Between 2018 and 2019, the total revenue from direct-to-consumer (DTC) wine sales in Australia reached an impressive $1 billion, accounting for 13 per cent of winery income on average. Of course, with the challenges everyone has experienced due to the COVID-19 crisis – which will continue for a while – things have suddenly changed.
Throughout the pandemic, there has clearly been a shift from on-premise sales to off-premise – with many consumers purchasing wine to consume at home instead of in cafes and restaurants. And many consumers are purchasing their wine online rather than through the cellar door or visiting retailers. With the anticipated economic downturn and changing consumer behaviours, it’s more important than ever to improve DTC wine sales. Here are four tips worth considering:
1. Know your ideal customer
It’s easy to say that your ideal customer is anyone who buys your wine – which can be both foolish and misleading. Plus, COVID-19 may have changed your customer base quite a bit. If you don’t know who you’re selling to, you may never achieve your goal of scaling up operations. Instead, you may end up spending thousands of dollars on marketing that doesn’t work.
By knowing who your ideal customer is, you can streamline your marketing efforts and run more targeted, sophisticated campaigns that generate results. With more winery customers demanding personalisation, making an effort to familiarise yourself with your customers can make a significant difference to your bottom line. So, check what tools you use to collect customer information both online and offline. Whenever possible, tag and segment your customers into appropriate subgroups such as age, gender or income bracket. Find out how much they’re spending on wine products per month and what wine preferences they have, including their favourite varietals. Customise your marketing communication pieces based on what you know, engage with your customers and listen to what they want.
2. Use email to your advantage
Email marketing has tremendous potential and is one of the cheapest ways to ensure your brand remains top-of-mind among your customers. Businesses have used email extensively throughout the COVID-19 crisis to communicate, share updates and build loyalty with their customer base – and it has worked really well.
Use email to provide updates, retain and engage with repeat customers. Getting new customers is great but generating more sales through your loyal customers is even more effective, as these can lead to referrals. This way, you hit two birds (or more) with one stone. Send helpful, informative emails containing practical information that wine lovers can apply as they improve their wine experience. Let them know about any special offers and product updates. Use email to persuade customers who aren’t members of your wine club to sign up and enjoy the perks of membership.
3. Enhance your online performance
Convenience is a major factor that has altered the retail sphere of business – something that online shopping addresses. Having an online shopping presence was the only thing that kept some wineries afloat during COVID-19.
Internet wine sales are only going to continue to grow, so make sure you take advantage of this opportunity. Find out how your online sales performance stacks up against other sales avenues, and make sure you monitor the trends of your business. Are online sales growing, flat or declining? What are they likely to do once COVID-19 restrictions ease even further? Can you turn your website into a virtual cellar door or run virtual events? Does your website load quickly and does it facilitate smooth online shopping? Is it responsive for mobile devices? The answers to these questions should inform your business strategy.
4. Invest in Software – but not as much as you think
Many wineries have been examining their business strategy during the COVID-19 downtime – addressing operational issues, revisiting the way things are done etc. You may have wondered whether or not your current software system is robust enough to handle this ‘new normal’ going forward. But the good news is you can vastly improve DTC wine sales with better software. This includes e-commerce solutions but also includes operational software like Wine One, powered by SAP Business One. This enables you to ramp up sales by offering a centralised means of running the business whilst providing the data you need to make informed business decisions. But with the economic hit from COVID-19, you’re probably wondering how you could possibly afford it.
We get it. At Solutions+, we’ve talked with and listened to our winery clients and we know times are tough, so we’ve designed a new Wine One system that’s much more streamlined ready to go, ‘out of the box’ but with optional tailoring, that allows you to lower your up-front investment and spread out payments over a longer term, too. Because of our experience working with multiple wineries, we’ve created templates and pre-tailored options that can get you up and running in Wine One without the usual implementation costs.
Our Unboxed Wine One solution is ideal for wineries needing a single system that can handle distribution, retail, product costing, inventory management and exporting – something you may have thought was out of reach, particularly at the moment when cash flow is so tight.
Want to know more about the new Unboxed Wine One from Solutions+ Partnership and find out if it’s right for your winery?Learn more today