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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.

Andrew Kamphuis
 
March 23, 2009 | Andrew Kamphuis

Do security messages increase sales?

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.

  • Start with your full postal address and telephone number of your company.  Put your phone number large on the page.
  • Be up front about all charges (delivery charges, handling, etc).
  • Offer clear signs of server security, SSL locks, security icons, etc. (The McAfee/Hacker Safe logo reported increases sales by 14%).
  • Use Opt-in options rather than opt out schemes (nobody likes to feel they are being scammed into signing up for a newsletter)
  • Include links to privacy policy, security policy, etc.
  • Build trust by ensuring that the entire checkout is a smooth process and error free (nothing destroys trust like a broken process).

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.

Time Posted: Mar 23, 2009 at 10:00 AM
Andrew Kamphuis
 
March 23, 2009 | Andrew Kamphuis

Welcome Brian Zacharias

We would like to welcome Brian Zacharias to the Vin|65 team this morning. (We'll get his picture up someday)

Brian joins are team in a programming and development role.  For the first few months he will be working on some custom development projects. Brian has a Bachelor of Computer Information Systems and has a strong background in webservices, C#, and database development.

If you end up talking to him, seeing him in the office, or seeing him at the gym with us make sure you say hi.

Time Posted: Mar 23, 2009 at 8:00 AM
Brent Johnson
 
March 20, 2009 | Brent Johnson

Reviews and Ratings Sell More Wine Online

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.

User Reviews vs. Critic Reviews

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:

  • Placement (above the fold)
  • Size
  • Stars or other graphics
  • Ease of reading
  • Sorting
  • Rate Distribution
  • Use across the site
  • Rate wine attributes or individual wines.

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.

Time Posted: Mar 20, 2009 at 7:00 AM
Andrew Kamphuis
 
March 16, 2009 | Andrew Kamphuis

5 Ways to Sell More Wine Online

A prospective customer and I were talking a few weeks ago and he asked how he could tweak his website to sell more online. He has a great looking site, stunning photography, but there were a few mistakes being made that were costing sales.

1) Close the disconnect between the website and the webstore. On his website (and you see this on lots of sites) you click on 'Wine' on the main navigation, and see a list of the wine, read about the wine, but when the time comes to order the wine, you have to click 'store' on the main navigation, remember the title of the product and go purchase it in a seperate area on the site. It should be as simple as possible for someone to purchase from you. This means having the 'Add to Cart' button right there with the tasting notes, product photography, etc. Your wine page and your store should be one.

2) More details on the actual wine. There is no limit to the amount of information you can put on a website. A large part of the buying population are methodical people or humanistic type people who enjoy reading a lot of detail. This includes tasting notes, ratings and reviews, etc. More detail will see more wine.

3) No forced account on checkout. When a customer wants to checkout, they want to give you their credit card, not come up with a unique username and password to create an account. Forcing a person to create an account on checkout will result in lost sales.

4) Own the search for your own label. If I have a wine at a restuarant, at a friend's house or somewhere else, and now I go search Google for that product. That brand should come up number one on the search. Not coming up number one (or in this case not showing up at all) will cost sales.

5) Have an environment of monitoring and testing. Google analytics is free and pretty easy for a web developer or designer to setup. On the website in question I noticed that google analytics was running on part of the site, but not on the store part of the site. You really want to get a solid connection on analytics between your website, your store, blog, etc. Without strong analytics it's really hard to gauge the performance of a website.

And a few bonus ideas...

1) Provide assurances in the checkout. The right security assurance message will increase the number of people completing the checkout form.

2) Make sure the website on your current business cards is redirected to your live website. (Again this was specifically directed at this prospect, but if you're not building your own website, ensure that the domain on your marketing material is your domain)

Time Posted: Mar 16, 2009 at 8:00 AM
Andrew Kamphuis
 
March 10, 2009 | Andrew Kamphuis

Too many social links?

You see the links everywhere. Digg. Stumble. Add to Google. Redit. Del.icio.us.

It's clear that social media is here to stay. So how much social media should you put on your site? Will adding these buttons to your blog, to your content, or to your store bring you more visitors? More traffic? More sales?

Leading usability researches such as FutureNow, e-Consultancy, and others have done endless research on usability and e-commerce shopping. We've also done research in the wine industry.

As far as social media links, I've yet to see an research on the effectiveness of these links and I personally feel that the jury is still out but that studies are coming (and perhaps in the works right now)

Time Posted: Mar 10, 2009 at 9:04 PM
Andrew Kamphuis
 
March 8, 2009 | Andrew Kamphuis

How to choose a website/e-commerce provider.

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?

  1. Compare the external sales you can achieve with each platform. Website design has a huge impact on sales. (Often the initial visit is all about the experience and story you tell) Marketing opportunities such as capturing visitor information, have an impact on sales. The website developer and marketers should be able to assist you here.
  2. Compare the internal costs you will save with each platform.  Which platforms are going to let you do your job more efficently. (This often comes down to which provider has the best features, and the easiest to use features)
  3. Compare the ongoing platform costs in terms of licensing fees, in terms of support, and how much time the platform will require from you.

If you want to get a whole lot of differing opinions, be sure to read the OWC thread.
 

Time Posted: Mar 8, 2009 at 8:03 PM
Andrew Kamphuis
 
March 1, 2009 | Andrew Kamphuis

The power of consumer reviews

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)

Don't fear the negative review.

Time Posted: Mar 1, 2009 at 10:34 PM
Andrew Kamphuis
 
February 23, 2009 | Andrew Kamphuis

The Missing Google Analytics Manual

Future Now Inc has published a great post titled 'The Missing Google Analytics Manual'.

We get a lot of Google Analytics questions - this is our new answer. (just kidding - we will still help you out)

Time Posted: Feb 23, 2009 at 10:02 PM
Andrew Kamphuis
 
February 21, 2009 | Andrew Kamphuis

Who takes care of the content?

Mike Duffy from The Winery Website Report wrote a nice little blog post this past week titled 'Thinking of Redesigning Your Winery Website?' where he links to a good article on 'Who takes care of the content'.

If you're planning a website the content plays a key role. So does photography (if you don't have a great photo next to your content, most people will just skip over the text). Website design, typography, 'call to action' phrases, button color, etc all play key roles.

At Vin|65 we have a set process we take our clients through:

  1. Discovery Process: we determine the goals of your website, setup bench marks to measure against, etc.
  2. Functional Requirements: we look at your current site, what your competitors are doing, determine the feature list, etc.
  3. Wireframes and Site Map: here we spend time deciding where the key elements need to appear, how much priority they should have, content needed, etc.
  4. Design Concepts: this is the fun part (and where to many web designers start)
  5. Etc…

People's personalities differ - some of our clients are really creative and love design, some of our clients are competitive and are really focused on the 'call to action' phrases. We do have some methodical clients that spend an incredible amount of time on content (we really have a client like this right now).

People can fall into a trap and choose a specific area on their site where they really want to focus, such as the creative, or the widgets, or at neat little Web 2.0 button, etc and because their personality type isn't attracted to other elements such as the content, they skip over those elements. (I'm guilty of this – I'm a competitive person, and I typically just skim text – I have to remember there are methodical people that really read all the text, and there are humanistic type of people that really like people pictures and testimonials, etc)

It's our job as web designers and developers to help balance our client and come up with great design, great content, and ultimately a great website.

Thoughts?

Time Posted: Feb 21, 2009 at 9:48 PM
Andrew Kamphuis
 
February 11, 2009 | Andrew Kamphuis

If your brand is being talked about how will you know?

A marketing firm down the street was in our office a month ago. They have a new beverage (non-wine) that is quite remarkable and for the last six months or so they have been marketing this product in the nutrition market space. The brand currently has a beautiful site, built primarily in flash, with some great photography and limited product information.

Before the meeting started, I did some quick research and noticed that this brand was being talked about in a lot of different forums. In fact I found at least 20 forums where this product was mentioned. Some of the comments were very positive, some were inquisitive, and there were some negative comments also (most of the negative comments were around the product not being found in local stores, or a rebate for a coupon not being received yet)

Unfortunately, the brand manager (who has been doing a great job getting the product into the retail market) had no idea that their brand was being talked about.

In this modern era, we are seeing more and more transparency in brands. It's not uncommon for a brand to have a blog and allowing customer comments. We are seeing brands have twitter accounts. Brands are opening up their websites for customer comments, reviews, etc.

The bottom line is: if you have a remarkable product, an average product, or a poor product, people are talking about you. If you don't allow user generated comments on your website, it won't stop the conversation.

This conversation can happen right on your website, where you can quite easily participate in the conversation (and this is the best place to have a conversation about your brand). This conversation will probably happen on other websites, where you can use monitoring tools, and probably participate in the conversation also.

Time Posted: Feb 11, 2009 at 11:39 PM
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