The online wine business is thriving and competitive. There’s really no room for error if an online wine enterprise hopes to survive and thrive in this sector of the industry. This is a very niche industry with extremely choosy customers.
Most who work in the space are well aware of the ecommerce basics such as offering advanced search features, weekly/monthly specials, featured/most popular wines, and a credible wine rating system. However, there are still plenty of sites out there who aren’t giving wine enthusiasts what they’re looking for when they navigate to an online wine storefront.
Today, we’ll take a look at some tips from the popular new startup FineBarrel which is taking the online wine ecommerce space by storm with their exquisite and affordable selections of wines and other unique value-added offerings to consumers.
Regardless if a visitor to your site is an educated and discerning wine enthusiast or not, the type of posts your site offers will help to cement your knowledge and overall credibility in consumer’s minds. Wine enthusiasts are looking for information; not just the best pricing or the best selection.
Make sure every ounce of content is related to the wine business; that is your specialty after all. Look at FineBarrel’s blog: The blog offers unique wine stories such as unique places around the world where wine’s made, and engaging posts that bring you into the forefront of the wine tasting experience you’ll have when you consume their featured and most prized wines.
Offer the Finest Variety of Wines
This doesn’t mean you’ll necessarily sell only the most expensive wines on the market; but rather that you need to offer an enticing selection that will keep tasters of all kinds surfing your storefront – and recommending you to their friends too.
Though you’ll want to make sure you offer customers the option to source their preferred red and white vintages through you including the main varieties of each: Syrah, Merlot, Cabernet, Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Riesling, Sauvignon Blanc, and Gewürztraminer.
It’s just as important to ensure that you also feature wines from all the important regions from around the world including France, Italy, Spain, the United States, New Zealand, Argentina, Germany, South Africa, Chile and other select regions throughout Europe and North America. Many enthusiasts are extremely region-specific with their preferences.
Feature the Best Producers
Make sure you only partner with and feature quality producers with some buzz surrounding their ability to produce an exceptional product that’s inline with their MSRP.
This advice won’t apply to all reading this. If you’re a single vineyard using your online presence to feature only your own products, then you’ll obviously be the only producer featured.
Cater to the Purists
Offer organic and non GMO varieties to purists who don’t want to risk drinking wine from grapes that could be tainted with harmful insecticides, herbicides, fungicides and pesticides.
The jury is still out on GMO fruits and vegetables too – failing to offer these types of products means you’ll immediately lose out on capturing this discerning and fast-growing wine consumer base.
Don’t Forget the Accessories
Why should your customer have to go elsewhere to purchase glasses, aerators decanters and other wine and alcohol-related accessories?
Make them available onsite, perhaps making them an add-on only item that requires a wine purchase before it can be added to the checkout cart.
FineBarrel further sets themselves apart from the competition by including a selection of delicious premium olive oils to their customers.
Most Important: Offer Unique Value to Visitors
Take a look at what you’re offering, or planning to offer customers, at your online wine website. Offer customers something above and beyond what a typical storefront does. This could be something simple, such as a free inexpensive wine decanter with every order, or perhaps a sample from a new upstart wine producer.
Another great example is to go above and beyond in helping your customers choose the best wine for their palette and/or helping them to get the most out of the wines they’re purchasing from you. FineBarrel chooses to differentiate themselves by offering a free online Sommelier service that customers can use prior to, or after purchasing, to get their wine and wine/food pairing questions answered by a real expert.
This, in addition to their service, wine selection, blog and other unique offerings is what’s allowed them to win over their customers so quickly.
For a wine business, choices of wine is just the tip of the iceberg; to say the least, every wine business can offer you choices. To thrive, a startup like FineBarrel must focus on offering top-notch service and unique value proposition to visitors – those are what matters in this industry.
Pay attention up to the smallest details – how you present your wine in your website, how you connect with your visitors with the right choice of words, and so on. Remember, today’s ecommerce business is not all about the cheapest price of all; shopping experience and after sales support matter.
So, if you are eager to start an online wine business, you need to ask this question to yourself: Are you ready to go above and beyond in serving your customers? Your answer will determine your success.