Saving time and money for hundreds of boutique wineries

  • Client Location Everywhere
  • Industry Retail, Hospitality, Logistics, Ecommerce
  • Client Since 2013-12-01

If you buy a bottle of wine from a winery at a vineyard or online, there's a good chance WineDirect is part of the fulfillment process—they are a successful e-commerce, point-of-sale and fulfillment services provider for many of the largest wineries and wine marketplaces in North America.

Wineries turn to WineDirect for reliable, return-on-investment solutions that take care of the business side of running a winery, so vintners can focus on creating awesome wine and amazing tasting room experiences.

Missing an opportunity for real value

Shipping alcohol is a complicated business. States, counties, cities, and even individual zip codes have different rules and regulations about what you can buy, how much you can buy, taxes and reporting. Some counties are even completely "dry" and it's illegal to ship wine there.

A single third-party software service had cornered the market on compliance—assessing the rules for each shipment, and tracking whether a customer has reached their purchase limit for a given time period.

WineDirect integrated with that solution for years, leaving considerable opportunity on the table.

WineDirect hired Domain7 to build a compliance management system that would integrate seamlessly with their e-commerce, POS, and fulfillment interfaces, but would also open up endpoints third-party services can subscribe to and integrate with their own systems.

Bringing clarity to the complexity

The complexity of the legalese, the variations of reporting requirements, and the resulting technical architecture required detailed research and intense collaboration with legal counsel at WineDirect—a robust and detailed process.

However, the system was ultimately meant for human use, so

we infused our discovery process with persona development, looking at every aspect of this tool through the eyes of the people who would be using it. That meant considering the diverse needs of anyone from a winery owner, to a compliance manager, to a frontline staff member.

Opening up the data

The technical starting point was creating a rules-database to house the many policy variations. It pulled from hundreds of open data sets, and each required significant scrubbing and translation to bring into a common format.

From there, we built a rules engine—a way to apply each piece of legislation: to approve, reject or hold an order based on the various customer and order data that flows through the system.

Finally, we created a reporting engine for both web-service based reporting and fillable PDF reporting.

This tool was heavily integrated with the customer/order data and with the rules engine to ensure the correct amounts were being reported to each interested state or county.

All of this functionality was seamlessly integrated in WineDirect's e-commerce and fulfillment interfaces and winery workflows. And because it was all done through a REST API structure, WineDirect can sell these services to third-party system integrators, creating a huge future business opportunity.

A human interface for business data

But systems do not live on data alone. Without real people, they're just numbers. Our design process took a simplified approach to developing extremely lean interfaces that respected the data and the systems, but gave control back to the individual users: the boutique wineries all across North America who ship wine as their livelihood. It's a user-centered tool that knows its place: to do the business of busy people.

UI library

Instead of strict templates that would force design into precise parameters, we took a modular design approach.

Reusable elements can be assembled as templates, as needed. A UI Library lets sites scale smoothly, according to complementary design patterns.

Living prototype

A design prototype that lives in code means visuals can be explored in a live development environment. From the get-go design was considered in its final context—there's no sharp transition between static mockups and eventual browser experience.

Revenue and results from data and design

When the project wrapped up, WineDirect hired a full-time development team who we brought up to speed to manage the codebase on their own. Although most clients choose to have Domain7 maintain their systems, any code developed on a time-and-materials basis belongs to our clients. It was exciting to see WineDirect take advantage of this, and how smoothly the transition went.

All those opportunities WineDirect was previously losing through reliance on third-party tools have now been brought in-house. Any wine seller can now use the WineDirect API to help their system—an huge benefit for smaller wineries. And for WineDirect themselves? The new technology helped unearth a goldmine, creating an incredible new revenue stream.

We'd be happy to share more case studies with you over an in-person conversation, hand-picking ones that can answer your questions directly.

Get in touch to start talking.