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Sheri Hebbeln
 
March 24, 2014 | Sheri Hebbeln

Pressure is increasing to offer a quality ecommerce experience

Online wine sales present a variety of opportunities for your winery, but they don't come without their own set of challenges. Large retailers are excelling at offering a high-quality user experience for online shoppers, and this is putting pressure on smaller stores to assess their point of sale systems. 

Consumers are increasingly turning to ecommerce to shop, highlighting the importance of updating these systems. In fact, 75 percent of shoppers have bought something online in the past 30 days, according to recent statistics from Javelin Strategy & Research, a company that provides insights on customer transactions. In addition, only 7 percent of consumers report that they have never shopped online. In 2009, 22 percent of people had never shopped from the Web. Internet sales could be a growing opportunity for your online wine store

"Retailers such as Amazon and Wal-Mart are setting the bar high for online merchants," said Nick Holland, senior analyst of payments at Javelin Strategy & Research. "Ecommerce shoppers want convenience, they want speed and they want security, and it is up to ecommerce platform vendors to provide merchants the tools to allow these wishes to be fulfilled in order for e-​retailers to stay competitive."

Despite the growing need for advanced systems in the ecommerce arena, many vendors have been slow to adopt new technology, such as responsive Web design or support for digital wallets. This reluctance could hold a wine merchant back. 

New trends in ecommerce that you need to adopt
Customer demands and expectations have accelerated beyond what many smaller retailers can offer. Site design plays a key role in convincing people to buy wine online. In fact, the look and feel of your website can either help customers trust you or scare them away, Practical Ecommerce stated. Usability can make or break someone's decision to purchase from your winery's website. Here are several common problems with retail websites that you may want to address:

  • Checkout is hard to navigate: Although many shoppers will visit your website more than once before making a purchase, it can be disorienting for those who decide to buy the first time to spend a while on your product pages, add items to their carts and then reach the checkout only to find it's a complicated process. A few things customers hate most about checking out include the following: being required to register, too many fields in the process, multiple redirects to other Web pages, lack of payment options or having to reenter payment information and shipping address more than once. These factors can cause a spike in shopping cart abandonment.
  • Perceived lack of security: After several large-scale data breaches at major retailers, customers are more concerned with protecting their financial information. You should emphasize payment security of your retail POS on your website to put consumers at ease when they purchase from you. 
  • No mobile strategy: This detractor is only going to grow more significant as shoppers continue to rely on their mobile devices to browse the Internet and shop. According to Practical Ecommerce, high-end tablets like the iPad can render a non-optimized website for users, but some sales could be lost if site functionality isn't the same from a mobile device. Responsive Web design may be one way to create a better, more consistent experience.
  • Too much or too little design: Some retailers go overboard with animated graphics and videos, and this can impede usability. However, some companies have the opposite problem of too-few or outdated images and unappealing or hard-to-read fonts. Photographs can enhance the online shopping experience, but only when used correctly. You need to strike a balance with the look and feel of your site. 

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