The Downside of Third Party Features

The Dangers of “Integration”

Pretty much every competing solution out there touts its many integrations with third-party providers of services such as outbound emails, reservations, and so forth.

We could have followed the herd and done the same. But we didn’t, because we know better. It flows from the first rule: “If your data is in two places, at least one of them is wrong.”

Fully bi-directional integrations are both difficult and expensive, because each side wants its data in a particular way.

So integrations tend to be “light” — involving as little data sharing as possible — a fact that has real-world ramifications for your business.

Worst of all, when anything changes on one side, the integration often breaks without warning — and it’s often up to you to figure out how to fix it.

Example: Reservations

Having people reserve a tasting is a proven way to create the kind of lasting relationship you want in a DTC winery. Unfortunately, reservation systems like CellarPass or VinoVisit aren't optimized for your success: they're in business to make money for themselves by getting as many wineries signed up as possible, then auctioning off placement. Plus, you end up with "orphan" data about your visitors, which often never gets fully migrated to your core system. That's why we built a state-of-the-art reservation system into CompleteDTC.  It allows visitors to quickly and easily schedule an appointment online, creating data that is fully integrated from the outset. It also allows you to manage those visits, create orders, and all of the other bits that go into crafting a rich and rewarding experience for your visitors. It even works for RSVP-style events like pickup parties and winemaker dinners. All at no extra cost.

Example: Email Marketing

Even in the age of social media, email marketing is a cornerstone of direct-to-consumer wineries. And for good reason: you can delivery individually-tailored messages to each person.

It used to be that the act of delivering bulk emails was hard, requiring “peering relationships” with every email gateway (like AOL, or Google, or Verizon). That was a challenge for all but the largest companies, and led to the creation of services like ConstantContact and MailChimp.

As those services grew, they started offering essentially one-way “integrations” to third parties: you’d send over a list, compose a message, and they’d deliver it. Over time, they've developed increasingly sophisticated interfaces (“APIs”) to accept campaigns. But if you want to see the details, you have to log into their system.

They remain in the campaign-delivery business — essentially, broadcasting lighty-customized email.

You, on the other hand, are in the direct-to-consumer wine business. Which is about one-to-one communication — even when you’re sending thousands of emails.

So we built a complete email delivery system into CompleteDTC. It leverages Amazon’s email backbone, so peering is a non-issue.

The benefit is that from within CompleteDTC you can compose and send highly-personalized emails, with the native ability to drop over 30 custom fields into a message, along with automatic, customer-specific login capabilities so they’re recognized when they arrive on your site.

But even more important is the fact that the results are tracked not only at the campaign level (that’s easy), but also for each individual recipient. You can see not just how many people opened the email but who they are (and how many times they’ve viewed it).

Did you forget to send a campaign to someone, or did they not see it?  Resend just to them, right in CompleteDTC. You can also easily re-send a campaign just to those people who didn’t open it the first time. Or send a follow-up email to those who did.

All of this is possible because the email marketing function is part of CompleteDTC, not bolted on or outsourced.

And if there’s ever an issue, you don't need to waste time figuring out which vendor to call (or watching each one blame the other).

Example: Telesales

There are a lot of companies out there offering telesales services. They work like this: you do some training about who you are, give them a list, and they call it for you, taking orders into their system and handing those back to you.

It sounds appealing on the surface, because you get experienced telesales people making those calls.

But the downsides are many, including the fact that some stranger (who is compensated for calls/hour and $/call) is talking to your customer; no matter how well-intentioned, they cannot fairly represent your brand, much less answer off-topic questions. Plus, those priceless nuggets of information that frequently come up during a call are lost because they are using their own CRM system, not yours. And finally, it turns out that once your team gets over their initial reticence about making calls, they quickly find they enjoy it.

That's why we built a solid outbound-calling capability into CompleteDTC. And we've assembled a nice collection of resources to help your team get comfortable with taking the plunge.

Most important, of course, is that every call gets wrapped up directly into your system, not lost in the ether. So the next time that customer interacts with you, you'll know!

Let us walk you through CompleteDTC so you can see for yourself.

* Also, since it’s your data, should you decide to leave us it’s all easily downloaded; that’s just not possible with most systems.