Sept. 27, 2022

Federico Fanelli: Swirl Wine the Personalized Wine Subscription Service

Federico Fanelli: Swirl Wine the Personalized Wine Subscription Service

Drinking wine should be a relaxing event and lifestyle enhancer, at least this is how Swirl co-founder Federico Fanelli views it. Originally from Italy, Federico came to Japan on a mission to introduce the wine lifestyle to Japanese. After a few years selling wine B2B, he together with his co-founder started Swirl, an online wine subscription service. Swirl is a very user friendly website incorporating gamification, fun navigation, and a super easy searchable wine cellar with over 140 wines from 5 major wine countries. Today I speak with Federico about the inspiration behind Swirl, scalability in a market not known for wine drinking, why the wine buying experience is usually disappointing, how Swirl creates an enhanced customer experience, and why they chose the company name Swirl, despite this potentially being the hardest English word ever for Japanese to pronounce. Other interesting topics of discussion:

  • How the business idea for Swirl was born while drinking at a wine bar with his now co-founder
  • How the Swirl website uses "Gamification" to increase visitor conversion rates
  • Creating an enhanced customer experience to make a wow wine experience
  • Free unsolicited business ideas - for Swirl
  • Why most foreign wine business in Japan usually have a foreign customer base 
  • The wine selection process - Tasting over 2,000 wines to select 140 for the Swirl website
  • Why there are no Japanese wines on the Swirl website
  • Karate and a cultural anthropology book became the catalyst for interest in Japan
  • Favorite untranslatable Japanese word - the Mottainai concept
  • Importing wine into Japan is simple, but creating a wine business is a lot more difficult
  • Most important lesson learned working in Japan

Swirl Wine:
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