As we continue in our new normal, many wineries are struggling to understand what they can do TODAY to increase online wine sales to replace the tasting room and event traffic they would normally have this time of year.
Below are some helpful tips to help you pivot to an e-commerce solution quickly.
- Make sure your online sales portal works efficiently. If you don’t have an eCommerce portal on your website you need to get one as soon as possible. Many small producers still rely on invoicing through Stripe or Square but it hinders sales because the process is very cumbersome and inconvenient for the consumer who would prefer to choose the wines they want to purchase and have a simple checkout process. If rebuilding or upgrading your website isn’t an option, there are third party eCommerce services like Vinoshipper or Wine Direct that can fill in the gap. If you do have an operational eCommerce portal make sure your inventory and pricing are up to date, that you have great product images and that the shopping process is streamlined. A new customer should be able to come to your website, browse your wines, add to cart and go to checkout seamlessly. The checkout process should not be more than 3 steps; adding personal information, billing, and shipping information and click the checkout button with an optional checkbox to create an account for future purchases.
- Create a special package. New products are exciting and can be in and of themselves a reason for a consumer to purchase. Creating a new grouping of products or adding a novelty like a chocolate that pairs well with your wine or a branded wine key or T-shirt are all great ideas. When you create your new products make sure to take some great photos and a description that creates a sense of urgency, like “limited time offer.” You’ll then want to add the new product to your website and market it through email and social media.
- Discounts and added values. Discounts and added values are always a great way to stimulate sales but people are often afraid to devalue their brands by offering them. In my experience discounts and added values are a necessary part of the sales cycle and should be factored into your annual marketing budget. By offering a discount on one product you are getting consumers to your online sales portal where they have the opportunity to purchase more than just your discounted product and they often will. Added values include things like free shipping, a branded product or a small gift card for a local restaurant that carries your wine.
- Create an affiliate program. An affiliate program is a way to mobilize your loyal customers into your sales team when they refer someone new who purchases wine through your website they get store credit for a future purchase. There are several ways to do this, the easiest is through a WordPress plugin like Affiliate WP that creates a unique link for each person and tracks who uses the link to purchase and automatically adds the credit. Another way is to offer a unique coupon code to your affiliates through your eCommerce portal, then track the sales with that specific code and manually give them store credit. No matter how you do it this is a great tool for getting new customers and reward existing customers, also you can offer this option to a few people or your entire wine club, it’s up to you.
- Social media and email marketing. Hopefully, everyone is already using social media and email to generate sales but there are a few specific strategies that can be really effective in the short term. The first is to use your email list to create a custom audience on Facebook for advertising, the second is to authenticate your email address with Google to ensure more of your emails are getting to your customers’ inbox and the third is to use social media messaging in addition to posting. We will go into all of these strategies later this week, in the meantime feel free to reach out with any questions to [email protected]