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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.

Paul Mabray
 
July 8, 2014 | Paul Mabray

Finding Bigfoot: ROI in Social Media is Not a Mythical Beast

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been asked the same question, “ What is the ROI of social media?” You may have even asked it yourself. The problem with this question is that it is inherently flawed. ROI means Return On Investment and does not always directly relate to a correlation in sales. For example, if you advertise in the Wine Spectator and on Google for the same cost, but get ten times the result with Google, you get a better ROI from Google advertising. Likewise, it is also good ROI if you save time and money on customer service with Twitter as opposed to phone service. Most importantly, there is always ROI in talking with your customers. You would never ignore emails or phone calls from customers, so start thinking of social media as just another channel where customers connect with you.

That being said, we can fundamentally understand the source of the question, "How does social media affect wine sales?". This is one of the key questions when trying to provide a true 360 degree view of your customers.

The first step in the process is appending your customer records with social profiles so that you can better understand who they are, what they say, and how they interact with your brand. Second, is displaying the lifetime value of customers that are on social media and how their average order relates to non-social customers. Here is a screenshot of a VinTank report for Vin65 customers:

This once and for all answers the question, “Are my wine purchasing customers using social media?”. Over the past few years things have really changed, but we haven't kept up. 44% of customers media consumption is digital, however, the 2014 Federal Trade Commission Report stated that only 7.9% of marketing dollars are spent on digital.

The wine industry needs to focus on the mobile world. As much as 28% of website traffic is from users on a mobile device. These customers are not second class citizens and should have just as good an experience as when they come from their desktop computer, laptop, or tablet.

Source: http://www.slideshare.net/kleinerperkins/kpcb-internet-trends-2013

Every day there are organic conversations about wine. There are 450,000 new people talking about wine on social media every month. Customers are out there, you just need to be listening and respond to them, just like you would if they sent you an email or called your tasting room. 

This is truly an exciting time in customer relations.  At the end of the day, it shows how social media relates to direct sales. These numbers can finally be analyzed and quantified. There is no Bigfoot, just bigger ways to interact with your customers and sell more wine.

About the Author:

Paul Mabray has been in the wine and spirits industry for over twenty years and is the Chief Strategy Officer & founder of VinTank, a wine specific social media monitoring platform.

Corinna Johnson
 
June 10, 2014 | Corinna Johnson

5 Annoying Friction Points At Checkout

Ready for some Spring cleaning? Spend some time this month and actually buy wine from your website from beginning to end. You may just find some room for improvement.

Conversion rates don’t lie. Getting potential customers to your site takes a great deal of effort. If they leave without purchasing, it could be because they are bumping against an annoying friction point. Customers have become increasingly savvy and have little patience for awkward ecommerce sites. The best way to improve conversion rates is to identify and eliminate major friction points during the checkout process.

For someone looking to buy wine on your site, keep in mind that these are the 5 most annoying friction points:

1. Not mobile friendly

Mobile is not second class. Over 25% of your website visitors are coming to your site with their mobile device. Don’t make them suffer with pinch and zoom and tiny products. Give them a great experience with all of the information!

2. Birth date validation to enter site

This is a major friction point before consumers even browse your site. Website bounce rates are 20% higher when you add an age gate. Think of your user’s experience and reduce clicks when you can. If you must use an age gate, instead of a birth date selection (which adds at least 4 clicks), try a one-click button that confirms that the consumer is over the legal age. Monitor your bounce rate on Google Analytics and adjust accordingly.

3. Forcing people to create an account

Another password? Your customer hasn’t tasted your wine yet, so how can you ask them to commit? Instead of forcing account creation, focus on moving new customers up the permission ladder to repeat customer to club member. Develop a relationship with your first time buyers. Set up personalized action emails with a specific call to action. First time buyers have a high email open rate of 60% so it’s a great way to connect. Personalized, effective, awesome.

4. Hidden shipping costs or up-front state shipping restrictions

Customers want to know what their purchase will cost before they head to the checkout. How many times have you abandoned a cart once you realized that shipping costs to your address were too high? Wouldn’t you have rather known the cost up-front? Hiding the costs just results in delayed cart abandonment.  Allow customers to select their state or province and see the shipping cost, or better yet, include shipping costs right on your wine page. Shipping discounts outperform product discounts in A/B testing, even when product discounts are a better deal.

5. Too many form fields

Don’t force customers to give you every detail. Focus on what information you need from them in order to complete the sale and make those fields required. Then you can look at the details that would be nice to have. Request information wisely, because long forms are daunting for a potential customer. Form fatigue occurs when billing and shipping forms display side by side. Two forms? Ugh. You should display the billing form and default to the same address for shipping. If the user chooses a different ship-to address, then display the shipping form at that time. By reducing clutter upfront, you’re able to effectively guide the user through the mundane task of filling out forms and you can successfully complete the sale.

 

Have I missed anything? Let me know what frustrates you the most while buying wine online in the comments below.

Time Posted: Jun 10, 2014 at 8:00 AM
Sandra Hess
 
May 27, 2014 | Sandra Hess

Five Touch Points to Drive DTC Wine Sales and Keep ‘em Coming Back!

In 2013, 3.4 million cases of wine shipped in the United States (ShipCompliant 2014 DTC Report). Online sales are growing at the fastest pace in history and staying connected to your customers is critical. Here are five customer touch points that will drive your DTC wine sales and keep your biggest fans coming back:

1. Give them what they want

In some cases, your ecommerce website is the customers first touch point with your brand. Analyze your data to better understand the top varietals customers are purchasing and display those first. Make it easy for customers to shop by setting up your website to cater to the interests of your top tier customers and providing easy drill down tools by category.

Know your customer demographics and ensure images and content on the homepage are relevant. For example, if females represent your highest demographic, add teasers and event announcements for fashion shows, cooking classes, Pinterest parties and so on. Keeping customers connected beyond the initial purchase will build brand loyalty.

2. Be sure to say thank you

This customer touch point is critical. Customers want to hear from you and it isn’t always the first sale that’s the most important. You want to drive repeat sales, so focus on the second sale.  When the second sale happens, you’re doing something right. You’ve converted a first time buyer to a repeat customer. Set up an email that is sent following every online or tasting room transaction that includes a personal note from the winery staff, order confirmation, maybe a few notes about the wines purchased, and an invitation to connect at an event or through the wine club. Communicate your brand story in all customer interactions.

3. Map out the tasting room experience

Many of us have had an unfortunate tasting room visit that has felt more like a cattle call on a busy weekend.  By mapping out the tasting room experience, your team can better serve customers at the tasting bar, in private areas, or at seated tastings. Add advance reservation tools to your ecommerce website so that first-time visitors are given choices for the type of tasting experience they prefer. Do visitors want a sit down wine and food pairing, a descriptor tasting, or are they celebrating a birthday or anniversary with friends? By offering 3-4 tasting options by price tier, your winery can better qualify visitors and provide personal service upon their arrival. Cross reference reservation information in the e-commerce system to understand if visitors are club members or have previously purchased. Have a birthday gift or decorations set up if a club member or large group makes a reservation to celebrate their birthday with friends. This customer touch point gives your staff the tools needed to have meaningful conversations and establish long-term relationships.

4. Dazzle the customer with a mobile POS

In the tasting room, at a sit down tasting experience, or outside at a member pick up party, the use of a mobile POS has improved customer service. In many cases, it has even increased the average spend per customer. Not having to wait in a long line to check out in the tasting room makes an incredible impression. Carrying the purchase to the customer’s table is an excellent customer touch point. Mobile POS tools give winery staff the information needed when interacting with members and first-time visitors. By recording customer preferences, future communication can be tailored and better received.

5. Personalize club member experiences

Your club members are your biggest fans and continue to reinvest their time and money in your brand. Wineries have the greatest opportunity to grow DTC wine sales and expand reach through the club sales segment. Set up an annual member touch point plan to include a mix of phone calls, emails and hand written correspondence. Don’t make the club shipment the only time a member hears from your staff. Revisit each member touchpoint quarterly and improve messaging, recommendations and personalization whenever possible. Use social CRM tools to better understand your club members by interests, hobbies, job titles, affiliations with charitable organizations and community groups. Include custom messaging in the member portal and update bi-monthly to keep surprising with thoughtful touches. Set up alerts within your e-commerce and CRM systems to notify staff of customer birthdays, club anniversaries and important member milestones. Create VIP touch points for the top 30-40% of club members by lifetime value and treat them well. Showcase your members through social outlets and club newsletters.  Let members shine and help share your brand story!

About the Author:

Sandra Hess, Founder of DTC Wine Workshops, supports wineries large and small in the areas of technology and process improvements to grow DTC sales and retain loyal customers. DTC Wine Workshops is a consulting company serving wineries throughout the United States.

Time Posted: May 27, 2014 at 8:00 AM
Andrew Kamphuis
 
May 12, 2014 | Andrew Kamphuis

Compliance Should Be Simple - And Sell More Wine

Today, our parent company launched WineDirect Compliance.  Our CEO, Joe Waechter, has a blog post here explaining why we built a compliance tool, and the thought process behind it.

As the COO of WineDirect and President of Vin65, I got to sit in a lot of the compliance meetings - here’s our thought process:

---

For years compliance has been difficult.  While there are a lot of rules and red tape – we want to tell you that it shouldn’t be that hard.

We look at compliance like we look at credit card processing. It’s an important piece of the business, with some complexity under the hood, but it's largely in the background. You have to get compliance right, but it should really stay out of your way.  You should spend your day figuring out how to sell more wine – not the ins and outs of compliance. Like credit card processing – you should setup compliance and largely forget about it. It should just work.

We wanted our compliance tool to be simple. Everyday you login to your POS, you login to your ecommerce system - we didn’t want you to have to login to compliance everyday (even with single sign-on). We want you to focus on selling wine instead of looking at compliance.

The WineDirect Compliance tool isn’t a place to manage weather holds.  Progressive wineries should do that in their ecommerce. Others will do that at fulfillment. The WineDirect Compliance tool doesn’t email you every day with package exceptions – that’s what fulfillment is for.  The compliance tool isn’t where you should manage your fulfillment – your fulfillment provider has the data and they should have the tools.  The WineDirect Compliance tool isn’t where you do benchmarking – you should have BI tools for that. The WineDirect Compliance tool isn’t for editing orders – that’s your order management system's job.  Compliance should simply handle orders, calculate taxes, check compliance, and run reports.

At WineDirect, we want to make compliance simple.  It should be something you setup – and then forget.  You enter the rules, your orders follow those rules, and at the end of the month you generate some reports.  While you can login anytime, it shouldn’t be something you visit daily.

If we look at our new WineDirect Compliance tool – there isn’t much to it.  There’s great product integration – you setup your product in Vin65 and it’s automatically added to WineDirect Compliance. Your orders automatically flow to WineDirect Compliance - with the county level taxes. It has a one click setup if you’re on Vin65 - so everything is preconfigured and ready to go. You review some rules, perhaps change or suppress some rules, and then that’s it.  You don’t get a daily email – you get one a week. You have a little dashboard with some reminders of reports due. At the end of the month you simply print some reports and others you can electronically file.

WineDirect Compliance is simple for you, but truthfully, there’s a lot to WineDirect Compliance.  It has a ton of rules in the background, we’ve simulated it against a massive load (our entire traffic volume in October, November, December). We spent a lot of time validating everything, it has been carefully scrutinized by an attorney, we have hundreds of hours in testing, and there's a team of people behind it to ensure it’s accurate and up-to-date.  But from your point of view – there's nothing to it.  Just like credit card processing.  It either accepts orders, or pushes them back to you to modify and try again or simply not take the order.

--

Today WineDirect launches compliance.  If you’re a Vin65 customer, it’s one click for us to set you up. There’s a free trial until September. There’s a “dual mode” if you want to run it alongside your existing compliance system. If you currently use Compli, we’ve partnered with them so they will use our real time compliance checks with the compliance they do for you (no need to switch vendors).  For more information click here.

Time Posted: May 12, 2014 at 6:00 AM
Corinna Johnson
 
April 8, 2014 | Corinna Johnson

3 Ways To Get Quality Customer Data

Nurturing relationships with your customers is critical for growing a successful business. Problem is, not everyone wants personal relationships with businesses. Develop trust with your customer in order to open up the information-sharing floodgates.

What can you do to connect with your customer on a personal level? Have you trained your staff to ask the right questions? Do you make notes in your CRM each time you interact with a customer? Are you collecting good data, but using it ineffectively?

Here are 3 ways to get quality data and use it effectively:

1. Ask Only What You Need

People get annoyed when they’re asked for irrelevant information; so less is definitely more. What will you do with the data you’re collecting? All of the data in the world is useless if you aren’t applying it in a way that personally impacts your customers.

Start with the basics: name, email and mailing address. You can market directly to them, add a bit of customization and contact them should there be a problem with their order.

2. Show How It Benefits The Customer

Up to 60% of consumers will pay more for a better customer experience. (Source: desk.com).

Are you collecting data to reward loyal customers? People are more willing to give up information if it means a promo code or loyalty reward will be in their inbox. Be transparent and let them know what the information is for.

Source: http://blog.kissmetrics.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/03/transparency.jpg

3. Share The Data Back

Everyone knows they are being tracked online. People trust private companies more because they think they’re monitoring the data for a purpose. For example, Amazon makes recommendations for products you may like based on recent purchase history or product searches. It helps you find the products you’re interested in, so it’s a win-win.

Conclusion

Use data to help your customers buy more wine from your site. Develop metrics to improve customized marketing and impress visitors, build their trust, and move them up the permission ladder. Work on curating quality data and then find strategies to market effectively to your clients. They’ll appreciate the extra effort!

 

Corinna Johnson
 
March 11, 2014 | Corinna Johnson

4 Reasons To Develop Your Wine Ratings

Product reviews are good for business. Reviews give your product a human level of interaction and are a powerful convincer for the savvy consumer. When’s the last time you bought something from Amazon and didn’t read at least the first couple of reviews?

By developing reviews for your wine, you’re attracting new customers, because reviews increase conversions. Here’s why:

1. 92% Of Consumers Trust Peer Reviews

It’s no secret that the success of many websites is attributed to peer reviews. Consumers have had to block out marketing noise for years now. Sites like Airbnb have exploded on the scene as people have made an untrustworthy concept (staying at a stranger’s house) into a brilliant travel alternative (non-hotel pricing with an authentic, local experience). Peer reviews that are honest and compelling builds trust in your brand. Over half of Millennials (consumers aged 18 to 34) trust the opinions of strangers online over those of friends and family. (Social Trends Report 2012).

2. They Make Your Products Credible

You think your wine is great. We bet your winemaker does, too. What makes your product credible is that other people like it enough to actually take the time to review it. It’s honest and posting reviews on your site show that you are confident in your wine.  84% of millennials say user-generated content has at least some influence on what they buy (compared to 70% of Boomers). (Bazaarvoice 2012).

3. Makes You Pay Attention To Your Biggest Fans

This is the classic example of give and take. People take the time to review your wine, so you should reward them with something. Thank them, give them a shout-out on social media, or email them a promo code. After all, 4.7% of your customers generate 100% of your social referrals. (Engage Sciences 2013).

4. Allows You To Handle Negative Reviews Like A Champ

Scared of getting negative reviews? Don’t be! Negative reviews actually make your wine reviews more credible. Consumers will take the bad with the good (as long as there’s more good than bad). Reevoo research has found that  68% of consumers trust reviews more when they see both good and bad scores, and shoppers who go out of their way to read bad reviews convert 67% more than the average consumer.

Be responsive to dissatisfied customers because 95% of dissatisfied customers will do business with a company again if their complaint is resolved quickly, according to TARP Worldwide. Think of a time when you’ve been unhappy with a product or service. Doesn’t great customer service usually leave you feeling better about the brand than you did originally? Responding to negative reviews can make dissatisfied customers connect with you and your winery on a whole new level.

Tips On Getting Product Reviews:

1. Offer Incentives

2. Send follow-up emails after purchases

3. Just ask!


Now, go get some reviews!

Time Posted: Mar 11, 2014 at 8:00 AM
Courtney Holmes
 
February 4, 2014 | Courtney Holmes

Copywriting for Your Winery Website: Do's & Don'ts

Copywriting is one of the few tasks most wineries try to do in-house when redesigning their winery's ecommerce website. And it is often the easiest task to procrastinate on. I know what it's like, that term paper that you put off writing until the last day before it's due. With that comes the added frustration of revisions and edits that need to be approved and proofed by your marketing team.

I always find that if you know where you're going, the tasks are much easier and less likely to be postponed. Use these guidelines to make a plan and put a system in place that will make everyone's life a little easier.

Winery Website Content: Writing for the Web 

People consume information very differently depending on the medium. If you are reading on your Kindle or paperback, you can read more in-depth and for longer periods of time. Mainly because there is a lack of competing information, such as other website pages, to bounce to the minute you get bored. 

Television and radio are consumed very differently as well. With radio, the audience can multi-task. Television, on the other hand, is often the sole focus. Web content is a whole different animal as well. Users tend to scan information on the web and look for specific information. So, as good marketers know, you adjust communications based on the audience's behavior. 

Headlines (This is a Headline)

Use lots of headlines in your copy. Even if the headline just identifies a paragraph or two, headlines in your web copy tell readers what information they should expect to find in the following  paragraphs. Web copywriters do this because they understand the user is looking for specific information and may not need to read the whole page. 

Bullet Points or Numbered Lists

Anytime I am writing a sentence that includes a "series," I quickly edit my text and replace the series with lists. Again, it comes back to writing for the medium's audience behavior. Writing well for the web makes it easier for the reader to scan the information. 

Not sure what I mean by the grammatical term "series" ? Don't worry you are not alone. A series is a list of nouns, phrases, verbs, participles, infinitives and more. Or . . . 

A "series" is:

  • Nouns
  • Phrases
  • Verbs
  • Participles
  • Infinitives
  • and more

Emphasis 

When you want to give emphasis to a word or phrase, DO NOT WRITE IN ALL CAPS. It sounds like you are yelling! Also, don't you dare change your text to red, this looks like a warning! Dang, I just want a great glass of wine, not a panic attack. Or the worst: BOLD RED ALL CAPS TEXT. That doesn't mean that sentence is super important, it means your don't respect your website visitor. Instead, use headlines, italics or boldface text.

Search Engine Optimization

There are no "tricks" to search engine optimization (SEO). It is really best to think long term strategy, which means writing for your audience, not Google. If you can make your website users happy, you will make Google happy. Google is getting more and more sophisticated at gauging the quality of content on websites. If you have great content you will rank higher.

Sure, there is a lot more to it and many more variables that effect your website's ranking in Google. For the sake of the scope of this article we are going to discuss the checklist for a fully optimized single webpage. But factors off that page also figure into your ranking. 

Key Subject 

It is not so much about keywords anymore, it is about "key subject". In the "old days" (pre-2008) we had to use the same keyword over and over again for search engines to recognize the context of the article. Now we can write like real humans and use synonyms! 

Stay on the same subject. If you are blogging about the topic "noble rot," stay focused on that topic and use that term throughout the article. Also, make sure you use "Noble Rot" in the webpage's:

  • Title
  • First paragraph
  • A headline
  • At least once or twice throughout the web page's paragraph text

Images

Make sure to include one or two images in your webpage and provide the "alt" text that explains to Google what that image is. Google can only read words, not images.  

Word Count

My general rule is 600 words or more per webpage - and Google prefers that too! Research shows that it is okay to have less than 600 words here and there, but don't make it a habit. Try to reserve your >600 word webpages to your "Contact Us" page and product pages. If you don't have enough content for a "Vineyards" webpage than try combining your "Winery" and "Vineyards" pages together so that you do have 600 words or more. 

Meta Description

Make sure you have a meta description, that body of text that shows up in your search result listings and Facebook "shares" of that web page. Meta Descriptions do not effect where you rank in Google but they do effect how many people click on your links in Google or Bing. Think of your meta description as your ad copy. It tells them why they should click on your link. Character count should be between 150 - 160 characters.

About The Author:

Courtney Holmes is the Creative Director at Talk is Sheep Marketing, a winery website design and brand identity agency that specializes in the wine industry.

Brent Johnson
 
January 6, 2014 | Brent Johnson

4 Ways Your Buttons Can Increase Conversion

The ‘Add-To-Cart’ or ‘Buy’ button is essential if you want to sell wine on your website. Things like the colours, size, font, and location of these buttons play a very large factor subconsciously for a website visitor and will dictate whether or not they buy from you. Below are four factors that will change your conversion rates.

Colour

The aesthetics of a button, specifically the colour, can change the conversion rate. It’s a very simple change to sell more online and we often see designers talk wineries into making the wrong choice simply because a certain button colour fits the design style guide. Don’t be fooled, the colour of buttons matters; you should look for designers that get that.

Red will raise the heart rate, yellow draws the eye quickly (which is why Amazon.com uses it) but orange is ‘said’ to be one of the most successful add to cart button colours. Research shows that an orange button increases engagement by 5%. On most sites it's enough to stand out without looking out of place. It is also the closest you can get to red without the colour subconsciously screaming warning.

Look at your site’s call to action button colours and ask yourself, why am I using this colour? Is it White, Black or Gray because the designer thought it would match the website even though those colour make it the hardest for the customer to find the buttons (yes, black isn’t a colour, it’s a shade - but it depends if you define colour from light or from pigment).

After you’ve looked at your website, take a look at KISSmetrics’s psychology of button colour infograph (the graphic above is from their post).

Placement

Where the button shows on a page is even more important than the colour. The button needs to be some place visible and in a predominate place on the page. It should always be above the fold (note that the fold is no longer just for desktop computers, but for mobile devices and tablets). You won’t see an ecommerce site put a button above the product, but you’ll see them put it on the right or left hand side of products.

Below are two examples, one of Zappos and Poplar Grove with the buttons on the right; both are well designed sites selling a lot online and both have the button in a location that is easy for the consumer to find.

Text

Be mindful of the buttons text. If the placement and colour are right, but the wording is bad all the other work is for nothing. Make your button stand out on your page. You want your font to be legible, clearly standing out from the button colour and using title case, not ALL CAPS (it’s much easier and faster to read). As far as what text you use, ‘Add to Cart’ has had a better track record for conversions than ‘Buy Now’ and you’ll see that most internet retailers use 'Add-To-Cart' text within their purchase buttons.

Here are some stats on the text used within the call to action/purchase buttons on over 100 top ecommerce sites (thanks to GetElastic):

58% - Add to Cart
9.8% - Add to Bag
9.8% - Add to Shopping Bag
6.3% - Add to Basket
4.5% - Add to Shopping Cart
2.7% - Buy
1.8% - Buy Now
1.8% - Add Item(s) to Cart
0.9% - Add Item(s) to Bag
0.9% - Add to My Bag
0.9% - Add to My Brown Bag
0.9% - Add to My Shopping Cart
0.9% - Order Now

Size

Size matters.

Too big and it could become counterproductive, looking out of place, or causing people to have ‘banner blindness’ which leades consumers to glaze over the call to action. Too small and it will make it hard for consumers to buy that wine.

The dimensions of the button and how it compares to the other elements on the page is key. Below are examples of a good 'dimensional relationship' between buttons and the product page.

Conclusion

Your button design influences your conversion rate whether you like it or not and it’s easy to make changes. Try out a change for 3 months and see if your conversions increase. If your colour, text, placement and size are right you’ll notice the difference.

Time Posted: Jan 6, 2014 at 6:30 AM
Brent Johnson
 
September 19, 2013 | Brent Johnson

5 Holiday Preparation Tips For Your Website

Whether you’re ready for it or not, October, November and December (OND) is rapidly approaching. It’s a good time for wineries to start planning and executing marketing campaigns on their websites.

Both Black Friday and Cyber Monday mark the start of the holiday shopping season for millions of shoppers online. Here are 5 great ways to get your website ready for the holidays:
 

1) Create A Shipping Calendar

Statistically, I’m not the only consumer out there that puts off Christmas shopping until the last minute and with online purchases consumers need to be reminded of shipping times so the present makes it under the tree by Christmas morning.

If I buy wine from you will it make it to my house for Christmas, New Years, or later?

Offer a clear/simple shipping calendar throughout your website to make it easy for consumers (like me) to know if we’re going to make the deadline. There are some key areas on your site to place the calendar such as the header in the product list page and detail pages, as well as the cart and the checkout screens.

The example above from American Eagle quickly shows key dates to order before to get that gift under the tree by the 24th.

I’ve been both the giver and recipient of gifts that have arrived late and neither are fun. Work with your shipper to make a calendar that's simple so your consumers know the cut off dates.
 

2) Curate & Make a Gift Guide

It’s all about giving gifts during the holiday season and you want to make it as easy as possible for consumers to pick out something from your store. Your purchasers might be buying for their parents, a co-worker, or a friend, and might not know their taste in wine, so it’s your job to make it easy for them.

Use tools like product badges/callouts (like the one below), highlighting consumer ratings and reviews, or create pre-made packages to remove the guessing from the purchase.

 

Amazon does this really well, shown in the image below, by suggesting different categories or gift ideas for each type of person you’ll be buying for.


 

3) Black Friday / Cyber Monday Promotions

During the holidays consumers expect to see some type of sale and this is especially true on Black Friday and Cyber Monday. If you don’t offer a sale it is like telling your customers to go buy somewhere else.

Some examples of successful promotions are shipping discounts, or volume incentives. At this point, consumers expect free shipping for orders over $100 (technically ‘shipping included’ in the wine industry).

Start emailing your consumers early to let them know when the promotions will be running and give them something to anticipate on your site. We see some bigger ecommerce sites sending holiday emails for promotions but not letting the consumer know that the actual promo will not be in effect until a specific day. This gives them something to look forward to and a reason to visit the website rather than reading and discarding the email.
 

4) Plan Ahead - Schedule Your Emails

Create your emails and offers ahead of time and schedule to send them at specific times. Think about the key days your winery should be ready for (don’t leave it to the day before Black Friday). Below is a breakdown of the months leading up to the holidays with key dates and great ideas for email blasts:

October

  • Key Dates:
    • 14th - Plan your Halloween marketing.
    • 31st - Halloween. Start to ramp up holiday messaging.
  • Common Email Themes:
    • Shop pre-holiday items
    • Pre-order holiday’s hottest items
    • Preview the holiday collections
    • Sign up for holiday savings

November

  • Key Dates:
    • 1st - Plan your Thanksgiving/Black Friday deals and marketing.
    • 29th - Black Friday
  • Common Email Themes:
    • Pre-Black Friday deals
    • Specialized gift guides
    • Free/Included shipping
    • Holiday gift tips

December

  • Key Dates:
    • 2nd - Cyber Monday
    • 6th - Start a ‘12 Days of Christmas’ campaign
    • 23rd - eGift cards only
    • 26th - After Christmas sale
  • Common Email Themes:
    • Last minute gifts
    • Order-by deadlines
    • Season’s greetings
    • After Christmas promotions

January

  • Key Dates:
    • 1st - Happy New Year messaging.
    • 6th - Take down any holiday images
  • Common Email Themes:
    • Redeem your gift cards
    • Self gifts (get what you really wanted)
       

5) Have Some Fun!

Don’t take yourself, or your website, so seriously. Have fun with the holiday on your website and emails. Throw in a Santa hat, elf, reindeer, etc. somewhere on your site or add in a snowflake or two. This shows that your company has personality and that your website actually gets updated (so it’s not the same website all year round).

Both Target and Amazon add holiday imagery to their sites and logos every year. Below is an example of Bath & Body Works' website during the Christmas season which shows holiday imagery throughout the site.

If you've tried any other holiday tricks or campaigns, or if you've seen a great example let us know how they've worked.

Time Posted: Sep 19, 2013 at 6:30 AM
Karson Enns
 
July 23, 2013 | Karson Enns

Breaking the Barrier with the iPhone POS

A few months ago Andrew, Brent, and I went up to Tinhorn Creek Vineyards to test our POS system first hand, with real customers. This was an awesome learning experience, we loved what we built, but knew we could go further. We needed to continue breaking the barrier between you and the customer, getting you out from behind the counter.

The traditional POS is restrictive and bulky, comparable to the gym strip you wore in high school. The iPad POS or iPhone POS we like to think is more like yoga pants, they adapt, are flexible, they’re sexy.

Sell Wine Anywhere

Continue to make your customers experiences memorable, adapt to what other companies are gravitating towards, companies like Apple, Disney, Guess, and Target are all using mobile POS systems.

A smart phone POS system is the perfect device for a winery’s tasting room setup. It doesn't depend on wifi and can be used either behind the tasting bar, or anywhere you interact with your customers. The wine industry is especially perfect for a mobile POS as wineries often have off site tastings, outdoor concerts, and events.

Get out from behind the counter, break the barrier, our iPad and iPhone POS help you achieve that.

Empower Your Staff

Help your staff develop relationships between them and the customers, let the technology be secondary to the transaction. Going mobile enables them to interact, and use something they are already familiar with. This allows them to be more productive throughout their day and in turn sell more wine.

Empower your staff with a fresh and exciting technology, let them enjoy the devices they are using. Push aside the High school gym strip and give them some fresh new Yoga pants.

Get Up and Ready in No Time

Adding a new iPhone POS device to your roster is about as easy as getting Angry Birds, just download it from the app store, and log in.

If you don’t own an iPhone the great thing is, iPods are inexpensive, portable, and lightweight.
The iPods run any application that your iPhone runs, they work perfectly on wi-fi networks.

Having a few of these around your tasting room takes up little to no space and more importantly allows your employees to walk around with them, liberating your staff from fixed stops so they can meet customers anywhere.

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Break the barrier between you and your customer, focus on what your customer wants, and free up time for that interaction not the transaction.

Are you interested in adding the Vin65 iPhone POS into your tool-kit? Get more information here.

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