Case Study:Winery Chooses New eCommerce Platform And Achieves Great Results

Sales Go “Off the Charts” and Order Management Automation Improves Dramatically When Maryhill Winery Switches to the TrueCommerce Nexternal eCommerce Platform

2015 Harvest Viognier Gunkel4 3Objective

  • Reduce shopping cart abandonment, improve lagging online sales and increase automation across order management processes by replacing an underperforming eCommerce solution.

Solution

  • Move to a new, more advanced platform for greatly improved customer engagement, outstanding flexibility to support a winery’s unique needs, and robust integration with Maryhill’s point-of-sale and compliance solutions as well as the Amazon Marketplace.

Benefits

  • A “shocking” increase in online sales, including an 82% increase in gross revenue during an annual holiday sales event in November.
  • An immediate and massive decrease in shopping cart abandonment.
  • Robust, proven integrations with other key industry-specific, order-related systems, including the Microworks point-of-sale system and the ShipCompliant compliance and transaction solution.
  • Seamless integration with the Amazon Marketplace, eliminating the need to manage those orders separately.
  • Support for complex pricing models to enable multiple wine club tiers, mix-and-match volume discounts, etc.
  • The ability to quickly and easily sell event  ticket via the eCommerce platform, for improved automation and reduced manual effort.
  • Greater ease of use for both customers and employees.

Maryhill Winery TastingRoom2“Overall we’re very, very happy and wanted to share that we’ve seen a huge increase in our total sales and continue to do so.”

  • Cassie Courtney, Sales & Marketing Director, Maryhill Winery

Background

This highly successful and growing winery was challenged to find an eCommerce provider that could meet its specific requirements for online B2C and wine club sales. 

Established in 1999 on a spectacular property with panoramic views of the Columbia River and Mount Hood, Maryhill Winery is among the premier wineries of the Pacific Northwest. Currently producing more than 80,000 cases with over 50 award-winning varietals and blends, it is a quintessential destination winery, as well as a popular venue for outdoor summer concerts featuring world-class performers. Offering multiple wine club options, Maryhill’s nationwide wine club membership is 2,000-plus and growing.

Maryhill wanted to find an eCommerce platform that met its unique business needs. In 2014, the winemaker switched from an underperforming system to a second eCommerce provider in line with a move to a new point-of-sale (PoS) product. After dealing with multiple problems with the new online storefront for about a year, it was clear that yet another change was necessary.

“Due to the frustrating interface, our cart abandonment rate was extremely high and we were losing a lot of potential sales,” acknowledges Cassie Courtney, Maryhill’s Marketing Director. “It was too difficult for customers to process their orders all the way through to completion.”

One reason for the poor user experience was that this eCommerce system was not stable and mature. “There were too many things we needed that the system couldn’t really do, which resulted in ‘band-aid’ workarounds and ultimately bugs that negatively affected customers and caused frustration,” recalls Ms. Courtney.

Winter Charcuterie Entertainment 045 2Time for a change (again)

Switching to Nexternal immediately showed how much difference the right eCommerce platform could make.

Hoping to improve productivity and reduce time-consuming, error-prone manual data entry, Maryhill chose to switch to the TrueCommerce Nexternal eCommerce Platform. The move was recommended by Microworks, whose Point-of-sale tool written specifically for the wine industry the winery already had in place.

The new platform was ready in time for Maryhill’s biggest sales event, which traditionally takes place for two weeks each November. According to Ms. Courtney, the winery saw “shocking” sales increases immediately upon switching to Nexternal eCommerce, which is integrated with Microworks.

For our 2016 holiday sale we doubled the amount of money we brought in through eCommerce from the prior year—the difference in our customers’ experience and in shopping cart abandonment was like night and day,” Ms. Courtney relates. “We had an 82% increase in sales year-over-year for November, which is off the charts.”

While the post holiday sale period is generally a slow time, Maryhill has nevertheless enjoyed a 53% uptick in sales in December 2016. Year-over-year wine sales were also significantly higher for January 2017.

The winery was further able to leverage Nexternal’s power and flexibility for event ticket sales beginning in January, which streamlines that process and saves precious staff time. Direct-to-consumer sales, sales to wine club members and event  ticket purchases now all go through Nexternal eCommerce.

Goes great with wine

Its ability to support complex pricing models makes Nexternal “a perfect pairing” for wineries, especially those with wine clubs.

“We’re a large production winery, and we have approximately 200 products for sale on our eCommerce site—so it’s a lot to manage,” Ms. Courtney continues. “Also we have particular requirements around which wines are discounted, how they’re discounted, and for whom.”

For example, Maryhill has three different wine clubs and three tiers within each club, which means multiple and complex discount levels. Further, some wines are available for purchase only to members of specific tiers of specific wine clubs. They also have variable, “mix-and-match” case quantity discounts for the general public, where the total discount is specific to the order.

These kinds of parameters had been very difficult for Maryhill’s prior eCommerce systems to handle. Not anymore: “Fine-grained, product-level control is no problem for Nexternal,” notes Ms. Courtney.

Nexternal likewise has no problem supporting Maryhill’s shipping needs. “Our storefront lets customers choose between pickup, ship or a mix of both in the same order, and even lets them specify multiple ship-to locations,” Ms. Courtney clarifies. “You can even see all of that in real-time in your shopping cart, which is very nice. Those are pretty powerful features that other eCommerce systems don’t offer.”
 

Portfolio NewLabel low 1Integration across all key order management systems

Nexternal partners with the wine industry’s leading solution providers to deliver robust integrations for maximum reliability and automation across the order management process.

Seamless, proven integration with its key wine industry applications is another major advantage of the Nexternal eCommerce platform for Maryhill.

“It wouldn’t work to manage eCommerce separately from our PoS,” explains Ms. Courtney. “Nexternal integrates with Microworks, so once a payment has been accepted and the order is processed in Nexternal, it flows automatically into Microworks as a paid, completed order.”

Nexternal also integrates with Maryhill’s ShipCompliant compliance and transaction solution, so orders are automatically checked for compliance at the time they are placed. “With our last system we had to manually determine whether we could or could not send an eCommerce order to a particular state—which was crazy,” Ms. Courtney says. “Our system now automatically flags an eCommerce order if there’s a compliance issue, so our Shipping Coordinator can decide how to handle it.”

Maryhill likewise takes advantage of Nexternal’s comprehensive integration with Amazon Marketplace. Orders placed on Amazon.com flow seamlessly into Nexternal.

“Amazon integration has been a really successful feature for our Shipping Coordinator especially, because with our old system she had to log into multiple systems and deal with orders in two different locations,” Ms. Courtney offers. “Now it all funnels through Nexternal and Amazon orders are flagged for her automatically, which is really helpful and definitely saves her a lot of time.”

A huge success

Support and expertise you can count on is critical to getting a new eCommerce solution up-and-running and configuring it to your needs.

Ms. Courtney is also happy with the ongoing support she’s received from TrueCommerce Nexternal: “We’ve been working together for about nine months, and it’s been awesome to have that support from our account rep. I’ve also found the online help desk/FAQ pages to be a pretty effective resource that usually answered most of my questions.”

“The immediate drop in our cart abandonment rate shows that the new system is obviously functioning very well for us and also the customer,” remarks Ms. Courtney. “Overall we’re very, very happy and wanted to share that we’ve seen a huge increase in our total sales and continue to do so. Nexternal is so great for wineries. We’ve been able to achieve everything we need to do.”
 

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TrueCommerce (a HighJump company) – Nexternal is a TrueCommerce division:

TrueCommerce, a HighJump company, revolutionizes trading partner connectivity by linking suppliers, retail hubs and end consumers in one global commerce network. With our flexible, integrated and fully managed service solutions, customers of any size can easily connect with any trading partner while enjoying the peace of mind of a proven service platform that reliably handles tens of millions of transactions annually without the need for any customer interaction.  From the factory to the warehouse, from distributor to retail storefront, achieve new levels of business connectivity and performance with the world’s most complete trading partner platform. 

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