How to Market and Build a Wine Brand Online

As of today, global e-commerce as a whole has jumped to $26.7 trillion, fueled by the COVID-19 pandemic, which pushed shoppers further and further online. The food and beverage sector has experienced great growth during the pandemic, with online grocers like Instacart and AmazonFresh reporting almost 300% sales growth in the early days of COVID-19.

The wine industry is no different. In fact, the COVID-19 pandemic has shown that many wine consumers have shifted from making in person to online purchases as wineries and tasting rooms have shuttered their doors in concordance with health and safety guidelines. However, this trend does not seem to be relegated only to pandemic times. Due to a survey, 88% of shoppers stated that they were pleased with the wine e-commerce model and would continue to buy their wine online. Indeed, the wine e-commerce industry is projected to grow to $5.2 billion by 2022. The dramatic surge in online sales represents a huge opportunity for wine merchants to optimize their e-commerce strategies to meet consumer demands that will outlast the current realities of the pandemic. Here is how you can optimize your e-commerce model and build a successful wine brand online.

How Do I Choose the Right E-Commerce Platform?

In 2021, there are a plethora of competing e-commerce platforms, and choosing the best site to host your online store on can be not as straightforward as it seems. Selecting the right platform to build your e-commerce business is perhaps the most crucial first step in determining the smartest business model to sell your product and maximize strategy. When selecting an e-commerce platform to sell wine, you should keep the following considerations in mind:

Intuitive and easy-to-use website builder. If you are just starting out on building an online shopping element to your brand, it’s important that you start out with a website builder that is simple to use and won’t be overwhelming and time-consuming. You will not have 100% of your time to devote to your e-commerce site, and that’s okay! A simple and beginner-friendly website builder will do the heavy lifting for you and allow you to focus your time and money on other aspects of running your business.

Wine-Specific Ecommerce Features. For selling wine, you may want a one-stop shop ecommerce platform that includes solutions to managing wine club clientele, tasting room reservations, and of course, point of sale data.

Secure Payment Transactions. The best e-commerce platforms allow for multiple payment gateways and secure transactions. You do not want to compromise your customer loyalty or your brand’s reputation with an insecure payment system on your e-commerce site.

Integrated Marketing Tools. Great E-commerce platforms also include CRM systems to help you better reach your customers such as Drip or MailChimp.

Streamlined Checkout Process. Too many steps in your checkout system can lead to shopping cart abandonment. Make sure that your e-commerce platform has a quick and streamlined checkout process that will not lose potential customers’ interest with too many page checkouts or high shipping fees. No registration should be required in order to checkout, and an option to buy by the bottle or the case should be provided to drive sales.

Statistical Reporting. Reporting can help you determine your clientele demographic and strategize based on statistical data.

E-Commerce Platforms for Selling Wine

Here is a shortlist of some platforms you might consider using to sell wine.

Complete DTC Winery Management System
Built by one of the founders of Quickbooks, CompleteDTC Winery Management System is a great solution for small businesses where employees wear multiple hats. It is an extremely comprehensive, easy to use, and intuitive ecommerce ecosystem where you can track POS, pick from a range of webstore options to best suit your winery’s needs, management your wine club, utilize an outcalling system that will help you gain insights into your customers’ relationship with your brand, and wholesale and 3-tier management and reporting is built in. But that’s not all – CompleteDTC is a one-stop shop for marketing tools like a CRM system, and has seamless integration with Quickbooks. CompleteDTC also has 7-days a week support and some unique intelligent marketing analytics features for users. Pricing starts at about $400 a month for one user, and $30 for each additional user.

A relatively new e-commerce platform to the wine world, Commerce7 is modeled after Dollar Shave Club and boasts a variety of powerful marketing tools embedded into the platform, such as smart POS, modern wine club features and intelligent CRM. You can manage club and subscriptions, allow customers to book reservations at tasting rooms and wineries, personalize product recommendations for your club members, and Commerce7 integrates seamlessly with your WordPress website, meaning that you will not have to have a separate domain name for your e-commerce site. This is the best option for large wineries who want to integrate backend management with their WordPress website, intuitive management of their tasting rooms, detailed insights into their customers’ relationship with their brand, and point of sale (POS) data.

Similar to Commerce7, Vinespring is optimized not only to provide a sales platform of wines online for consumers, but also to provide wineries with an e-commerce solution to managing wine clubs, wine allocations, and POS integrations. Vinespring is a great option for larger scale wineries with high-volume sales, because the wine specific platform build can be more costly for small to medium sized wineries.

Ecwid is a better solution for small business wineries to easily set up a store and begin selling fast. It can be easily added to an existing WordPress or Squarespace site, and is compatible with nearly any platform, making it a simple and more cost effective option because of its monthly billing plan. However, it is restricted only to online shopping features, and does not integrate with subscriptions, wine club management, or reservations.

VinoShipper is a great option for transporting wine across the United States by providing wineries with permits for each state. VinoShipper takes the heavy lifting out of tax reporting for wineries as well by collecting and reporting all state taxes on your behalf. It can be integrated with your website easily, and has no monthly fee, but the 9% margin per order can stack up and become quite expensive. However, by providing your winery by securing permits for you in each state, VinoShipper circumvents the costs of securing those permits yourself and can be a great option for easily transporting your wine to your customers from state to state.

WooCommerce is an open-source ecommerce plugin for WordPress. It provides users with unlimited customization and a number of different tools suited for selling wine online. As an open-source plugin ad-on for WordPress, WooCommerce can be a cost-effective option – the WooCommerce Product Allocation plugin is available for free.

Squarespace has an online store option that allows users to manage inventory, create shipping and taxation rules, connect your bank account via Stripe, and you can now sell subscription products and is the best solution for small to medium wineries who do not need an overly robust wine club or POS solution.

Bloom is a wine specific company that allows you to optimize Shopify for your winery’s ecommerce strategy. Bloom allows for intelligent reporting functionality that allows you to optimize conversions. Its plugins allow for wine club management, allocation, shipping compliance, and other add-ons. It is a better option for large to medium sized wineries because the Shopify and Bloom tends to run around $10,000 monthly.

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