Personalisation disrupting wine ecommerce - SwiftERM

Personalisation disrupting wine ecommerce. Historically, the wine industry, one built on a bedrock of traditions, has not been keen on adapting to new trends and technology. But, the recent pandemic with its disruptive effects on the entire alcohol marketplace has forced many winemakers and retailers to reassess their business models. Ones that relied heavily on in-person tastings and on-premise dollars, both of which suffered greatly during lockdowns as many consumers flocked to online shopping for their wine.

According to International Wine & Spirit Research, in 2020, alcohol e-commerce grew worldwide more than 42% to $24 billion and is projected to grow to $40 billion by 2024. That has led to a flurry of investment in the segment. Drizzly sold for $1.1 billion to Uber UBER +5.5%, and Vintage Wine Estates recently went public in a SPAC deal.

But, the shift to online shopping for many wineries brought heartache as sites offered discounted prices to move cases. Something many felt cheapened their brand and could have a long-term detrimental effect on their products’ reputations. By directly addressing that fear while offering wineries much-needed revenue, SwiftERM is positioned to help usher many wineries into the twenty-first-century marketplace. The personalisation e-commerce plugin very well might disrupt the entire wine industry and offer a blueprint for other consumer goods industries to follow.

Founded in 2014, the company uses its innovative technology and data engines to create a unique product selection to each individual consumer purchasing wine on a site. The company was born from first hand experience of David Swift, the founder, and CEO had from helping SMEs on behalf of a DTi initiative. “I used to visit retailer after retailer with the same problem, neither the time nor money to actively participate in email marketing, let alone personalise each product selection to each consumer, as much as they’d want to.” he says. “It drove me to create a solution that would be both highly cost effective and purpose built for the depth of data required. That’s the basic DNA of our company.”

Unlike other online ecommerce SaaS products for alcohol,  it negates the need for them to ever discount their wines and offers them to consumers at a wineries standard retail price. When someone visits a vintner’s site, their purchases are noted but more importantly as is the selection route taken. What they come back to look at regularly, how ever they move off-piste, what their buying cycle is, etc. Price point for each bottle is integral to the process, as price per bottle spent is seen as the slowest, although not immovable, element of what products to then offer in your marketing to that individual, to keep them happiest.  

The effect of the introduction is substantial including a 20x (20 times) increase in annual return from email marketing, broken down into both increases in average order value, and massive uplift in customer loyalty – defined by the LTV (lifetime value – sometimes referred to as LTCV). But one of it’s greatest values comes from being a 100% automatic process, so wine retailers never need sit down to decide what products to segment their audience into, to offer exactly the most likely product each individual is likely to buy. Beware segmentation is not personalisation. SwiftERM, populates a stylesheet and sends, without the need of any human involvement whatsoever, leaving the retailer to concentrate on the role they went into the business for, usually customer facing. Consider the cost to you for staff to run existing email marketing efforts – all saved and improved upon.

Their commitment to maintaining brand prestige and the opportunity to introduce consumers to new products has led many wineries to work with them, especially in the last few years. The company’s unique approach to selling wine is rooted in the fact that it was born from the tech world that thrives and grows regardless of other world economic issues.  

“Consumers have finally gotten used to buying wine online. Now the challenge is figuring out how to connect with them more closely, so they don’t become dazzled by someone else offering to look after them better,” says Tony Troth, the first retailer to install the system when it went live, and still making them an additional 15% turnover pa. “We see that the industry is ripe for tech to make a meaningful impact for vintners and vineyards alike.”

The solution is offered to any retail website using Shopify, WooCommerce, Opencart or Magento ecommerce platforms, which account for 78.6% of all ecommerce sites around the world, according to Builtwith. Once installed – which takes just a couple of minutes, post registration, (that they’ll do for you for free if need be), it takes 24 hours to populate the system and thereafter you’re up and running without ever needing to touch it again, enjoying an increase in sales immediately.

With ease they are offering consumers access to exactly the wines that individual is most likely to buy. According to Troth, in their first month on the site, consumers make three visits buying on average eighteen bottles at the cost of nearly £500. In the first year, they spend close to £5,000. It’s really a case of whether you can afford every other wine merchant opportunity to steal a march on delivering customer satisfaction and acquisition through personalisation by installing it before you do.

Where the future takes the wine industry and SwiftERM, no one knows. Still, it seems that they have managed to introduce a new way of selling wine to a sector that is usually slow to adapt to change. 

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