Ronald Scharman, e-Winery’s director, Bob Iannetta, of Vino Visit and Paul Wagner, of Balzac Communications, spotlighted what are the challenges facing the wineries and how they can capture new consumers.
In relation to wine tourism and the communication of wineries, Paul Wagner of Balzac Communications pointed out: “Latin American wineries should find out how to be different. Many of them promote their terroirs or winemaking practices, but the truth is that consumers do not pay attention to those details when buying a wine. When customers visit the wineries they do not look for certain winemaking practice. If the wine has an image of their lifestyle, they will drink it again. Getting consumers involved in the winemaking process is more highly valued by them. This way, they will become emissaries of the winery, and part of the team.”
Likewise, he maintained: “the real challenge is not to undertake promotion campaigns as Coca Cola does. Wineries should work smarter and invest time rather than money. The key lies in building personal relationships”. As regarding this, he added that wineries should know consumers. “In California, there are giant brands, but they do not manage to position themselves in the market. Instead of advertising in magazines for instance, they should focus on special events where people can have more participation. It is more highly appreciated to meet consumers face to face than to contact them via Facebook. Social networks are more useful to enhance the relationship, not to create it from scratch.”
Besides, with regard to communication, he highlighted: “Don’t just talk, listen too,” “propaganda ends where dialogue begins”. “Satisfied customers share their experience with 8 people, but those who are unsatisfied do it with 22.”
The importance of direct- to-consumer sales
Bob Iannetta of Vino Visit underlined: “one of the reasons for which this kind of sales is more profitable is that they avoid the distribution process. In the case of some wineries, the hub of profitability comes from the tasting rooms. In the United States, wineries from 34 states reported sales experiencing a 64% growth, due to the direct-to-consumer channel”.
For his part, Scharman commented: “the channel of direct-to-consumer sales is growing at fast pace in the United States, especially for small production wineries. Wines within the highest price segments are gaining again ground, mainly in California.”
Scharman maintained: “in order to have success as a retailer, it is crucial to make some change in customers’ life. Retailers should try to get them involved in the winery and continue offering them the experience, in order for them to go on buying the product. Sometimes, in direct sales, customers spend more money, but what they are paying is the experience this type of sale entails.”
Moreover, Bob Iannetta stressed: “social networks and marketing by e-mail are one of the ways of capturing new consumers. This way, we manage to measure the visits, get customers involved with the brand and bring them back to the winery.”
Another important tip is the web page. “First impressions are lasting impressions. The site should be the clearest representation of both the winery and its staff. It should have a design enabling consumers to easily navigate and find what they are looking for,” he highlighted.
In regards with this, the director of e-Winery explained: “the evolution of a customer is the following: customers discover the winery and vice versa; then they visit the web site; and finally, potential customers become real customers. The fourth stage consists of making customers loyal to the brand over the years. When customers visit the tasting room, they find a world in three dimensions, but the web shows only two. It is important to take advantage of and work on those dimensions. The web site can be shown in three dimensions by telling some interesting anecdotes or stories. Videos are a good way of telling stories and differentiating from the rest.”
Translation: Carolina Lucesole