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.
Have you ever really thought about the 'Add to Cart' function on your ecommerce site? In a typical experience (and this is true on sites we build), you are in the store, you look at an item, you click 'add to cart' and you are taken away from the product you are looking at and redirected to a completely different area of the website where you focus on the items in your cart.
Imagine if the offline world behaved the same way. You walk through the grocery store, picked up an item, looked at it, and then when you added it to your shopping cart you are whisked away to a different part of the store and all you can see are the items in your cart.
One of the big ways to improve a user experience on the web is to not take users out of the context they are in. In a site we launched last week, Twisted Oak does this 'Add to Cart' experience well. If you are on a product list page and click 'Add to Cart' (or Add To Sack in this case), you stay on the same product list page and a little 'modal' cart drops in to let you know the item was added. If you are on a product drilldown page, and click 'Add to Cart', the same modal effect. The user is never whisked away to another part of the site.
From a user perspective this "modal cart" becomes more like the real world shopping experience where you add something to your cart, and continue down the same isle.
What do you think?
I was recently travelling with one of our sales reps and was intrique by the line of question that wineries asked us. A number of people fell into one of two camps:
Inward Facing: This type of person asked operational type questions about how the website could make their operations easier. Questions like: Does our platform integrate with their POS system? How can they get UPS shipping labels out of our platform? Almost all of the questions centered around the operations at the winery and how we could make it easier.
Outward Facing: This type of person asked sales type questions about how the website could sell more, how customers interact with it, and how they could go to market better or more efficiently with a website.
I'm not arguing against either of these camps. There is a need for both. I was just really intrigued by how some people really tended to lean one way. For myself, when I look at personality types, I typically like to know where I fit in so I can realize that other people think different than me.
So are you inward or outward?
A client wrote an email that reads "....I've been reading a bunch of articles and blogs on ecommerce carts and one of the trends I noticed was that customers are more likely to purchase something from your site when they "feel" secure using it. What sort of messages/images can we display/use to create this "feeling" that our site is secure?"
Providing reassurances to the customer through the checkout process does lead to less cart abandonment and encourages conversions.
So what kind of messages make you feel "safe". It's not just one thing. Trust arises out of lots of small trust-producing features.
So what is the perfect assurance message? No one message is going to work for everyone. Start with some of the basics, and then use Google Website Optimizer to test it over time.
77% of online shoppers use reviews and ratings and 63% are more likely to purchase from a site if it has wine reviews and ratings.
It seems that wineries are hesitant to use reviews and ratings on their websites because they fear the bad or negative reviews that their wine might get. Research from BazaarVoice, a leading ratings and review marketing specialist, indicates that negative reviews can increase the product conversion rate. People realize products are not perfect and that everyone has a different pallet.
Who would you trust more when buying wine, a wine critic’s review or user generated reviews? The results from marketing surveys done by Market Sherpa are totally one-sided. 86.9% of respondents said they would trust a friends’ recommendation over a review by a critic, and 83.8% said they would trust a user review over a critics review.
So here is what to think about when you’re putting your review section up on your site:
Rating and reviews are a great way to increase your visitor’s activity on your site and you can offer incentives for them to come back and write reviews and rate your wine. Send out an email 10 days after their purchase asking them if they liked it. You could offer free shipping on their next purchase once they write a review.
There's been a great discussion on Open Wine Consortium about choosing an e-commerce platform. The discussion has been going on for almost a year and every so often the conversation sparks up again. (Right now it's six pages long)
These discussions often degrade into a platform feature comparison and what you can do on each platform. At Vin | 65 we offer one of the best all around feature sets for a winery (obviously I have a personal bias here). However I feel that comparing features is really the wrong way to go.
I firmly believe it has more to do with your developers and marketers than with the features itself. With a professional experienced developer you gain a lot of knowledge that you wouldn't necessary have yourself. (Just like having an experienced wine maker producing your wine)
So how should you choose an e-commerce platform? And what is the best deal?
If you want to get a whole lot of differing opinions, be sure to read the OWC thread.
The statistics are everywhere. Consumer reviews generate more sales.
I personally have had a few questions with clients and prospects about ratings and reviews, and in some of these conversations the client has been sceptical. The client has felt that a single bad rating can bring down the average or a negative review can turn off buyers. That's true if the glass is half empty.
A single bad rating can lend credibility to your product. When I look at reviews at Amazon and I see 19 good reviews and 1 bad review, it leads to credibility.
A negative review can turn buyers off, but it can also let you address a negative experience. Properly handling a negative experience shows class, and it can turn a person into a fan. (And if the consumer isn't telling you about their negative experience, you can bet they are telling their friends)
Buying wine can be a frustrating experience. High shipping costs, inventory, compliance and other regulations can lead to a bad experience.
A customer who faces a bad experience will first blame the website for bad experiences (he doesn't blame Fed Ex for high shipping costs, and he doesn't blame the government for compliance regulations)
The quickest way to ease some of those frustrations is to be right up front with customers. At the cart level (or even on the product page) show your customers their shipping costs, let the customer know if the product is in stock, and let the customer know if you can ship to his state or province.
Hiding crucial information until the checkout, or worse yet, notifying a customer via email after they have placed an order for some of these crucial items creates a bad experience and will only reflect badly on you.
We've been talking about the importance of first time visitors to your site. Last week we were doing some analysis for a customer, and as I watched Jason walk through their web statistics, a really interesting statistic jumped out at me.
Most purchases happen on the third visit to this customer’s website. (While we don't have statistics across our customer base, I can tell you that this customer has sizable traffic and a sizable order volume on their site)
Obviously repeat visitors buy more than first time visitors, but I would never have guessed that it took a person three visitors before they made their first purchase.
If the average person doesn't buy until they have visited your site three times, there are a few things that you can consider doing:
You can profile your customers in a couple of ways. For this post I am going to talk about how customers make buying decisions based on their emotional profile. There are 4 basic types of customers out there: competitive, spontaneous, methodical, and humanistic. There is lots of good info out there on these types of customers, but here are the highlights.
1. Competitive Types
These guys love to be first. They respond really well when you highlight new wine releases or best sellers. They will probably be wine club members and if they are big fans of your winery or store will subscribe to your newsletter so they can be “first-in-the-know”.
Competitive customers are skimmers. They want to see some wine specs and a brief description without drilling down. Details aren’t as important as being the first.
For the competitive customers you want to make sure your site has featured wines and good summary information. You may also want to have some exclusive offers in your wine club to give this type of customer the edge they look for in the products they buy.
2. Spontaneous Types
Spontaneous customers are more interested in sales and coupons. They will respond to emotional hooks like limited stock, time sensitive offers, and overnight shipping.
These customers also respond well to customer reviews and ratings. Show how many reviews there are and how each wine or gift ranks. This will help to build trust in your wine.
3. Methodical Types
Just like you would imagine the methodical shopper will do as much research as possible before taking the plunge. They will read everything on a product and want more. In depth wine descriptions, tasting notes, and technical details are going to be very important.
Ratings by trusted sources and even video are going to score big points.
On the flip side impulse tactics like limited time offers can back fire for this customer. The could become sceptical and want to see the fine print.
4. Humanistic Types
This type of customer is swayed by peer opinion. What other say will weigh heavily on their decision to buy or not. They will like to dwell on the purchase and make sure they are making the right choices. These are the kinds of customers that will want to call in and talk to someone at the winery or use live chat support.
Humanistic types also are influenced by customer reviews and ratings and will really appreciate a link to call for advice or for buying options which could be accompanied by a welcoming photo.
Future Now's Always be Testing Webinar
We all understand that they are different kinds of people. Some people are on the edge and want the latest product, some people want the tried and true, and other people are crowd followers and want what everyone else has.
Seth Godin writes in his post today: "Some people want to do things because they are interesting. Some people want to do things because they work. Some people want to do things because everyone else is doing them."
Now take Seth's quote and change it to wine sales. Some people buy wines because they are unique or they want to try something new. Some people buy wines that they have previously tasted and they know are good. Some people buy wines because everyone else is buying them.
Too often a web page is designed for a single type of person. Typically the website designer or website owner fits into a specific type of person and they design the web page for how they would buy wine.
So how do you setup your page to market to these different kinds of people
For the people who want to buy your unique or new wines, you can have a pod showing your latest or featured wine. For people who want their tried and true product, make it easy for them to find their product (via search, or via an easy to understand navigation). For the people who want to buy wines because everyone else is buying them, you can show them the most popular wines, or highest rated wines. Amazon and other ecommerce stores often have a "people who purchased this product also bought this product".
Remember not everyone shops the same way.
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