Current Wine Marketing Site
5 Top Ecommerce Secrets Wine Sites are Ignoring!  

Why is the wine business slow to adapt successful website sales tactics from other categories?

Perhaps the reasons are a field-blend of not wanting to turn off potential buyers by “selling too hard,” some “we don’t sell much off the website anyways,” and there is always a little bit of “that won’t work in our business, we’re different.”

Our stance is thus: consumers looking at your website are at the same time looking at other ecommerce websites, and are in a frame of mind to expect more of the same. They expect more ecommerce tools and functions that make THEIR life easier, and they expect less of the things that make their life hard (like too many clicks). Also, consumers like to see that you are up to date, and that reflects well on your brand.

Let’s pop the cork and see what this smells and tastes like:

1) Streamline the the purchase path to your wine.

Reduce the barriers (read: clicks) to your products. whether they be wine or wine club signups. You likely are using a hosted shopping cart solution, so don’t have any control over how many clicks the buyer has inside the checkout process, but you can control how many clicks before the checkout, when a buyer is trying to put wine into the cart.

Will we ever get as close as 1 click shopping on Amazon? Doubtful, but we do need to think hard about any site that is 4-5 or more clicks just to put some wine in the shoeComm bottlepping cart and fudge around with quantiites before they get to the checkout page (where another 3-10 clicks await our hapless buyer).

Arranging wine in nice heirarchies suits our right-sided brain, but products arranged in such a way that buyers have to go through reds, then cabs, then see the vintage or cuvee they want? The experience does not need to feel like navigating a flow chart.

What to do? Ideally, for a small catalog (even up to 12), all the wines should be displayed together on one page. Most popular items up front and center, and available directly from the front page via an image, rather than having to find the menu item called “shop”.

Some ecommerce carts are more fleixble than others, and there are ‘hacks’ to reduce clicks on some of the ecommerce carts – if you need help, just ask us.

And don’t require 3-4 clicks of age verification just to get into the site. There are other, better ways.

2) Email capture

Time and time again you have heard that you need to collet emails; so much so that it begins to be background noise. So maybe this is not such a secret.

But email is more powerful than you give it credit for – that’s the secret. It really is That important. When a stranger visits your web site one time, you need a way to continue the conversation after they leave.The most successful ecommerce sites are actively using email followup to increase sales up to 3X.The idea is to complete the sales process after they leave (and have not bought), and to do that we need an email.

Not everyone visiting your site is ready to buy something, but they are willing to leave their email if they a) believe you won’t spam them, and b) can unsubscribe at any time. There is a higher level of trust with a wine brand than with other ecommerce sellers, and almost by default the visitor believes that you would not spam them and there would be an easy unsibscribe process. So, wine site visitors are the perfect audience to ask for emails. It’s a real wonder why it’s not done more!

Should you leave email collection to your “join our list” signup form? That depends on your web traffic so far. Check your logs, and if over 80% of site visitors are leaving emails, then you’re done! If it’s less, and it most likely is, you need to consider another “offer” to trade for their email.

Bait for emails could be a giveaway/sweepstakes offered on Facebook (and other channels), RSVP to events, notification of some special event or future release that is made to sound special.

Proper followup is key too. It is not nearly as effective a sales tactic to ask someone to “Join our list” then only send them an email at your next release, which may be months later.

No, a proper “drip” campaign with a specific goal at the end of the campaign is the way to go.  That goal is not “stick around and remember us until we email you in the futuer.” A goal that drives sales is a purchase that further entwines the buyer to the brand. It does not need to be as big as a club signup, although that is a notable goal for the drip campaign too, of course.

So collect wine-buyer emails all the time – from the tasting room, from events, from everywhere.  And of course, collect from your website.

3) Free shipping,

Free Shipping (really 1$ shipping) is another ecommerce secret that we don’t see enough of in the wine trade. Of course this is due to the high cost of shipping wine, and owners not wanting “to loose money on the transaction”.

But if a dributor or broker showed up and said they would move X cases of wine, minus their fee of course, would you do it? So, consider that the loss on shipping is the brokerage fee. (We’re assuming you said yes to the above!)

You can (and many do) limit the wines that are eligible for free shipping, giving favor to some gift sets and starter/taster packs. Also it is best to limit the offer to 6+ botles, or even a case. At 6-12 bottles the gross margin is more attractive and the per-bottle cost to ship 6/12 is much lower than singles/doubles.

You can also limit the offer geographically. You can advertise free shipping but it will be for CA, AZ, and NV only where you can get cheap GSO. But before doing this, check the web statistics and sales logs to see where traffic and buyers are coming from. Don’t worry about the occasional shipment to, say, Chicago if most  of your customers so far have been from California.

4) “Introductory  Purchases”

In the 90′s movie with Bill Murray titled “What About Bob” we learn that all big issues can be overcome with “baby steps”. And that is the process we want to emulate online with a wine ecommerce site.

The large issue for the non-buying visitors to your site is that they are not yet completely comfortable with you. Sure, the guarantee and the free shipping reduce a lot of the risk, but web visitors are busy and are fickle. They want to do something, but can’t yet bring themselves to buy a case or 1/2 case in order to qualify for free shipping.

For them, we want to break the Ice with a smaller item, meant to incentivize the client to create an account on (yet another) web shopping cart, and give us a chance to earn their repeat business through great customer attention and personalized followup selling.

In wine an introductory purchase could look like a “sampler” or “discovery pack.” If your wine is loved by all who taste it, but you struggle to get enough tasters, then this is the secret for you.  Assemble the right mix of a few or more bottles, include shipping in the price, and sell it for a target “awesome deal” number, such as $99.

Next season, look into bottling more splits and have 2-3 to create a taster with.

 5) Remarketing

Remarketing is considered an advanced marketing tactic, but it’s not out of reach.

You must have had the experience: you visit an ecommerce site like Zappos or eBay, or many others, and after you leave and surf elsewhere on the web, you see ads for the site or even the products you were looking at earlier. And you’re no longer on that site! Spooky? – sure. Powerful? – you bet.

What could we do with that on a winery website? Primarily we use it to keep the brand top of mind. So many web visitors come back to the site to remind themselves of an experience they had, and think about doing something more. But “doing something more” like buying wine or joining the club actually takes time, and the prospect gets interupted and drifts away. Remarketing helps bring them back.

Remarketing also helps with your trade relations. Imagine a distributor rep on your site looking for collateral. For days later, they see your ads and are reminded to push your brand!

Google has the info on how to set up a remarketing campaign if you manage your own adwords account. Otherwise ask whomever handles adwords for you, or if you’ve not used adwords yet, pull us in to help.


Have a different secret, or want to tell us what has been your experience with any of these 5 if you have tried them? Leave a comment below. That’s all for now, but more secrets in the next instalment! Be sure to get on our list for notification.


SEE ALSO:  Social Media Ideas For Busy Winery Staff

If you are spending too much time trying to keep your social media channels active, or just need a little inspiration, leave your email adddress below for our Social Media Ideas For Wineries. It’s a monthly cheat sheet of ideas for posts and tweets for the wine world. Enter your email address below for your free tip sheet.


Selling Wine DTC in 2015 – What’s The Minimum?

Marketing and selling wine DTC can mean different things to different clients. When we engage new clients at VinMarketer, we often discuss whether the site needs a refresher.
Often the idea of “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” comes up. Or, “we’re having decent success – maybe our customers like our consistency?” Our advice is, leave that for the labels on the bottles. An older site visually registers like a polyester outfit worn by the tasting room staff.

While there are many online tools and marketing programs to assist DTC selling, there are two fundamental basic requirements for that visual “first impression” of the brand:

1) An updated, mobile-ready website, and 2) A minimal (at least) social media presence

Why A (New) Winery Website? 

Nearly 50% of your target audience (both DTC and trade) will be viewing your site through a small screen, through a smartphone. Your site has to be able to both look good and operate easily in that format. Easy operation means the fewer clicks to most popular and useful information to a visitor viewing the site on a phone.

Visitors will also be more impressed with a site with a style that is current. Every few years, web styles evolve and a site built only a while ago can look dated fast. Your website is your brand’s first impression for many. A dated style drags down the premium lifestyle brand you are working so hard to create.

Some acid tests to see if your site is dated:

  • If copyright date on bottom of page is before 2010 (or even 2012)
  • If your home page still says “Welcome to our site” or similar. That is VERY dated.
  • If  your site looks more like A than B
A) Older Site StyleB) Newer Site Style

Wine marketing site in need of a newer vintage

Circa 1990s Wine Marketing Site (Click to enlarge)


Current Wine Marketing Site

Current Wine Marketing Site (Click to enlarge)

With prices so low (compared to other winery and marketing expenses), an out-of-date site quickly tells visitors that its owners “do not care.”

So Social Spells Success? *

In 2015 (and beyond), anyone considering doing business with your winery (buying wine, partnering, inviting you to tasting events) will check your website and your social media presence. And not necessarily in that order.

What stops clients from using social media is the fear that it takes too long, or that they don’t get it. See this post for a few hints on using social media to sell wine DTC.  But the bar is pretty low – a winery can get away with the minimum in some cases.  A minimum, which is pretty easy to handle, is a Facebook page where a photo is posted at least every two weeks.

The goal here is to not let a potential visitor see a ghost town. Of course we preach much much more, but that can come later too. Let’s first get out of 2009.



VinMarketer can refresh a basic website at a very affordable price, do don’t let something you’ve heard through the grapevine (“20K?!”) stop you from exploring your options. Contact us today.
* Maybe it’s evident from our clever titles, but we like good copywriting. We can refresh a site and populate it with great blog articles and social media posts for a year, or teach you how to do it, or both!



SEE ALSO:  Social Media Ideas For Busy Winery Staff

If you are spending too much time trying to keep your social media channels active, or just need a little inspiration, check out Social Media Ideas For Wineries, a monthly cheat sheet of ideas for posts and tweets for the wine world.

Cheers ! DTC Wine Marketing


We’d love to pour you a taste, a taste of the most recent reserve cuvee of online wine marketing.
Tilt the glass and you’ll notice the distinct color of better placement in Google and on the maps, and in online local searches.
Tasting room visitors joining the wine clubAromas of new customers and new fans and fresh google juice / SEO fill your nose at first swirl, with tantalizing email marketing success filling out the bouquet.
Flavors of a fresh website which is mobile-ready mix with better wine club conversions, all supported by balanced and taught tannis of increased DTC sales.
It’s a solid performance, a full-bodied, fully rounded mouthfeel of solid support for your wine & brand.
Explore the Services page, or Contact us today!

SEE ALSO:  Social Media Ideas For Busy Winery Staff

If you are spending too much time trying to keep your social media channels active, or just need a little inspiration, check out Social Media Ideas For Wineries, a monthly cheat sheet of ideas for posts and tweets for the wine world.