The Lure of ECOMMERCE
Picture this vision with me: five years from now, the next generation of wineries are web savvy, quick to capitalize on search engine marketing, and thus able to compete with traditional wine marketing at a fraction of the effort and cost. The unheard of has happened; ecommerce wine sales have toppled wine club and tasting room sales. Why? As the number of brands and wineries increased over the years, so did competition and by now the number of web users visiting winery websites have outnumbered the number of visitors to a winery by as much as tenfold.
Our vision is a potential reality. According to Pew Internet’s survey conducted from February-March 2007, 69% of American adults used the internet on a daily basis. Likewise, the annual growth rate for ecommerce non travel sales has reached 24% for the last two years. Comscore Networks reported non-travel ecommerce sales for 2005 and 2006 to be $82 billion and $102 billion, respectively. Wine sales for 2006 represented merely $197 million, or 0.2% of the $102 billion, a percentage that should most certainly grow in the next 5 years.
With each paradigm shift in ecommerce and broadband access, to me, shopping online seems to be more hassle-free. I am able to shop at anytime, compare prices using sites like shopping.com or nextag.com, or just open a few more browsers and read reviews then with a few simple clicks fill my shopping cart and have it all shipped to my house or work. I think one of the biggest advantages to internet shopping is, at time of purchase, the etailer provides real-time inventory. No more dragging the kids out of the house, buckling them into their car seats, fighting traffic, and parking, only to be disappointed that the merchandise is out of stock. One word for the lure of ecommerce is “convenience”.
In most likelihood, the wine produced by over 900 wineries in Northern California alone will not be tasted even by the locals in the region through traditional convention. Because of this, the convenience of sharing your tasting notes and creating your own wine community through the web will thankfully broaden your reach to potential consumers of your wine. Overall, the number of direct visits to your tasting room will never match the number of visitors to your website.
Even though only 33 of our 50 states currently allow direct shipping of wine to consumers, in our vision, wineries have access to all states, free from shipping regulations. We have already witnessed many states adopting direct shipping by wineries to consumers, as well as a new movement by states to allow wineries to ship directly to restaurants and merchants, a.k.a., Direct to Trade. Join the Internet Revolution.