Finding the Path Forward

These are the most challenging times the wine industry has faced since Prohibition. It has exposed the weaknesses and strengths of our systems, revealed the good citizens from the bad actors, and illuminated the path forward. I’ve been incredibly vocal about the good and bad aspects of the wine industry across both wineries and vendors. As a member of the latter, it takes some self-awareness to understand how vendors contribute to industry problems. 

In reality, the wine industry is very small. Due to the limited field of winery customers, it’s challenging for vendors to create a single specialized lane and build a best of breed company. The limited potential revenue means fewer vendors are specialists or experts in their category. This, coupled with the limited number of vendor owners/leaders, leads to inevitable differences of opinion and personality conflicts. Despite the hurdles, we can do better.

The Unique Challenges of Wine DTC

Selling wine DTC is more complicated than other channels. Not because of regulations but because it requires creating an optimal customer journey across three very different channels/models (e-commerce/subscriptions/hospitality-TR). Seamlessly managing a customer through these multiple purchase paths, analyzing their behaviors, and then effectively marketing to them is no small feat. Yet, we require/need this omnichannel customer experience, all of this while expecting a feedback loop of more data returning into the transaction system. 

Creating an omnichannel wine purchase path requires multiple interconnected solutions. Sadly, as I hinted above, our industry is full of vendors that don’t work together to create seamless, interconnected, end-to-end solutions. Most vendors fight to own the whole pie and either outright refuse or begrudgingly partner/ integrate out of necessity. This results in substandard integrations, only connected at the barest minimal touchpoints, and only capable of unlocking small bits of value for wineries. What the wine industry needs is collaboration on optimal integrations and solutions. 

Working Together Toward the Best Solution

As a customer insights company, we fully understand that data without action has only incremental value. Conversely, action without data is an inefficient and often ineffective use of resources. Essentially point, shoot, aim. Only by merging data and action can you arrive at an optimal result. 

Merging Data and Action 

As many people know, Emetry is building insights that expose key “interventions” in a customer’s journey, where a winery can engage to stimulate customer growth or help reduce a customer’s decline in purchasing behavior. When done manually, this requires extensive time and energy over and over again. However, with modern technology, it’s something that can and should be “auto-magic”. 

Collaboration is Required to Make The Magic Happen

To effectively trigger better customer journeys, experiences, and communications data has to flow between all of wineries channels and platforms. With the deficiency of effective API’s and webhooks from vendors, our winery partners are condemned to an endless cycle of either hiring engineering consultants to stitch together API’s with cool services or to the purgatory of data importing/exporting. Thankfully there is a better path forward.

True Partnerships Takes Work

Instead of working with bare minimal data integrations (which would have been far easier), we’re actively seeking partners to collaborate with. The goal; create a seamless Martech stack for wine brands. With each partner, we consider what our combined systems can offer to increase value far above a simple data exchange. Together we put all of our features on the table and discuss various combinations to unlock the most value. Our vector is it has to increase sales or better retain customers. There are lots of conversations, creative disagreements, and more conversations, but in the end, collaboration. This is what the industry needs: vendors, working together on solutions.

We’re exhilarated to lay the framework for what an end-to-end solution looks like. This is just the beginning. The more vendors we can incite to collaborate and integrate, the stronger we will be as an industry.