A while back we published an interesting piece by Jon Collins on the internet of wine. So, when I received a press release about the CRM of wine I couldn’t help wondering what it was all about.
Bordeaux-based WineDataSystems provides a dedicated CRM for wine professionals. I caught up with Founder and CEO, Aymeric Fournier, to discover why we need one. The lightly edited Q&A is published below.
Why does your industry need its own bespoke CRM system?
It’s true that, on paper, you could use any Customer Relationship Management system in the sector. But our solution brings an essential value element; we are enhancing the traditional wine sector use of CRM by connecting it to wine distribution. Until now, the world of wine has never had a complete reference resource. Traders had to refer to a disparate array of databases in different formats, developed by different organisations, all localised for different regions. The same wine can have multiple names depending on the distribution network, which can make it difficult to manage your supply chain if you’re a vintner.
To address this, we gathered all available, disparate wine data — thousands of data points, covering everything from appellation to colour — into one database so as to provide wine professionals a quick, accurate and broad overview of all available wine.
The main obstacle is the data. Having to enter the data manually is particularly inconvenient for many customers. That’s what our WineDataSystem is all about. We not only provide great software to optimise information flow, but we also deepen the product information by calling the wineries and making their data available. Now, we are working to provide customers in this market all possible information for each wine: name, terroir, grape variety and producer, etc.
As a result, wine professionals who need to have complete information on hand in order to better target their offer now have the right tool for the job.
What proportion of wine producers use this across France?
There are a lot of producers in France and we are still in market education phase, so not that many – but it’s growing fast.
Is this used in other countries, and if so which ones - and does the system need to be localised?
Not so far, but we have raised a lot of interest from South America, Australia and Spain. Currently, the data we are curating is mainly focused on the French market. Our next step is to create partnerships with important data providers so that we can extend our catalogue and make it available in different languages.
Does this have longer term implications for the way wine is sold, marketed and distributed?
The technology in itself may not have a disruptive effect on how wines are being distributed, but we see huge potential – for instance, wine pairing or prediction on the evolution of wine price and of course customer management. That's what we are betting on, long term.
What are your longer-term ambitions for the company?
Become the reference for professional wine data! We think we can do that, as already WineDataSystem manages a total of 20,000 different wine reference records.
Adrian Schofield sheds light on tech in South Africa
Mark Chillingworth on IT leadership