Are you selling wine online yet? Why is it essential for every winery?
Selling wine online might seem very scary. Thanks to the massive spread of the internet, online wine sales have increased in recent years.
As a passionate consumer of wine, I have always found buying wine online not only very useful but also very interesting. Producers that were selling wine online has allowed me to buy my wine quickly and easily from many different wineries in many different places.
Until only a few years ago, if I wanted to buy a particular bottle of wine from a specific producer, I had only 2 options:
- be lucky enough to find the bottle in my trusted wine shop
- go directly to the wineries
As I’m sure you understand, I didn’t always have enough time or luck to be able to find the wine I wanted or to travel to that particular cellar.
Online wine sales trend
Some data says that online wine sales are still relatively low. Yet more recent detailed analysis suggests that the knowledge and awareness of both wine producers and wine consumers is growing.
Additionally, while there is still some fraud, online security is always improving and people around the world are learning to trust the online purchasing process more. A few years ago, distrust might have been higher due to a lack of knowledge about the technical details and safety of electronic transactions.
As payment systems have become more secure over the last few years, more and more people have been getting better educated and more trusting, so their attitudes towards e-commerce have changed.
Selling wine online does not destroy traditional trade but strengthens it
One of the most common fears is that e-commerce detracts from or even ruins your winery’s and market’s traditional sales channels. It may be a surprise to know that the data says that the two channels actually grow together.
Consumers who buy your wine online often also buy it in specialized shops. Just as importantly, customers who buy wine through your normal sales channels will also be more likely to do it online as well.
Remember that while it isn’t always possible to find your wine in wine shops or specialized shops, it’s always possible to find it on the internet, as long as you have a digital presence.
Strengths of selling wine online
We will now explore the main advantages of having an online store on your website:
- it’s open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week
- it has advanced personalization both of your site and your online store
- it has a professional image
- there’s a greater availability of handicraft products that are difficult to find elsewhere
- you can process direct sales to your customers
- you can create long-distance relationships which were unthinkable until recently
- you can create and develop demand for your wines and products
- you can deliver directly to your customers’ homes
- you can produce information that’s simple and easy to understand
- you can fine-tune your message to your particular audience
- it’s possible to reach all domestic and foreign markets
- there are lower distribution costs when compared to traditional channels
- you can develop and strengthen the company brand
- you can gain a greater knowledge of native vines
- you can increase the possibility of selling directly to hard-to-find niche markets
Essentials of selling wine online
To succeed in the world of wine e-commerce, it is essential that you:
- carefully study the legal aspects of wine e-commerce in accordance with your local laws
- have a simple and secure payment system
- pay attention to pricing, usually slightly lower than your normal sales channels
- have your internal logistics prepared and organized to ensure a smooth processing and delivery of the order
- have carefully analyzed your general costs and shipping costs
- are able to handle customer complaints and returns through excellent customer services
- do a rigorous competitor analysis
How to have an active online presence
Having a beautiful, functional, simple website with useful and informative content makes you stand out from your competition of selling wine online.
Not only that, a presence on social media is important so you can interact with your audience to inform them about your products and direct them to your wine sales channel.
What is an ‘online marketplace’?
You might have heard people talking about ‘online marketplaces’, but what are they exactly? Online marketplaces are online e-commerce platforms that don’t belong directly to your website.
The most famous online marketplaces are Amazon and eBay.
In online marketplaces, the consumer can find a massive variety of products, including wine. Since there is a larger ‘marketplace operator’, such as E-Bay, the organizational management of online sales is easier because you can use their very efficient internal organization. This is a can be a great advantage for a small winery. However, the competition is higher.
Online marketplaces allow you to reduce advertising costs and the initial investment.
These are the advantages of online marketplaces:
- limited implementation costs
- simplicity of use
- simplicity of sales
- customer trust in the marketplace operator’s brand (e.g. Amazon)
- massive global audience
Disadvantages of the Marketplace:
- very strong competition
- strict internal rules
If a customer wants to buy my wine online, how can I make the sale most effectively?
To have an efficient and successful online wine shop, you must:
- keep your purchase process simple, from arrival to check-out. This is the most important thing!
- give the perception and experience of convenience. This doesn’t only mean a lower price compared to a store but also discounts on delivery or other promotions
- provide constant help during the purchase process
- provide reviews and feedbacks from other customers. These really make the difference online.
- ensure the speed of the sales process is as quick as technologically possible
- provide a wishlist where users can save their favorite wines to buy later
- be sure that your online store displays and operates perfectly on smartphones. The data processed by Wine-searcher say that users in 60% of cases approach the wine shop online for the first time by mobile. Only then do they complete the purchase on their home computer.
What does the wine lover search for online?
Connoisseurs of fine wines have always loved to fully explore the world of wine so as to discover new tastes.
At the beginning of this blog, I described how I could only taste specific wines if could find them in my local wine-shop, or be able to visit the actual winery.
If a wine lover doesn’t live near a quality wine shop, and they also lack the financial resources to travel to the source winery, it will be impossible for them to access the wine they desire.
Now that niche wineries are able to sell wines online, this market is now open.
These wine lovers can discover and try wines from any place around the world, even places difficult to reach. In a relatively short time, they can get the bottles delivered to their homes and share them with friends.
What should be the main focus of my online wine sales?
With the arrival of e-commerce and the essential need for a digital presence, the main aim of every wine company should be to serve its audience. In the modern marketplace, if serving your audience is your priority, it will make all the difference to your business.
Your ultimate goal should simply be to be at the service of people who love wine, all over the world. In 2018, now that anyone can sell wine online, the opportunities for people to discover and enjoy your creations increase enormously.
If you are able to keep up with the times and commit yourself to the individual service of your niche market, you can guarantee good results.
What do you think? Is selling wine online in our future?
Wine & More works with you to develop a plan that can help you expand the online sales in your company, creating an authentic and genuine connection with wine lovers from all over the world.
Here at Wine & More, our mission is:
To enhance the individual uniqueness of wines and territories by partnering with producers to define, grow, and develop your story, your land, and your passion. We will clarify what distinguishes you from others by growing your brand through effective wine marketing strategies and putting you in authentic contact with a wider audience.
If you are interested in developing the wine online sales and reaching new markets and audiences, contact us.
Author Michele Orbolato.