Home Industry News Releases How Wineries, Restaurants & Retailers Are Coping in a New COVID-Driven World

How Wineries, Restaurants & Retailers Are Coping in a New COVID-Driven World

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San Jose, CA, March 26, 2020 — Online sales have suddenly become a critical path for wineries, wine retailers and other small businesses forced to forego in-person on-premise sales due to widespread Shelter-In-Place orders.  If you have an online commerce site, now is the time to get it optimized so you can make it as easy as possible for customers, both existing and new, to do business with you.  Be as creative as possible in making offers and engaging your club members as we navigate these uncharted waters.

Shipping has been a big obstacle for buyers in the past: now it’s something everyone needs to rely on. Curbside pickup at winery tasting rooms, restaurants and wine/food retail shops, as well as local delivery, have suddenly become necessities. Here are some ideas to help you make the most of online sales.

Gift cards are great ways to drive more sales during the closures, and can be either digital or physical (i.e., plastic logo’d cards sent via USPS to the  recipient). Remind your customers that gift cards are a quick and easy way to show some love to their kid’s teachers, their friends, hairdresser, favorite waiter, family members, a caregiver or a favorite first responder, all of whom could use a boost right now.  Also consider adding extra value on top of the purchase price, such as “Buy a full case and get 30% off + $10 flat rate shipping,” or perhaps access to a special wine. You can offer to add an extra “bonus” value on top of the purchase, say 20% on top of a $100 gift card, to thank your customers for supporting your business through this hardship.

Now, more than ever, having the right business partnerships makes all the difference between survival and extinction. Working with an e-commerce provider that is reliable, flexible and adaptable is critical to business success in a world that has suddenly shifted to ‘all-digital’ practically overnight.

Vines OS is such a partner. This e-commerce and club management platform for wineries, retailers and restaurants, handles online wine and food orders, lets you customize offers for club members and takes care of all the shipping details you need right now, like curbside pickup and local delivery. It is fully integrated with the #1 rated POS platform, Revel Systems, so you can get a complete view of all  ecommerce, club, event and POS transactions and keep your inventory fully up-to-date.

Customers like Susanne Bullock, Marketing Manager, at August Hill Winery and Illinois Sparkling Co. in Illinois, are leveraging Vines OS to reach out to their customers, as they scramble to replace traditional wine club pickup events with online sales. “At August Hill Winery & Illinois Sparkling Co., we are trying to adapt on a daily basis. As this all happened just prior to our Wine Club pickup weekend, we really wanted our wine club members to be able to get their wines. We first added curbside service, which was followed by a wine discount and a shipping discount for wine club members, and then a wine discount for non-members. The discounts offered to our club members resulted in new online wine club signups. We are also promoting our online gift cards that can be emailed or mailed to people to brighten their lives. Now, we are looking into offering local delivery and adding merchandise to our website for curbside pickup and shipping. We’re also looking into offering virtual tastings online and hope to do this in the near future. To have a little fun, we are currently running a March Madness Wine Tournament on Facebook and Instagram, and our customers (and non-customers) are enjoying the distraction.”

Kristy Charles, who owns Foursight Wines with her husband, Joe, in Boonville, CA, has been a Vines OS customer since they started their winery, over 10 years ago. “We’re adjusting to a whole new world! It’s strange not to have a tasting room open. Many of our wine club members are now requesting that we ship and we’ve been taking quite a few online orders. We’ve never had to use curbside pickup before, but Vines OS makes it easy for customers to choose this option when checking out. We’re also using the new Pop Up Promo feature for the first time to immediately communicate our special offers.” Charles also just requested a new Chat feature for their site, which Vines OS implemented and is now integrated into the platform. “Being able to answer questions live when a customer is placing an order is great. We’d been thinking about adding Chat functionality for some time, but now, it’s more important than ever.”

Shonna Nederhouser, Wine Club Manager at Nello Olivo Winery in Camino, CA, has been using the Vines OS platform for over a year now, and praises the company for their consistently helpful support. “Jules (Robbins) is my rock! I had to get trained in a hurry when the previous club manager suddenly retired, and we opened a new tasting room location. We migrated from Active Club to using Vines OS and Revel, and it’s so much easier to manage everything. Having an online store has suddenly become very critical. Some club members want their orders shipped, which never happened before. It’s great to have a platform that makes it so simple for them to place an order and choose free local delivery, curbside pickup or $1 shipping. Vines OS also has a Pop Up Promo feature which I am going to use to highlight our case specials.”

Gloria Chirichillo, co-owner of Domenico Winery in San Carlos with her husband Dominick, opened a long-anticipated restaurant, Osteria, last July. “My son, Nick, told us at the time that we needed to have online ordering and delivery. I should have done it months ago! Don’t you hate it when your children are right?!”  She’s been a Vines OS customer for a year, and has been quick to take advantage of the flexibility of the platform and is currently using the Pop-Up feature, gift cards, coupons and curbside pickup, as they pivot to a takeout and delivery model only, during these times of shelter-in-place. Asked what she likes best about Vines OS, Chirichillo says, “Jules! Let me tell you, when it comes to customer service, she is the BEST.  I couldn’t have gotten all these features up and running without her!”

In addition to superior customer service, the big reason Domenico chose Vines OS is because of its integration with Revel, their POS system, and how it works with processing their Wine Club Shipments. “On the backend, we process the shipments, and then it syncs with Revel, so that when our Wine Club Members come in for their pickup, we queue them up in Revel, and we can see what needs to be picked up, and done!  It has totally eliminated us putting together ‘wine club bags’ and keeping them in a separate area.  We can now pull the bottles right from the Tasting Room inventory, and it doesn’t pull the bottles from inventory until we mark the club members order: Received/Picked up.  Fabulous for inventory management!”

If you’d like to learn more about the different options and features of Vines OS that can help your business pivot more quickly to react to this challenging environment, regardless of the platform you are using, see the 15 Tips to Keep Your Revenue Flowing during the COVID-19 Crisis.

Restaurant owners: If you are already a Vines OS client using Revel Systems POS, and you offer Take Out orders at your establishment, you can easily set up your site to take online food orders for customer pickup. Learn more

If you’re interested in learning more, Book a 30 minute online meeting. Or use the chat icon on www.vinesos.com to ask any questions. These are challenging times, and Vines OS is here to help our  community, especially wineries, retailers and restaurants.

About Vines OS

Vines OS is a modern, cloud-based, direct-to-consumer solution that has been powering wineries in ecommerce and club solutions since 2002. Intuitive and feature-rich, Vines OS provides the tools to manage clubs, sell online, and book events and tastings. Vines OS is fully integrated with the #1 rated POS platform, Revel Systems. For more information please visit www.vinesos.com.

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