E-commerce is becoming increasingly popular. Technological innovations and a demand for more convenience have led to a growth in online sales, further spurred by the effects of COVID. This trend has also reached the wine industry. Following the pandemic, it has been found that online shopping for wine is becoming habitual for consumers. In 2019-2020 wine online sales grew by 49%. This number is expected to rise post-covid. Direct-to-Consumer (DTC) sales have also been growing significantly, even before the pandemic. DTC sales in Australia accounted for an average of 17% of a winery’s income. DTC also outperformed other wine sales channels where it experienced a 7% growth in overall value in 2019-2020. E-commerce DTC channels are being increasingly recognised as a front-runner distribution channel. Selling wines online, one may expect that the consumer simply buys the product. But there is much more to it. Wine purchases should be considered a customer experience. Wineries must see this distribution channel as a marketing opportunity, where they can connect with their customers and maximise customer engagement. This article will discuss how we can use various strategies to maximise engagement with our customers.
Between 50% and 80% of purchasing decisions are made at the shelf where decisions are highly influenced by packaging and design. Logos, the design, the packaging material used and the size of the product are all elements that can influence a customer’s decision to buy your product. Having a unique packaging which ‘speaks’ to your consumers can put you ahead of the competition. It is important to have a packaging that not only aligns with your brand, but also piques the interests of consumers.
For example, canned wines! Something that would have been considered ‘cheap’ in the olden days is now turning into a premium category with high growth. Canned wines have been growing in sales 70-80% year over year and an increasing number of sellers are pursuing this option. Why is this packaging so special? 250ml size cans offer much more portability and flexibility than a large glass bottle of wine. Consumers can take such cans ‘on-the-go’ to areas such as the beach, picnics or anywhere in general. It’s also easier to recycle these cans and thus such packaging suits the preferences of eco-friendly consumers. This type of packaging has allowed wineries to grab the attention of millenniums, a market which is not always easy to attract when it comes to wine. Using elements that represent the brand and attract your target market is crucial when it comes to packaging.
Wineries have an opportunity to use technological innovation to provide ‘virtual’ experiences to their customers, wherever they may be. AI, AR, big data and blockchain technologies have made this possible. eBottli allows wine drinkers to connect with the vineyard and see the story behind the bottle. Customers can use their smartphones to scan the label and see the story of origin. Innovations such as these enable the customers to learn more about their purchases and truly engage with the wineries. eBottli also helps their customers gain trust in their clients’ brands. Through tracking and blockchain technologies, geolocating services and unique identifier labels, customers can scan their products to verify the authenticity of the artisan wine. eBottli provides the technologies required to engage consumers and turn them into repeat customers.
it’s also important to take full advantage of the opportunities digital marketing provides. Within five minutes consumers can do extensive research on brands before choosing a wine to purchase. Thus, any firm who wants to survive in today’s marketplace requires a solid digital strategy. Wineries have the opportunity to educate their consumers through social media quizzes, stories, facts about the winery, informative tips. Influencers can also post stories and educate their followers on your wine products, enabling you to tap into a new consumer group within seconds. Such strategies can enable your firm to grab the attention of millennials, who are keen to try new types of wine and learn about the stories behind them. Wineries have an opportunity to educate their consumers and encourage them to make an investment in high-quality wines.
The unboxing experience
A study conducted by Copper Peak Logistics found that the experience of unpacking wines can have a significant impact on customer engagement. The study showed that many people share about their experiences waiting for and opening packages where roughly one tweet or mention took place every five minutes. More than 25% of these tweets and mentions were retweeted or shared. In addition, only 12.5% of the tweets and mentions studied were positive, where these reviews tended to focus on the excitement of the package (especially if it was received early) and the mystery of the package (what came, remembering what they ordered, receiving an unexpected gift). There is a huge opportunity for DTC wineries to create a positive experience when it comes to opening a package. For example, sending a card with the package which explains the origins of the wine, a promotional video sent by email to the consumers once the package is received or on the way, a small sample of new wine in stock or a complimentary discount card. Perhaps also include a menu that matches up the wine ordered with food items. Such value add-ons can turn new customers into long-term assets who may further spread a positive word of mouth, either digitally or face-face.
Technology, digital marketing, packaging and unboxing all play a part in influencing customer engagement. Following the forecasted growth in e-commerce and DTC channels, it is important for wineries to manage these distribution channels appropriately, by keeping the customer at heart. Unlike other retail products, wine is a luxury. While the taste of the wine is non-negotiable, the experience the consumer has with your wine from start to finish, is the key to engagement.