Winery sees incentives in vintage social media

Facebook, Twitter become powerful direct sales medium for a small South Australian winery

Small to medium enterprises looking to expand their business and build brand recognition on social media sites can take heart: there's money to be made there.

South Australian vineyard, Madeleines Wines, found it was the case when it implemented a ‘shopfront’ and ‘payment gateway’ on its Facebook page, allowing customers to buy direct rather than through a traditional bottle shop.

The winery, which began using Facebook in March last year and Twitter in the six months following, used the medium to interact with customers in a “fun and easygoing” manner, while also being informative, recommending wineries, restaurants, or telling followers what bottle of wine they drank the night before.

Madeleines Wines winemaker, Chris Dix, told Computerworld Australia that social media had become a channel for the winery to connect with customers, alerting them to successes in wine shows or particular reviews. It has become a modern replacement for a paper newsletter for the company, keeping customers current and up to date, without the traditional constraints and associated costs of the postal system.

“The brand pre-social media was pretty unknown and using Facebook and Twitter allows us to get out there and interact with a lot of people and get the name out there,” Dix said.

According to Dix, since developing a Facebook presence, the winery has seen an increase in direct wine sales from 1.2 cases per week, to 5.1 cases per week. Since opening the ‘shopfront’ on the page two weeks ago, the winery has sold five cases more than it normally would.

Dix said he found a Facebook application allowing him to setup the shopfront, with product images and tasting notes. He also setup the ‘payment gateway’ through PayPal without hiccups.

“We aren’t tech savvy by any stretch of the imagination, but it was a simple great idea and only took a couple of hours to set up. If you can use Facebook or Twitter then you will have no problems using ours or even installing your own store," he said.

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