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Sheri Hebbeln
 
August 7, 2014 | Email Marketing , Merchandising | Sheri Hebbeln

Creative Shipping Rates are Good Wine Marketing Tools

Online wine sales continue to increase as more states allow direct wine shipping to consumers. Wineries and clubs are always searching for the best way to get their names out to customers. Being creative with pricing and shipping rates is one way a savvy company can catch the eye of the shopper. Wineries are not allowed to send product for free, but wine clubs can. Using free shipping as a marketing tool can help boost sales and increase brand visibility. An RJ Metrics article talked about the advantages free shipping gives to clubs that distribute wine across the country.

Does free shipping really nab more customers?
When shopping online at a retail Point Of Sale shoppers are keenly aware of how much they are spending. The RJ Metrics report showed that customers are often willing to purchase an extra item if it means the whole order will be shipped free of charge. According to a University of Pennsylvania /Wharton report some 60 percent of all e-commerce operations queried offered free shipping to their client base as a bonus to customers. David Bell, the Wharton professor who co-authored the report, explained that customers will more likely spend $10 to get free shipping on a $6.99 posting fee and it's the Wild West in the world of shipping right now.

"There is no direct analog to this in the traditional retail world," Bell said. "It seemed to us that firms had not figured out the 'right' shipping policy, so there's a lot of experimentation going on without clear guidelines."

Free shipping is like going to the old country store
Bell added that buying goods on the Web is akin to going to the old corner store in terms of consumer experience and that shoppers behavior changes when shipping fees are added. The fees tend to make shoppers turn away and head for other options. Bell said it's pretty clear that free shipping is a very attractive item for Internet consumers.

As part of a wine marketing strategy, using free shipping to attract customers to the web site and keeping them there makes sense for company executives in a bid to increase sales - customers will likely buy more product if free shipping is available - and keep costs down. More research and trend analysis is on going, and Bell added that as that data comes back there will be tweaks to the business model. Both the customer and the wine merchant will likely benefit in the long run.

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