The week all hell broke loose

The week all hell broke loose

Happy Sunday (I guess, sorta…I mean, it hasn’t been the best week for anyone who talks about using data for marketing, right?).

So shit hit the fan for data-driven “marketing” this week, with folks realizing the extent to which their data can be harvested and targeted. These are the weeks that make marketers (and especially digital marketers) sit back and ponder our work: how, where, and why do we source data? What do we do with that information once we have it? How do we keep it safe?

Trust is earned.

Good e-commerce must be built on a foundation of Trust. And not superficial, token trust; your digital marketing choices must reflect your respect and gratitude for the people who engage with your brand. In an alternate reality, there is a Fb who once — many years ago — said, “No, these people have trusted us with their life stories, helped us build a business, and we are not going to disrespect that by being sneaky with their data.”

Today, let us look at the top five practical improvements you can make to your winery’s digital presence to strengthen trust equity with customers and followers.

1) Offer a clear, plain-spoken Data Policy. People are not idiots; customers know that we accrue and dive into data gained from innumerable analytics, from on-site to third party. They know that we do it to improve sales, but often we do this by creating a more pleasing customer experience. For instance, Amazon uses my data to tell me when something I will probably love becomes available, and this makes my geeky-reader life more pleasant.

1b) You know how we’ve spent a lot of time talking video? Imagine if you had a page listed on your site menu called “Your Data Matters”, and on that page, you included a video of the winery owner, or business manager, or CMO actually talking about what you do with customer data? Be upfront; admit that you use data to improve customer experiences and acknowledge that the reciprocal action is increased sales. Choose video, because it is a more immersive person-to-person experience, and use plain-spoken honesty, because people want to feel respected.

2) Provide a clear returns & customer service policy. Things go wrong, bottles break, wine gets corked, someone who is having a bad day gets pissed off for no good reason. E-commerce statistics tell us that 66% of online shoppers read the returns page before making their purchase, and of those, over 80% will only purchase if there is a free return shipping option. Since US shipping laws often restrict our ability to offer free return shipping on alcohol products, I suggest that every wine retailer address this head on: “We cannot offer return shipping because <laws>, therefore, we offer the following solutions:…”

3) Social proof. (We’ve talked about this a lot in past newsletters, so I’ll be brief.) Digital customers are more likely to trust a recommendation from a friend or family, or even a social media “friend”, than they are a professional reviewer (before y’all jump on this, this is a space where digital and traditional are divided). Vivino, Yelp, Google, direct correspondence, tasting room feedback: draw from these customer reviews to amass a selection of real-human testimonials and use those on your site and social media (with permission, of course). You should have at least one piece of social proof on every single page of your website.

4) Make communication easy. This may sound obvious, but you need a phone number on your site. It makes a big difference to older shoppers, and to be fair, most of us still prefer to solve problems in person. Another solution to this is Live Chat, with recent statistics showing that 1 out of 3 millenials are more likely to use live chat for customer service than email. And on your contact page, offer a turnaround time: “We will respond within 24 hours”. I also suggest including a form field for phone number, as well as email, and a check box for the customer to indicate their preferred form of communication.

5) Last but not least, be human. If you’ve ever asked, “Does social media do ANY good for my winery?”, here is the answer: social media is the human face of an e-commerce business. Not every winery has a public tasting room, or multitudinous occasions to glad-hand. The days of separating the Team from the Business are long gone, and social media (especially Insta, Insta Stories, and Snapchat), brings humanity to your brand. From day-to-day life on the vineyard, to milestones in the lives of your people, consistent social media posts build a trust relationship with our customers because these contemporaneous posts show our (dare I say it?) authentic selves.

A useful interjection.

Now, before you get on with your day, if you haven’t yet seen how to change your Facebook settings to opt out of API sharing, please go here. I don’t care what choices you make, but make them with information.

[Photo by Kelsey Chance on Unsplash]