A question we commonly get asked is, "Why Shopify?" There is a lot of misinformation in the alcohol industry about Shopify and other similar e-commerce platforms. We often hear, "You need a wine-specific platform." or "Shopify is for e-commerce, but not clubs or memberships." After designing, developing, and implementing hundreds of Shopify storefronts for wineries, we can say—for sure—that is NOT the case.
To better understand the power of Shopify, and the alcohol-specific features that apps like Bloom Commerce can provide to you and your customers, we've put together a series of four articles, starting with the importance of unifying your sales channels onto a single platform.
In case you aren't familiar with what we mean by sales channel, they are the different properties that generate revenue. Typically, your sales channels are your online store, membership manager, point of sale, and possibly even your marketing & social media properties. Other revenue generators such as; corporate orders, marketplaces, and events or experiences can also be sales channels.
Imagine this… your cart & checkout, orders, products, inventory, customers, emails, memberships, allocations, subscriptions, website content, digital files, taxes, reporting, compliance, point-of-sale, marketing & workflow automations… all behind a single login, managed by one platform. When you add the Bloom Commerce app and the appropriate third-party native applications, you then have everything you need to run your alcohol business, all in one place.
Does your DTC software truly unify all of your data and different sales channels? Let's find out.
Businesses that rely on direct-to-consumer sales know their website is a vital piece to the revenue puzzle. Can you easily display critical product, customer, and membership data on your website? When you can, the customer experience becomes very rich. Shopify's powerful content management system (CMS) allows merchants to drag and drop content components that use core data on practically any page. Here are some examples of those content components:
Recommendation engines: On your product detail pages, display products recommended for you based on products you've already viewed, products you've purchased in the past, or products related to your preferences.
Featured product collections: Surface your shop's most popular products to ensure customers can experience them. Since Shopify is a commerce-focused platform, content components like featured products are designed to make it easy to purchase and drive sales.
Customer accounts: Account pages should get more notice and are more important than you think. It is common for customers to log in to update their address, check order history, or may even be required to purchase certain products. There is the opportunity to present them with data from multiple sources. Consider offering access to upcoming shipments for memberships, special offers for products they love, or remind them of events they should attend.
On-sale and member pricing: Incentives can drive sales for many brands. Those incentives can come from many different places, including memberships, purchase history, or even interaction with marketing campaigns. Display price reductions, member-only discounts, or free shipping reminders based on your engagement strategy.
Buy once or subscribe-and-save: Related to incentives, can your products be subscribed to based on a shipping frequency and quantity? Subscriptions are a great way to generate recurring revenue. When your customers consider purchasing a product, present them with the option to subscribe to one or more at a discounted price. Subscriptions may be challenging to offer without unifying your product and membership systems.
Cart and checkout: So much data needs to be unified for a smooth checkout experience. If that experience is sloppy, your customers will bail and never return. For alcohol sales, you need to capture the customer's birthdate. Can your system use the date entered in your site age gate as the pre-populated date during checkout? Today, customers expect to be able to use multiple payment methods, including digital wallets like Apple and Google, or other popular payment platforms like PayPal, Amazon, or Facebook. Integrating these payment methods makes it easy for your customers to purchase.
Flexibility is the key to the success of any membership system. Traditional clubs…check. Allocation with wish lists… check. And as mentioned above, product subscriptions… check.
Most of our customers generate most of their revenue through memberships, which requires the data used for memberships to spread across multiple platform areas. First, your memberships' configuration and management must integrate with your product and customer data directly. When a new customer joins a membership tier, the options and preferences they select should come directly from your membership configuration. Products that are member-only or discounted for members require advanced logic that will use data spread across customers, products, and discount rules. Finally, sales and financial reports related to memberships will pull data from various sources.
Advanced reporting tools will aggregate data from multiple sales channels, including memberships and subscriptions.
Shopify's powerful order and inventory management system is the backbone of the POS. The interface is customized and built to be workflow-centric, putting the most critical products, discounts, apps, and actions at your fingertips. The Shopify POS is the epitome of unified.
When a customer creates a pick-up order through the web checkout, it enters a dedicated pick-up workflow on the POS, making the sales team's experience of managing the order and the customer's experience equally smooth.
Your product team transfers inventory into the system from the winery, which can be split across multiple locations. The POS instantly updates with just the inventory dedicated to its location. In-person orders deduct inventory from the POS location, and those orders are related to the POS sales channel.
Exchanges and returns couldn't be simpler. If customers place an order online, they can bring the product into a tasting room and exchange or return it in person.
Consider where all the data related to memberships, discounts, pick-ups, inventory, exchanges, and locations are stored and used. Does your system allow all of this data to work together in concert?
Experienced marketing professionals know that advertising platforms and social properties drive sales. We consider them as sales channels.
When you use Shopify's marketing tools to promote your brand and drive product awareness, your customers are taken on a journey toward conversion. Does your website hook into analytics, email marketing, and social tracking tools to provide the insights needed to ensure your campaigns are effective?
One obvious opportunity is when you can use features like buy-buttons or enticing CTAs to engage customers directly with selling features. Out-of-the-box, Shopify provides reporting for social referrals and attribution.
Can your system genuinely understand your ideal customer, attribute sales to their chain-of-engagement events, and meet them where they are, at the right time? When you can, the dots are connected in ways that will accelerate your marketing flywheel.
P.S. Would you like to harness the power of Shopify and Bloom Commerce? We'd like to help. Get in touch with our team at Bloom.