Q. Do you have any details about the new TTB rule allowing for some samples of wine to be shipped for virtual tastings? Like sizes and kinds of containers to use, etc. Thanks.
A. Yes, you can find them here:
Tasting Sample Requirements for Virtual Tastings
Q. Any ideas what the legality of home delivery is with wine?
A. In Oregon you have to get approval from the OLCC before you start making home deliveries. From what we understand, it is a quick (same day) and painless process. Each state has their own rules and guidelines, and, from what we have seen, they have all eased up on restrictions during this time. Here are some we’ve recently referenced for our clients:
New York Wine Home Delivery Guidelines
Washington Wine Home Delivery Guidelines
California Wine Home Delivery Guidelines
Q. Do you find live chat difficult to set up with Orderport?
A. Honestly, we haven’t set one up on Orderport yet (most of our clients are WineDirect or Commerce7). But, I did check a client’s Orderport and see we don’t have access to the header or footer. I emailed them to see what we can do about that. I will update this when I get an answer.
Q. Also, Live chat? difficult to set up? time consuming?
As mentioned in the online discussion, we are now recommending Tawk.to over Purechat. It’s less expensive (Free if you leave the branding, $12/month to remove it), and it doesn’t have the connection issues we were having with Purechat. It also has a nice feature that allows you to simply deactivate the chat when you don’t want people to see it (with PureChat you had to remove the code).
Tawk.to is easy to install if you have access to the backend of your website (or, apparently, don’t have Orderport). The harder part is getting it set up correctly once it is installed, so it’s personalized for your winery.
For example, we like it to say, “Welcome to your online wine concierge, how may we assist you today”, or “We are currently offering 30% savings on our wines with coupon code xxx. Please let us know if you have any questions”. Plus there’s different messaging for online vs offline, and messaging that happens if you are online, but miss the call, etc. Plus, you can personalize the chats for each person manning it – so your tasting room staff can each have their own profiles. Setting up alerts then knowing how to quickly hop on has a bit of a learning curve, too. Point is, there is a lot going on in the backend, that isn’t intuitive – a lot of things are hidden, but, once you know where everything is, it’s easy. For this reason, we offer a tutorial video for clients who want us to install the chat for them – a service we’ve cut down to just $49 during this COVID situation (usually it’s $99), just to cover costs – and it will save you so much time.
Also, as we mentioned in the discussion, even if you don’t want to have chat on all the time, it’s well worth your time to activate chat for a few hours immediately after sending email promotions, or running ads. You will most definitely add sales you would have missed without chat on, reconnect with club, and have fewer abandoned shopping carts. We are really seeing it make a difference for clients, which, again, is why we are discounting it right now.
Q. Where would you put your efforts with video? What platforms?
All platforms. :). But primarily Facebook and Instagram.
For us, when we are talking Instagram vs Facebook it’s about the audience we are talking to. Instagram skews younger. Instagram Stories and IGTV are even younger than plain old Instagram. You are primary audience on Instagram are Millennials and younger GenXers. Your Facebook audience is likely led by GenX, followed by Millennials, then Baby Boomers. Point is, if you are wanting to reach Baby Boomers, don’t bother with Instagram. If you really want to hit Millennials hard, focus on Instagram (and Instagram Stories!). If you are doing longer videos, upload them to IGTV (horizontal videos, please), then promote them in your Instagram Stories and on your Instagram feed.
Why IGTV? Because you can upload longer videos than you can on your Instagram feed, and it lets you create a channel of just those videos. Also, those videos live there forever, as opposed to Instagram stories.
Ideally, you want to make videos that you can easily share across all platforms, which is one reason we use Adobe Rush to make our videos. I didn’t mention it on the webinar because I didn’t know the cost of it (we subscribe to all Adobe products, which isn’t something wineries really need to do), and I don’t like recommending expensive products to clients. But – Adobe Rush is just $9.99/month, and you can use it on your phone, tablet, or desktop. Honestly, since we record everything on the phone, I just keep it there. BUT, everything lives on the cloud – so you can just pull it up on your computer, without messing with compression issues or sending it between devices yourself.
Regarding virtual tastings, as mentioned in the webinar, we like Facebook and Instagram for more “in the moment” videos, or casual fun segments, (again, you’ll capture younger on Instagram, older on Facebook) but the place where you get to connect with your customers is really Zoom. It’s really nice to see their faces. The interactions are real. Plus, with zoom you get the data of who logged on, and you can follow up with an email (just like I did with all of you).
If you do opt to do virtual experiences on Facebook, then you might want to look into Be.Live, which allows you to do some pretty slick things, like add logos, split screens, and customizations. Add Liveleap.com to help syndicate (although it’s noticeably missing syndication to Instagram and Mailchimp).
Q. Our Virtual tastings are doing well. Looking to incorporate a Virtual tasting package available post COVID. Any special ideas or suggestions? I like the Birthday idea? But others? for those worried about health issues over the age of 60?
As mentioned in the webinar, we think private virtual tastings are working better than expected (in that they are creating better connections), but you need to create the package idea for your audience. Offer private virtual tasting experiences for birthdays you can’t celebrate together. Alumni Associations might be interested in a tasting with the winemaker (along with larger businesses, as discussed in the webinar). Book groups (aka “wine drinking groups”). Have the winemaker even read the book. :). Retirement communities. My friend’s parents are at Mary’s Woods. They go beer and wine tasting all the time. They can’t do that now. How can you help? There are many ways to really use this time to make an impression on people who would have never heard of you, but will always support you if you’re a bright spot in this hard time.
Q. How are we expected to have a monthly subscription if we are shipping in the heat of summer?
A. As mentioned in the webinar, we were somewhat against the idea of monthly wine subscriptions until now (wine wasn’t a “necessity” like deodorant and razors, which drive the subscription economy). What we want to see are your “everyday” wines shipped monthly in small quantities (3 bottles with an option to upgrade to 6). But, what do you do in the summer?
You have a few options:
- Add on a few dollars for cold chain shipping during the hottest months (or decide on shipping costs based on the average cost of shipping throughout the year). Realize this wine is wine that people will be consuming within days. They aren’t worried about bottleshock. They aren’t worried about potentially having their wine have some exposure to heat during some part of the chain (requiring signatures has removed issues we used to have with wine being left on hot or cold doorsteps). So, do what you can to select wines that might not be so upset about potential heat exposure when they are outside of the cold chain. Add cooling packs to wines that are going to the hottest areas.
- Give people an easy option to skip shipments during those hot months.
- Skip July and August shipments, if you want. This allows for some promotions in June that say, “Remember, we won’t be shipping in July and August, so, if you want to double your regular shipment, now is the time.”
- Skip July and August shipments for certain areas. If you know you can get your wine to your local buyers easily by timing the shipments based on a weather pattern, don’t cancel those. But, Texas, you’re out until it’s not a million degrees out.
Q. Is your shirt from Raygun in Iowa?
A. Yes, yes it is. And it’s my favorite place to get shirts.
Q. I can SO relate to this “work with my spouse” dynamic you and Jeremy have. I keep cracking up. Good thing I’m muted.