Selling wine online is a trend that is expanding more and more, even if in our Bel Paese the path is long and tortuous. Therefore, standing out among competitors by getting noticed and gaining the trust of a more ‘skeptical’ public is not easy but neither is it impossible.
Continue reading this article:
- you will understand how to sell wine online;
- I will give you advice on the strategy to follow;
- I will help you understand what to focus on so that you do not lose sight of your ultimate goal.
In this regard, I recommend you take a look at our e-commerce course where you can learn how to set up and run a shop to sell wine on the web!
Is selling wine online convenient?
If you are wondering “Where can I sell bottles of wine?” and whether this is really a business that will bring you good money, you should know that although our country’s wine production is particularly popular, especially in foreign markets such as Asia and the United States, only 3% of the wine sold in Italy comes from the online market.
This happens because we are still anchored to a vision that is too static and traditional, but the tools to innovate are all there. Moreover, lovers of good wine, especially the younger ones, are increasingly inclined to buy online and there are more and more wineries approaching this world in order to better market their wines, even if most Italian companies do not have an e-commerce and consequently selling your wine online is not yet a fully customs-cleared practice.
Therefore, next to the disadvantage of having to figure out how to stand out among the various competitors, we have the advantage of having almost carte blanche in our territory and having all the credentials to make a success of how to sell wine online, becoming an industry leader.
How to start selling wine online
Before starting to sell wine online as a private individual, there are fundamental steps to follow in order to set up an effective strategy, starting with the basics.
- create a business plan;
- create an e-commerce and/or use marketplaces to sell their products on the web.
Design your business plan
Every project needs a business plan so that you have a guideline to follow to achieve short, medium, and long-term goals.
What are the main aspects to consider when selling wine online?
- analyzing industry trends and competition;
- define your target audience, niche or broader;
- define the budget to be invested.
Once the business plan is realized, move on to the next step and find out where to sell wine online.
Set up an e-commerce
If you are wondering where to sell wine for collection or how to sell wine to restaurants, setting up e-commerce is always a good option. To do this, certain aspects must be taken into account, such as the choice of the software platform according to your needs, the presentation of the products, the management of the purchasing process (also considering the post, for example with dedicated customer care), and marketing to make yourself known and build customer loyalty. The key points to put into practice, therefore, are: simplicity, professionalism, and originality.
Dispassionate advice is not to rely on the ‘acquaintance’ or ‘cousin’ on duty to save money and to focus on the simplicity and usability of the site, also taking into account the mobile version, offering a simple but at the same time professional showcase.
I will list some important aspects to focus on when setting up e-commerce and selling wine online:
- Make the buying experience as simple and pleasant as possible. To make the process of buying wine online on e-commerce easy and intuitive, I suggest you create product categories (e.g. winery, price range, vintage, etc.) and describe the products clearly and in detail. Make the user complete the purchase with as few clicks as possible.
- Offer searches with customized filters and not only by color and region. Another aspect to consider is “How does the user search for their wine during the buying process?”. Not every user will be an expert in the field, so I would recommend offering the possibility to choose a wine even to those who do not have a precise idea of what label to buy. One could therefore think of filters that allow searching by wine characteristics (full-bodied, fruity, fresh, and so on) for food and occasion pairings.
- Secure payments. The moment of payment is definitely the crucial moment; it is a moment’s notice to abandon the cart if the user finds it difficult to pay or worse still has the impression that it is not reliable. I recommend giving the option of paying by secure and known methods such as credit cards, PayPal, or Satispay. Payment on delivery may also be appreciated by many users. Another factor that conveys confidence to the user is to make the conditions of returns and refunds clearly visible if there are problems.
- Fast delivery and the possibility to track the shipment. Once the transaction has been made, sending a confirmation e-mail is a must and an e-mail with a link to track the shipment will certainly be appreciated, and I also recommend a rather quick delivery time as users often reduce their purchases to the last minute.
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Sell on Marketplaces
An alternative or addition to e-commerce is to sell wine online through marketplaces, among the most popular of which we cannot fail to mention Amazon, eBay, and Shopify.
The Marketplace offers a platform on which you can show and sell your wines without necessarily having to have an e-commerce, so there are certainly fewer aspects and costs to manage. Not having your own platform, however, means having to submit to the rules of others and not being able to experiment with your own digital marketing strategies.
The choice is certainly a personal one and in any case, one does not exclude the other, especially since you could then have a double entry for your online wine shop.
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5 tips on how to sell wine online
Once you have chosen the right platform and kick-started your business project, it is time to delve into certain dynamics: those relating to the customer to create a user experience that matches your product, is pleasant and intuitive, and has the right promotion.
Next, a practical guide to selling your wine online in 4 easy tips.
1. Put the customer first
The first rule is never to forget to put the audience to whom you sell wine online first. Whether niche or broader, it is essential to stay abreast of industry trends so that you can offer users ‘trendy’ products.
Another key thing to offer your customers is transparency about the products you sell: always clearly describe their origin and production details.
It is also important to study the users you want to target in order to know their habits, tastes, needs, age group, how and where they surf online, in short, as much information as possible in order to ‘capture’ them and create the best experience for them.
In this regard, it is necessary to aim at the right target audience to sell wine online, so it becomes very useful to build the identikit of one’s Buyer Personas.
Once they have been reached, strategies must also be adopted to keep them close, for example with coupons or vouchers on special occasions (such as holidays or their birthdays) or after a certain number of purchases, create ad hoc promotions for them and keep them up to date with news.
Finally, remember also the millennials. One usually imagines that the ‘standard audience’ for a product such as wine is of a fairly adult age, in reality, people between the ages of 20 and 35 are also becoming increasingly passionate about the world of wine. It is therefore good, to take them into account too, by studying their tastes and online purchasing habits.
2. Promote your online wine shop
What more needs to be done to sell your wine online? Once you have designed your platform, the next step is to make it known, thus creating brand awareness, in order to acquire more and more customers and increase sales on the web.
How to do this? By using a digital marketing strategy that includes several channels to focus on will allow you to make your site known and generate traffic.
Investing in SEO will allow you to position your e-commerce to appear among the first results in the serp when a user types in certain keywords.
SEM requires more economic ‘effort’ than SEO but it is important to use it, especially at the beginning and in a sector with high competition. You can create sponsored ads to sell wine that will appear on SERPs, or banners, even animated ones, that will give you visibility on other sites. Other channels you can invest in for paid ads are social media, such as Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, and so on, with which you can reach a well-targeted audience.
- Email Marketing
Yes, email is still used! After you have acquired your customers, through a lead for example, it is useful to use email marketing to keep users up-to-date, and, above all, you can personalize your communications in order to retain them and make them feel special.
- Social media
Use social media to engage and interact with users. Here are some ideas for engaging your target audience: organize live events (Instagram is particularly popular with this type of content) in which you present and taste the wines you have chosen for your e-commerce, invite your customers and ask them to invite other users and make them active participants during these events. Contact influencers and bloggers in the sector to have them sponsor your wines for sale online, they will certainly give an image of trust as well as notoriety. Social media are really an effective means of word-of-mouth and community-building; once your presence is established, it will be the users themselves who will share your content and publicize you.
- Create a blog and video content to make yourself known
I am of the opinion that to keep customers you have to get to their hearts. To do this, you need to ‘bare your soul’, tell your story and excite them, creating a connection with them. First of all, it will help you to have a blog where you tell them about your products, the story of your company, and your work, trying to create ‘engagement’ and transmit your passion and values. This is storytelling, the art of moving customers through your story; after all, stories fascinate at any age. A very useful medium for selling wine online with storytelling is definitely the video: direct and impactful, as long as you don’t linger too long, you must be able to grab the audience’s attention from the first few seconds.
3. Beware of online alcohol promotion policies
With regard to alcohol listings on social media, to sell wine online without incurring penalties, one needs to be well-versed in the regulations and regularly update oneself.
In general, I can advise you to use social media to make your wine known but not to sell it.
There are indeed some restrictions for selling wine on Facebook and Instagram, you have to comply with targeting (users over 18) and some industry regulations. Here is Facebook’s alcohol policy (also valid for Instagram) in case you want to know more.
On Pinterest, on the other hand, the advertisement cannot link directly to the purchase page and the laws of the countries in which you want to advertise must be taken into account.
Google Adwords only allows sales advertisements in countries where irresponsible advertising is permitted but prohibited:
- minors cannot be addressed;
- It cannot be implied that the use of alcohol has any health effects or that it improves performance of any kind;
- you cannot show people consuming alcohol while driving a vehicle.
I will also refer you to the Google Ads rules guide. So watch out!
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4. Give importance to online reviews
Another aspect that I believe should not be overlooked is that of reviews. They are in fact increasingly consulted by users who buy online, especially then for a product like wine that you cannot taste or ‘feel’.
Having reviews on your site is synonymous with trust and reliability, customers will certainly feel more confident in their choice and then their purchase. So I recommend you include a review system in your e-commerce for selling wine online. You can also use surveys with direct questions such as:
- Did the wine purchased meet your expectations?
- Would you recommend it?
- Would you buy it again?
In addition to a purchasing benefit, verified reviews can also optimize the site on an SEO level.
5. Don’t forget offline altogether
After this overview of digital strategies for selling wine online, one last piece of advice I give you is not to forget the offline world (regardless of whether you have a physical shop or not). Even though the ‘real world’ you can promote e-commerce. But how to promote it also offline?
Some interesting ideas:
- Select a few restaurants in your area to give your wines to customers to taste, giving them discount coupons to entice them to then buy the ones they liked best online.
- Organize live events with sommeliers, offering tastings of the best wines in your catalog, without forgetting to advertise it on the site. Again, offer vouchers/coupons for online purchases.
Conclusions and Strategic Consulting
After this roundup of tips on how to sell wine online, all that’s left to do is draw conclusions and get involved! Remember to always have a clear focus on your objective, and the users you want to target and invest time and energy in the channels you think are right to push your e-commerce, don’t just focus on one because in digital marketing it is the integration of channels that makes the difference.
It will be a long climb but it will surely lead to great satisfaction using the right strategy. I hope I have been helpful and given you useful hints, and finally, I recommend you take a look at the E-commerce courses with Certification with which you will learn how to open e-commerce to sell wine online and manage the purchasing process independently.
For further advice on a solid and customized strategy to sell your wine, you can request a free Strategic Consultation with a digital marketing expert who will show you the best way to market your products.
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