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A new era of direct to consumer ecommerce



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By Stephanie Zillman

There’s a Canadian company making waves in both ecommerce and the wine industry.

Having recently launched into the Australian market, the bespoke software as a service (SaaS) platform, tailor made for selling wine online, has the potential to completely disrupt the industry.

The software is called Blackboxx – a product of BlackSquare – and is the brainchild of two high school friends who drew on their previous experience in creating a retail-focused wine selling platform.

The software enables the creation of an online cellar door, and bridges the gap left between generic ecommerce platforms, and the needs of wine sellers.

The key benefit of using any type of SaaS, is that the price is all inclusive. All of the traditional costs associated with building software – whether that be the bandwidth, security, hosting of the actual website, the confirmation emails that get sent out when customers purchase – all of that is bundled within the overall cost.

Matthew Protti, CEO, BlackSquare said that direct to consumer is seen by many in the wine industry as the fastest growing channel, and this is primarily fueled by the growth of online shopping.

“The difference is, the customer will visit the site online, purchase online, and then have that product shipped to them. Whereas direct to consumer is a blend of ecommerce, and could be an interaction with the tasting room staff at the cellar door via an ipad or mobile device, and having something directly purchased from the winery itself,” Protti said.

But why is it necessary to have a wine-specific platform – or a platform specific to any industry for that matter?

The answer lies in the sheer capital expenditure required in order to customise a generic ecommerce platform.

“Wineries then must spend money on customisation [of the generic platform] for their industry, so that the tool works, but it’s not an optimal solution primarily because of the amount of capital that needs to be expended upfront,” Protti said.

By integrating elements such as wine clubs, traditional newsletter marketing and gift-giving, David Gluzman, President, BlackSquare adds that in selling direct to consumer, producers aren’t competing on price.

“You can, but you’re competing with the big boys – the likes of Coles and Woolworths, and some can play that game. But it’s much more compelling from a brand perspective to actually compete on the experience of that product. So there are things that can be done to address that, like selling wines that people can only obtain directly,” Gluzman said.

Photo: (From left) Ross Wood, David Gluzman, Matthew Protti