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The Migration Experience: Failla Wines

Commerce7 Teamclock 10 min

Oct 13, 2022

Six months ago, Commerce7 announced its acquisition of VineSpring, bringing over VineSpring’s top notch support team and 500+ clients to Commerce7’s customer-centric platform. The acquisition has helped generate more value for all wineries through enhanced customer support as well as a more feature-rich platform. 

Since then, Commerce7 has worked to migrate all previous VineSpring customers to its platform and the migration came to a close on September 30, 2022. 

Switching to a new software can be a source of stress and anxiety for all parties involved, and that is a feeling that is all too familiar for Failla Wines. When the acquisition of VineSpring was made public in April of 2022, Failla Wines had just finished transitioning from VineSpring 2 to VineSpring 3 a few months prior, and a migration to a brand new platform was the last thing they wanted to endure. 

The Shock Effect

“I will be completely honest… I cried several times,” confessed Janelle Engel, Failla Wines Consumer Sales & Marketing Manager and their migration leader. “I was scared, sad, mad. I felt like it was happening to me instead of with me. I felt like I had just gone through this big transition from VineSpring 2 to VineSpring 3 and it just felt too soon to have to do it all again. I also knew what was upcoming in the life of Failla. We were buying new property, my role would be changing and evolving, and it just felt like bad timing.”

Janelle reached out to other wineries using VineSpring to get their opinion on what was happening and the consensus was… “we’re not looking forward to it.”

She also reached out to contacts in the Oregon area who use Commerce7 and they had great things to say about it. However, knowing that many of those wineries functioned very differently than Failla Wines, Janelle was still left with some concerns, specifically regarding allocations.

“I was nervous about how Commerce7 would bring [allocations] into the system - but I really like it!” explained Janelle. “It's easy for me to make an allocation on the fly. Allocations on Commerce7 are easy, fast and it does what I want it to do.” 

“I just think Commerce7 is a system that does what it says it's going to and that makes it a lot easier for me to both use it, and to teach it to others.”

Making sure Commerce7 would work for how Failla Wines runs their business was at the top of their to-do list, but a very close second was making sure that the new system functioned for their accounting team as well.

“I feel very fortunate that two members of our accounting team already work with other wineries who use Commerce7, so that part ended up being a lot easier than I expected,” said Janelle. “The reporting works for us. Our accounting team is like, ‘Yeah, we got it. We know exactly what we need,’ and that makes my life a lot easier. I just think Commerce7 is a system that does what it says it's going to and that makes it a lot easier for me to both use it, and to teach it to others.”

Past Challenges

Much of Janelle Engel’s initial worry was a result from having just finished a year-long transition from VineSpring 2 to VineSpring 3 in February of 2022. “A lot of things happened and it was not the best experience. Just thinking about potentially going through that kind of process again was a big concern.”

Similarly, Amy Parker (The Head of Onboarding at Commerce7 - previously the Head of Onboarding at VineSpring), shared some of the same apprehension. “It was a tough road to migrate clients from VineSpring 2 to VineSpring 3, so when I learned of the acquisition and that we needed to move the clients to a completely new system again, it seemed like an overwhelming task.”

“It was also a personal transition for me moving from VineSpring to Commerce7 and I had the same types of reservations our clients did. However, the staff at Commerce7 were incredibly welcoming and from day one I could tell they cared every bit as much as we did over at VineSpring for the software and their client base.” 

The team at VineSpring learned a lot from the transition internally from one version to the next, and the migration from VineSpring to Commerce7 was no different. “The customer success team made modifications to the process as needed to make things smoother for the clients,” explained Amy. “Communication was hard sometimes - there were so many clients with valid questions but only a few of us. However, by the time we were done we had the entire success team at Commerce7 (and even a few others), helping us answer questions and guide the VineSpring clients to a soft landing.”

Letting Go

“To my surprise, Commerce7 is even more user friendly. All of the user explanations are so nice. I'm like, ‘Oh, okay, I get it. I get what this is supposed to do.’” 

In addition to Janelle’s concerns from her recent VineSpring 2 to 3 transition, she was also letting go of a few comforts she had gotten used to: user friendliness, familiarity and live chat for customer support. After shaking off her past experiences, Commerce7 started to be relatively easy for Janelle and the benefits of the platform started to shine.

“One of the things we really liked about VineSpring was how user friendly it was. I've worked with competitors in the past and the platform doesn't do what you think it's going to do - then you do something that you didn't mean to do in the system. In VineSpring, every button did what it said it was going to do.”

“To my surprise, Commerce7 is even more user friendly. All of the user explanations are so nice. I'm like, ‘Oh, okay, I get it. I get what this is supposed to do.’” 

Janelle was also really worried about the transition from Square, which is known to be a very user friendly system for POS. “I couldn't be happier with the POS on Commerce7,” said Janelle. “It's really easy. I think the fact that you can do shipping orders right from [the POS] with a click of a button is great.” 

“I also like that in the Commerce7 POS you can switch locations and have them be different colours so that it's visual for us to use. It's great because we're talking about all different kinds of people who need different cues. Not everybody remembers to push that button. So if you can remember that it's the wrong colour, it makes it easier. I know it's something so simple, but I was like, ‘this is what we've been waiting for.’” The Failla Wines team will also be able to take tips on all orders which was something they were unable to do when using Square. According to Janelle, this makes them more enthusiastic about using the Commerce7 system.

Though there are features such as the POS that excite the Failla Wines team, one of the things Janelle liked most about VineSpring that is currently unavailable on Commerce7 was the availability to talk to someone in real-time when she needed help. “There were times on a Saturday night when I was going live on a Sunday morning with an allocation when I ran into an issue. The chat function on VineSpring was super, super helpful.”

Commerce7 has actively been building out their support team and are currently doing testing for live chat support - a launch is expected before the end of the year.

Roadblocks

One of the biggest roadblocks that Failla Wines ran into during the migration was the fact that they produce 55 SKUs on any given vintage across two states. So, products were a daunting task, especially considering product weights were not required in VineSpring 3, whereas with Commerce7, weights need to be plugged in. VineSpring 3 didn’t allow customers to archive products either, so going through each individual product to remove the unused ones in Commerce7 just wasn’t doable.

“I spoke with Amy who ended up coming up with a workaround and she fixed it for us!” said Janelle. “I mean, her doing that took days… weeks of work off my plate. That was the biggest hurdle.” 

Failla Wines’ next hurdle was inventory.

“Inventory works a little bit differently in Commerce7 than it does in VineSpring, so we tried to wrap our heads around what that meant. Overall the hurdles were really just finding the time to learn the system, and the time to work through things with Amy. She has been really great."

Things Are Looking Up

Now that Failla Wines have gotten through the toughest parts, they’re looking forward to using a lot of Commerce7’s features.

“We’re excited about the fact that Commerce7 has [a MailChimp integration] too. I’m also looking forward to using the email templates that are already in Commerce7 for campaigns. I don't think we'd ever be able to fully move away from MailChimp, but it’s easier for me to send things through Commerce7 than it is for me to send things through MailChimp. So using that more often is very exciting to me!”

The reporting (specifically the increased availability in queries), has also been helpful to Failla Wines. “There was a pretty intense search function in VineSpring 3 that I used almost hourly and when we first transitioned, I was worried about how I was going to find that kind of information again, but it looks like the Commerce7 query function will solve that problem.” 

In addition to Commerce7’s communication and reporting tools, Janelle is also looking forward to the resources that Commerce7 provides. “I really like the instructional videos you put out - all of that has been really helpful in figuring out what I’m doing. I just click on it and it tells me how I’m supposed to do something. I think one of the biggest things in this transition is just getting used to the different verbiage. I think we'll continue to learn, but again, it's nice to have the [former] VineSpring staff on your team who know what I'm talking about when I say weird VineSpring words.” 

“Now that I'm in Commerce7 and putting the last touches on it, it works really well and I'm excited about a lot of the things that Commerce7 has to offer.”

Following their launch on Commerce7, Janelle Engel will spend two weeks in California training everyone on the new system. 

“To be honest, that part seems like fun to me. Our team from Oregon is heading down to California and we're all going to do it together. Now that I'm in Commerce7 and putting the last touches on it, it works really well and I'm excited about a lot of the things that Commerce7 has to offer.”

“[This process] has been so much easier and just better than I expected it to be. Everyone has listened to my concerns and has had an answer. It exceeded my expectations in many, many, many ways. So I appreciate all of the work that went into this. I know it wasn't easy on anyone.”

Failla Wines is the project of winemaker and farmer Ehren Jordan, focusing on cool climate sites on the Sonoma Coast and world class vineyards in Oregon.

Failla Wines began in 1998, born of the opportunity to make expressive wines from single vineyard locations across California's western Sonoma Coast. Ehren, never one for slowing down, rapidly expanded the Failla stable from 2 wines in 1998 to over 30 wines two decades later. Their expansion into the Pacific Northwest is indicative of Ehren's forward-thinking nature and desire to constantly challenge himself with excellent vineyards in different regions.

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