Tom Mann, founder of Mann Fine Wine, is no stranger to wine business management software and was instrumental in the adaptation of a well-known ERP to the fine wine sector.
Tom has over 20 years’ experience in the fine wine trade, starting at Jeroboams in London. Following almost 5 years in retail, he moved to the fine wine traders Fine & Rare Wines, and then was headhunted by Bordeaux Index in 2005, finishing as an Associate Director. Departing in 2009, he ran LHK Fine Wines until 2016, when he moved to Appellations as the Sales Director, leaving in July 2021.
With the experience of having specified a number of software solutions within the fine wine market, Tom had a clear perspective of the different inventory types he needed a business operating system to support, and the importance of product data references.
Virtual stock – sources of stock that could be offered for sale before purchase – was not being supported by mainstream ERP systems. Yet, as the fine wine market evolves to a hybrid stock management model that optimises working capital, being able to manage all wine inventory types is increasingly valuable.
Shipping functionality was another important consideration, in order to automatically calculate total cost of goods purchased and to improve the accuracy of warehouse landings.
Finally, he was looking for a platform that supported multichannel selling, that allowed for different line entry items to be allocated to different sales channels, including e-commerce.
He explains: “I think the thing that drew me most to the Hub and the associated integrated webshop was the pre-defined product taxonomy and catalogue which is connected to LWIN. I don’t have to waste hours of time creating product codes, which is a huge timesaver.
The Webshop and the Hub have a seamless two-way communication, so not only is my stock updated every five to 10 minutes, 24 hours a day, but if I sell stock on Liv-ex or another channel, it’s automatically updated. In short, the risk of double selling is almost completely eliminated.
We’ve picked up a lot of new customers from website orders, and lots of people have commented how easy it is to use. I have to say it’s been striking how many offline clients are purchasing online as well.
“The Webshop and the Hub also have a seamless two-way communication, so not only is my stock updated every five to 10 minutes, 24 hours a day, but if I sell stock on Liv-ex or another channel, it’s automatically updated. In short, the risk of double selling is almost completely eliminated.”
Mann Fine Wine’s e-commerce incorporates a lot of information and rich content, designed to engage visitors and drive conversion rates. Yet Mann recognised that curating product information and rich content can represent a significant overhead.
“Whilst I do have to expend a little time in uploading digital assets, once I’ve done it for say, Dom Perignon 2012, I don’t need to worry about repeating the same content for other entries of the same wine, which is enormously helpful. Uploading reviews from critics is also quick and easy, all of which helps to cut down the amount of time spent managing e-commerce.”
He adds: “We’ve picked up a lot of new customers from website orders, and lots of people have commented how easy it is to use. I have to say it’s been striking how many offline clients are purchasing online as well.”
Fine wine e-commerce is complicated by different stock attributes such as availability and tax status.
“It’s also been very easy to manage in bond and duty paid orders. I like the way I can easily define what goes onto the website, or manage the stock level that is shown there – so if I have 100 cases of something, I may want to only list 10,” says Mann.
With more customers comes the expected increase in demand for storage and valuation services.
“We’re now starting to explore client reserves management as we get more people who want to use our storage service. Online client access is very clear and easy to use and can be accessed from the webshop, and for our business all the tools are there to make calculating storage charges and sending out invoices a doddle,” he explains.