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April 19, 2007 | Merchandising | WineDirect Admin

REthink Your Online Store – Merchandising

To ensure the success of your ecommerce plans this spring, a fresh look and new ideas are essential. The following suggestions will undoubtedly help you get back into the spirit of selling more DIRECT! To accomplish online what retail managers do with their brick and mortar business, you have to employ best practices and effective promotion tools that create the ‘look and feel’ of aisles in a store.

Creativity is Key:

  • Besides having a compelling layout, the way in which you present or even spin the products you sell is completely up to you. This is where you can get creative, and turn those visitors into buyers!
  • Try putting banners on products for emphasis on tactics like limited production, or have an image of a medal to highlight a high wine score or winner of a contest.
  • Other promotional methods may include: Pre-Releases, Ratings, Exclusives, Themes, Seasonality, Mixed Packs, Behind the Scenes/Educational Stories, etc. These methods have all proved to be great selling tactics in the past, but you can always dare to be different!
  • Identify the key business goals and ensure they are obvious on your homepage, with calls-to-action. Have these ‘kickers’ link to your wine club, wine store, and events on your homepage with complementary/compelling images.

Compelling Layout:

  • Identify key products and areas that you want to draw attention. Create your store design to specifically highlight notable products, and place these items above the fold.
  • Be sure you create the proper messaging to set customer expectations. Negative space or “white space” can add a sense of sophistication to your website, while too many products, text, and images can make a webpage seem busy and confusing for a customer. Graphics in strategic places tend to draw the eye and entice customers to purchase.
  • Keep the number of clicks-to-purchase low; more than 3 clicks and your customers will start to lose interest.
  • Make sure your store looks neat and fresh; your customers will find it much easier to purchase your products, and enjoy their shopping experience!

Create Strategies That Speak to Your Customers:

  • Don’t forget to up-sell and cross-sell. Feature exclusives or related products. This allows you to take advantage of the online medium, pushing customers to shop at your website.
  • Try merchandising categories that drive sales such as Limited Releases, Library Wines, Large Formats, Gifting, and Gift Baskets. Also, you can try strategies that create a feeling of scarcity or limited availability such as allocation and mailing-list only wines.
  • Anticipate the needs of your customers and provide the shopping experience to match.

Promotions that Drive Traffic:

  • No matter how good your store looks, and what great discounts you offer, you need to get customers to your site - before they can buy. Zero promotion equals zero sales.
  • Focus on marketing your website at wine club events, in direct mailings, and in the tasting room as well as email marketing. You can promote your store using online marketing strategies such as search engine optimization, email marketing, banner advertisements and affiliate marketing among others.
  • By constantly reminding your customers and contacts of your online store, they are more likely to buy your wine online when they aren’t close enough to visit.

Remember, direct is the best way to Communicate with, Acquire, and Retain your customers.
 

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