Jim Agger
 
February 26, 2014 | eCommerce | Jim Agger

Are you providing enough information?

If you're trying to maximize online wine sales, you need to consider the design of your winery's website. Problems with site search and a lack of product information can detract from the effectiveness of your e-commerce sales. According to recent research from GS1 U.K., a U.K.-based nonprofit that focuses on global transport and trading standards, 42 percent of online shoppers have abandoned a purchase because of insufficient information on the products they were interested in. In fact, nearly one-quarter of respondents said they didn't trust online descriptions as much as product information they uncovered in physical stores. 

"There's no doubt that the rapid pace of digital and social media will continue to transform the way consumers think, behave and interact with each other and with businesses," said David Smith, digital solutions manager at GS1 UK. "For the retail sector, the implications are huge. Brand leaders of tomorrow will need to provide a seamless, integrated and trusted purchasing experience across channels, or risk losing out to others that do."

Trustworthiness plays a major role in online purchases. Half of the shoppers had bailed on completing a purchase because they had doubts about the seller. Consumers have greater access to information than ever before, and they have come to expect that online retailers will provide them with the facts they need to choose a product. In addition, credibility is more important. GS1 suggested that missing product specs can be comparable to items being out of stock in physical stores. 

Other gaps in the e-commerce experience could have a significant impact if you sell wine online
Another study from SLI Systems concluded that 60 percent of online retailers don't use site search to guide marketing programs, and this is a huge missed opportunity. In fact, 75 percent neglected to use site search information in email marketing efforts. Email is still one of the most effective customer acquisition channels, so it's important to maximize the impact of these initiatives. This data can inform wine marketing campaigns and boost results. 

The biggest reasons online retailers aren't actively integrating site search data are limited resources or lack of understanding. The study cited two examples of websites that saw improved results with site search data. Jelly Belly had 85 percent more email opens and 33 percent more conversions. Footwear Etc. saw a 400 percent higher click-through rate, and sales revenue increased by 300 percent. If you're trying to encourage your existing client base to buy wine online, it may be worthwhile to account for site search data to determine which products are the most popular and what long-term customers are most interested in. 

SLI Systems also found that many online retailers intend to make adjustments to their e-commerce solutions in 2014 to provide a better user experience for their customers. 

How to improve winery websites to encourage online sales
E-commerce is rapidly becoming a widely accepted method of purchasing many different types of products, including wine. However, you need to consider the type of product information customers need to evaluate their choices when making a purchase. GS1 recommended maintaining consistency across all consumer channels, whether it's in your winery or on your desktop or mobile website. Especially because shoppers may browse websites a few times before selecting items and completing checkout, it's important to offer the same information. This can help build trust in your brand. It may also be a good idea to emphasize the security of your payment processing channels. 

For wineries, this could mean explanations of flavor profiles and detailed wine shipping information. In addition to credibility, customers want increased visibility into the shipment process.

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