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Vin65 Blog

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.

Peter Andres
August 24, 2009 | Peter Andres

Fine Tune Your Newsletter Sign Up

In my last blog post I talked about the email newsletter still being critical to promoting your wine website and developing your loyal fans. In this post I wanted to talk about optimizing the sign up funnel so that you get the most out of the pixels that you devote to that widget or process.

I think for the most part winery websites simply put up a form to capture email addresses in the hopes that people will sign up for fun, and to say that there is a newsletter sign up on the website. This strategy or lack there of isn't effective and leads to a very small group of individuals to market to. Which in the long run doesn't create a valuable business resource.

So how can we make this better?

Here are some tips:

  1. Add some benefits. When you ask someone to sign up for a newsletter the customer is giving something up, so you want to give them back something in return. You don't have to give away the farm, but how about 15% off a case or tasting. If you are a low production winery then you can offer them first refusal on new vintages. Give the customer some incentive to give up their email.
  2. Make the sign up as painless as possible. We commonly see wineries asking for every piece of customer data they can think of, which is a massive turn off for people. Why do you need to know my city to send me an email newsletter? Generally we would recommend only asking for the email. Once you have earned more trust you automatically get that information, especially if the prospect becomes a customer by buying your wine.
  3. Make sign up even easier and more relevant by getting them to create an account at the end of the check out. This is makes that sign up even more valuable because they are also a customer.
  4. Offer an example of an email newsletter and tell them how often you send out correspondence so the person signing up knows what to expect.
  5. Sign them up in the tasting room. If someone buys a wine or a tasting why not offer them a discount if they sign up right on the spot.

Building a trusted email relationship and creating a database of customers who want to hear from you will serve you well in the long run. Customers get a lot spam, but if you are willing to work at building the trust and giving the customers on your list something worth signing up for it will mean more sales and stronger loyalty.

Time Posted: Aug 24, 2009 at 7:30 AM
Andrew Kamphuis
August 19, 2009 | Andrew Kamphuis

New Admin Interface

A little bit of a self promotion. This morning we launched our new interface on our admin panel. (137 websites are awaking to the new interface today, the other 160ish sites are seeing the new UI in the next couple of weeks).

We have some clear goals around our admin panel. It has to be as simple as possible. We want the user interface to be intuitive and friendly (both for a positive experience for our users and because it cuts our customer support costs).

We have some lesser known goals. The interface has to work with some of the technology in place. The CSS has to be light and fit well into existing code. The overall interface has to be 'white brandable' for some of our partners.

Here are some of the decisions we made with a new user interface:

  1. Our users vary in the technology they use. Unfortunately 7.3% of our users are still using IE 6 and we felt we had to still support that 8 year old browser. 15% of our users are on Macs.  Firefox and Safari both represents sizable percentages of users (so no browser specific code). Screen resolution also varies drastically, with 27% of our users still using the 1024x768 resolution.
  2. Our users involvement vary. 40-50% of users login on a daily basis. Other users don't log in for months. We wanted to make sure when users first login, they would not feel overwhelmed by the new interface.
  3. Our users vary in their technical capabilities. While we don't rank our users technical savviness, we know that some of our users are very web savvy, while other users are not as savvy. We needed to make sure the non-savvy people would feel okay with the changes.

If your a current admin panel users - we would love your feedback. Either email me directly at, or leave a comment below.

Time Posted: Aug 19, 2009 at 8:00 AM
Andrew Kamphuis
August 17, 2009 | Andrew Kamphuis

Consumers reviews - do you trust them?

We've seen consumer reviews make a large difference in conversion rates online, and we've known for quite some time that people trust other people's opinions. Here are the numbers according to Nielsen. 70% of consumers trust consumer opinions posted online. This is higher than trust of TV, newspaper, magazine, radio and all other mass advertising listed in the survey. (Thanks Kristina for sending this to me earlier this week.)

If you are not letting consumers post reviews on your website, is it maybe because you don't trust your consumers?

Time Posted: Aug 17, 2009 at 8:00 AM
Andrew Kamphuis
August 5, 2009 | Andrew Kamphuis

Predictable Customer Behavior

Are you training your customers to delete the email you send?

My grocery store has me trained. They have one of these loyalty rewards programs where I receive a point for every dollar I spend. Every two weeks they send out a flyer (via mail) and it has 50 products advertised, each with 10 or 15 bonus points. They also always have two coupons that are for 2500 points each if you spend $95 or more.

Over the past couple years I've discovered that all the coupons suck, except the 2500 point coupons. So like clockwork, every two weeks I cut out the two good coupons. The rest of the coupons are in the garbage. I've never use them. I can't even remember the last time I glanced at the offers.

So here's my point. Customers can be trained. Amazon sends me an email, I'll read it, and if that email is of value I'll remember. Because the last email was of value, the next email I receive from Amazon I'll read. If there is value there, I'll read the next email. It spirals up. I start to predictably open the emails from Amazon.

The opposite happens at some wineries. An email is created. Rather than creating a specific value proposition for a specific target audience, they send the email to their entire consumer list (after all, it costs almost nothing to send the email out). Some customers don't see value in the email. Another email is created and it goes out to the entire email list again. Again a group of customers don't see any value. The winery has trained a group of customers to ignore the email.

Tonight we analyzed the open behavior on one million emails sent over the past two year where the customers had been emailed 5 or more times. After 4 emails there was an 91.4% chance the customer had been trained (and responded to all future emails in the same manor).

So to put my point in a few sentences. Customers are predictable. If they are opening your email and responding by clicking back, you should probably keep doing the same thing. If they are consistently ignoring you email, it might be time to change what you're doing.

Time Posted: Aug 5, 2009 at 10:05 PM

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