There are many a wine app for iOS and (growing) on Android. Wine+Tech wünderkinds VinTank, have done extensive research on iOS apps (iPhone) over the last few years with the most recent count at 450+, as of 04/14/2011. Indeed, my own content is distributed on two mobile apps, Hello Vino and Wine by the Bar. With that many apps out there for a very specific genre, you can imagine that there is a lot of noise and a lot of well, mediocre (at best) apps for wine. So, it is a refreshingly rare circumstance when one comes across an app that kicks some serious vinous booty. And the new app (iPhone, Android) from Ferrari-Carano Vineyards and Winery (Twitter, WineLog) by MacroView Labs (Twitter) gets my vote for kickin’ that booty.
The app, co-launched with the nearby Vintners Inn (Twitter) does so many things right for a focused topic like a single winery and inn: a great usable design that actually works with no bugs. High-res imagery abounds, with fully integrated social channels, live location-based maps and all of the information found on the full website including in-app purchasing of wine, via a wrapped browser functionality. MacroView Labs has created an app that is dynamic, full of complementary information such as unique wine pairings and recipes and designed all of this with a highly intuitive and beautiful design. The app was launched in May of 2011 and by the publish date of this article, had already reached 3,100 downloads. I was so impressed that I requested an interview with MacroView Labs CEO, Aron Ezra (Twitter) for my 5 Questions series…and included a bonus 6th question, to boot. Enjoy!
1. Ward (Twitter)/Vinopanion – WineLog (Twitter): First off, I’d just like the compliment the thoroughness of your app for Ferrari-Carano and the Vintners Inn, well played! When a new winery or wine website approaches you about a possible app, what is the single most important piece of information that you need to start the development process? Who are some of your more recent clients besides F-C and VI?
Aron Ezra (Twitter): Thank you for the kind words! When we start working with a new client, the most important step for them to take is to determine their goals and objectives in entering the mobile space. Some clients are most focused on improving the guest experience, others want to generate more revenue, others want to make their staff more efficient, and so on. Once the client decides what they want their mobile apps and mobile website to accomplish, we partner with them to build a mobile strategy that suits their needs, and we then begin developing the technology.
2. Ward (Twitter)/Vinopanion – WineLog (Twitter): In line with the previous question, what are some things that a prospective wine app client can do to get things rolling pretty quickly after contacting MacroView?
Aron Ezra (Twitter): Once we settle on desired functionality and sign a contact, we can get started with working with a client immediately. We can launch the first version of the apps and the mobile site a few weeks later.
Aron Ezra (Twitter): After our kickoff meeting, we work with the client to create the right structure for the app, the right aesthetic, and the right functionality. We use our content management system to accomplish this — this is the same system that our clients can use to make any changes they want. We meet with our new clients regularly to show them our progress and make any changes they suggest. After a few weeks, once everyone is happy, we submit the app to the app stores, and then focus on getting the word out about the solution and continually making enhancements to allow the apps to evolve and improve.
4. Ward (Twitter)/Vinopanion – WineLog (Twitter): Also, do you tend to work with entirely new designs each time or do you have a store of app templates that clients can chose from to get their app up and running quickly?
Aron Ezra (Twitter): We provide our clients with a variety of options for creating an app structure. We can create entirely custom apps, or we have app template structures that clients can choose from. Either way, we can work with our clients to create the right design to fit their branding.
5. Ward (Twitter)/Vinopanion – WineLog (Twitter): I see on your site that you also promise to follow the client after the app is launched, including help for promoting their app across their various social channels. What sorts of activities are included in this follow-on service?
Aron Ezra (Twitter): We provide ongoing strategic mobile consulting around setting business goals and identifying how best to use mobile to achieve those goals. We improve our client’s deployed mobile software every day to make sure it is helping them achieve their business goals. We also have a powerful proprietary data analytics engine that highlight things like: how customers are using the deployed mobile software, what features are generating revenue, and how we can improve the results.
For instance, if we notice that people in one part of the country tend to delete the app after viewing a specific page or feature, we change that page/feature. If we notice that a certain offer or social media feature tends to generate more interest or revenue, we expand upon that, often within hours of noticing the pattern.
We also help with generating positive buzz for the solutions through (1) internal training, (2) external promotions, and (3) word of mouth. First, we put together an app FAQ for internal staff to ensure all employees know about and can talk about the app to customers. Then, we work with our clients to make sure marketing collateral – from on-site signage, to employee email signatures, to direct marketing catalogues – mention the app. Finally, we help implement a public relations outreach alongside a social media push. We help create tools and campaigns to inspire the app users to tell their friends about it.
6. Ward (Twitter)/Vinopanion – WineLog (Twitter): You’ve made a large number of original, user-friendly and engaging apps over the life of the company. What’s next for MacroView Labs and how do you intend to continue to innovate?
Aron Ezra (Twitter): Our clients depend on us to keep them up-to-date and keep them profitable in the mobile world. Mobile moves incredibly fast, so we’ll be working hard to keep innovating on the countless new hardware and software releases on the horizon. In short, our focus will remain on delivering outstanding service and outstanding new features that generate bottom-line results.