, to engage those visitors, and to start a relationship with them.  In response, Vin65 is introducing the iPad wine app for your tasting room including interactive Tasting Sheets, Club Signup, and Touch Screen Ordering.

Capture

Thoughtful interface to capture visitors name, email, and wine preferences while they are visiting the tasting room. (Visitors can use the application without leaving their information.)    

Engage

Allow visitors to follow along as they taste wines. They can learn more about the wine as they taste it, then rate it, and if they like it, mark it as their favorite.

Explore

Show them video, give them access to winery information and events. Just like your website, the iPad is a place for visitors to explore.

Sell

Option to sell wine via an easy-to-use touch screen interface. (Great for events where you could use a few more devices to capture orders).

Build

Allow visitors to sign up for your wine club.

Integrated

Fully integrated with the rest of the Vin65 platform. Customers who rate wine on the iPad will see these ratings in their profile on the Vin65 platform. List builder and other tools integrate with iPad preferences.

 

    

 

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What Wineries Are Saying

"The application allows us to present more information in a clear, concise, and easy-to-navigate form in both arenas. The application also creates new opportunities for sales and membership conversions at outside events. And it looks *%#&@! cool!" 
    - Jeff Stai, Twisted Oak

"The Vin65 iPad platform helps us provide another layer of superior customer service to our customers in our Tasting Room and at off site events. Customers using the iPad are more likely to join our wine club, buy wine online and sign up for our email list then using traditional pen and paper forms."
  - Felicia Alvarez, Pithy Little Wine Co

"In opening our new tasting room we wanted to maintain our personal connection with our guests yet offer them an advanced way to sign up for winery communications, fill out a comment card, place an order or become a wine club member. This iPad application from Vin65 is a bridge from our winery to the customer- providing a technological convenience while offering a personal service. Utilizing this technology has been a great advancement for us in offering state of the art customer service."
   - Gianna Furina, B Cellars

 "Thanks to the new Vin65 App, Domaine Chandon Australia will be one of the first wineries in Australia to incorporate the new Apple iPad into their tasting room, further enhancing customer interaction and capturing customer information for ongoing communication and increasing the rate of wine club subscriptions. A revolutionary way to engage our tasting room customers."
   - Andrew Leckey, IT Director at Estates & WinesAsia Pacific, Australia & New Zealand

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Learn More: https://www.vin65.com/Pricing

 

 

 

Clients/Testimonials

View all testimonials on Vin65's website here: https://www.vin65.com/Clients

 

https://www.vin65.com/Clients

Title Name Email Phone
CEO Joe Waechter joe.waechter@winedirect.com
VP Global Sales Jena Domingue jena.domingue@winedirect.com
Sales Director Kevin Williams kevin.williams@winedirect.com