For food producers or even restaurants, building a commerce-based website using Squarespace, WordPress, or Shopify is a fruitful and straightforward process. For wine brands, there are many options for direct-to-consumer (DTC) e-commerce platforms.
And with more options for selling through websites, brands that aren’t alcohol- or cannabis-related can market those products on Instagram/Facebook and link to products in Instagram or TikTok bios. (I don’t recommend using a social media bio integrator.)
Digital trend No. 5: Marketing automation
With the rise of e-commerce and appointment-based winery visits, marketing automation can help brands with ongoing contact with customers. It takes a bit of time to implement automations like email workflows, retargeting, analytics, and social media scheduling, but once you’ve got them up and running you can focus on other parts of your business and continue to grow.
“Wineries were able to drive growth throughout 2020 by throwing resources at digital marketing and e-commerce. Now that wineries have reopened, there are a lot of other priorities to manage, so those that can automate those activities will be well-positioned for the future,” says Andrea Smalling, chief marketing officer, WineDirect.
When it comes to automation in person, QR codes are here to stay. Some trendsetters have been using QR codes for 10-plus years, but they didn’t really become a big part of mainstream marketing efforts until phones were able to use them natively within the camera app.
Now, because of social distancing during the pandemic, QR codes can be found at many venues. Some restaurants even take marketing automation further by automating the entire process of purchase, where customers can purchase food or wine through an app and have it delivered directly to their table.
Digital trend No. 6: Consumer data analysis
When I talked to Andrea, we discussed that data is the key to making personalized digital communications happen.
“We all get so many communications these days, via email, text, all the socials, everywhere! People tune out (and unsubscribe!) if communication feels irrelevant or cold. But receiving any type of communication that seems tailor-made for you (referencing past purchases, for example) can be so much more motivating and make you feel good about buying.”
Digital data through a singular dashboard like Whatagraph that inputs data from every social media platform, along with digital ad platforms can help brands look holistically at what is working and what businesses need to fix.
WineDirect also has a singular platform that provides their ecommerce and Wine Club clients the ability to easily see key trends and growth opportunities to make those personalized connections, specific to the wine industry.
Digital trend No. 7: Continued focus on email marketing
In the past, wineries or restaurants would have a physical sign-up sheet for their email lists. Now, the options are endless for capturing addresses. (Read more about creating a landing page that makes sense for your business.)
“With updated privacy settings and limited ability to track and gather consumer behavior, it will be even more important to ‘own’ your online contacts and communicate with them directly. We’ll see brands and retailers embrace their email list as they realize how much value there is in contacting their audience directly, without hoping an algorithm is in their favor,” says Alison Ball.
Digital trend No. 8: Caring about the people and ingredients in products
Customers want transparency in the brands they choose to give their money to, and brands who utilize social media platforms to share their message have an easier time finding an audience that cares about the same issues.
It isn’t just about sharing a story or message, however. Laurie from Outshinery noted, “The wine industry is primed for more interactive visuals. Wineries will be integrating QR codes and other elements on labels that put information into the customer’s hands.”
“Customers want to see more visibility of the back labels, including values and certifications that may appear there. Think sustainability efforts, B Corp status, women-owned, etc.,” she said. By incorporating these values into all aspects of your digital (and in-person) marketing, customers can make informed decisions on the brands they want to support.
As the economy opens back up, marketers face a landscape disrupted by a pandemic, new business models, and hybrid events (in-person and live streaming), to name a few. Utilizing data and marketing automation tools provided by digital platforms, brands can focus on telling their story to customers in a personalized way using lifestyle imagery, video, email marketing, and more.
By taking these eight trends into account, businesses will be able to stay ahead of the curve.
Shana Bull is a marketing educator and digital storyteller, working with wine, food, hospitality businesses, teaching classes on marketing, and freelance writing. Reach her with your questions about digital marketing at [email protected], @sharayray on Instagram or at shanabull.com.