Frequently asked questions
Answers to your questions over best practise and choosing a business platform that’s capable of supporting your business growth.
Our platform is engineered to be highly configurable; with parameters, functional choices and integrations available to shape a solution that’s just right for you.
Please don’t hesitate to contact us to start the conversation about your own specific requirements.
Every installation is configured only after a thorough investigation of your business requirements – we work together to craft a scope of work (SOW) to reflect your requirements and priorities.
With over 20 major white label clients operating their business on our platform, you can be confident that our SaaS technology is thoroughly road-tested. Existing clients will take reference calls to walk you through their experiences.
You can configure the platform as specifically as you wish. We’re often asked to do inventorying first, or simply to clean up the database and deploy workflows for improving data entry and database integrity. Eually we’ve deployed customer facing collection management/ private reserves management and integrated with legacy ERPs or warehouse management systems.
A lot! Pricing and price history on 350,000 wines, charting, drinking dates, scores, reviews, producer profiles, and then as much information about each wine entry as there’s data provided by you or the user.
We partner with Wine-Searcher to pull tens of millions of retail prices each year. Our team of data scientists then work with that raw data to create a market level price indicator that reflects the pre-commission estimate of the likely selling price. We do that for each wine reference, then additional cross reference sales data and high bidding patterns from our exchange.
We currently collect pricing for North America and Europe. The latter has a UK bias due to the historic role London has played in global trading and the secondary market, from where Asia takes its cue. Both region’s databases go back as far as 2007.
Here are some areas that we know from working with scores of wine-focused businesses are important to get right:
- Properly structured data model that is specifically designed for wine records, with a referential database and associated wine information related to each product reference (wine vintage level).
- Validation of all data fields at time of input as much as is practical (with obvious exceptions such as new custom wines).
- Wine-specific matching to maintain the integrity of the product database
- Deep integration between collection management and trading on the one hand, and inventorying functions on the other.
- Integration between your core system and your sales channels – increasingly important to reach your addressable market and ensure you don’t end up double selling.
- Efficiency of moving stock etc. – the fine wine market has such deep-rooted inefficiencies, ‘wins’ produced through better work processes deliver an improved customer experience.
We can. The referential database helps, as does our parsing, matching and deduplication tools, that we developed in house. You can even match incoming product data yourself using a specific utility we developed that enables you to see matches, close and false matches. The founders came from a CRM background working with big data, so transposing those principles to wine was a logical thing to do.
New wines that aren’t in the database don’t show up as you’re typing in a root of that wine name, and the system then lets you add a custom wine. That can be reused by you in the short term, until on a quarterly rolling basis the custom wine is researched by us and added to the referential database.
Yes the platform is engineered to handle multiple storage locations, along with different wine status, whether physical (in various duty states depending on the jurisdiction) or en primeur/ futures, lying overseas etc.. Both wine businesses and collectors often end up with wine stored in lots of different locations and the platform was designed for that.
We provide case consolidation fucntionality for maximization of space, enabling a few bottles in one case to be consolidated into another case.
The platform’s warehouse map will show you where all the stock is, which locations are overcapacity and which ones have space for more.
You can also identify where a client’s wine is across the warehouse in case you wish to move cases together. Stock movement and consolidations provide complete flexibility in being able to manage space optimally.
We integrate with Vinous, Robert Parker, Jancis Robinson and there are more we’ll be adding in due course.
We created our own reporting suite, so that if it’s in the database you can report on it. Reports can be parameterized if required, and although we have over 100 pre-canned, you can have us create any report you require.
When you deploy the collection management interface between you and your customers, you can:
- Log in via admin to see the same screens that they are looking at. It’s a great help when advising them on their collection.
- Analyse all client activity.
- Analyse client collections, as well as holdings across the whole of your customer base.
- Configure your platform so that customers can add their other cellars to their account so that you get to see a 360 degree view of their collection, and can improve your advice and increase share of wallet.
- Automate communications to them based on platform actions and events.
Every action is recorded by the system. Even wines that are deleted are recorded (and viewable by administrators). Talking of which, admin access is recorded, so no change to a record, or warehouse movement, or consolidation, or manual adjustment can be made without the system a) knowing about it and b) being able to report on it. Reports suitable for auditing purposes include (but are not limited to) ordering, landing wine, for a wine’s full history, by staff user.
Background systems include Dynamics and Navision, Oracle, Netsuite. We integrate with any accounting system including Quickbooks, Sage and Xero. For marketing we’ve integrated with Salesforce to support event-driven email marketing campaigns and account management activity.
The billing functionality provides enormous flexibility for a warehouse or retail/ e-commerce business to calculate fees. For example volume discounting is essential to many businesses who store wine for customers, but so it being able to override that structure and create custom fees. Fees are calculated on the fly per customer based on events such as wine landing, solid case vs mixed case, inspected and/or photographed, repacked if needed, and put away.
Billing functionality can manage multiple warehouse or storage locations that each have different billing rules.
Yes we have lots of experience in migrating data and planning successful switchovers. That whole process is aided by the data quality and matching tools we’ve developed in house. Some of those tools can be used by us or you to make the process as fast and cost-effective as possible.
Any inventory held on the platform can be called by another system, along with associated information, so that wine can be listed with rich content, and variables such as margin can be controlled by the platform. It also means that wines stored for clients can be listed for sale via the same API calls.
We provide an exchange model that connects a seller and buyer directly, or in jurisdictions that are more challenging, a license holder plays a key part. If you’re interested to understand how it’s done, do contact us.
We also provide a slick brokerage workflow that encompasses price discovery – either to e-commerce as explained in a previous FAQ, or with a simple buy and sell function that is part of the customer facing platform, and fully integrated with collection management (as all the selling options are).
Yes, we have created a very efficient landing/ inbound wine workflow that enables you to differentiate mixed cases/ packs from solid ones. Rules can be set up for applying barcodes or license plates to the case, and optionally barcodes ready to apply to bottles too. It just depends on your business and use case. It also means that you can specifically identify a case of wine with different conditions and fill levels, and know which one to request for an outbound process with precision.
Every wine entry has a Wine Passport, which is a section that enables current condition (in the form of inspection photos and a structured pick list for describing condition), and history of a wine (with any supporting information) to be maintained. History + current condition = provenance.
There’s no minimum term, the length of which is agreed upfront in the Agreement before you make a decision.
There’s a configuration fee that covers set up that varies according to the scope of work, plus services fees for data processing and migration (variable depending on whether you want to do some of it yourself), and of course if you’re only using certain functionality there will be more or less integration with background systems.
Once you’re ready to go live there is a monthly recurring fee to cover unlimited technical support, hosting, security, upgrades and everything that comes with a fully managed environment. For customer facing organisations, it depends on the number of customers and internal users you have, and for organisations using the platform for the back office only, its subject to a fixed monthly fee reflective of your configuration .