How Accolade Wines lifted its email marketing success

More relevant dynamic content, visibility of what customers are doing and streamlined communications have helped lift the company's sales

With the global wine market softening and competition growing, wine producers and retailers are having to work harder to maintain their customer bases. For Accolade Wines, that has meant getting much smarter about how it communicates.

Accolade Wines is the number one wine company by volume in Australia and the UK. In 2016, it acquired Fine Wine Partners from Lion Australia to become the fifth largest wine company in the world, delivering approximately 38 million cases to more than 140 countries annually.

While Fine Wine Partners had operated a direct-to-consumer sales division, its email communication platform was based on a highly-manual set of processes. Hence after the merger in May 2017 it was decided to standardise on the Engagement Cloud platform from dotdigital.

According to Accolade brand manager Amy Goodsell, the process of managing the database and creating personalised email communication under the old system had been prohibitively time consuming.

“We had been pulling reports from our ecommerce platform and having to filter through the data, and then upload it as different segments into our system,” Goodsell told CMO. “Now all the order information feeds through, and we can create segments without having to go through all those separate steps. So we are using dotdigital for pretty much everything, instead of having to collect data and upload it into our email system.”

Goodsell said the volume of communication from Accolade Wines to its customers has increased, simply because the process of creation has been made easier through use of dotdigital’s templates and drag-and-drop interface, rather than having to code in HTML as was required under its old system. Importantly, Accolade Wines is now able to send through more relevant content to its members.

“We can have dynamic content based on their preferences and purchase history, so it enables us to provide more relevant content,” Goodsell said.

That includes being easily able to see which customers have dormant or have never made a purchase.

“That stuff has become a lot more visible,” Goodsell said. “At the click of a button we can refresh those segments and I can know the exact number of customers in each segment at any time. So it allows us to know our database more intimately by being able to create segments and funnel people into different categories.”

Mostly importantly, improvements in email communication are having a direct impact on sales.

“We’ve seen a 15 per cent uplift in gross sales rev just generated from the more personalised communication since we implemented dotdigital,” Goodsell said. “The wine market industry wide is soft at the moment, and we have maintained what we are doing, so it is a really good sign.”

Use of dotdigital’s automation tools mean communications can be triggered by specific events, such as birthdays, abandoned carts or long periods of dormancy. Goodsell said the abandoned cart trigger campaign is generating more than 6 percent of total gross sales revenue every month.

Accolade Wines is also using the platform for managing communications via Facebook and SMS – the latter of which is generating open rates in the 99th percentile. Goodsell said her company is now looking to deploy additional Engagement Cloud features including product recommendations.

The goal now is to keep improving Accolade Winer’s existing customers’ journeys, making them more unique based on customer data, and continuing to target our customers in different places.

“So that omnichannel strategy is a lot more a part of what we’re doing,” Goodsell said.

Read more about how brands are improving their email marketing efforts:

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