Guest post by Susan DeMatei - Susan is the owner of Wine Glass Marketing, a consulting firm specializing in Direct Marketing for wineries. She is the winner of a Direct Marketing Association Achievement Award, a Certified Sommelier, a Certified Specialist in Wine and has over 20 year's experience in Direct Marketing in the luxury digital arena. You can read her blog at wineglassmarketing.com/blog.
An interesting benefit to the smart phone revolution is mobile payments.
I can't remember the last time I used cash, can you? It seems that everything you buy from anyone can be handled with your credit card, or your phone. No where was this more apparent to me than at the local Alameda flea market this past weekend.
For those of you who haven't been there, this is a monthly massive event of hundreds of vendors that take over the port of Oakland and sell everything from bobby pins to bobbleheads. It is a delightful way to spend a Sunday.
While some are full-fledged antique dealers and furniture restoration houses worthy of their own show on HGTV, many are just small mom-and pop shops or artists with "day jobs" who do this once-a-month as a hobby. So, I was struck by the sophistication of the payment methods.
Gone were the cash-boxes and grasping for change. Nearly everyone was advertising mobile banking - credit cards, sign up for mailing lists and square requests were everywhere. I have seen the same at my local farmer's market (I wish it would warm up already - I miss those!) And, I went to grab a beer on the way home, and the waitress had a hand-held POS system on her phone.
So, why is it in the wine industry we are slow to adapt to what these Sunday vendors have already adopted. Here's some theories:
Many wineries have "legacy" systems, or other systems that work in tasting rooms, inventory, or customer records. When performing a transaction outside the normal constructs of the tasting room, it is important to take these needs into consideration, or else you are going to need to re-enter or upload the mobile transaction data into the main system.
Make sure you mobile POS system of choice is integrated with one of two systems - either your stand alone POS system, like the one at the bar I mentioned, or your web system. If it connects to one of these, your data is merged and customer records are free of duplicates.
Selling a vintage doll buggy or bushel of zucchini is different than selling wine. Frustrating as it is, we are beholden to laws, taxes and volume restrictions not monitored by other vendors. While sliding a card through a reader seems easy enough to set up, remember that these purchases need to go through your accounting system and be recorded.
Check with your accounting or compliance manager on what you need to report. Make sure your mobile POS system of choice is either integrated with your reporting system, like Ship Compliant, or can provide the reports that are necessary. Otherwise, it is probably not worth the hassle.
Customer Data (CRM)
An often over-looked part of remote transaction is the data capture. A simple slide of the Square may be awesome at the time, but if you can't track that sale back to a customer for future recontact, you're losing marketing possibilities. In the wine industry, this is multiplied when customers ask you to hold shipments until they're back from vacation, or sign up for a club, or change shipping destination. There are many conversations that happen out on the selling floor that should be captured along with that transaction data.
Look beyond a simple mobile POS to one that not only offers the fields you need to take the notes necessary for your business, but also is easily operated by tasting room staff. (And, often the tasting room staff that you hire to work busy events when mobile systems are necessary are part-timers or temps, making it necessary to be extremely intuitive.)
So, go forth and sell - in the tasting room, vineyard or crushpad. But be smart about it by ensuring that your accounting, compliance and customer data systems are integrated and happy with your mobile POS choice.