Wine Depot

From casual visitor to brand ambassador

Being in the wine business for a while, you breathe everything wine, grow beautiful grapes and go above and beyond in customer service. You’re passionate about leaving a positive footprint in the wine industry and even set your heart on growing your own family of wine lovers. Or better yet, harvesting a close-knit tribe of brand ambassadors that appreciate and truly love your wine. Sounds awesome, right?

However, there’s one cheeky “but”

It is called a conversion. People visit your winery in high spirits relishing in your vineyard’s presentation. They love your wines as they buy a couple of bottles or might just enjoy wine tasting itself and say they will definitely come back. But then, they forget. This pool of clientele who are incredibly important to the success of your business are gone. 

This doesn’t sound right, does it?

Recurring clients is a pain spot for many vintners whether they have been in the wine business for 30 years or started just a couple of months ago. They all know how to produce wine. Most of them have a good understanding of providing quality customer service and how to drive direct sales. But not many have managed to build a truly recognisable brand, ensuring people continue to come back again and again or run a successful wine club.

From a casual visitor to a raving fan

WINEDEPOT shared a couple of tips on how to transform tasting room traffic to a community of regular customers. Check out this list and you’ll undoubtedly find another box to tick.

Tip #1 – Check if you’re missing prospects

As an experienced wine professional, you know how important it is to track what kind of client comes to your winery and analyse the tasting room visitors’ behaviour. The more information you learn, the more insights you can use to attract similar customers, convert tasters to baseline buyers at the very least, and finally transform them into your own brand ambassadors. Track everything, including how many people don’t want to pay the tasting fee and skip your winery, how many clients pay for wine tasting and make a purchase, and finally, how many just pay the tasting fee and leave without buying a bottle. 

There’s no secret that acquiring a new repeat customer is way more beneficial in the long term than making money on tastings and letting them leave to stock up their cellars at your competitor. For sure, they help you earn the money, but the wine tasting cost alone is not enough to keep the business afloat.

Play around with your numbers – check visitor traffic stats, experiment with changing minimal bottle costs, tasting fees or reconsider waiving the threshold and see how it goes. 

It is smarter having a little bit less margin but selling more wine because uncorking your bottle during a cosy dinner with friends creates an additional experience, a connection to your brand, it lets you into your client’s life and makes your winery stay in their memory for longer. Talking business, it significantly increases your vineyard’s chances of a customer returning or securing another order online.

Tip #2 – Stay in touch

It seems pretty obvious that nowadays you won’t be able to reach your goal without a strong online presence. The market is so competitive that you have to not just be present, but stand out, engage and manage your community. Though, our recent experience with contacting wineries for collaboration on an upcoming marketing campaign showed that not all of them utilise social media. Even more concerning was to see wonderful vineyards not having a current website or a website at all. Absence or unclear contact details appeared to be another pain spot.

With no judgement, we definitely suggest investing time in growing your online community. Add another goal to your list called “leave a digital footprint of my business wherever I can” and pursue it. Ensure your contact details are easy to find and your email address is simple to read. Make social media activity a part of your business routine or outsource someone to make it happen for you.

Also, consider setting up email marketing. It is one of the best and classic ways to stay in touch with your prospects. It is the same as social media, it helps you to prolong the conversation. Create a sign-up form on your website, ask for an email address in your paper questionnaire if it’s your preference (e.g. combine it with a COVID-19 awareness form), or get a tablet with a subscription window open and put it on the counter. Double the effect with giving out a business card, flyer or postcard where you suggest joining your mailing list or add it to a wine case when delivering. Think about suggesting an incentive like a discount or giveaway to provoke an impulse and fill the data collection with the purpose for your client.

Communicate regularly, not just twice a year. Share hot deals but expand your conversations with winemaking behind-the-scenes, tell everyday stories, show smiling faces of your team members and feature funny pictures of your wine dog.

And just one more element to keep in mind — trends. Follow the biggest wine and dine bloggers and commercial accounts, see what works for them, engage with their content to get noticed by potential clientele and wine enthusiasts and try to recreate eye-catchy content pieces in your own unique style. Or crack the viral techniques by binding your content to popular news and watch how it resonates. This game is worth the candle!

Simply speaking, don’t ignore digital marketing.

All these steps are easy enough to begin executing tomorrow and, believe us, it will pay you back soon.

Tip #3 – Adapt for the new business reality

We know there’s been a lot of challenges in 2020. Let’s stay grounded and realistic in that they are not going to disappear in 2021. Wine businesses who haven’t adjusted yet have to prepare for the reality that new COVID-19 restrictions and lockdowns are very likely.

What do you do when wine tasting is limited or impossible? We want to share some great practices of the WINEDEPOT’s partner wineries who managed to catch a wave and keep their D2C channels working and prospering. 

For example, Koonara Wines not only sustains but continues to grow their D2C sector sales during COVID-19. “Direct-to-consumer has become a bigger part of our market, and we’d like to hold onto this. We were fortunate that this essentially replaced our wholesale market in April and May. Prior to COVID-19 direct-to-consumer sales represented maybe 10-15% of our business, and since has been up to 50% of our business.” 

Primo Estate Wines is another promising example of a modern and flexible wine business. “With direct-to-consumer orders accounting for around 50% of our sales, during Coronavirus closures, this increased significantly. There are so many more people engaging online, including people who haven’t tried our wines before – so, between the increased volume and the reduced interstate shipping and handling costs, we joined WINEDEPOT at the perfect time.”

Check out more customer success stories on our website, think of all the tools available to transform your most fleeting customers into brand supporters and set your goals for 2021. We are absolutely sure that the right attitude, reliable business partner and these simple steps will help you to get an hour of cheer. Or a lot more.