Selling through Vivino - how's it working for you?

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Joseph Zamrin
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Joined: March 7th, 2019, 12:34 pm

Selling through Vivino - how's it working for you?

#1 Post by Joseph Zamrin » March 8th, 2019, 8:24 pm

I have some concerns about Vivino and would like to know how other retailers feel.

First, some back history. While winding down an IT career, I have handled store finances for a number of years. I stayed on the fringe of the online business, so my discussion is based on more recent discoveries. We began selling online during this time started with Vivino in May 2018. After "retiring", I dove into the online sales management around October. At the outset, it seemed like a good idea using Vivino to expand our online sales. From recent experience, I have formed these opinions/observations about Vivino:

1. Operational model deficiencies
1a - Reliance on email alone for communications, no phone calls possible
1a1 - This is true for both retailers and customers; as a result, speed of resolution of questions or problems is insufficient
1a2 - We leverage their shipping labels (this was an option as we could use our own and pay the shipper directly)
1a2a - Shipping labels must be retrieved from email (instead of the retailer web portal) and delivery of labels is inconsistent, i.e. at an unacceptable frequency, labels are not provided until we prompt (by email - no phone contact possible)
1b - no relationship managers to contact about issues, recommendations
2. Technology is remarkably behind for a modern e-commerce operation
2a - web portal does not support delivery of shipping labels
2b - web portal does not support direct communication to end customer; instead, we must email Vivino who in turn contact the customer and get back to us by email. Problems that could be solved by a phone call or direct email take too much time as a result.
3. Cost - Vivino gets 15% of the sale and we pay shipping. I don't think my colleague who set this up understood the shipping aspect. It was originally communicated to me that Vivino picked up the shipping cost. Wrong - we pay almost the full cost - there are some minuscule rebates involved.

Those costs, added to the cost of packing material, are in my opinion, unsustainable. Beyond the irritating lack of communications, this is the factor that will determine if we continue the relationship.

So what am I missing? Did we agree to a raw deal and other retailers are paying less? I would like to know if I am alone in this thinking.

ryancurry
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Re: Selling through Vivino - how's it working for you?

#2 Post by ryancurry » March 12th, 2019, 4:20 pm

I spent a long time on the phone with them negotiating the rate. At the end of the day, they couldn't offer a big enough discount to make it feasible with my margins. They actually direct their user to the lowest cost option available, so they squeeze you at both ends. Mark up to mitigate their fees and your stock won't sell. Keep a normal mark up and get destroyed by their fees. Lose lose.
itb

Doug Schulman
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Re: Selling through Vivino - how's it working for you?

#3 Post by Doug Schulman » March 15th, 2019, 3:51 pm

Joseph, you've summed it up pretty well for me. It has also become clear to me that they're in the trading of personal information game (who isn't these days?), which I'm not super happy with when it comes to me given the nature of our relationship.

I'll PM with a couple more thoughts.
ITB - retail sales and education

Joseph Zamrin
Posts: 2
Joined: March 7th, 2019, 12:34 pm

Re: Selling through Vivino - how's it working for you?

#4 Post by Joseph Zamrin » March 19th, 2019, 5:12 pm

It's such a bad business arrangement when you can't speak to anyone on the phone. That alone motivates me to cut the tie. To make matters worse, the Vivino employees handling email communications are poor communicators. We're looking for a reason to continue, such as converting Vivino buyers to direct buyers. I expect we'll make some decisions in the next week or so and after seeing the February numbers.

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