Welcome to the Vin65 blog. We are using this space to try and convey our little piece of insight into winery websites, POS systems, and best practices to sell more wine.
Product reviews are good for business. Reviews give your product a human level of interaction and are a powerful convincer for the savvy consumer. When’s the last time you bought something from Amazon and didn’t read at least the first couple of reviews?
By developing reviews for your wine, you’re attracting new customers, because reviews increase conversions. Here’s why:
It’s no secret that the success of many websites is attributed to peer reviews. Consumers have had to block out marketing noise for years now. Sites like Airbnb have exploded on the scene as people have made an untrustworthy concept (staying at a stranger’s house) into a brilliant travel alternative (non-hotel pricing with an authentic, local experience). Peer reviews that are honest and compelling builds trust in your brand. Over half of Millennials (consumers aged 18 to 34) trust the opinions of strangers online over those of friends and family. (Social Trends Report 2012).
You think your wine is great. We bet your winemaker does, too. What makes your product credible is that other people like it enough to actually take the time to review it. It’s honest and posting reviews on your site show that you are confident in your wine. 84% of millennials say user-generated content has at least some influence on what they buy (compared to 70% of Boomers). (Bazaarvoice 2012).
This is the classic example of give and take. People take the time to review your wine, so you should reward them with something. Thank them, give them a shout-out on social media, or email them a promo code. After all, 4.7% of your customers generate 100% of your social referrals. (Engage Sciences 2013).
Scared of getting negative reviews? Don’t be! Negative reviews actually make your wine reviews more credible. Consumers will take the bad with the good (as long as there’s more good than bad). Reevoo research has found that 68% of consumers trust reviews more when they see both good and bad scores, and shoppers who go out of their way to read bad reviews convert 67% more than the average consumer.
Be responsive to dissatisfied customers because 95% of dissatisfied customers will do business with a company again if their complaint is resolved quickly, according to TARP Worldwide. Think of a time when you’ve been unhappy with a product or service. Doesn’t great customer service usually leave you feeling better about the brand than you did originally? Responding to negative reviews can make dissatisfied customers connect with you and your winery on a whole new level.
1. Offer Incentives
2. Send follow-up emails after purchases
3. Just ask!
Now, go get some reviews!
Copywriting is one of the few tasks most wineries try to do in-house when redesigning their winery's ecommerce website. And it is often the easiest task to procrastinate on. I know what it's like, that term paper that you put off writing until the last day before it's due. With that comes the added frustration of revisions and edits that need to be approved and proofed by your marketing team.
I always find that if you know where you're going, the tasks are much easier and less likely to be postponed. Use these guidelines to make a plan and put a system in place that will make everyone's life a little easier.
People consume information very differently depending on the medium. If you are reading on your Kindle or paperback, you can read more in-depth and for longer periods of time. Mainly because there is a lack of competing information, such as other website pages, to bounce to the minute you get bored.
Television and radio are consumed very differently as well. With radio, the audience can multi-task. Television, on the other hand, is often the sole focus. Web content is a whole different animal as well. Users tend to scan information on the web and look for specific information. So, as good marketers know, you adjust communications based on the audience's behavior.
Use lots of headlines in your copy. Even if the headline just identifies a paragraph or two, headlines in your web copy tell readers what information they should expect to find in the following paragraphs. Web copywriters do this because they understand the user is looking for specific information and may not need to read the whole page.
Anytime I am writing a sentence that includes a "series," I quickly edit my text and replace the series with lists. Again, it comes back to writing for the medium's audience behavior. Writing well for the web makes it easier for the reader to scan the information.
Not sure what I mean by the grammatical term "series" ? Don't worry you are not alone. A series is a list of nouns, phrases, verbs, participles, infinitives and more. Or . . .
A "series" is:
When you want to give emphasis to a word or phrase, DO NOT WRITE IN ALL CAPS. It sounds like you are yelling! Also, don't you dare change your text to red, this looks like a warning! Dang, I just want a great glass of wine, not a panic attack. Or the worst: BOLD RED ALL CAPS TEXT. That doesn't mean that sentence is super important, it means your don't respect your website visitor. Instead, use headlines, italics or boldface text.
There are no "tricks" to search engine optimization (SEO). It is really best to think long term strategy, which means writing for your audience, not Google. If you can make your website users happy, you will make Google happy. Google is getting more and more sophisticated at gauging the quality of content on websites. If you have great content you will rank higher.
Sure, there is a lot more to it and many more variables that effect your website's ranking in Google. For the sake of the scope of this article we are going to discuss the checklist for a fully optimized single webpage. But factors off that page also figure into your ranking.
It is not so much about keywords anymore, it is about "key subject". In the "old days" (pre-2008) we had to use the same keyword over and over again for search engines to recognize the context of the article. Now we can write like real humans and use synonyms!
Stay on the same subject. If you are blogging about the topic "noble rot," stay focused on that topic and use that term throughout the article. Also, make sure you use "Noble Rot" in the webpage's:
Make sure to include one or two images in your webpage and provide the "alt" text that explains to Google what that image is. Google can only read words, not images.
My general rule is 600 words or more per webpage - and Google prefers that too! Research shows that it is okay to have less than 600 words here and there, but don't make it a habit. Try to reserve your >600 word webpages to your "Contact Us" page and product pages. If you don't have enough content for a "Vineyards" webpage than try combining your "Winery" and "Vineyards" pages together so that you do have 600 words or more.
Make sure you have a meta description, that body of text that shows up in your search result listings and Facebook "shares" of that web page. Meta Descriptions do not effect where you rank in Google but they do effect how many people click on your links in Google or Bing. Think of your meta description as your ad copy. It tells them why they should click on your link. Character count should be between 150 - 160 characters.
Courtney Holmes is the Creative Director at Talk is Sheep Marketing, a winery website design and brand identity agency that specializes in the wine industry.
The ‘Add-To-Cart’ or ‘Buy’ button is essential if you want to sell wine on your website. Things like the colours, size, font, and location of these buttons play a very large factor subconsciously for a website visitor and will dictate whether or not they buy from you. Below are four factors that will change your conversion rates.
The aesthetics of a button, specifically the colour, can change the conversion rate. It’s a very simple change to sell more online and we often see designers talk wineries into making the wrong choice simply because a certain button colour fits the design style guide. Don’t be fooled, the colour of buttons matters; you should look for designers that get that.
Red will raise the heart rate, yellow draws the eye quickly (which is why Amazon.com uses it) but orange is ‘said’ to be one of the most successful add to cart button colours. Research shows that an orange button increases engagement by 5%. On most sites it's enough to stand out without looking out of place. It is also the closest you can get to red without the colour subconsciously screaming warning.
Look at your site’s call to action button colours and ask yourself, why am I using this colour? Is it White, Black or Gray because the designer thought it would match the website even though those colour make it the hardest for the customer to find the buttons (yes, black isn’t a colour, it’s a shade - but it depends if you define colour from light or from pigment).
After you’ve looked at your website, take a look at KISSmetrics’s psychology of button colour infograph (the graphic above is from their post).
Where the button shows on a page is even more important than the colour. The button needs to be some place visible and in a predominate place on the page. It should always be above the fold (note that the fold is no longer just for desktop computers, but for mobile devices and tablets). You won’t see an ecommerce site put a button above the product, but you’ll see them put it on the right or left hand side of products.
Below are two examples, one of Zappos and Poplar Grove with the buttons on the right; both are well designed sites selling a lot online and both have the button in a location that is easy for the consumer to find.
Be mindful of the buttons text. If the placement and colour are right, but the wording is bad all the other work is for nothing. Make your button stand out on your page. You want your font to be legible, clearly standing out from the button colour and using title case, not ALL CAPS (it’s much easier and faster to read). As far as what text you use, ‘Add to Cart’ has had a better track record for conversions than ‘Buy Now’ and you’ll see that most internet retailers use 'Add-To-Cart' text within their purchase buttons.
Here are some stats on the text used within the call to action/purchase buttons on over 100 top ecommerce sites (thanks to GetElastic):
58% - Add to Cart
9.8% - Add to Bag
9.8% - Add to Shopping Bag
6.3% - Add to Basket
4.5% - Add to Shopping Cart
2.7% - Buy
1.8% - Buy Now
1.8% - Add Item(s) to Cart
0.9% - Add Item(s) to Bag
0.9% - Add to My Bag
0.9% - Add to My Brown Bag
0.9% - Add to My Shopping Cart
0.9% - Order Now
Too big and it could become counterproductive, looking out of place, or causing people to have ‘banner blindness’ which leades consumers to glaze over the call to action. Too small and it will make it hard for consumers to buy that wine.
The dimensions of the button and how it compares to the other elements on the page is key. Below are examples of a good 'dimensional relationship' between buttons and the product page.
Your button design influences your conversion rate whether you like it or not and it’s easy to make changes. Try out a change for 3 months and see if your conversions increase. If your colour, text, placement and size are right you’ll notice the difference.
Whether you’re ready for it or not, October, November and December (OND) is rapidly approaching. It’s a good time for wineries to start planning and executing marketing campaigns on their websites.
Both Black Friday and Cyber Monday mark the start of the holiday shopping season for millions of shoppers online. Here are 5 great ways to get your website ready for the holidays:
Statistically, I’m not the only consumer out there that puts off Christmas shopping until the last minute and with online purchases consumers need to be reminded of shipping times so the present makes it under the tree by Christmas morning.
If I buy wine from you will it make it to my house for Christmas, New Years, or later?
Offer a clear/simple shipping calendar throughout your website to make it easy for consumers (like me) to know if we’re going to make the deadline. There are some key areas on your site to place the calendar such as the header in the product list page and detail pages, as well as the cart and the checkout screens.
The example above from American Eagle quickly shows key dates to order before to get that gift under the tree by the 24th.
I’ve been both the giver and recipient of gifts that have arrived late and neither are fun. Work with your shipper to make a calendar that's simple so your consumers know the cut off dates.
It’s all about giving gifts during the holiday season and you want to make it as easy as possible for consumers to pick out something from your store. Your purchasers might be buying for their parents, a co-worker, or a friend, and might not know their taste in wine, so it’s your job to make it easy for them.
Use tools like product badges/callouts (like the one below), highlighting consumer ratings and reviews, or create pre-made packages to remove the guessing from the purchase.
Amazon does this really well, shown in the image below, by suggesting different categories or gift ideas for each type of person you’ll be buying for.
During the holidays consumers expect to see some type of sale and this is especially true on Black Friday and Cyber Monday. If you don’t offer a sale it is like telling your customers to go buy somewhere else.
Some examples of successful promotions are shipping discounts, or volume incentives. At this point, consumers expect free shipping for orders over $100 (technically ‘shipping included’ in the wine industry).
Start emailing your consumers early to let them know when the promotions will be running and give them something to anticipate on your site. We see some bigger ecommerce sites sending holiday emails for promotions but not letting the consumer know that the actual promo will not be in effect until a specific day. This gives them something to look forward to and a reason to visit the website rather than reading and discarding the email.
Create your emails and offers ahead of time and schedule to send them at specific times. Think about the key days your winery should be ready for (don’t leave it to the day before Black Friday). Below is a breakdown of the months leading up to the holidays with key dates and great ideas for email blasts:
Don’t take yourself, or your website, so seriously. Have fun with the holiday on your website and emails. Throw in a Santa hat, elf, reindeer, etc. somewhere on your site or add in a snowflake or two. This shows that your company has personality and that your website actually gets updated (so it’s not the same website all year round).
Both Target and Amazon add holiday imagery to their sites and logos every year. Below is an example of Bath & Body Works' website during the Christmas season which shows holiday imagery throughout the site.
If you've tried any other holiday tricks or campaigns, or if you've seen a great example let us know how they've worked.
A few months ago Andrew, Brent, and I went up to Tinhorn Creek Vineyards to test our POS system first hand, with real customers. This was an awesome learning experience, we loved what we built, but knew we could go further. We needed to continue breaking the barrier between you and the customer, getting you out from behind the counter.
The traditional POS is restrictive and bulky, comparable to the gym strip you wore in high school. The iPad POS or iPhone POS we like to think is more like yoga pants, they adapt, are flexible, they’re sexy.
A smart phone POS system is the perfect device for a winery’s tasting room setup. It doesn't depend on wifi and can be used either behind the tasting bar, or anywhere you interact with your customers. The wine industry is especially perfect for a mobile POS as wineries often have off site tastings, outdoor concerts, and events.
Get out from behind the counter, break the barrier, our iPad and iPhone POS help you achieve that.
Help your staff develop relationships between them and the customers, let the technology be secondary to the transaction. Going mobile enables them to interact, and use something they are already familiar with. This allows them to be more productive throughout their day and in turn sell more wine.
Empower your staff with a fresh and exciting technology, let them enjoy the devices they are using. Push aside the High school gym strip and give them some fresh new Yoga pants.
Adding a new iPhone POS device to your roster is about as easy as getting Angry Birds, just download it from the app store, and log in.
If you don’t own an iPhone the great thing is, iPods are inexpensive, portable, and lightweight.
The iPods run any application that your iPhone runs, they work perfectly on wi-fi networks.
Having a few of these around your tasting room takes up little to no space and more importantly allows your employees to walk around with them, liberating your staff from fixed stops so they can meet customers anywhere.
Break the barrier between you and your customer, focus on what your customer wants, and free up time for that interaction not the transaction.
Are you interested in adding the Vin65 iPhone POS into your tool-kit? Get more information here.
At Vin65 we see a lot of data from transactions, we’ve done a lot of experiments and we’ve seen some interesting results. For example:
We’ve focused on analytics, A/B tests, and we look at BI tools to track data and improve tools and while this data is good, we don’t believe this it is good enough.
Today we are starting a whole new class of experiments are excited about learning a lot in completely different ways. Rather than looking at just the data, we’re going to start experiments with conversations consumers with each other and wineries.
I wish I could say linking a consumer’s social and ecommerce profiles together results in ‘X’ – but we are just in the beginning phase. Let me tell you what I believe and what we experimenting with.
Knowing and understanding your consumers and acting on that data is what creates exceptional companies and I believe that the best way to know your customer is to have conversations with them. Knowing the POS and ecommerce data is not enough. Just like peanut butter and jelly, I believe that ecommerce data combined with social data is a perfect match.
Imagine knowing that club members that are Facebook fan last 5 months longer than those who are not fans. Would that change the way you promote you Facebook page and how you use Facebook’s tools? What if you were instantly notified if your that a few people Tweeting you were your top consumers were reaching out on Tweeter. Would you engage them in a conversation?
At Vin65 the primary goal of this blog is education (how to sell the most wine online) for our customers and the wine industry as a whole. We also don’t like to talk about tools we are building. I realize I hijacked it – but I did want to lay out a vision of a few things we see in the future.
At Vin65 we've partner with VinTank (the leading wine social media management company) and we’ve created a bi-direction integration linking social customers in VinTank with ecommerce customers in Vin65.
Inside VinTank - The next time someone is talking about you, the next time your looking at social conversations, you can see that persons lifetime value, club memberships, Vin65 contact type, etc.
Inside Vin65 - Your can use the list builder to segment on customers social, look at individual customers and see their social profile.
This is going to allow for a lot of great data meshing. I’m sure you, our customer, will drive a lot of what is to come.
I would invite you to watch a video and learn more about our bi-direction integration with Vintank or request a demo.
I’d also love to hear what you would like to see with the meshing of social and ecommerce data. What would help you sell more wine?
Or in this case, believed. For years, CEOs and CFOs have been asking "what is the value of Social Media?" And those of us who believed in it, argued the necessity of "connecting" with our customers. But, July marks the seventh birthday of the launch of Twitter (and, Facebook is now 9), so we really can't call this a "new" channel. Let's refer to some real-world metrics, shall we?
The Q1 2013 research from Monetate provides some interesting facts to share with the C-levels looking for real numbers.
The chart above shows the share of social media referrals for eCommerce sites in the study.* Facebook is still the king when it comes to driving traffic to websites for sales, but Twitter is the new Queen and making some impressive gains. This is likely to Twitter growing up as a medium and less of a novelty. As companies see the importance, there is demand for more sophisticated tracking and qualified conversations are the result.
So, traffic is nice, to be sure, but what you want are sales. The chart above shows that we all shouldn't abandon SEO or SEM for sure, but Social channels are creeping up. And, again, if you want to sell wine, use Facebook. Eventually Pinterest could potentially be a real player, too.
Don't throw away those email addresses yet - email is still the best referrer to add-to-cart actions. And, depending on the research you read, consumers report a 60-74% preference toward emails as the channel for marketing. So, having smart email segmentation, landing pages and integrated programs still apply.
You care about this because you can use this data to benchmark your own site and see where to focus your marketing efforts.
*The data is based 500 million visits amongst their clients who include Ecommerce brands such as Best Buy, Frontier Airlines, Aeropostale, The Sports Authority, and PETCO.
The Vin65 Direct-to-Consumer Roadshow has kicked off with the first event launching in Paso Robles today. Future events to be held in Mendocino and Calaveras County (and if you want us to come to your area please email email@example.com).
Here is the content delivered today:
We aren't really retail guys, we are software guys and truthfully you know a lot more about retail than we do, but here is what we did.
On May 25th, the Vin65 team set out to eating our own dog food (aka Dogfooding) and drove four hours to the heart of wine country in Canada to see the iPad POS in action, learn from our customers/end consumer, and drink some wine.
The iPad POS was built to give wineries the ability to take payments anywhere. It was meant to get the staff out from behind the tasting bar and the stationary computer and connecting with the consumer.
Andrew, Karson, and I called Tinhorn Creek and asked if we could simply shadow their staff using the iPad POS to learn from how they used it and see way it could improve. Instead, they wanted us on the front line and put us to work at their event selling shirts, cork screws, bags, and wine tastings armed with the two iPads with swipers and a cash box.
The event was called the Half Corked Marathon – picture a ½ marathon, drinking wine at over 15 wineries, and ridiculous costumes. Seeing the POS in action (at an outside event on a 3G connection) was perfect. We had lots of feedback from consumers and our client.
A huge part of what the POS was designed for was to be mobile. This means getting out from behind the tasting bar and walking around with customers. At this event the two iPads were on a fairly stable 3G data connection but we also tested it on a personal hotspot from our phones. Testing this was important because wineries should be able to take orders at a farmer’s market, a club party, concerts, etc. which likely don't have wifi.
When you’re taking orders with the person standing in front of you, you need the system to be quick. We found that the overall experience was good but saw several key areas to make this even better:
The speed varies depending on your wifi/data connection, so it’s good to test the POS at the location so you have a good connection. We were at a park on 3G with 3 to 4 bars.
We were surprised at the reaction from consumers when (a)we could take credit cards in the middle of a park, and (b)when they we happy to give up email addresses to get a receipt emailed to them.
Just imagine Sheldon Cooper from The Big Bang Theory trying to sell shirts – needless to say it was entertaining. It might have been all the wine everyone else was drinking, but after a while we seemed to get the hang of it and upsold a few clients on some cork screws. These are perfect consumers to have in your database. You know they like wine and they went out of their way to run a ½ marathon for it, so:
They're free, easy to set up, and tell you everything you need to know about how your website is performing.
But, they also encompass a confusing array of data, can be time-consuming to set up, and involve a dictionary of Google-speak. (What is a visit versus a pageview anyway?)
Don't worry if you don't have hours to dive into this. Here are three key stats to look at to see if your site is on track at the highest level.
The percentage of website traffic coming from mobile devices jumped from 17.5% in Q3 2012 to 23.1% in Q4 2012, according to a new report from Walker Sands. On the Vin65 platform, our clients average about 17%. To find out what yours is:
Implication? This example shows a smaller viewership - only 4.4% are on mobile. But if you are one of the wineries where 1 out of every 5 of your customers are on a mobile device, you better make sure that your mobile site and cart are optimized or you could be losing valuable sales.
To take this a step further, drill down to remove iPads. Why? Because iPads are "mobile" in the Google Analytics world but tend to use computer monitor resolution. So if you're trying to see if you need to redesign your site for the small screen, this is important.
To do this:
Did you know that things like static home pages and flash movies can stop up to 95% of your traffic on your home page? One of the cooler visual stats in Google Analytics is the Visitors Flow view. To access this area:
Implication? This example isn't too bad - but 20% of all traffic that started on this home page left. What are your numbers? You could be working hard to drive traffic to your site, and then traffic leaves after the first page. So, either your visitors are finding what they want right away...or or you've lost them.
Many of us spend large amounts of time worrying about Social Media. But is it doing anything for your business? Here is one of the simplist ways to answer that question.
Implication? You can see if the work that you're spending on various Social Media channels is driving traffic to your site, and then adjust accordingly. This is the tip of the iceberg in the Social Arena, to be sure. In this example there are also conversion goals attached to the shopping cart, and you can put specific Social urls in here as well. But at a high level, this will tell you if you're making an impact.
So, don't be afraid, dive in to these, and more Google Analytics, and keep your site on track working hard toward your goals.
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