Jim Agger
February 5, 2014 | Jim Agger

Is Your Wine Store Alienating Customers?

Venturing into online wine sales for the first time can be an exciting prospect for wineries. However, it's critical to take the time to make sure your online wine store offers a seamless experience with your tasting room.

Designing a high-quality e-commerce experience is no easy task. Customer expectations are on the rise, and if your website isn't up to snuff, you could end up losing business to competitors. Practical Ecommerce listed some of the top ways your site could be scaring customers away:

Slow loading speeds: Whether you sell wine online or just use your website as a marketing tool, slow page loads are one of the quickest ways to send visitors straight back to the search engine results page. Unless customers are extremely loyal to your brand, you will lose them. According to Marketing Land, the average page load time for the best retail sites is an average of 7.25 seconds.
Only one checkout option: Many websites force customers to register for an account with the site, which can be annoying for people who are already inundated with passwords and emails. This should be optional.
Incorrect product availability: Do you want higher shopping cart abandonment rates? Of course not. This is why it's essential to make sure you have visibility through every aspect of inventory management to avoid situations where customers place an item in the cart only to find it's out of stock when they try to check out. 
Inconsistent prices: Customers who have visited your winery in person will be able to tell if it costs them significantly more to buy wine online. Prices need to be the same across every channel.
Disconnect between channels: This can come in a couple different forms, from not having prices listed on product pages or being unable to return online purchases. If it's an experience you would offer to customers in your winery, it should be extended online.
Lack of mobile functionality: As mobile adoption continues to accelerate, consumers are using these devices to surf e-commerce sites more than ever before. Your site needs to be accessible from smartphones and tablets or you could be losing business.
Poor customer service: This one is a big deal, and it might even be the easiest aspect of the e-commerce experience to improve. If a customer struggles to check out from your site, he or she needs to be able to get in contact with a winery representative. 

Taking a closer look at customer service
It's no secret that customer service is a competitive differentiator, and this has never been more true than in e-commerce. With a saturated market, you need to set yourself apart with outstanding service. American consumers are fed up with poor user experiences, according to an infographic from Drumbi, a communications technology provider. Eighty percent of shoppers have stopped in the middle of a transaction because of bad customer service. Many individuals don't think companies care about their business or work to retain existing clients. 

More than half of consumers want to be able to quickly find what they need, and this may be especially true when it comes to e-commerce. Companies that deliver excellent customer service are more likely to retain clients and achieve better results. Despite the clear advantages, many retailers are not extending great service to shoppers. The infographic pointed out how some industries are renowned for terrible service, and wireless carriers could stand to earn more than $14.65 billion in additional revenue if they improved policies.

While designing a top-quality e-commerce site can be a challenge, customer service never should be. Being accessible to your customers through every channel can help you build loyalty and satisfaction, which can be the key to increasing online wine sales. 



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