iPhone in Business

The Wine Connection

“With the iPhone, we have a remote store with us, anywhere we go.”

Massimo Marinucci
Owner and President

Taking the store with you.

Massimo Marinucci runs a $20 million business with six employees, an online enterprise system and his iPhone. “We’re basically a web-based business,” Marinucci explains. “We have one core system for our inventory management, point-of-sale transactions and even bookkeeping. And we can access all of it via iPhone.”

As owner and president of The Wine Connection, Marinucci sells fine and rare wines throughout the U.S. market and the world. He has a successful retail store in Pound Ridge, New York (an hour outside of Manhattan), as well as a busy ecommerce site.

Right after purchasing iPhone, he optimized his online enterprise software by creating a special Safari app, so he can get any information he needs with just a few taps. Now he can run his business from the palm of his hand.

“The iPhone can pretty much do everything we do on a desktop. We can look up inventory, view sales for the day, run reports, print, change prices and change inventory quantities.” And they can do all of it from anywhere.

Inventory on the fly

iPhone has given Marinucci and his staff more mobility, resulting in great leaps in efficiency. “My employees can actually go into our cellars and check inventory on the fly,” Marinucci says. “In the old days, we had to write everything down, go back to a desktop and type it in. Now we can do it all while we’re walking through the aisles.” And if they discover a mistake, they can correct it immediately, via iPhone.

Marinucci and his employees can add new inventory, too—from the warehouse or from Bordeaux. “If we purchase a wine while we’re not in front of a computer,” Marinucci explains, “we can add that SKU to our inventory and put it up on our website, instantly.” So he can sell a new find before he even leaves the vineyard.

Having instant access to inventory and sales data means that Marinucci can better serve his customers. If a customer walks in and says, “You know, I can’t remember what I bought last time. Can you help?” he pulls out his iPhone, logs into the system and look up the purchase based on the customer’s name or email address. If the customer decides to buy, Marinucci can process the sale right there, without using the cash register. And that results in a faster transaction for the customer and shorter lines at checkout.

Giving customers a better way to buy

Marinucci is also using iPhone to improve his customers’ buying experience. Soon, The Wine Connection will have a point-of-sale application that allows customers with iPhone to make purchases as soon as they’re notified of a new wine or promotion.

“A lot of our offers are time-sensitive, with a product that’s in limited supply,” Marinucci says. “So we send out an email or a text message announcing the offer. With our new POS app, the customer will be able to buy immediately. They won’t have to wait until they get to a computer, when it might have sold out.”

And iPhone allows Marinucci to keep in close touch with customers, even mid-sale.

“Sometimes it’s an old wine, and the customer wants to see the condition of the bottle,” Marinucci says. “So we snap a photo with our iPhone and email it over.” Or a customer wants to place a large order and needs to know whether Marinucci has the stock. “I might be nowhere near a computer, but I can look it up immediately,” he says. “I can relay it in an email and close the sale in minutes.”

Staying in touch with the wine world

Marinucci keeps close tabs on the wine world via iPhone, too. Among his favourite applications are Robert Parker Mobile, the famous wine critic’s feed; Wine Spectator Mobile; and Vinfolio, which allows him to look up auction and retail wine prices around the United States. “That gives us a good sense of where the market is at any given time,” he says.

Recently, the Twitter app has become important, since it gives Wine Connection a way to keep clients up-to-the-minute with new inventory and upcoming events. “We can tweet with updates and links to specific products even before we email,” says Marinucci. He and his staff also use remote printing for reports and invoices, and Skype to make business and personal calls.

“As far as I can see, the iPhone is basically a portable computer that’s extremely easy to use and has the best operating system in the world,” Marinucci says. “So it was a perfect fit for our business.”

Company Snapshot

Family time, thanks to iPhone

With iPhone in his pocket, Marinucci is a lot more mobile than he used to be. And that flexibility has given him more time to enjoy his family. “I can be with my children at a school play and respond to customer inquiries as they come in. It doesn’t take a lot of time.” He likes to cook, too, and keeps his iPhone at his side while he’s in the kitchen. And the Facebook application lets Marinucci upload photos of his kids for his parents in Italy to enjoy. “They don’t see their grandkids very often, so that’s a great way to keep in touch.”

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