Sheri Hebbeln
January 7, 2014 | Sheri Hebbeln

5 eCommerce Site Design Tips

Whether your winery is just starting to provide e-commerce or you've been at it for a while, there are many considerations for running a successful online wine store. While fulfillment, inventory management, customer service and shipping are all important, you need to assess your website to avoid destroying potential sales.

With e-commerce, your winery can reach new customers across the country and world, but it all starts with the right Web design. The following tips can help you improve your site and boost customer satisfaction:

1. Focus on usability

This is potentially the most important thing you can do to increase online direct-to-consumer sales. There is a great deal of competition online from other wineries or online beverage retailers, and because another option is probably one click away, customers aren't likely to put up with poor Web design, according to Econsultancy. Accessibility can be used as a strategic business advantage, which can help you attract new customers who have never heard of your winery before. Your site should be easy to navigate and use. Any complications will likely lead to a spike in shopping cart abandonment rates.

2. Appearance matters

Amazon and eBay are common examples that are always mentioned when discussing how an e-commerce site should be designed, Business 2 Community said. However, you shouldn't try to imitate major retailers in this respect. Take examples from their customer service and e-commerce fulfillment, but the look and feel of your site should reflect your winery's personality. Shopping for wine is meant to be a unique experience, and this needs to translate to the online arena. As multichannel approaches become more common for retailers of all types, it's important to create an online experience that accurately represents what it's like to visit your winery.

3. Always bring it back to the product

After usability, focusing on your wines is essential to a successful e-commerce strategy. Because customers can't closely examine products online like they could in a store, your site should include photos and detailed descriptions. In fact, high-quality images can even establish a higher degree of credibility, Business 2 Community stated.

4. Make sure all channels are connected

Although this consideration is primarily related to operations that happen behind the scenes, customer satisfaction will be impacted if you don't implement strict inventory management procedures. Shoppers will expect the same level of service whether they choose to contact you in person or through the Internet. Wine inventory software needs to be integrated with e-commerce solutions for the best results.

5. Simplified checkout experience

Even if your site is easy to navigate and product information is clear, you aren't out of the woods yet. To make the shopping experience as easy as possible, you can consider placing "add to cart" buttons on landing pages so customers don't have to jump around between several different pages. This simple addition can keep shoppers from going to another site. The checkout process is equally important. One option is including a thumbnail of wines customers have selected to remind them of their choices, according to Business 2 Community. Your policies and contact information should also be clearly highlighted on the checkout page to eliminate any confusion. This can improve usability if shoppers have questions about your return policy during checkout.

Online wine sales may be a huge source of DTC revenue for wineries in the next few years. A well-designed e-commerce website may be the difference between success and lackluster results in this area. Usability and being informative should be goals when you make adjustments to your website.


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