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DAOU: Accelerating Wine Delivery through a New Blend of Online Tracking 

DAOU is a family-owned vineyard and winery founded and run by brothers Georges and Daniel Daou. Located in the world-class terroir of the Adelaida District AVA of Paso Robles, DAOU has created some of California’s benchmark wines while cultivating a guest experience to match. Today, DAOU has a nationwide delivery and retail network, which provides unique and highly rated wines. Exceptional levels of customer service help differentiate DAOU from the traditional, catalogue-styled approach of ecommerce.  During 2020, DAOU partnered with HTEC Group who offered to help them build a cloud-based retail and operations solution capable of supporting modern vineyard business services and delivery to customers. This empowered DAOU to start reimagining the role of technology in luxury winemaking as a way of delivering world class experiences to its customers. 

Challenge

Known in the wine industry for its innovative methods, DAOU recognized the need to scale up their existing system and offer a new services to their customers. The DAOU team approached HTEC Group to discuss how we might bring their existing operations and retail processes to a higher level and create a unique digital ecosystem in order to improve and expand DAOU’s reach. The new digital solution would allow more control and customization over the wine ordering side of business and offer easier access to their customers’ favorite wines.

Solution

In May 2020, the HTEC Team started an initial project with DAOU. It was a unique application called DAOU+ that allows users to send personalized gifts in just a few steps via their mobile devices. Launch of the DAOU+ mobile application in late 2020 strengthened the bond and built trust between the HTEC Team and the client, which led to new opportunities including an order tracking system for one of California’s leading winemakers. We have been using AWS, .NET, React, and covering both mobile technologies with dedicated iOS and Android teams. 

While the team was working on product design and discussing the roadmap, it learned more about DAOU’s current systems, day-to-day processes and their way of working, and identified processes which could be improved or automated overall. In September 2020, the legacy DAOU system, which was supporting the backend of DAOU+ mobile application had reached its limit for scalability. It did not provide process operations that would support mobile orders, payments, or compliance. Therefore, the team integrated additional third-party services for the compliance, payments, and transactional marketing, as well as support for the identity provider. 

At that time, DAOU had around 6,000 users on their mobile app and was starting to make a real impact in the industry. All the while, DAOU cultivated a vision of one powerful, centralized, and efficient system, which would make their employees’ day-to-day operations easier.  

Due to the legacy system’s unstable webservices and lack of documentation, the HTEC Team created order, user, and club management systems, with completely reinvented processes as a foundation for the new retail platform. During the discovery and system design phases, the HTEC Team developed a product vision for each operations module and recreated the system using industry best practices, thereby providing additional support for DAOU unique processes. 

Currently, the development team is reinventing the operations admin panel to support the whole retail ecosystem. We are continually reinforcing implemented processes, providing product design insights, advising which third-party solutions should be utilized and which parts and modules should be revamped down the road. As a result, redundant processes have been removed, manual work has been automated, leaving valuable time for employees to build relationships with their customers. 


“By combining the information and experience from the client's side and our team’s engineering best practices, we took part in a joint strategic decisionmaking process from the very start of the project to build the best product that would help DAOU gain competitive advantage in the market.” —Dejana Vučković, Engineering and Delivery Lead at HTEC Group. 

Success

By building a scalable ecosystem, the cloud-based retail platform, DAOU was able to accelerate and improve their existing platform and achieve increased transparency and better customer engagement and retention. Now, customers are regularly informed about their favorite products, new initiatives, and events via their mobile phones.   

The HTEC team helped the client build a unique solution with processes and features specifically designed for their needs, which has allowed them to grow and become one of the pioneers in providing exceptional digital experiences in the wine industry. On top of this, the HTEC team has been training the DAOU team to take full ownership of relevant processes and fulfilment. DAOU is now able to streamline their Direct-to-Consumer business by digitalizing many new crucial segments. It has extended their journey to open the doors of their winery to a wider audience through events previously known to members only, including access to the tasting room on DAOU Mountain, specially curated products, improved and automated compliance, and integrated ordering. 

Interactions that customers have with DAOU employees and wine educators are especially valued by its most exclusive, highest tier members. This will be further elevated through the loyalty system and individually adjusted clubs with special benefits. The upcoming DAOU+ mobile app revamp will bring new unique experiences, powered and enabled by technology, to customers anywhere—on the road, at home, or in stores.  

 

 


“Systems development and implementation is a continual loop of internal and external feedback to drive evaluation and decision making. Each round requires that we consider how well the outcomes align with our goals and then make, hopefully, minor adjustments to our strategy. We’ve been fortunate to have a partner like HTEC that not only understands what we’re trying to do, but has the skill and know-how to get us there.” —Neb Lukic, President at DAOU Family Estates

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