As a wine connoisseur, you have skills that could earn you a paycheck. Consider learning how to build a winery eCommerce website and you could be running your own at-home business in no time. All you need are the right tools and an entrepreneurial spirit.
Ecommerce is a business that experts are predicting will grow leaps and bounds over the next few years. There's plenty of room for your business in the online economy. There's also a huge market for wine. If you've ever been intrigued by the prospect of working from home and being your own boss, it's time you learn a thing or two about how to build a wine eCommerce website.
Experience is an important part of choosing a business partner. As an online merchant, partnering with an experience vendor is absolutely critical for the success of your business. Ecommerce is a relatively young field, and an experienced partner means someone who has been there since the beginning.
Your brand consists of all the elements that make up your company's identity — from your name and your logo to your about page and website layout. Choose a site layout template that works for your brand. As you learn more about how to build a wine eCommerce website, you'll find that customers want to create a visceral connection with your company. The more you can inspire that through your branding elements, the more loyal your customers will become.
Shoppers are wary of fraud and identity theft. How do you establish immediate trust? Simple: add payment providers that shoppers are familiar with, like PayPal Checkout. Learning how to build a wine eCommerce website the right way means learning how to build trust with your customers.
Shipping wines across the country can be precarious. Use trustworthy shipping providers like FedEx and UPS to get the job done. (Hint: With a shopping cart software solution like Shift4Shop, these relationships are simple to manage through direct shipping integrations.)
Test all of your page elements to make sure they work correctly. Then, you'll have the opportunity to launch your store to the public. A good promotional discount can help encourage more sales. Make sure to reach out to your audience through social media and blogs to find customers. Learning how to build a wine eCommerce website is an ongoing process, so be patient and keep learning!
Want an idea of how to sell wine online? The wine industry is a very lucrative niche, and today's technology makes it simple to sell some ambrosial liquid and make a little money doing it. If you're passionate about wine, setting up your own successful online wine store is simple.
The first step is to do research. Where can you buy wines wholesale? Developing relationships with distributors will give you the opportunity to buy cheap and in bulk so you can sell your products to customers at a profit.
You'll also want a shopping cart that gives you plenty of customization and built-in modules to help you run a more efficient shop, regardless of your experience selling or your technical expertise. Most people who know how to sell wine online understand that your shopping cart will be a crucial part of the sales process, so it's important to do your legwork on this one. Here are four more steps to establishing your wine store on the web:
While you want to differentiate your brand from the rest of the market, you won't be able to do it well unless you see what else is out there. Take a look at the online wine stores that are doing well and make note of things you like from a customer's perspective. Be sure to look at the less successful stores as well so you can note what not to do. You'll learn how to sell wine online in no time.
While the marketing for your site is going to be the most important part of how well you sell, you'll want to take a look at the best-selling wine brands on the market for a little extra help. Stocking popular brands definitely increases the likelihood of better sales—unless your specialty is hard-to-find or foreign wines, in which case you'll want to research which ones fit best with your overall marketing plan. These are crucial steps in figuring out how to sell wine online.
When you've done your research, create a comparison chart that includes each shopping cart you're evaluating. Does the shopping cart double as a customer relationship manager? Can you customize it for your business and for the wine industry? If you're just learning how to sell wine online, you'll want to find a shopping cart that gives you plenty of room to work with limited technical expertise. To launch a successful wine online store, look for features that allow you to create a Wine Club, offer discounted prices to customers and develop a "Wine of the Month" auto-ship subscription. Don't forget: when selling wine online, it is required by law to have an Age Disclaimer where customers confirm that the person receiving the wine is over 21 years old.
Once your website has been designed and you have included all the details and photos of your wines, start promoting your online wine store. Try submitting your products to Wine-Searcher.com and to CellarTracker.com; these marketplaces will help you get traffic right away and start selling online. A “Wine of the Day” deal is a very effective promotional campaign, where a specific wine is offered at a heavily discounted price with the purpose of growing your customer base. In the same way, a group deal (where a specific number of customers need to order the wine to get it for a reduced price) can help your business go viral.
When selling wine online, you’ll need a payment processor to accept credit card payments through your website. The Wine industry is considered a high-risk industry for payment providers. An industry can be considered high-risk for many reasons such as being highly regulated, selling high-value products, and more. Industries that require age verification for purchases are always high-risk.
With Shift4Shop, you don’t have to worry about finding a special high-risk payment provider. Shift4Shop is powered by Shift4, a leading payment processor that handles high-risk industries right out of the box. You can start accepting payments right away without needing to search for an appropriate payment solution.
Alcohol laws vary from state to state. Some states permit wineries to ship directly to consumers, while others prohibit it entirely. Some states fall in the middle, allowing wine to be shipped to customers within the state but forbidding shipments from out-of-state. This means your ability to ship wine will be limited not just by the state your business resides in, but also the states where your customers are located.
Alcohol laws can also vary within a state, by county or even by city. Some states allow direct-to-consumer wine shipping to some counties but not others. These laws are extremely variable and they often change, so it's crucial that you exercise due diligence to make sure your business operates legally. You will not be able to accept orders from certain locations and will need to use restricted shipping to prevent customers from making orders you're not legally allowed to fulfill.
The US Postal Service (USPS) is legally forbidden from shipping alcohol. UPS and FedEx will ship wine, but you need to meet some requirements first:
The Adult Signature restriction is generally the one most likely to cause issues to you as a seller. With a signature requirement, carriers can't just drop off a package like they normally can, and the further restriction of an adult (21+) signature means younger adults (18-20) also can't sign for the package. Carriers will make 3 attempts to deliver a shipment before returning it, which can cause customer service issues. To avoid these problems, you may want to work out delivery times and places with your customers or let them choose to hold the shipment at the carrier location for pickup. Of course, you will also need age verification on your online store to ensure only legally-qualified customers can buy.
Since alcohol is an age-restricted product, you’ll need to enable an age verification on your online store to prevent fraud, reduce risk, and comply with FDA and payment processor regulations. By enabling BlueCheck’s advanced age verification on your online store, you’ll have access to a 3-tiered cascading verification system that uses 26 databases to compare customer data to, yielding a 92% automatic verification rate without any additional information. Their solution works as follows:
Subscription-based businesses are becoming increasingly popular as customers grow to love the convenience of never having to reorder their needed items. Instead, they sign up for automatic billing, and the products they need arrive on a regular basis. Subscription boxes are also very popular, but work a little differently: rather than ordering specific products, the customer receives a scheduled package with one or more selected items for them to try.
Wine is perfect for the subscription box model. Wine enthusiasts are always looking for a new experience and a new vintage or brand to try. You can create a Wine of the Month subscription box to automatically send selected wine to customers on a monthly basis. This approach offers many benefits, including a consistent revenue stream for you, and a way to introduce customers to wines they'll love and want to reorder separately — resulting in more sales.
You can also increase your brand recognition by using custom packaging in your Wine of the Month subscription boxes to create an "unboxing" experience. Unboxing is a process in which a customer unpacks a shipped product and creates a video or photo gallery that shows others what it's like to receive a shipment from a certain business. Customers love seeing unique packaging, surprise bonuses, special inserts, and other fun things during an unboxing.
To set up a Wine of the Month subscription box, you'll need to create the box as a product in your online store and set it up to be purchasable with a subscription. You can accomplish this in minutes with our subscription software, an easy-to-use app that plugs right into your online store. You can configure Autoship to offer different subscription intervals as needed, so you can create a monthly box, opt for a "seasonal" box you send out quarterly, or any other method you choose.
Once you've obtained all applicable licenses and permits, you need to build your eCommerce website with a platform that can handle the special requirements of an online wine store. Shift4Shop has everything you need, including integration with payment providers for high-risk merchants, simple-to-use age verification, connections with UPS and FedEx, and even a eCommerce ready wine website template. Sign up for an online store and check out all the features that make Shift4Shop the best shopping cart software for selling wine online.