How wineries can take cues from Amazon
Amazon is the top online retailer - with good reason. It started out as an Internet bookseller and branched into nearly every other product category, largely on the strength of its ecommerce fulfillment. While many other online merchants attempt to compete with this giant to little success, wineries do not need to see Amazon as a threat. Most small retailers can't match the company on shipping speed or product availability. However, you can follow certain examples set by Amazon to improve your ecommerce offerings and wine shipping.
A Monetate white paper, "Amazon: How One Company Dominates Online Retail (and what your business can do about it)," analyzed how the retail giant came to be the No. 1 player in ecommerce. In addition, Monetate looked at some mistakes traditional retailers have made when entering the online space. Some merchants tried to directly translate the in-store experience into the online realm. While online-exclusive companies have made the experience as convenient as possible for consumers, retailers with a physical presence have struggled to move to the Web. For example, less successful websites may include poorly timed upsells, such as trying to get customers to add to their orders when they are already halfway through the checkout process. Monetate suggests one of the reasons Amazon is so successful at what it does is because its website is centered around conversions and quality customer experience.
With this in mind, here are some suggestions for how you can follow Amazon's lead and improve the service customers receive when they order wine online:
1. Add a sense of urgency
Customers are more likely to buy rather than browse if they think a product will be out of stock when they return to the website. It can be difficult to keep your most popular products in stock, but including information directly on the page when items are running low can lead to a boost in online wine sales. The number does not need to be exact, but including it can encourage people to buy right away instead of waiting.
2. Don't force brand loyalty
Your best customers should be rewarded. This increases satisfaction and ensures they keep coming back in the long term. However, many retailers try to win loyalty by offering discounts for continued purchases, a separate blog post for Monetate said. While this can sustain revenue, it doesn't lead to lasting loyalty.
3. Save the upsell until after checkout
Amazon uses data-driven marketing to great effect with targeted product recommendations based on purchase history. However, some retailers try to do this during checkout based on browsing history, and this can cause customers to abandon their purchases. Another thing Amazon has done extremely well is streamlining checkout to include as few steps as possible. It's important to avoid slowing this process down.
Ways wineries can step up and fill gaps left by Amazon
No company is perfect, and although Amazon has a highly specific online customer experience, there are elements it doesn't include in its approach. Monetate suggested the following tactics for wineries to differentiate their websites:
- Include more product photos: Text-based product pages can be disorienting for consumers. Adding more images can help.
- Build the experience around what customers care about: Because wineries aren't trying to sell as many different product categories as Amazon, this tip may be easy. Pay attention to your busiest seasons, order frequency, the relationship between items purchased and other information to incorporate it into your wine marketing.
- Send more relevant emails: While abandoned shopping cart trigger messages can help you recapture lost sales, personalization can go further. Open-time personalization - content that changes based on when recipients actually view the message - may be useful for wineries.
Amazon has a .38% profit margin. That's thirty eight one hundredths of a percent. No winery could live on that.
Furthermore, the idea that Amazon doesn't buy loyalty with coupons, as the Monetate article you cite suggests, is laughable. The whole concept behind Amazon is that it offers deeply discounted prices. At the very least, they help buyers avoid local sales taxes, which in my state, are over 8%. That's a pretty good discount.