We talked to Filippo Ronco of Vinix Social Commerce about becoming part of the largest wine & food community, and he had the following to say:-
First of all, how are you and your family doing in these COVID-19 times?
Filippo Ronco: We’re fine, hope you’re fine too.
Tell us about you, your career, how you founded Vinix Social Commerce.
Filippo Ronco: Vinix Social Commerce started in 2013. We’ve created a new way to buy wine & food together in a group giving access to unique distribution discounts and special rewards to buying party leaders.
How does Vinix Social Commerce innovate?
Filippo Ronco: We collect many little orders in big ones so that producers can optimize their logistics, save money on transport and give a hand to the environment both with the contribution of the community that plays an active role in distribution.
How does the coronavirus pandemic affect your business finances?
Filippo Ronco: We’ve been caught in a sort of surprise and shock during the first lockdown here in Italy; because all of our distribution systems are based on pickups at a different address than your own home, we faced a complete block of the activity in early 2020, especially between March and the beginning of May 2020. Fortunately, in the second lockdown at the beginning of September 2020, we were more prepared and reactive on the problem, and we got a specific “ok” from institutions for delivery and pickups because they were compared to doing shopping that has always been an allowed activity, even during the lockdown. So, in the second period, all the system didn’t stop working and, otherwise, we’ve increased all our numbers greatly.
Did you have to make difficult choices regarding human resources, and what are the lessons learned?
Filippo Ronco: Fortunately, we’re still a small business.
We’ve been all very united in this period and continued doing all the job in the new smart working way.
How did your customer relationship management evolve? Do you use any specific tools to be efficient?
Filippo Ronco: We actually use WhatsApp desktop as the primary CRM solution, but we’re very active on all the channels from the mail, direct messages through our platform to tweets and messages across all the major socials.
Did you benefit from any government grants, and did that help keep your business afloat?
Filippo Ronco: Just a little personal support for independent workers during the first lockdown, but we’re talking about an insignificant CIP. As always, we’ve done almost all by ourselves, but we’re prepared on this since this is our reality 365 days in a year, even when we’ve no pandemic at the window.
Your final thoughts?
Filippo Ronco: We’ve learned a lot, especially how to react to adversity and unexpected events in a proactive way. The lockdown was for sure one of the biggest lessons learned in a while.
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