Welcome to the Vin65 blog. We are using this space to try and convey our little piece of insight into winery websites and best practices to sell more wine online.
Like many of our colleagues and wineries, we attended both the Direct to Consumer Wine Symposium in San Francisco and the Unified Wine & Grape Symposium in Sacramento last month. We were on-hand to demonstrate our new iPad Point Of Sale (POS) system, and answer questions about Vin65.
We thought we'd share the top 5 questions, and link to some of our documentation.
Yes, there are a few different ways you can sell wine through Facebook. You can sell wine directly from your existing Facebook fan page or you can sell wine through Facebook’s gifting program.
Selling through your existing fan page can be a great way to engage your fans where they are spending their time. Your fans can interact with your brand, buy wines and sign up for clubs or newsletters. All of the orders, contacts, products, inventory, etc. are synced with your website ecommerce so you only need to manage one database. Facebook does not see this data and doesn't take any commission or fees.
The Facebook gifting program is setup for Facebook users to gift wines to their Facebook friends for birthdays, anniversaries, etc.. This program is set up for select wineries that use WineDirect fulfillment services. For more information about this, contact WineDirect directly.
While people typically chose a Content Management Sytem for the flexibility they offer, there is a common fear that with a CMS you will be tied to a handful of designs and relinquish creativity. This is not true. While the Vin65 CMS has templates, if you don't like our templates, you can hire a designer to custom design your site on the Vin65 CMS. We offer "designer" authoring tools that allow a web designer to develop your own custom site. And, once it is live you can take it from there. All the content, product, pricing and tasting room updates can be done by you, and you don't have to return to the designer. So rather than limiting a winery, this actualy frees you up to get the site you want now, but then access and change your content without relying on a design, coder or outside agency in the long-run.
Yes! We are a very passionate Canadian technology team based in a town just outside Vancouver, Canada – which is directly north of Seattle. We feel being ‘remote’ from most wineries actually helps us develop our eCommerce tools as we're forced to buy our wine online. We "eat our own dog food" and buy all of our wine online...just like your customers.
Our parent company, WineDirect, does have a US presence with offices in Napa, American Canyon and Oakland. Technology makes the world small and enables wineries from all over the world to hire a company from any country.
Usually there are two costs for a website, a monthly fee and a setup fee. The monthly fee for a website on Vin65 is $250.
The setup fee varies depending on the design and scope of the project. We have a range of options that start at $0 (templated designs and using your own web designer) and go up from there. A custom website design from Vin65 typically starts at $10,000.
We have a few other add-ons like the Facebook app ($50/mo), the Tasting Room iPad App ($50/mo) and the new iPad POS (starting at $100/mo).
You can find all of our pricing options online on the Vin65 website.
Mobile POS systems are like having a cash register, or a website ecommerce checkout, anywhere. These may be particularly helpful for wineries without a tasting room to enables sales of products at tastings and dinners. But existing wineries with busy tasting rooms also benefit from a mobile check out system for over-flow or off-site events.
The key functionality to look for with these mobile systems is the synching with your customer / product database, and the ability to set up different inventory areas to keep your compliance and accounting manager happy.
Do you have a question for us? Just ask by posting a comment below.
Thanksgiving is three weeks away.
I’ll say that again, Thanksgiving is only three weeks away. While you’re working through your holiday promotions, special offers, and gift offerings, let’s take some time and look at these offerings through your customer’s eyes. The best way to do this is to become one.
Browse, research, and review your product list pages and product detail pages. What changes and additions would your customers find helpful in making purchasing decisions? I suggest reading 6.5 easy fixes to the wine list page and 5 tips to effective ecommerce merchandising for some helpful tips.
Another idea is to add an up-front shipping widget to display shipping costs, or even better, offer a holiday shipping promotion.
(Example: Castello di Amarosa's shipping widget)
Place an order completely through your checkout process. Look objectively for any barriers. For example, ensure your calls to actions and buttons guide the checkout process. We tout button color contrast, but placement matters as well.
Finally, review the complete process of fulfillment, shipment, and delivery. Send a gift of wine to a client or a friend, and ask them about their experience.
Have a few packages sent to your home and analyze the experience. Did you get an order confirmation, look at order tracking, was the order shipped in time? How does the experience on your site compare with ones from Amazon, Zappos, or Apple? It will be the one of the rare times you can call shopping at work legit.
You’ve made product updates, a few small changes to your order process, and analyzed other purchase processes, now what?
Are there any ideas I missed? Feel free to post some below.
Krista shared an excellent post last week about 6.5 Easy Fixes for a Better Wine List Page.
In my opinion, the most important tip is easily the first one about using quality pictures. With that in mind, here’s a designer's take on what makes for an awesome bottle shot.
What makes a great bottle shot?
Send your best bottles to get the best photos. Look for imperfections in the glass, cap or foil, and make sure the labels are applied straight. Any blemishes can be cleaned up by a professional in Photoshop, but keep in mind that post-production can get expensive.
Proper color, contrast and brightness can make the difference between an ok and a great photo. Are colors realistic? Is the color contrast vibrant or does it look washed out? Are the highlights and shadows accurate? Does the color reflect the wine properly?
Your customers want to get to know you, but they don’t want to see you (or your photographer) in the bottle’s reflection.
Lighting is important in photography, and seeing multiple lamps and bright spots reflecting in a bottle shot is not ideal.Photographers use an assortment of lights, lamps, shades, reflectors, and umbrellas to get lighting just right.
Some winery websites are in need of a photo clipping overhaul. Have somebody on your marketing team (or a pro) clip around the white box or background in the bottle shot, unless your site design has a white background.
Use the largest resolution possible without compromising on the photo’s quality. Large photos look amazing on product detail pages, but ensure they’re optimized so the page loads quickly (Reduce image sizes using Photoshop, or a free program like Smushit). Avoid pixelation when resizing images. Start from the highest quality image and resize downward, never do the reverse.
There are many sites using exceptional bottle shots taken by a professional photographer. Here are few that we’d like to mention.
It’s important to have awesome looking bottle shots. You’ll make a good first impression, boost customer confidence, and support marketing efforts outside ecommerce, such as print collateral, advertising, and signage.
If you’d like to share some of the photos you’ve seen on wesbites, go ahead and share the link in the comments or share the photos on our Facebook page.
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