Selling wine online from order to payment

by Eve Resnick on May 28, 2010

in Innovation

Nothing new or exciting about it? Wrong! This new app is really innovative and for once it comes from France. It feels good to be able to write about an innovative feature launched by a French company, believe it or not!

Millesima is a Bordeaux “negociant” house founded in 1983 by Patrick Bernard. It is a family owned and run business.  Millesima launched its online store in 1997 and the online sales now account for 40% of the gross turnover. It is present in 11 countries, including the US since 2006 and just opened a branch in Shanghaï.  Their wines come directly from the producers and are stocked in their huge cellars in the heart of Bordeaux.

Since Gerard Spatafora joined the company as Internet Marketing Director 3 years ago, an innovative web marketing strategy was implemented: development of the Internet sales from 5% to 40% of the turnover, rich media with a series of videos to present the properties and their owners or managers run by Frederic Lot, an intense presence on Facebook mostly in French unfortunately, a Twitter account and now an iPhone application for their online store.

Gerard Spatafora and his team strongly believe in the future of the smartphones (IPhone, BlackBerry, Samsung ) as well as  in the future of the mobile Internet.  The keyword for Millesima is: personalization of the relationship. That’s why the app was preferred to a mobile site.  The customer just downloads the application to the smartphone and is master of the game.

On a technical point of view, the app is really outstanding by its features and very much user-friendly:

- Multilingual (6 languages), it provides access to 4000 references and a  stock of over 2,500,000 bottles. The traditional information making up the specification sheets of each product (visual, description, AOC, vintage, format, price, critics marks…) are automatically available.

- History of the orders

- Wish list,  allowing the customer who would postpone his search to save a great deal of time if he wishes to find back the wines added into the cart or into his favorites.

- Works for iPhone, soon on BlackBerry and, if needed, with Samsung.

-it allows a real direct and full purchase, without having to switch from your mobile Iphone or Blackberry to a computer.

Safety and confidentiality are of course primary concerns.  Using a SSL V3 certificate awarded by GlobalSign, the cart is  entirely secured. But it is remarkable that it is a premiere for an online wine store to offer to the web users the full experience of buying from their phone without switching to a web site to complete the transaction.

By offering its customers full services and access through the app to the full site of the country of origin of the consumers, Millesima hopes to gain a more global vision of the specific needs of its customers. This “one-to-one” marketing strategy will provide a better segmentation, therefore a more efficient development of customer’s loyalty.

Of course, the cost of the app was not advertised but anybody involved in technology is aware of the costs. The management considered that 200 new customers a month would make the application profitable – but after how many months?  No information yet. But one clue was provided: the iPhone app of Nespresso brings the company 38,000 euros a day of gross turnover.

And you know what? I wish Millesima and its daring team as much success as Nespresso in this new adventure. They deserve it: in our difficult times and with so many business people being afraid of making the slightest move, it is refreshing to see a medium-size company show such an entrepreneurial spirit.

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May 28, 2010 at 11:01 am

{ 2 comments }

1 Marc Roisin May 28, 2010 at 2:59 pm

Great to read about Millesima on your blog. I really do believe in their rich media content and mobile strategy.

2 Evelyne Resnick May 28, 2010 at 3:22 pm

Thank you for your nice comment, Marc. Yes, I do believe in their rich media strategy too. It’s informative and helps the consumers understand the world of fine wines. Cheers!

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