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HomeNEWSWine not? Fine Wine Delivery introduces its digital human employee

Wine not? Fine Wine Delivery introduces its digital human employee

Fine Wine Delivery has made online shopping a whole lot easier with the launch of its virtual employee, Jeff.

Replicating Fine Wine Delivery founder and CEO Jeff Poole, Virtual Jeff will help make the customer’s online experience just as good as at one of the brand’s stores.

Poole says FWD has always been at the forefront of evaluating wine for its customers.

“What we didn’t want was a simple chat bot with an FAQ (frequently asked questions). It had to be our experience delivered online in a manner that our customers would enjoy and find genuinely useful, not a gimmick that would fade in just a few weeks.”

Since opening its doors in 1997, Fine Wine Deliveries have always had a policy of professionally tasting every wine, craft beer and fine spirit it sells, to evaluate for both quality and value for money.

Poole says if the alcohol doesn’t meet their standards, they won’t sell it. He adds that the team also write their own descriptive tasting notes so the knowledge is captured and can be shared with customers.

“Our challenge was to find a way to deliver that same expertise and experience in a natural way for our online customers. And ironically, the need for that capability was suddenly made abundantly clear last year during the first COVID-19 lockdown.”

Created by Auckland company Replikr, Virtual Jeff is more than a simple chatbot that can answer easy questions. Replikr managing director, Dr Peter Catt, says developing Jeff’s conversational skill sets while incorporating the specialised knowledge of the Fine Wine Delivery team made for an exciting project.

“Virtual Jeff is an order of magnitude more sophisticated. He is guiding people based on their answers. And if there’s a specialised term used, such as “oaky”, he is able to explain those terms to help customers better refine their choices,” says Catt.

Since the soft launch of Virtual Jeff late last year, Fine Wine Deliveries has already seen a change in customer behaviour.

“There’s been a noticeable shift away from buying based on the specials for the week and a swing towards buying what customers have learnt they enjoy most,” says Poole.

“We are now working with Replikr to integrate Virtual Jeff into more of our services, both online and in store, where he can continue to enrich the customer experience and learning, in what is a complex and personal decision-making process.”

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