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Joanne Grantz
 
December 2, 2015 | eCommerce , Fulfillment/Shipping, Marketing, Site Design and Management | Joanne Grantz

Ecommerce challenges facing wineries in 2016

Ecommerce is growing and evolving faster each year. As more consumers turn to online stores to either research or purchase products, having an ecommerce presence is no longer an option for businesses, it's a requirement. Sites like Amazon and Zappos are setting the bar for online experiences, and as the landscape continues to change, retailers across categories will face new challenges in the future.

While there are many trends that will influence ecommerce in 2016, there are four specific challenges online wine stores should prepare for in order to be as successful as possible next year:

1. Price and shipping competition
As large ecommerce companies like Amazon provide options for free shipping, smaller retailers face more obstacles to gaining customer loyalty. Today, online shoppers expect either free or reduced shipping options. In fact, the 2015 UPS Online Shopping Study conducted with comScore showed free shipping remains the most important option during checkout for 77 percent of online shoppers. With so many options available to them, wine drinkers will seek the online wine store that has the best product prices and most accessible shipping options. Wineries can overcome this challenge by partnering with a third-party fulfillment partner to help reduce overall costs and ensure shipping incentives are a real possibility.

2. Mobile shopping
More customers today are turning to their mobile devices to purchase products or compare prices before visiting a brick-and-mortar location. Additionally, consumers who shop through their mobile devices tend to spend more money. According to Smart Insights, people who shop through their mobile devices spend 66 percent more than those who only make purchases in-store. With this in mind, wineries need to ensure both their in-store and online shopping experiences are optimized for mobile trends. Online wine stores should leverage responsive design to ensure a good shopping experience through mobile, and brick-and-mortar wine stores can offer technologies such as mobile pay, barcode scanners and beacons to connect to shoppers' mobile experiences.

3. The rise of millennials
Every year, the number of millennials in the workforce and their buying power increases. As Smart Insights pointed out, millennials will make up 75 percent of the global workforce by 2025. With 2016 being one year closer to this milestone, wineries need to begin thinking more seriously about how to cater to this demographic. The most important thing wineries must consider when marketing to millennials is their demand for seamless experiences. Smart Insights shared data that revealed 68 percent of this demographic expects an integrated, seamless shopping experience across all channels. For wineries, this means the tasting room, online wine store and mobile shopping experiences all need to be integrated.

4. Demand for content
Content marketing has become a crucial strategy to any business that has an online presence. The value of content marketing all comes down to search. According to MOZ, 80 percent of consumers use a basic online search to learn about a brand, and today, sites that feature original content are more likely to appear in search results. As competitors catch on to this trend, online wine stores must stay ahead of the curve by developing unique, original content that will appeal to the interests of their target wine drinkers. There are a handful of content marketing tactics wineries can employ to increase traffic to their online stores:

  • Develop a blog that shares captivating insights about winemaking, different varietals, tasting notes and any other relevant information that would appeal to a wine enthusiast.
  • Feature product videos for select varietals that discuss the taste, color and viscosity of the wines.
  • Offer downloadable guides for wine parties, tasting notes, pairing guides and other helpful materials.

2016 will bring new challenges for any online wine store, but with the right strategies and partnership, wineries will be on their way to a year of success.

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