As the wine industry counts the cost and regroups after yet another country-wide alcohol ban, one beacon of hope has remained steady. For many brand owners and producers, customer loyalty has made the difference between scraping through and going under. It’s something retailers have relied on for decades (or make that centuries).
During the pandemic, online tastings and livestreaming events were innovative ways of generating customer engagement and building brand loyalty. Wine clubs have also proven to be a popular way to establish solid customer bases. A dynamic customer retention strategy will guide consumers along their journey of discovery all the way through to after-sales services. Clearly, loyalty is king. Is it time for wine farms to start handing out loyalty cards?
Not necessarily, says Stanley Edwards of Platypus Digital. Most customers are by now well-prepared to shop online, and have their mobile phones (and credit cards) holstered and ready. Why not use that your advantage?
Turning heads 360 degrees
Platypus Digital recently announced a new app to help tickle those trigger fingers. The WINE360 App allows wineries to offer a cash-back reward that drives loyalty without the need to invest in platform development, distribute loyalty cards, or carry monthly maintenance costs. What’s more, it also drives direct-to-consumer sales, as all orders via the app go directly to the winery.
“The winery not only fulfils the order but also develops a direct relationship which they can leverage long term,” Stanley explains. “Wineries manage their WINE360 storefront and don’t have to list all their products. They can list selected wines and determine their own pricing and cash back rewards.”
The app doesn’t replace existing loyalty card or regular wine clubs, but creates an additional sales channel that can be managed by the winery. It allows wineries to take their loyalty programme a step further by also adding their restaurants, shops, accommodation and activities such as wine tastings, tours, and mountain bikes rides to their reward scheme.
The full story
As a creator of digital marketing content for wineries, Platypus Digital was looking for an online sales platform that allowed wineries to include more entertaining and engaging content beyond the staid and traditional product and price offerings. “Wineries have great stories to tell, and these are lost on most online stores,” Stanley says.
Platypus Digital found the perfect partner in UBU International, a Cape Town based company that provides a white-label mobile discovery, payments and rewards platform for digital and physical commerce for SMEs. “This platform uses loyalty and customer experience to help solve the challenge of getting repeat business and finding new ways for SMEs to grow their customer base.”
The WINE360 app offers a more media-rich experience to customers since wineries can include interactive virtual reality tours, augmented reality codes, wine tourism experiences, videos and much more. “There’s no cost to list or any monthly service fees, and any winery can create a storefront in the UBU Marketplace.”
Since the market ecosystem includes many other white-label wallet apps including radio stations, ISPs, sports clubs, telcos, schools, the winery is also exposed to thousands of potential new customers from other wide-reaching organisations.
No more discounts
One major advantage of the WINE360 loyalty programme is its ability to reward loyalty with cash-back benefits. This is a much better way to encourage repeat sales than discounts, which may be counterproductive in the long term. “Discounts bring in more sales in the short term but when you offer a discount, you devalue your product and brand and don’t build brand loyalty,” Stanley says. “When a discount ends, customers will simply look for the next one. An on-going cashback reward is a way of thanking customers and rewarding them for their continued support.”
And since the WINE360 app is made for smartphones, it also offers contactless transactions. “The mobile wallet allows customers to pay wineries directly. They receive the payment instantly with no cash or credit cards required. Transactions are frictionless and touchless, since it all happens seamlessly within the app.”
Think of it as a COVID-friendly enhancement.
The WINE360 app is a fully transactional storefront. All sales are directed to the winery to fulfil the order and build a direct relationship with the consumer. The advantage is that transactions through the app generate information on customer behaviour. “Wineries can gain valuable insights through their online dashboard where they can view their customers’ activity, learn more about who they are, what they purchase most often, and when they’re most likely to spend.”
Download the WINE360 App: