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Sheri Hebbeln
 
July 15, 2014 | eCommerce , Site Design and Management | Sheri Hebbeln

Online Wine Stores Should be Mobile

Here's an interesting scenario: Say you sell your wines to a restaurant in another part of the country. One bottle of your Riesling is served with a fruit tart, and the restaurant patron is impressed with the wine. They inquire about it, and hear that you're the winery that sells it. He or she takes out a smartphone, goes to your site to look it up and discovers that you have a store where you sell it. What happens then? Will potential customers see an online wine store that was designed on a computer for a computer and thus look messy and unsuited for the small screens of phones and tablets, thus waiting to get home before they look it up again only to forget about it? Or will they see a well-designed site tailored for mobile devices with all the functionality of the regular  website — complete with product descriptions and multiple shipping options — and purchase a bottle or two?

This scenario is not all together unrealistic. Customers are increasingly using their mobile devices in place of their computers for everything from checking on news stories to finding out what song they just heard at a cafe. More importantly, they're using their smartphones and tablets to shop for anything and everything. Wineries need to pay attention to this new development in retail because it presents an opportunity for them to develop effective ecommerce solutions that mean getting your lines out there in faster and more efficient ways.

Mobile is the future
Directing your energies to mobile is increasingly important in online retail and ecommerce in general. Consider this: According to In Stat, before the end of 2015, there will be more mobile devices using the Internet in America than PCs. That alone should indicate the need for mobile version of your store. But more importantly, phones and tablets cater extremely well to impulse buying: More than 50 percent do a mobile search of a specific product because they want it as soon as possible, as reported by​ eMarketer.

Mobile customers also interact on the Web in a different way that allows your site to earn more money. Marketing expert Ian Mills writes in a column for the Huffington Post that the ability to buy things without even having to move anywhere makes it far easier for mobile users to purchase them on a whim. As a consequence, phone and tablet users spend more money and get more things per transaction than desktop or laptop users. A mobile store is thus more likely to bring in more money than a regular Web store.

A page you can fit on a label
Of course, mobile Web design is different from regular site design. It means creating pages for small screens, including resolutions that were standard in the 1990s. Mills points out that without a site design that works for smartphones or tablets, customers are more likely to skip shopping and therefore will miss key means to purchase that bottle of Merlot they were ey​eing. One consideration to solve this problem is to make the site more image-intensive and less filled with text, keeping product descriptions short and sweet. In addition, Smart Insights notes that many users will likely hesitate pulling out their wallets for a purchase and might find remembering their 16-digit credit card number and three-digit CVV number a bit annoying. With this in mind, it's ideal to consider alternative payment methods such as PayPal where customers just enter their details and send money that way. A proper site design will lead to greater sales and more customers, including impulse buyers at restaurants.

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