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Sheri Hebbeln
 
December 3, 2013 | Sheri Hebbeln

Emphasize fulfillment speeds for higher end-of-year sales

The holidays are a tremendous time of opportunity for wineries looking to close out the year with strong online sales. However, customers don't want to wait around for weeks for their wine to arrive. People want the most convenient shipping options to minimize the stress of preparing for the holidays, whether they are ordering wine for a party or as a gift.

Price is no longer the primary concern for holiday shoppers, according to Practical Ecommerce. Consumers want to find the right gifts for their loved ones and receive a guarantee that orders will arrive in time for the holidays. Many industries have been dramatically impacted by online shopping, and individuals are adopting this trend because it offers them unprecedented convenience.

Speed of e-commerce accelerating
It may be time for wineries to assess their wine shipping strategies. E-commerce is increasingly turning into a more cutthroat industry as major platforms, such as Amazon and Ebay, compete to offer quicker shipping times. In fact, Amazon recently announced it will test 30-minute deliveries with drone-like aircrafts. Many of the details are still unclear, and it's likely these speedy shipments would only apply to Amazon users near busy distribution centers, CNN said. However, e-commerce providers are racing to the finish line of ever-faster order fulfillment.

While wineries may not be able to deliver cases with drones, it's becoming more important than ever to offer the fastest deliveries possible and to work with customers to get the best rates on shipping. This may ultimately act as a competitive advantage because it will build brand loyalty. Consumers are likely to remember the convenience of buying wine online, particularly if employees strive to deliver a high-quality experience through the Internet.

Website updates can facilitate e-commerce success
In addition to offering convenient shipping, wineries need to entice holiday shoppers to make purchases by creating a user-friendly interface with their websites. The winery's home page is a critical location to broadcast delivery speed because this may be a deciding factor among shoppers in December.

Holiday promotions should never be ignored, Practical Ecommerce stated. People may take to the Internet to find the perfect gift for a hard-to-please friend or family member, and there's a chance they may end up on a winery's website without knowing much about the brand. Wineries can add to convenience by providing extra descriptions with different types of wine, such as suggested food pairings, so new customers can feel like they're making a good selection. 

Another option for wineries that want to maximize their end-of-the-year sales and provide a convenient online experience for holiday shoppers is to consider offering a gift-wrapping service. Wineries can acquire relatively affordable materials and save customers time, which can increase loyalty. However, to undertake this approach, managers need to be aware that gift-wrapping can add to order processing time, Practical Ecommerce said. Wineries shouldn't advertise this option unless employees are prepared to wrap and ship orders without delaying fulfillment. This premium service is meant to add convenience, not time.

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