Answered: Most-Asked Questions from the Sovos ShipCompliant–WineDirect–Enolytics Webinar, Post-Pandemic Planning: Customer Engagement for the Road Ahead

Delaney McDonald | May 13, 2020

Our recent webinar with WineDirect and Enolytics, Post-Pandemic Planning: Customer Engagement for the Road Ahead, was a timely topic that drew lively Q&A—too many to address in our allotted hour! Here are our panelists’ take on the most-surfaced themes in your questions.

(Missed the live webinar? You can still access the recording and slides on demand.)


Q: How are you cataloging risk? What variables go into a high or very high risk for leaving vs. low? Is it solely previous purchase history?

Cathy Huyghe, Enolytics: To catalogue risk, we create cohorts and analyze their behavior. By “cohort” we mean a group of people with similarities, such as females in a particular wine club who have been members for a certain number of months. This is the “pre-marketing” segmentation that lays the groundwork (and adds real-life teeth) to the kind of personas that underpin successful targeted marketing outreach and creative communications.

Then we ask, what is the likelihood of that cohort leaving the club at this period of time? Every cohort has a risk profile, that our algorithms define based on variables (churn rate being one of them) on a month-by-month basis.


Q: What are the metrics we should be looking at to recognize at-risk customers?

Cathy Huyghe, Enolytics: In addition to what is described above regarding cohorts, an additional variable worth considering is personal purchase history. In terms of Enolytics specifically, this gets in the weeds technically; the algorithms we’ve developed are beyond the capabilities of Excel and are in the realm of artificial intelligence. But here’s an example. If customers’ purchase history aligns very closely with the more general cohort purchasing history, we find that those customers are at greater risk. If customers deviate from the cohort and purchase outside the wine club (through telemarketing and website channels, for example), we find that those customers are at less risk.


Q: Building unique profiles and sorting by bad data, segmenting by generation or gender, etc., seems to be dependent on extensive manual database entry (at least for us as our reports are unable to automatically pull those fields). Any thoughts on to streamlining the process?

Adrienne Stillman, WineDirect: If you are working out of a spreadsheet, or have more basic customer data, start with what you have. If you only have geography, segment based on that. You should also have purchase history. With those two things, you can target your local club members for pickup orders and your one-time tasting room buyers from Texas for an introductory shipping offer. Start small and build as you go.

Cathy Huyghe, Enolytics: You might be surprised at how much we can do with relatively limited fields of data. Birthdate, for example, is critical in order to identify generational differences. Another example is first name, which we use to determine gender with a high mathematical probability. A third example is contact information like email or phone, and also street address where the order is shipped.

Birthdate, first name and zip code are the three most essential pieces of information you want to be sure are in your database, because that enables segmentation by generation, gender and geography. Email address and phone number are also very important in order to enable targeted campaigns via email (driving traffic to your website) or telemarketing.


Q: Will Enolytics tie into WineDirect?

Cathy Huyghe, Enolytics: Yes, Enolytics in integrated with WineDirect’s ecommerce tools via a daily data sync. Enolytics also interacts with WineDirect by seamlessly directing you to the appropriate WineDirect window as needed. For example, when Enolytics identifies a bad email address, we’ll automatically open that customer’s contact profile in WineDirect so that you can fix it with a minimum of clicks.

Alex Koral, Sovos ShipCompliant: Similarly, WineDirect is a Sovos ShipCompliant Platinum Certified integrated partner.


Q: How do you incentivize guests to update their data?

Adrienne Stillman, WineDirect: There’s a lot of room for human error when it comes to updating or entering data, from a guest themselves accidentally inputting a bad email to tasting room staff inadvertently mis-entering a phone number.

Ensuring accurate data entry at the point of collection is critical. Ideally, the guest should enter their own data electronically wherever possible, be that on your website or in your tasting room. Remove as many manual steps as possible between data entry and upload into your customer relationship management (CRM) software.

You can also simply ask customers and fans to periodically to update their information via email. If people are invested in your brand, they want to hear from you and they’ll do it.

Finally, if you see high-value customers unsubscribe from your mailing list, or see a drop-off in engagement, this would be a good group to target with a call campaign for a check in and opportunity to update their data that way.


Q: Some of my customers are concerned with signing for wine packages. FedEx is waiving that requirement now if someone waves to the window so they know they are 21+. Do you think this could be a lasting change?

Alex Koral, Sovos ShipCompliant: Like most of the emergency provisions that are in effect during the COVID-19 crisis, the relaxation of signature requirements is unlikely to become permanent. The waiving of this requirement is a valid and rational response to social/physical distancing, but this is a temporary action that does not relieve the general requirement to get adult signatures when delivering packages containing alcohol. Many states’ laws specifically demand carriers get an adult’s signature at the time of delivery, and require follow-up reporting documenting the signatures they have received. These laws will have to be amended through legislation in order to become permanent. During this emergency, when concerns about proximity with other people are top of mind, states are looking the other way at this and other otherwise effective laws. But we should expect that when the emergency clears (which we all hope happens soon), requirements like signing for wine packages will once again be enforced.

It should also be noted that, even if the signature requirements are being relaxed during the emergency, it remains an absolute requirement that alcohol be neither sold nor delivered to anyone under the age of 21. Carriers that are not gathering signatures at the time of delivery must still physically contact a person at the time of delivery and verify that they are of age to receive alcohol. Failure to comply with these requirements carries the risk of criminal prosecution, which can be imputed from the carrier onto the winery.


Q: What ideas do the speakers have for acquiring new members with the tasting room closed?

Adrienne Stillman, WineDirect: First, think about how you can “re-acquire” some of your existing mailing list members who haven’t purchased from you in a while —or ever. These are your warmest leads and will be the easiest to convert to a sale. Strategies for reaching this group include special email offers, phone sales campaigns, direct mail and social media advertising. Remember: multi-channel campaigns are more successful than single-channel.

You can also leverage social media lookalike audiences to generate potential groups of new customers you can advertise to.

Finally, incentivize your existing fans to evangelize on your behalf by offering special gifting opportunities and rewarding referrals.


Q: Abandoned cart: how many days later do you think is best for a reminder e-mail?

Adrienne Stillman, WineDirect: Aim for next day—any longer than that and they may have moved on to a different product.


P.S. Keep an eye on our webinars listing for upcoming and on-demand educational events.