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October 30, 2008 | Customer Relationship Management (CRM), Wine Club Management | WineDirect Admin

Building a Better Virtual Tasting Room

We sometimes think of winery websites as "virtual tasting rooms". Okay, you can't actually taste the wine on a website, but in other ways a website can, and should, achieve much of what a tasting room does. Next time you're thinking about the content of your web site, or if you're building a new one, a lot of what you already know about your tasting room will help you with your online presence.

Making A Connection
Tasting rooms allow customers to make a personal connection to your wine. Tasting room employees engage with customers in a way that captures a customer's attention in a way that no other kind of promotion can. A winery website has the potential to make a connection in a similar way. What are you saying on your website? Can you imagine an employee in your tasting room talking like the text reads on your site? You have an opportunity to connect directly with customers on your website – don't lose sight of the human being on the other side of the screen.

Honoring the Journey
When somebody shows up at your tasting room you know that they have traveled to get there. You appreciate they have taken the time to visit your winery and you try to make sure they don't regret that investment. A customer visiting your website has also made a journey. Maybe they arrived after searching for your wine on Google or following a link from another site. However they got there, they made a choice to visit your site and have invested some time in exploring it. They should feel like they are getting some value in return, whether it's a special offer on a wine, an opportunity to join your club or an invitation to a winery event.

Beating the Competition
Especially in the big wine centers there are plenty of opportunities to visit tasting rooms. Many people who visit your winery may already have been to one or two others and may visit more after they have left. You need to create a memory of your winery that stands out among the other tasting room visits that day. One the web the competition is even more severe. You are competing with millions of other web sites and all of them are only a click away. How have you distinguished yourself and made sure the memory of your web site stays with each customer?

In an Interview with Wine Business Monthly tasting room consultant Veronica Barclay says that the purpose of a tasting room is to "create memories". A good winery website can do the same thing. But what about the purpose of selling wine? I'll get to that in a future post.
 

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