How to sell wine online. If you are still operating your ecommerce business the same way you did in years past, you are in serious danger of being left behind. The beautiful thing is that it is one hundred percent within your control to implement and none of it is expensive. There are so many other things about making and selling wine that you cannot control. So take these steps to upgrade your strategy.
You find and attract email subscribers using SEO and Facebook/Instagram lead ads; you SELL using email marketing.
This is a big shift from how most people attempt to sell wine online. The vast majority of wineries use email to send out boring newsletters that very few people read and they run self-glorifying Facebook and Instagram ads that invite users to “shop now” or “buy now.” These strategies are doomed to failure.
The foundation of this NEW mindset is accepting the truth that people do not come to Facebook to research products and services to purchase. That is the realm of Google and Amazon. People come to Facebook and Instagram to be entertained and to engage with their friends and family.
But, while they are on their feed wine drinkers WILL engage with wineries “ads” IF those ads entertain, inform, and educate.
The role of social media
Most people greatly overestimate their ability to convert social media fans & followers into paying customers. If you want to get a good grasp of your selling potential, do not look at the number of fans & followers you have but, instead, look at how many engaged email subscribers you have.
You absolutely need to have a vibrant, growing social media presence in order to build brand awareness and engage with potential customers. But, the SALES will happen mostly via a sound email marketing strategy. This is not an either-or situation but a both-and scenario.
So, keep doing whatever is working to leverage your social authority but avoid the trap of thinking your posts are going to move the needle on sales.
Once you accept that your “feeds” provide a very differentiated role in your online marketing efforts from your advertising, you are well on your way to having more sales success.
Wineries with small budgets and limited resources are especially vulnerable to this reality. It is easy to waste money on wine ads on Facebook and Instagram that do little more than make “noise” on the social feeds of their would-be customers.
The bottom line is a large social media following is nowhere near enough to enjoy sales success.
A frictionless user experience for online wine buyers
The competition for online wine buyers is extremely fierce! And today’s online shoppers are incredibly impatient when it comes to shopping online.
Wineries and vintners large and small must do everything in their power to remove all obstacles to a seamless, efficient shopping and checkout experience.
A great place to start is to improve your site speed. There are three things to consider to make sure your website visitors are able to see and interact with your content easily:
- Page load time.
- Execution speed of website events you want to track such as button clicks.
- How quickly the browser parses the document and makes it available for user interaction.
For more on this topic, Google Analytics provides a great help document here.
A lack of adequate site speed is a huge reason why people bounce off sites. Wine sellers need to monitor their bounce rate fiendishly. Aim for seventy percent or less as a good rule of thumb.
The bounce rate is calculated when someone visits a single page on your website and does nothing on that page before leaving. It is quite shocking how FEW wineries even monitor this! Do not be among them, please!
Since more than half of all your online wine orders will be placed using a mobile device, it is critical that you optimise the mobile experience for users. Take the time to visit your own site regularly using your own mobile device so you can experience it for yourself.
Be especially wary of making users click on too many things to get their order placed.
One final note on user experience: please make sure all your email signup forms contact as few fields as possible. Every field you add to a form is likely cutting your conversion rate between eight percent and fifty percent. The best practice is to ask only for the user’s first name and email address. You can always collect other data points as your users interact with your content on an ongoing basis.
The proper email marketing software
Whatever email marketing software you use MUST allow you to do ALL of the following things:
- Utilise custom “forms” that can be embedded anywhere on your website (ideally in multiple places)
- Build automations (pre-defined rules to trigger personalized email messages based on specific actions customers take) such as an automated “welcome email” when they first join your list.
- Create custom landing pages
- Integrations with your Facebook Ads – especially your Facebook Lead Ads (you may need a tool like Zapier to help)
- Leverage click segmentation in order to automatically add “tags” each time a user takes an action.
- Provide thorough and detailed user engagement reports
Many wine sellers utilise “full stack” email tools that are included in their ecommerce platforms. If you are among these users, make sure your email marketing tools can do all six things listed above.
The way you need to use email marketing software today goes WAY BEYOND sending out newsletters and wine club pickup announcements. So, educate yourself and make the necessary upgrades. Compared to other ways to spend your marketing dollars, email software is cheap!
Streamlined email signup forms
There are two key things you need to get right when it comes to email signup forms embedded on your website:
- Keep required fields to an absolute minimum (first name and email address – that’s it).
- Give people a very compelling reason to sign up
Let us tackle item number one first. It is very tempting to try and obtain key information such as last name and zip code. But the conversion rate drops dramatically once you start asking for more than just first name and email address.
There is plenty of time to gather more information LATER in the customer journey. Your goal should be to make it as EASY as possible to subscribe. It makes a huge difference over time!
When it comes to providing compelling reasons to sign up, there is NOTHING WORSE than simply saying, “Join our email list.” Consider that there are over 1.8 BILLION websites on the internet and they all are asking for people’s email addresses. If you want to sell wine online like a pro, you are going to have to do MUCH better than that!
Spend a little time with your team brainstorming what compelling reasons you might offer potential subscribers. If you get stuck, take a look at a few ideas to get the cerebral blood moving through your noggin.
- Be the first to know about limited releases and special offers.
- Get special offers available only to our subscribers.
- Be first in line for our highly allocated wines.
- Keep up to date with special events.
Providing compelling reasons to subscribe will have a dramatic effect on your conversion rates!
Personalised communication via email
Most people think “newsletters” and email “blasts” when they think of email marketing strategies. There is SO much more to an effective email strategy than this!
ALL of your email communications with your subscribers can and must be personalised. It should be a rare occurrence that you send the same email out to all subscribers. A much better way to build relationships and trust is to send communications to much smaller groups of people based on very specific interests.
Let’s say you have a tag called, “red wine lovers” and another called, “has visited the winery.” The way you would speak to each group should be highly customised!
When you sit down to write the correspondence, write as if you are writing to just one person. This makes a huge difference!
Another great tip to help you sell wine online like a pro is to keep your emails as short as possible and refrain from using images. People will READ a short, concise email and pass over something that screams TLDR.
The objective of email marketing is to slowly and patiently build a relationship with your subscribers over time. That is impossible to achieve if no one reads your emails!
One key ingredient, which has come to the for over the past few years is predictive personalisation. this runs autonomously from your marketing email software, and cherry-picks the products most likely to be bought by each individual consumer imminently, but for being offered it. Research bureau’s including Statista and McKinsey both publish figures illustrating that it delivers TWENTY times the volume of sales, in comparison to standard ESP software, but for the introduction of this facility.
It runs alongside marketing and promotional email software, and as it is pre-electing product on an individual basis it is 100% automatic, requiring zero staff input whatsoever. Microsoft Partners SwiftERM offer a SaaS plugin for platforms including Shopify, Magento, WooCommerce and Opencart users, plus you get a FREE 30-day trial, where you get to keep everything it delivers in that month with zero risk. Typical ROI of wine outlets is in excess of 1500% ROI, and one of the highest performing Martech Solution in the world. It starts from as little as £100 / $130 pm.
Regularly purge your cold subscribers
No doubt some of you reading this are going to stiffen up at the thought of intentionally deleting hundreds of “cold subscribers” but please keep reading. This is about quality not quantity.
The best definition of “cold subscribers” is someone who has not opened or clicked an email within the last ninety days. They are not opening your emails now and they are highly unlikely to open any in the future.
But, rather than just delete them straight away, try following a cold subscriber re-engagement workflow. This article will help immensely.
No matter how compelling and interesting your content is, there are going to be people who lose interest. You need to know who these people are and deal appropriately with them.
Working only with highly engaged subscribers will do several marvelous things for you. It will for sure improve your open rates. It’ll lower your email software rates (MailChimp’s fees, for example, are based on the size of your email list). It will also breath fresh wind into the sails of your creativity. There is nothing as fun as communicating with people who really want to hear from you!
Distinguish yourself from the pack
There are hundreds of thousands of different wineries/wine retailers all over the world trying to do exactly the same thing you, which is sell wine online. The good news for you is MOST of them will NOT do anything differently than they have always done. YOU, however, now possess the guidance to take your ecommerce sales to the next level.
None of the recommendations in this article are expensive. But, they do require a firm commitment to learning new things.
If you are interested in something more personalised in order to fast-track your goals, simply click here to see how you can instantly generate new leads and sell more wine or spirits online!