WineDirect Automates Billing with Smart Subscription Technology

Overview  

In an era of rapidly increasing consumer expectations, WineDirect provides wineries of all sizes with comprehensive direct-to-consumer wine software and fulfillment solutions. Serving more than 1,800 wineries worldwide, WineDirect is headquartered in Napa Valley, California.

WineDirect has been a Recurly customer since 2019 and depends on Recurly’s subscription billing and management to automate the subscription billing processes for all of its customers.

As WineDirect's business grows, Recurly helps them save critical time and provides insights that allow WineDirect to better manage their billing procedures.

Automated Billing Processes Save Time and Make WineDirect More Efficient

WineDirect enables wineries to sell direct to consumers via a comprehensive platform powering online, in-person, and recurring subscription sales. Customers are charged each month depending on how much revenue they transact via WineDirect. WineDirect uses Recurly to calculate how much revenue their customers generate and bills them accordingly. 

In the past, revenue data was fed from WineDirect’s proprietary in-house billing system into Recurly, adding additional steps to the process. With the recent addition of Recurly’s quantity-based pricing models, including tiered and stairstep, WineDirect is now able to send customers’ usage data directly into Recurly. Recurly then automatically determines the right amount to charge each customer. This direct connection with Recurly enables WineDirect to streamline the complexity of subscription billing and ensure clear and accurate invoices. Recurly automatically creates an invoice for all billing scenarios, including charges, refunds, credits, shipping fees, and taxes. By automating billing, WineDirect ensures its invoices are accurate and its processes are scalable.

WineDirect Stats

“Recurly’s automated and scalable billing workflows help increase efficiencies in our finance processes. Our finance and accounting teams now have access to clean data with clear audit trails for accurate and efficient reporting.”

Devin Loftis,  Chief Technology Officer of WineDirect

WineDirect Minimizes Involuntary Churn and Maximizes Revenue 

WineDirect has its own in-house platform for recurring billing. What led WineDirect to Recurly was the ability to automate revenue recovery efforts, including through the dunning process and Recurly’s powerful Account Updater, which automatically updates credit card data to reduce declines. 

The reality for subscription-based businesses is that when transactions fail, subscribers churn and the business loses revenue. WineDirect realizes that effective decline management techniques are the key to improved transaction success rates and further recognized that by partnering with Recurly they could mitigate failed transactions. By using sophisticated, automated algorithms, WineDirect could reduce churn and increase revenue every billing cycle. In fact, Recurly’s decline management strategies can recover an average of 70% of failed subscription renewals.

“Funneling all our billing through Recurly has really paid off and has been a huge benefit because of the time and money we aren’t spending on resources to manage and update all the complexities associated with invoicing and payments."

Devin Loftis,  Chief Technology Officer of WineDirect

WineDirect structures its dunning process in a way that enables it to build relationships with its customers. The personalized communications help WineDirect provide a consultative customer experience while minimizing failed payments.

Recurly has helped WineDirect get a handle on its payment cycles and automate all the events surrounding those cycles: managing payments, invoices, facilitating dunning, and automating credit card updates.

The next phase will be to use Recurly webhooks and the Recurly API to integrate with WineDirect’s eCommerce Platform. The integration will monitor for customers who are past due and push an in-app notification to the customer to make its billing efforts even more efficient. 

Organic Growth Drives Pricing Plan Changes

The traditional alcohol beverage market is distribution-based, with a handful of large distributors controlling most of the market share. But based on changing consumer demands, the wine business is shifting to modern distribution channels including DTC. That shift has led to a large spike in organic growth for WineDirect. Due to COVID and prior shifts to DTC sales, online sales of wine have grown 40% YoY in 2020.

This organic growth has motivated WineDirect to make changes to its pricing plans. As mentioned, WineDirect is changing to a revenue-based model that consists of a low fixed-price, plus a percentage of revenue. In the past, WineDirect had a more complicated combination of plans and add-ons which resulted in its having to maintain more code to get the desired results. With its new model, WineDirect can maximize revenue and minimize the time spent administering its plans.

“Recurly has really adapted to our business as we’ve grown."

Devin Loftis,  Chief Technology Officer of WineDirect

COVID-19 Accelerates Growth 

The direct-to-consumer wine business is booming and COVID-19 has only further accelerated that growth. Because WineDirect’s entire DNA is built around getting wine to a direct consumer, it has been able to help its customers get their wines to their customers during the pandemic. While many wineries, tasting rooms, restaurants, and bars have been closed, consumers have taken advantage of WineDirect to procure wine online. 

Conclusion 

Since its founding, WineDirect has stayed true to its core goal of helping wineries sell directly to consumers in the way that works best for them. WineDirect is more than just a platform: it’s the winery’s champion. Recurly is proud to partner with WineDirect and help make the company more efficient and profitable. That’s something we can all toast to. Cheers!

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