The Future of Technology and Allocations

If there’s anything I’ve learned since becoming the Head of Product at VineSpring, it’s that wineries talk the talk AND walk the walk when it comes to being customer-focused. Customers are the center of your world and each of you has your own, special formula to make customers feel valued. Highly-allocated wineries seem to represent the pinnacle of this focus, custom-tailoring offerings down to individual customers’ buying profiles. The inputs? Data, data, more data, and a great deal of attention and effort. The result?  Off-the-charts customer loyalty.

Why mess with this seeming perfection? It’s stunningly inefficient.

Much of these custom-tailored allocation offerings are “artisanal”— each allocation meticulously hand-crafted based on data compiled from one or more sources, human filters applied to tweak and finalize, and finally after one or more weeks of exhausting effort, you execute the offering. These activities are a microcosm of themes we see across the wine industry and expose a need for a mix of systems and human activities to interconnect seamlessly, in a very customized and personalized manner, to ultimately deliver maximum value to customers (and back to the winery too, of course).

Is it practical to think that a single system can optimally deliver on all of those highly-customized needs? No.

Each function is essentially a business in and of itself, with its own roadmap, thirst for innovation, and ongoing resource needs (people, time, and money). If you’ve spoken recently with Chris Towt, VineSpring’s CEO, you won’t leave the conversation without hearing about VineSpring’s “hub-and-spoke” model.  We’ve chosen to focus on the hub (the winery eCommerce engine) and develop spokes (APIs, Webhooks) to enable you, our client, to leverage any mix of best-in-breed software tools and services to customize and personalize allocation offerings to realize your personal vision and method for serving customers. We even have a team of experts who can support you as you connect all of the spokes together.

To learn more about VineSpring’s “hub-and-spoke” model and the standards in which we evaluate potential software partners, enroll in Choosing Your DTC Vendors.

The next time you’re hand-crafting your spring allocation, on your third week of pouring over thousand-line spreadsheets of customer purchase history, adding a few bottles of Chardonnay here and removing a bottle of Pinot there, getting ready to mail-merge away…  

Consider this possible reality:

A continuous flow of customer and order data from your winery eCommerce platform into a CRM system (helping you interact with customers on an ongoing basis)...

The CRM system’s sophisticated algorithms guiding you towards auto-crafting optimized allocations...

The ability to collect and send those allocations with a single click into the eCommerce engine in order to be automatically emailed, executed, charged, checked for compliance, and shipped.

Finally, in the end, the ability to access associated purchase data and have it sent seamlessly back into your CRM and accounting systems (pause to take a deep breath).

Just imagine how a workflow like this could save you time, optimize revenue, and preserve your sanity all while still delighting your customer in the most bespoke manner? This is the future we’re working toward and we want you there with us.

I want to hear from you. What do you think about the hub-and-spoke vision I described? What are your allocation challenges? Send me an email with your thoughts.

Leslie.Osborne [at] vinespring.com



If you’d like to learn more about VineSpring and how the hub-and-spoke model could work for your business, request a one-on-one demo.