Request Demo
Client Log In
Client Log In

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
 
December 5, 2011 | Andrew Kamphuis

3 Reasons Your Winery Needs a Mobile Website

One in four people are more prepared to share their toothbrush than their smart phone (source) and one-third of Americans are more willing to give up sex than their mobile phones (source).

There is no doubt that smart phones are changing the way we live. It's no surprise that major retailers have integrated mobile as part of their overall marketing strategy. But what about mobile for wineries? Is it important to have a mobile presence? How can this channel drive overall traffic and revenue? We believe that it is important and can drive traffic and revenue, here are three reasons why.

1) Mobile Traffic is Growing

According to StatsCounter, mobile traffic in North America is around 7.25% of all web traffic. It was only 1% three years ago. (source)

On our platform, which is specific to wineries, we are seeing over 10% of the traffic from mobile phones with several wineries in the 15-18% range. (If you want assistance calculating your percentage, it's really easy to do if you have Google Analytics installed - just ask us)

2) Your Regular Website isn't Going to Cut It

You only have to surf your regular website on a mobile phone to figure out it's probably not going to cut it. Flash photo galleries won't display on the iPhone and the performance is terrible on Android phones. You have to pinch and zoom to read the content. Adding something to your cart is next to impossible. It takes forever to load pages. The whole customer experience is terrible.

Visit your winery website on a mobile phone. Then visit a site like www.twistedoak.com, www.opusonewinery.com, or our demo site at  demo.vin65.com to see how a mobile optimized website should react.

3) Consumers are Buying Wine through Mobile Devices

In general, 50% of mobile phone owners are using their device to shop online or to assist while shopping in stores (source).

On our wine-ecommerce platform, we are seeing wine sales on mobile devices (however these sales do lag behind their respective traffic - for example if 10% of your traffic is on mobile, less than 10% of your ecommerce sales will be from mobile).  

We are seeing consumers viewing emails on their mobile phones (16% of them) or using Twitter or Facebook apps on their mobile phones. From these emails or from these apps, they click links to wines, and then view and purchase these wines on their mobile devices.

~~

As a winery, it's pretty easy to get a mobile website. Most of the major wine ecommerce platforms now offer a mobile solution and independent designers have more tools than ever to assist in building a mobile website. Most of the solutions are relatively cost effective and fairly easy to implement. It's a great opportunity to improve your customers experience and it's early enough that you can experiment a little before a mobile site is expected.

Mobile Webinar: At Vin 65, we are committed to the mobile channel as a source of additional revenue for your winery. Attend Brent Johnson's seminar on Mobile Made Easy, Wed Dec 7th at 9:30am PST and learn more.
Time Posted: Dec 5, 2011 at 9:00 AM
Andrew Kamphuis
 
October 10, 2011 | Andrew Kamphuis

Facebook Ecommerce - Will Customers Buy Wine on Facebook?

If you’re like most internet users, you start your day by checking Facebook and you probably check again at the end of the day. If you’re like our employees, you’re probably also checking Facebook at work. There are over 800 million active users on Facebook, and Facebook accounts for 1 in 5 pages accessed on the internet.

So Facebook has a large audience, but will this audience buy wine?  Here's 5 reasons I think they will.

1. Facebook already drives ecommerce traffic to your website.
There is some debate about whether Google or Facebook drives more traffic to a website, but it’s clear they are both key traffic sources. Facebook is the number one or number two driver of traffic to your ecommerce site. (Source / Source).

2. Facebook customers are good customers.
American Eagle found Facebook-referred visitors spend an average of 57% more money than non-Facebook-referred visitors. GiantNerd.com saw a 100% increase in revenue from Facebook within two weeks of adding the like button. There are several other Commerce Stats here. (Source)

3. Facebook is where your customers hang out.
There are more than 800 million active users on Facebook. More than 50% of users log onto Facebook in any given day. (Source)

4. Facebook is already a viable retail platform.
According to Booz Allen, there are $5 billion in goods being sold on Facebook in 2011. In the alcohol market, Social Commerce Today has a great story about Magners Cider and closer to California, wineries such as Silver Smith Vineyards are already selling wine on Facebook. (Source / Source / Source)

5. Facebook commerce is growing.
According to the same graph in number 4 above, Facebook commerce will be a $30 billion industry in 2015. (Source)

~~
At Vin65, we launched our Facebook Ecommerce App today. Show and sell your wine inside Facebook. Create custom Facebook fan pages. While there is a small setup fee, there is no additional monthly charge to our existing clients, and it’s fully integrated with our platform.

In developing this app, we stepped on the shoulders of other innovators including both Vintank Social Connect (Cruvee) and Social Candy who have developed great apps on Facebook.  

While I might have some bias, I really believe that Facebook commerce is here.  One of the key pieces for me in our Facebook Ecommerce App build was the addition of Google Analytics along with our reporting and dashboards. Like mobile and our iPad app, we’ll be watching closely as Facebook traffic grows and our Facebook ecommerce app evolves.

Check out some live examples and let us know what you think.
Demo Store: http://www.facebook.com/PineWines  
Ceja Vineyards: http://www.facebook.com/CejaVineyards
Twisted Oak: http://www.facebook.com/twistedoak

Time Posted: Oct 10, 2011 at 8:00 AM
Andrew Kamphuis
 
May 10, 2011 | Andrew Kamphuis

Your Wine Website is the Hub

This is how it should be. Your wine website should be the hub of your web marketing, and social media, email, QR Codes, etc., are spokes that should drive traffic to the hub.

Some of you might think I have a personal bias. Some of you might think the graphic is oversimplified (you might push your products to Cruvee to then push to Facebook, Snooth, etc.), but here is my point:

  • Your new products should appear on your website before they are in Cruvee (better yet, integrate the two). If I see your product on Twitter or Snooth or Hello Vino I should be able to go to your website for more information.
  • Your winery event should appear on your website before it appears on Facebook. When I read about it on Facebook, I should be able to go to your website for more information.
  • If I can make a reservation on VinoVisit for your winery, I should be able to go to your website to read about your tasting room, and make a reservation right there. 
  • Your newsletter signup should be on your website rather than being linked off somewhere else.

Your website is the one place on the web where you can control and frame your message and reinforce your brand.  It's the best place for official information on your products, events, etc.  Your website is the best place for a visitor to view your brand.  

Your wine website should be the hub of your digital marketing activity. Everything else is a spoke and should drive traffic to the hub. If it’s not, your digital marketing will spin like a lopsided wheel.

Time Posted: May 10, 2011 at 8:00 AM
Andrew Kamphuis
 
April 12, 2011 | Andrew Kamphuis

Wine Marketing: QR Codes Reach The Main Stream?

Even though QR codes have been around for more than 15 years, it seems like they are just now starting to reach main stream.  In the wine industry, I've seen QR codes on wine labels, tasting sheets, and shelf talkers. It wouldn't surprise me if they were being used throughout a winery (like a self tour).  Pamela Heiligenthal of Enobytes and OregonLive.com predicted that in 2011 QR Wine codes would be all the rage

Quite a few vendors in the wine space have embraced QR codes in their products.  Our friends at Cruvee have a novel implementation of QR codes in their wine syndication product.  Winergy has recently launched QR HarvesterHelloVino has a webinar on QR codes today which should be interesting.  A company I've never heard of before QR4Wine has recently launched.  And of course, at Vin65, we have recently added the ability to generate QR codes for any product, page, wine club, etc inside our tools.

From a marketing perspective: 

Who is the audience?  Does the audience have access to a smart phone and the web?  (I recently heard of a QR code campaign launched in a subway - the problem is there was no internet accessibility in the subway where the QR codes were being scanned).  Less than 1/2 the population currently has a smart phone, so be mindful of your audience.

"What's in it for me?"  How are you going to entice your customers to scan your code? Why should they use 15 seconds of their time to take out their phone, open an app, and scan your code?  I recommend spelling out why your customer should scan your code. 

What content are you going to deliver? At the end of the day it's still about the content and if your customer scans your code, visits your link, and doesn't find what they are looking for, there is a possibility they will not scan your next QR code.

QR Codes aren't magical. There are a lot of basic applications (such as tasting sheets, labels, shelf talkers, coupons, etc) for QR codes. There are some really creative applications as well (HelloVino and Cruvee might better expand on that). Done correctly, the QR code can be used to deliver information that is both useful and meaningful to the consumer and drive a deeper connection.

From a technical perspective:

Are you able to track your QR code?  If you can't measure it, how will you know the impact?

Which URLs do you drive them to? Is there a mobile website in place (you know that most applications for QR Codes involve a customer using a smart phone)?.  If you put the QR Code on your wine label that can be a 3+ year commitment - do you own the URL behind the QR Code?  (For short term promotions, the ownership of the URL might not matter, but for a wine label or a longer commitment it really matters).

~~

Like other new technologies, I'd encourage you to experiment, monitor, and analyze the results.  Learn early (it's easier to fail when it's early in the game).  My personal opinion is that I wouldn't over-commit, but I would experiment.  QR codes may continue to takeoff (we are seeing QR code apps preinstalled on a lot of new phones), or they maybe overtaken by some newer technologies like NFC (Near Field Communication) or better photo recognition.

Time Posted: Apr 12, 2011 at 8:00 AM
Andrew Kamphuis
 
March 1, 2011 | Andrew Kamphuis

What makes a great wine marketing email?

Why are some emails opened and read while others are only glanced at and deleted?

During my presentation at Unified I showed the variance in open rates among the top email blasts from our systems. This weekend I decided to look further and compare the open rates and click through rates of these same email campaigns and there were a few interesting highlights.

There were a few interesting highlights. One large campaign only had a 13% open rate but had a click through rate of 9.1%. This means the majority of people opening were clicking through (70% of the people opening the email responded). It was that statistic that got me to think 'what makes a great email?'. Why do some emails have huge open rates but no click response, and why did this email have a relatively low open rate but had a high percentage of click through.

In unscientific fashion (aka this is my opinion) - here's my list of what makes a great email.

1. Targeted to the recipient it's sent to. This past week I received three emails inviting me to events at wineries in California. The problem is I live in Canada and don't have a chance of attending. There is no substitute for an email that is specific to its audience. The highest open and click through rates on our system come from emails sent to specific lists rather than sent to the entire contact list.

2. A great subject line. You can debate subject line content, but there is no debating that a great subject line prompts a reader to open the email. (There are cool A/B subject line tests here, as well as some pointers on writing great subject lines here).

3. Consistency. One of the best ways to build trust with your customers is to maintain consistency. If you send out weekly or monthly email, don't miss a week or a month. If your from address is always 'info@yourwinery.com' make sure you keep that consistent and keep your style consistent. People who read your email read it for a reason. If you want to try something new, do an A/B test - or target the people who aren't opening your email.

4. A compelling image. You need great photography for a great websites. You need great photography for great emails. (However please don't make your email one giant image - if images are blocked you'll see a low open rate and a low response rate).

5. Short compelling content. Images are often blocked in email so you'll need some text in your email. Make it short, compelling, easy-to-read; short sentences that are broken up into short paragraphs make for easy reading.

6. Single focus.  Again this is an unscientific list, but it's my opinion that customers respond a lot better when there is a single message and it's not overloaded with products.

7. A great incentive and a sense of urgency. People respond to great incentives and to value adds, people also respond when there is a deadline (at least that's how I work).

~~

So what do you do if you're not producing great email? Use the list above, start slow, ask for feedback, make a few changes here and there, and then move up a gear.

Time Posted: Mar 1, 2011 at 8:00 AM
Andrew Kamphuis
 
February 10, 2011 | Andrew Kamphuis

Myth or reality: A website design and functionality improve conversion?

I was at Unified last week and I overheard a couple of people talking about ecommerce and one person asked another if they could really improve their conversion rate. (I didn't butt in, but I should have). I've written about how powerful a benchmark conversion rate is to a winery's ecommerce performance analytics.

What is conversion and conversion rate? Conversion is the process of taking online visitors and turning them into buyers. There are a number of ways conversion rate is calculated, but the two most common are: number of orders divided by the number of carts started (in which case conversion rates should be high) or it's calculated as the number of purchasers divided by the number of visitors (in which case the percentage will be a lot lower).

The number one objection to conversion optimization? "If a person really loves my wine will they not wade through our website and figure out how to buy it (no matter how bad the ecommerce experience is)?" Truthfully some of your best fans and your nicest relatives will but I won't. And lots of your customers won't. Why invite visitors to your wine ecommerce store after a great experience in the tasting room only to disappoint them with an aggravating ecommerce experience?

3 proven ways to increase conversion your conversion rate?

1) Remove the create account requirement at checkout. Unfortunately, we still see this all the time. (I saw it last week on a new Sonoma Wineries website - gorgeous website doing a lot of things right - but still asking for a password in the checkout). A visitor adds wine to their cart and then proceeds to the checkout. They want to give you their credit card - they don't want to create a unique username and password. Here's the proof that this is killing sales. (Link, link, or link)

2) Create a streamline checkout. A visitor adds wine to their cart - how fast can they check out? The 2010 Olympics in Vancouver proved that a one-screen streamlined checkout process will increase conversion.

3) Add consumer ratings and reviews to your wine? You're on Amazon.com.  What sells better? A book with a great description and a review from the New York Times or a book with a great description, a review from the New York Times, and 10-30 regular customers sharing their personal thoughts on the book? Wine.com proved it in the wine industry. Having customers reviews on your site will sell more wine.

~~

The right design and functionality will increase your conversion rate.

Time Posted: Feb 10, 2011 at 8:00 AM
Andrew Kamphuis
 
January 28, 2011 | Andrew Kamphuis

Unified Symposium - Making Your Direct-To-Consumer Work

Below are the slides of my 15-20 minute presentation at Unified Wine & Grape Symposium on "Making Your Direct-To-Consumer" work.

It was great to be a panellist along with Quinton Jay (Bacchus Capital), Stacie Jacob (Paso Robles Wine Country Alliance), and Ray Johnson (Sonoma State University). I also want to thank Jeff Stai for organizing everything, moderating the panel, and inspiring me the night before to make my presentation better.

My particular segment was on customer conversion - something I'm fairly passionate about. Enjoy. 

I believe the audio version of the presentation will be available for sale here soon. http://www.unifiedsymposium.org/audio.html

Feel free to post your questions or comments below (or send an email directly to me)

Time Posted: Jan 28, 2011 at 8:00 AM
Andrew Kamphuis
 
January 19, 2011 | Andrew Kamphuis

DTC Wine Symposium - CRM Demystified

Here are the slides and an overview of my 7-10 minute presentation at DTC Wine Symposium on CRM Demystified.  It was great to be a panelist along with Bronwyn Ney from Hall Wines and Susan Hanshaw from Innerarchitect.  Also thanks to Mary-Colleen Tinney for organizing everything.

My particular piece was on customer segmentation.

Slide #1 - Intro

Slide #2 - Segmentation

  • You capture names on your website and in your tasting room - you build your mailing list (hopefully you're not using a rolodex but some CRM software)
  • You know you get the best results when you send email regularly so you schedule your campaigns
  • But do you segment your lists?

Slide #3 - Why Segment?

  • Not all contacts are equal. You don't treat your family and friends the same. You don't treat your acquaintances the same. Why treat your contacts all the same?

Slide #4 - Why Segment?
There are a lot of reasons to segment, here are 3:

  1. Your response rate increases.
  2. You build deeper connections
  3. Untargeted email is spam  (not spam in the CAN SPAM legal sense of the word - but spam as in unwanted meat sense of the word)

Slide #5 - How Do Enterprises Segment?

Enterprises segment on RFM. Recency, Frequency, and Monetary Value. 

Recency - when was the last time this customer purchased?
Frequency - how often does this customer purchase?
Monetary Value - how much does this customer purchase?

Slide #6 - CaseStudy: WineTasting.com
A/B test from winetasting.com on a recent email targeting 'inactive' segement of their customers. (Inactive being customers who have not purchase in one year or more)

  • 13,722 received same email as Active Segment
  • 13,722 received custom tailored "Miss You" message

Slide #7-8 - CaseStudy: WineTasting.com
Custom tailored message outperformed regular message

  • Click thrus were 4.59% vs 0.68% (6.75 X greater)
  • 9X more orders
  • 28X more $$
  • 1/2 as many unsubscribers

Slide #9-11 - How can you segment your list?
 

  • Customer Type - Prospect vs FirstTime Purchaser vs Repeat Purchase vs Club Member
  • Active vs Non-Active Customer
  • Location - Local vs Out-of-Town Visitor

Slide #12 - Key To Success
Don't just segment your list, but custom tailor the message to specific target audience.

Slide #13 - Thanks
Special thanks to WineTasting.com and Kristina Palko for letting us use this case study.

~~

If you heard my talk, I would love your feedback.  Either shoot me an email or leave it in the comments below.

Time Posted: Jan 19, 2011 at 4:00 PM
Andrew Kamphuis
 
January 18, 2011 | Andrew Kamphuis

5 Wineries/Wine Retailers that 'Get' the Web

It's fairly easy to pick apart websites and list everything that is being done wrong from an ecommerce perspective (and some of my recent posts have done that) but there are a lot of wineries and wine retailers that are doing it right (both on our platform, and on other platforms). Today as I was browsing through our portfolio, I wanted to highlight a few websites that are doing it right.

WineTasting.com

What I like about WineTasting.com:

  • The large phone number in the header, the links to customer service, and the feedback forms on the website make it really easy for customers to contact them. 
  • The prominent subscribe form on the left hand navigation is a great way to build the emailing list.
  • The mobile version of their website is easy to navigate.  While a large number of wine retailers don't have mobile sites, WineTasting.com has fully embraced mobile.  (Chris Edwards the VP of WTN will be speaking at this upcoming mobile conference). A demo of their mobile site can be found here.

Twisted Oak

What I like about TwistedOak.com:

  • While you can debate some of the wackiness, the customized content on this site is fun to read. How many wineries have a 'Find Us from Space' page on their website?
  • I like the prominent subscribe form on the right hand side of the homepage - a great way to capture email addresses.
  • Similar to WineTasting.com, I like the mobile site.  It's great to see wineries offering mobile versions of their site. (The mobile site represents almost 10% of Twisted Oak's total web traffic).

Ceja Vineyards

What I like about CejaVineyards.com:

  • The commitment to blog and all the videos on the blog on this site is great. Video content does sell more products. I also love that there are a number of members from the Ceja team contributing content and video to the blog (it shows a team commitment).
  • Social media is everywhere on this site.  The product list pages and product drilldown feature Facebook, Twitter and other social media.  
  • The bottle shots on this site are clean, crisp and clear (sure they aren't the size of bottle shots on sites like Inman Family, but the bottle shots are professionally done).

Site designed by BR Pacific

Pithy Little Wine Co

Pithy Wine gets it. Before we had an iPad app, they bought iPads for their tasting room and used their website on the iPad to collect visitor information.

What I like about PithyWine.com:

  • I like that the site was designed by the winery themselves.  It's great to see creativity right from the winery.
  • I like that they have multiple product photos for each wine.  Great bottle shots, picture of the back labels, front labels, etc. (Check out the 3 photos on this product here.)  You should not underestimate good photography.
  • I like that the site stays fresh and current.  A few weeks ago they had holiday pictures on the homepage, and when I went back today they already had changed the homepage with new content.  It's great to see freshness.

Site designed by Pithy Wine

Inman Family Wine

What I like about InmanFamilyWines.com

  • Not all the product pages on this site are the same, but I really like the detail on product pages like this.  I like how they link to recipes and vineyard notes for the product.
  • The commitment to simple and easy to understand shipping rates for customers is excellent. The shipping widget (left hand side of the page in the 'Wine Shop') is a great way to show upfront shipping.

Site designed by Sight Design

~~

Over the last few years we have seen a lot of wineries and wine retailers increase their efforts on the web.  There are a lot of great sites both on our platform and on other platforms. (If your site isn't listed above, it's not because I don't like it.)  Keep raising the bar.

Time Posted: Jan 18, 2011 at 8:00 AM
Andrew Kamphuis
 
January 11, 2011 | Andrew Kamphuis

Top 10 Signs Your Winery Website is Stuck in 2008

Its 2011, but a lot of websites I visit still feel like they are in 2008. So here it is, David Letterman style with Wayne's World graphic (for the really retro), the Top 10 Signs Your Winery Website is Stuck in 2008.

10. Your last blog post is dated 2008.
In 2008 you were so innovative that you jumped on the blogging band wagon. Blogging was everywhere and you wanted to take part. Unfortunately your enthusiasm died after about 8 blog posts.

If your blog hasn't been updated since 2008, it's time to remove the blog from your website.

9. Flash on the homepage with no alternative.
Flash animations used to be cool. What better way to express your story? Unfortunately, people got sick of flash intros and have turned flash off. People on the iPad can't see your flash. Mobile visitors usually don't have flash installed, nor do they want to wait for it to load.

If you have flash on your homepage, serve up an alternative, or look to some javascript technology to replace it, or better yet, don't do it.

8. You have birthdate validation on entry.
Birthdate validation on site entry is a visitor turn off (and consumers often enter false dates until they get to the checkout process).

There are so many reasons not to do birthdate validation on site entry that I could write a blog post on it - but consider this - the major wine retailers (wine.com, winelibrary.com, winetasting.com, etc) all don't have it and I know first hand the amount of testing that goes on at winetasting.com.

We do not condone selling alcohol to minors, and believe that birthdate validation should be done on checkout, and ID verification on package delivery.

7. Your product pages don't have your recent vintages and/or contain vintages you no longer have available.
There is nothing more frustrating than seeing out of date product content on a website. It's not only frustrating to customers; it also frustrates your distributors, trade people, and bloggers who all want current images and tasting notes.

6. You're not using a Content Management System
If you have to pay your web designer to update products and other content you are out of date (truthfully you were out of date in 2008 also). It's vitally important for you to be able to update your own content, and content management systems are very mature and pretty much a commodity.

5. Copyright notice still says 2008.
Your visitors know you stuck in 2008 when your copyright still says 2008. If your content is out of date and stale, people won't keep returning to your site.

4. Your heading text is images
The last few years have brought great technology for fonts on the web. It's important that your heading text be text rather than images - important for search engines, for bandwidth, and just for general ease of maintenance.

3. No customer ratings or reviews.
In 1999 Amazon stated that the 2.5 million reviews it featured are what made it popular. We've known for years that customer ratings and reviews help sell products. In 2009 Wine.com revealed that products with reviews sold more. If you don't have customer ratings and reviews, your site is 2008.

2. You have a splash page.
Splash pages were out in 2008 but I still see them. A splash page does nothing for you other than give a customer a reason to not visit your homepage.

1. No mention of social media anywhere
And the number one sign your website is stuck in 2008 - no mention of social media anywhere.  The last couple of years we've seen a large uptick in social media activity. Facebook with over 500 million users is mainstream. If you don't at least have a Facebook link on your website, you might be stuck in 2008.

~~

And to continue our Top 10 list, here are the Top 10 Signs Your Website Is Stuck In 1998 courtesy of my colleagues.

10. Your web address has the word geocities in it
9. Free hosting ads on your website
8. You have a 'make this your homepage' button on your website
7. You have a 'best viewed in Internet Explorer' button
6. Under construction page
5. Your neighbour’s high school son built your web page
4. The fixed width is designed for 800x600
3. Your site is built in frames
2. Auto playing music
1. Animated gif images

~~

What signs have you seen that still point to 2008? 

Time Posted: Jan 11, 2011 at 8:00 AM
Subscribe

Get the blog by RSS

Blog Search
Recent Posts

Need to accelerate online sales? Subscribe here: