Building an Effective Wine Ecommerce Strategy

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Online wine sales didn’t start with the pandemic. However, like so many other markets, stay-at-home orders and health concerns accelerated a long-term shift toward direct-to-consumer wine sales.

In a largely fragmented market, wineries and distributors are reevaluating their overall marketing strategy and making substantial investments in website platforms, software and marketing campaigns.

The Growing Online Wine Market

The broader alcohol market, which includes wine, beer and spirits, saw exceptional growth during the pandemic. From 2019 through 2021, alcohol sales increased 131%, reaching $6.1 billion in the US alone in 2021. During that period, online alcohol sales doubled, with more wine ordered online than ever.

Who’s Buying All This Wine?

Social distancing may have kept wine enthusiasts out of tasting rooms, but it didn’t impact their taste for quality wine – and options. Selling wine online allows for a personalized, convenient buying experience that expands the variety beyond regional growing seasons or specialties.

The combination of choice and digital literacy suits Millennial and Gen-Z buying preferences that have driven rapid growth in other D2C industries. And they love wine; some industry experts are banking on these young adults to save the industry.

These generations aren’t just internet-savvy. Both generations have spent their entire lives online and have high expectations when it comes to wine marketing, especially on social media. Be it Instagram, TikTok or other platforms, many of these young consumers explore new wines on social media, convert on Google and purchase again thanks to a dedicated email marketing campaign.

Multi-step conversion places particular importance on accurate cross-channel attribution to measure success.

Young woman lying on sofa browsing online wine sales while drinking a glass of wine at home in the living room

A Fresh Approach to Your Wine Marketing Strategy

Wine ages – marketing expires. Support multifaceted sales channels with platform-specific creative that meets your audience where they are, no matter where they are.

  • Experience in a bottle – Tasting rooms are the face of a vineyard, but they’re ineffective as primary or exclusive sales channels. The challenge for marketers is to capture the experience and beauty of the vineyard experience online to capture new customers and drive repeat sales. Email marketing offers an opportunity to gather first-party data to access seasonal visitors beyond the tourist season.
  • Different audiences, different conversations – While retaining brand voice, tone and standards, wine marketing adapts to suit the unique characteristics of other marketing channels. Without sacrificing your identity, brands need to adjust messaging, graphics and paid campaigns to various social media platforms. Working with an experienced digital marketing agency, wine retailers can develop the right brand voice for any platform.
  • Choose the right platform – Industry-specific wine-selling platforms have proliferated in recent years. Many offer regulatory and tax support to help wineries navigate the challenges of selling wine online, especially across state lines.
  • Collaboration is key – Inventory, brick-and-mortar retail, D2C, wholesale, marketing, regulatory – there are many moving pieces to a winery’s sales operations. While project and inventory management software help, there’s no substitution for a human touch. Even the greatest marketing idea is a dud if your paid campaign is served in a dry county that doesn’t allow direct-to-consumer wine purchases. Make communication a priority with regular meetings and innovative operational processes.

Looking for a marketing agency that specializes in ecommerce?

What Wine Consumers Want

Like every vintage, no two customers are the same. But there are some shared characteristics that respond to proven marketing tactics. You’ll likely note that many wine marketing ideas follow a trope; most seek to re-create the face-to-face retail experience in a digital transaction. It’s not easy, but it can be effective.

  • Guided selling – Bring the tasting room online by providing a personal, informative and human-centric experience. Young buyers want to ask questions, learn about the wine-making process and how to pair wine with their favorite foods. Give consumers access via chat, email or guided sales content on social media to bridge the gap between the winery and the internet.
  • Make your personality pop – Young consumers buy brands, not products. They are more likely to support wineries that share their views on sustainability, social justice and other issues. And consumers do judge a book by its cover, including having a striking label on the bottle and an excellent social media page.
  • Speed thrills – Ecommerce success in any industry is often shaped by user experience. Sites must be visually appealing, load quickly and move the user through checkout without unexpected hiccups. Large online retailers are constantly tweaking their sites to improve performance and reduce transactional friction. That’s a role our development team fulfills for retailers.

Your Winery and Oneupweb – The Perfect Pairing

Tap into more than two decades of digital marketing experience based in the heart of northern Michigan wine country. We provide bespoke marketing solutions that can accelerate ecommerce growth. Let’s get started. Contact us or call (231) 922-9977 today.

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