Empathy wines started with a simple purpose: offer three quality wines, sourced by local producers, accessible to everyone. Their Shopify site took a story-forward approach, including a basic wine club that shipped three times a year, with free shipping. A subscription app was powering a growing membership list. Empathy had what they needed to get the business off the ground and begin growing the brand.
After reaching a few hundred subscribers and having multiple releases under their belt, the subscription app wasn't able to scale with the business. They needed a system that could handle wine clubs properly, along with a team that knew the complexities of the wine industry. Empathy decided to work with Bloom. The website was redesigned and launched with Bloom Commerce, new integrations for shipping compliance, marketing automation, and customer support.
Within a year of significant growth, Empathy was acquired and added to a larger network of wine brands. The software stack was expanded further with the primary move to Shopify Plus, and connected to enterprise accounting and reporting systems.
For many Bloom clients growth means new product offerings, enhancing revenue streams, and expanding into new markets. Growth is critical for long-term success and sustainability, and businesses need the right tools and resources to support their growth objectives. It is important to grow at the pace of your business.
Here are a few examples of how wineries can use Shopify and Bloom Commerce to start small and go big.
If you are starting out or only plan to produce a limited number of cases, the software needed to run your winery doesn't need to be complicated. You are focusing more on direct-to-consumer sales, rather than distribution. Friends and family are the starting point. A simple yet effective website focusing on growing a loyal customer base is essential. Memberships or subscriptions can keep your cash flow positive since they generate recurring revenue. Offering loyalty-based incentives and following a strict but straightforward marketing strategy using an integrated digital marketing platform will slowly grow your DTC sales. Start small and keep it simple. You'll work smarter, not harder. Many of our small winery customers start with a tech stack like this:
Shopify plan: Shopify Standard
Memberships: Bloom Commerce
Digital marketing: Mailchimp
Shipping & fulfillment: Shippo
Winery size is relative. For this article, we'll define "growing" as between 10,000 and 50,000 cases annually. Once you grow to this size, operations change dramatically, and your software stack needs to keep pace. Unless your brand is DTC-only, much of your wine is sold to distributors. The attractive margins on direct sales mean your membership base has also expanded to over 1000 loyal customers. Your shipments need to be compliant and accurate reporting is critical. The website has evolved, likely split between engaging storytelling and a searchable catalog of wines—some only offered to members. An active tasting room with an integrated point-of-sale allows you to provide great in-person experiences. Automation now drives your digital marketing, and you require better loyalty tools that will enable customer reviews to be collected and presented on the website. The accounting team expects bank deposits and sales receipts to be reconciled quickly without using spreadsheets and other time-consuming workarounds. Your tech stack will likely grow to look something like this:
Shopify plan: Shopify Advanced
Memberships: Bloom Commerce
Digital marketing: Klaviyo
Shipping & fulfillment: ShipStation
Loyalty & reviews: Yotpo
Accounting integration: Bookkeep
A small percentage of businesses fall into this category. Since you have multiple brands, we're using Shopify Plus and extension shops. Your IT staff will utilize APIs that demand high availability and Shopify's full-blown application development platform to build custom integrations with Bloom Commerce. Direct integration with the shipping warehouse with complete inventory management is required. A modern tax and compliance system that works with all sales channels is native to the platform. Kalviyo has exposed its limitations, as your sales and marketing team needs a proper CRM while still providing complex automation campaign management. Since you sell online through multiple sales channels, omnichannel reporting, and analytics will combine all your data into a single, unified dashboard. Finally, the source of truth for products, inventory, orders, and customers will live in an ERP explicitly built for the wine industry but fully integrated with Shopify and Bloom Commerce. Every enterprise customer has particular needs, but a typical enterprise stack looks something like this:
Shopify plan: Shopify Plus
Memberships: Bloom Commerce
Shipping & fulfillment: Wineshipping
Digital marketing: ActiveCampaign
Reporting & analytics: SoundCommerce
ERP: Microsoft Dynamics with Vintegrate
When it comes to building a successful business, it's crucial to have technology that can keep up with your growth. As companies continue to expand and evolve, they need reliable systems like Shopify and Bloom that can adapt to their changing needs and scale up accordingly. The key is to start small and gradually increase your capacity as you grow, allowing you to avoid overspending on unnecessary resources. By implementing a solid yet flexible foundation with scalable technology solutions, businesses can ensure that they are equipped to handle whatever challenges lie ahead, and stay ahead of the competition.
This is the last in our series of "Why Shopify" articles, but if you haven't already, be sure to check out our previous articles in the series, where we discussed the benefits of unifying your sales channel, automating your systems, and how to make your software your own.
If you're a winery seeking to grow your business, Bloom can provide the tools and resources to achieve your growth objectives. Connect with us today to learn more.