The three tier system and other restrictive regulations have prevented the internet from completely transforming the wine industry like it has so many others. Nevertheless, it has still made quite an impact. In this edition of Ask The Expert we talk about how!
Today we’re joined by Chris Saylor, CTO of Vintage Wine Estates, which is the parent company of the custom winery Windsor Vineyards. Here is his answer to the question: How Has The Internet Impacted Your Winemaking and Wine Selling Strategy?
The growing relationship between technology and the wine industry has, to us, most definitely been a positive development during the last two decades, and continues to be one of the guiding forces for the way we operate our business. The emerging advancements around e-commerce, smartphone applications, and social media outlets are allowing our customers to connect with us in ways that they never could before. We are in a position to now share our brand story with customers on an international level, essentially delivering a “wine country” experience and the wines themselves to anyone in the world at any time.
Especially for the wineries that don’t have proper tasting rooms—the negociants, under-resourced vineyards, and DTC-exclusive businesses like ourselves—the continued expansion of the online wine space has been absolutely integral for our success. If we have no way of bringing consumers to a property to showcase the story behind the brand and our lineup of wines, we need a separate kind of channel to communicate why you should be buying our wines. The Internet lets us do that.
Beyond the added sales capacity and reach that the web affords us, we can now learn more about our customers in ways that help us to deliver a better experience to them. Whether it’s through the customer service program that includes our live online chat-boxes, or other software products that offer insights into our demographics on a super-granular level, we’ve been able to gather an incredible amount of information about what our customers want. Through online trade publications, cutting-edge blogs, and other analytics sites, we also now have the ability to track what is trending in the consumer space and therefore deliver a product that is relevant in our industry.
There’s also a purely competitive component to all of this, of course. Without having to relinquish profits to a distribution network in the three-tier system, we can simultaneously sell our wines for lower prices DTC while making higher margins for the business. As technology improves, the overhead associated with running an e-commerce company decreases, and as a business that doesn’t have worry about the infrastructural costs of a winery or vineyard, we’ve become particularly pleased with the amount of value that we’re able to deliver as an end product.
Moving forward, we’re hoping to continuing improving our user interfaces, increasing our efficiency, and getting our wine to our customers as quickly as possible. With the Internet, we feel like anything is possible.
Thanks to Chris Saylor representing Windsor Vineyards for his answer to the question How Has The Internet Impacted Your Winemaking and Wine Selling Strategy?
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