Second Impressions Count: How Wine Delivery Experiences Shape Customer Preferences

Kevin Diffily | March 8, 2019

In the world of wine, first impressions are incredibly important. Consumers’ perceptions can be swayed by a friendly greeting when they walk through the door, the layout and cleanliness of a tasting room, a website’s organization and ease of use, or the label of a bottle.

But when you consider the growing influence of ecommerce, it’s that second impression –delivery – that may ultimately make or break the customer experience. And yet, the delivery experience can feel out of your control. After a package leaves your winery or warehouse, how do you ensure delivery goes positively for your customer? A common challenge like failed delivery attempts could lead to damaged wine, for example, since temperature fluctuations can affect the product. Optimizing the delivery experience is critical.

Second-impression lessons from Amazon and Apple
Delivery challenges can be tough to solve, given that ecommerce sales show no signs of slowing. Ecommerce accounts for about 9 percent of total retail sales and is growing exponentially according to the U.S Census Bureau. Strategy&, PwC’s strategy consulting business, predicts that the number of packages delivered each year in the U.S. will grow from 11 billion in 2018 to more than 16 billion by 2020. This growth is directly affecting direct-to-consumer (DtC) wine shipments. In our 2019 Direct-to-Consumer Wine Shipping Report, we found that wineries shipped more than 6 million cases of wine in 2018, an increase of 9 percent from the previous year.

With the number of deliveries expected to increase, businesses like Amazon and Apple are redefining the delivery experience, and wineries must take note. As more and more packages are sent, wine deliveries must meet consumers’ demands to receive exactly what they want, exactly when, where and how they want it.

To ensure customers receive packages without problems, Amazon is adding secure neighborhood pick-up locations and testing delivery inside customers’ property. In addition, the company is installing lockers in more than 850,000 apartment buildings, as well as at Whole Foods and other brick-and-mortar stores, providing more flexibility around delivery times and minimizing the risk of stolen or damaged goods.

While Amazon has led the online sales revolution for everything from $1 packs of pencils and books to groceries and other necessities, high-end brands are slowly taking notice. However, these brands are taking Amazon’s efficiencies one step further by also delivering an unforgettable unboxing experience that will turn first-time buyers into loyal customers.

One company investing in the unboxing experience is Apple. The technology giant’s notable aesthetics flow from its technology products to stores and even touches its packaging. Design is so ingrained into the company that Apple even has an unboxing room where designers can experiment with packaging with the hopes of evoking the perfect emotional response from their customers. As Apple’s Jonathan Ive notes, “Packaging can be theater, it can create a story.” As such, Apple focuses its unboxing experience on getting people to the product they ordered fast – with easy open packages and putting the main product front and center – satisfying consumers need for quick gratification.

Expanding the second impression to wineries
One luxury product – wine – has more complexities around direct-to-consumer (DTC) sales, including state-specific regulatory requirements, age restrictions and fragile items that must be protected in transit. Yet the demand is growing.

Extending the white-glove treatment from the tasting room to customers’ homes can be hampered by many of the problems other retailers face. But ShipCompliant is helping wineries live up to the gold standard of delivery that Amazon and Apple have set. Our cloud-based platform enables wineries to personalize the shipping process, from proactively communicating with customers about delivery times or potential issues to allowing self-service re-routing to different locations, to partnerships with Commerce7 to make it easy to ship wine to Fed Ex Hold-at-Locations (HALs).

Wineries don’t have to suffer from a bad second impression as they expand their DTC sales. With an assist from ShipCompliant Delivery Experience tools, wineries can ensure great communications with their customers, and leverage analytics to improve delivery rates and customer satisfaction, which are vitala to generating repeat business and higher sales.

Find out how ShipCompliant by Sovos can help your business provide the luxury delivery experience that your customers want by signing up for a free demo.


Get your copy of the 2019 Direct-to-Consumer Wine Shipping Report today for comprehensive data and insights.