How Vivino Uses Personalization to Grow Its Community

In the newest installment of the Data Unlocked Podcast, Jason Davis, Simon Data’s co-founder and CEO, speaks with Heini Zachariassan, founder and CEO of Vivino. They discuss how Vivino took a group of casual wine lovers and built a wine community. Through this recording, we discover the keys to Vivino’s success are its ability to identify a gap in the market, automate workflow bottlenecks, and use personalization to strengthen relationships with community members.



Identify White Space in the Market


In 2010, Vivino started with a unique idea- what if wine drinkers could scan a bottle on their phone and instantly see how others rated it? At the time, nothing like it existed on the market. However, as their popularity grew, so did their competition. As copycat services emerged, Vivino needed to stay ahead of the curve.

Their first innovation was something Vivino had in mind since inception. After spending seven years collecting data and improving their recommendation system, they launched Vivino Market. This new feature uses data orchestration to put their growing database to work. Ultimately, users receive purchase recommendations based on wines they’ve highly rated. Therefore, customers can buy tailored wines directly from the app.


“We had to grow our community first in order to leverage the power of our data to bring an infinite number of wine merchants under one digital roof to sell wines we are highly confident users will love. With the launch of Vivino Market, you are witnessing the beginning of a new way to browse, select, and purchase wine

Heini Zachariassan, CEO of Vivino

Photo of Vivino's Founder Heini Zachariassen.


Identifying gaps in the market isn’t just about creating a unique product. It is also about out-pacing your competitors as you grow. More importantly, it’s always keeping the customer in mind and enhancing their everyday experiences.


When You Can- Automate


As their database grew, Vivino saw another opportunity to give their users a better experience through segmentation. However, when Vivino set out to create audience segments, they discovered their manual process was long and tedious. First, they had to combine data from various sources to make recommendations to customers. After that, they manually created emails to deployed.

In order to scale, they knew they had to simplify the process. Vivino employed a Customer Data Platform to do the heavy lifting. A CDP allows users to unify data from anywhere and orchestrate customer journeys. With Simon Data’s CDP, Vivino was able to automate segment creation for email marketing campaigns. 


Simon now powers Vivino’s complex ‘Daily Deals’ emails by automatically bringing in Vivino’s internal wine recommendation engine selections for each user from Vivino’s Redshift and joining their highest-matching wine to each user. The tool also suppresses any wines that users have received previously, so decisions on how to match users with wines are made in an automated fashion.”

Vivino x Simon Data | Case Study


The underlying benefit of using a CDP is Vivino’s engineering and marketing teams gaining bandwidth to focus on high-level strategy and execution. This efficiency speeds up the workflow and helps launch campaigns more quickly.


Personalization = Right Time, Right Message


Segmentation and personalization often get used interchangeably in the marketing world, but there is a difference. Personalization is taking segmentation a step further and knowing each customer on an individual level. In this case, Vivino sends just enough personalized recommendations to clear inventory without over-stimulating demand. 

By nature, their model is promotion-heavy and necessitates a high send frequency. Still, not all customers have the same appetite for Vivino’s deals. Vivino optimizes its marketing cadence and segmentation with Simon Data’s CDP to clear inventory while avoiding message fatigue. Simon enables Vivino to tailor weekly emails to include recommendations (based on viewing and purchase history) relevant to each individual. In most cases, a Customer Data Platform is the only way to achieve such a high level of personalization. 


In the podcast, Heini makes his appreciation and respect for Vivino’s customers known. “We have this immense recommendation system because people love being a part of the community.” Keeping that in mind, he also stresses that any customer messaging needs to be timely, engaging, and relevant. To put it in Heini’s words- “don’t bother me if you don’t have anything relevant- just leave me alone.” 

If you don’t have something that offers value, don’t lessen your product by sending seemingly random messages. We’re all bombarded with marketing daily. Therefore, the question becomes how do you break through the noise. Knowing your audience and effectively segmenting messages is a good start to standing out.


🍷  You can join Vivino’s community here to start discovering wine that fits your tastes – and your budget. 

📻  If you’re interested in hearing more behind-the-scenes tips from business leaders, follow the Data Unlocked Podcast on Spotify

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