7 Tips for Online Retailers: Lessons From Wine.com

Wine.com is a pioneer of online shopping.

Founded in 1998, the company rode the turn of the century dotcom boom, survived the crash, and remains a #1 online retailer in the United States.

In 2001, they rebranded as Wine.com, and in 2010, they launched WineShopper, an exclusive members-only site. Wine.com and WineShopper together have over 1 million registered users.

In an increasingly competitve online retail marketplace, how does Wine.com keep innovating to lead in this industry?

And what can other ebusinesses learn from this sustained success?

Here are 7 e-tailer tips to learn from Wine.com:

  1. Create a community online
  2. Add value for your customer through information
  3. Value-add for your customer with related products
  4. Entice customers with daily deals
  5. Organize your products so they are easy to find
  6. Innovate to make your site mobile enabled
  7. Create a Facebook store, to socially share your products


Create a Community Online

Wine.com has created more than a top online store, they have created a new destination for wine enthusiasts.

Through their online wine community, experts and novices alike can share their knowledge, ask questions, and become more informed about the intriguing world of wine. Community members can review wines, make wine lists, and take part in conversations about wine and wine related topics.

Through their wine clubs, members pay a monthly fee to receive 2 bottles of featured wines every month. They also receive special discounts and exclusive e-newsletters.

Members are able to feel like they belong to a group of similar minded customers.

Wine is inherently a social activity. Wine.com creates the place online for customers across the U.S. to share their experiences.

What can e-tailers learn from this?

  • Online customers are people too. Make them feel like they belong on your digital store.
  • Create a community and personal connection that resonates with your group of consumers.
  • Make your online presence the place to be for your market.

Add Value For Your Customer Through Information

Consumers like to be knowledgeable about the products they are purchasing. This is particularly true for a complex product like wine.

The more a consumer knows about a product, the more likely they will purchase that product and become more loyal to the brand who has taught them something.

Wine.com is clearly very knowlegable about their product, and their market.  

Their YouTube channel has nearly 50 videos, ranging from wine tasting and product information to how accessories can enhance the wine experience, and even segments of wine.com featured on other media channels.

Additionally, their main website includes a section on wine basics.

For example, their wine selector tools are an easy way to choose the perfect wine, even for a neophyte. It changes a potentially intimidating experience into more knowledge-based one, leaving consumers feeling more confident in their choices.

(source: wine.com)

What can e-tailers learn from this?

  • Educate your customers about your product by having accessible information on your site.
  • Make how-to and informative videos about your products. You can embed these on your online store site, as well as social sites.
  • Include specifications about your product or even a tool to sort through specifications so that the consumer can confidently choose which product is right for them.

Value-Add For Your Customer with Related Products

Not only does Wine.com add value for their clients, they also value-add. By bundling their products and selling useful accessories, they provides better service for their customers.

Their easy to navigate website tabs for their gift center, gift baskets, and corporate gifts provides pre-selected products that make great gifts.

Not only does this solve a customer problem for those needing to find a unique gift, it also opens up a new revenue stream for the business.

Additionally, wine.com supplies wine related products, such as decanters, wine glasses, and corkscrews.

During the final stages of the online checkout process, customers are given an opportunity to add accessories to their shopping cart. In a way, this is similar to the traditional bricks and mortar shopping experience, where retailers promote impulse purchases at the cash register.

What can e-tailers learn from this?

  • Make the products you have more enticing by showing how they can solve a customer problem.
  • Value-add with related products that enhance the main product you sell.
  • Promote your accessories in the final stages of the shopping experience.

Entice Customers with Daily Deals

Wine.com’s new Wine Shopper site gives members exclusive access to time and quantity limited deals. The offerings range from everyday wine to cellar collectibles.

By marketing frequent deals with direct customer alerts when each new deal is announced, the company can create a loyal following.

The deals are also promoted through their Facebook and Twitter sites. By marketing the deals socially, they create a much broader awareness of their company and the exclusive benefits of membership.

What can e-tailers learn from this?

  • Deals are a great way to get customers excited about your offerings
  • Promote your deals on your social sites
  • If using coupons, syndicate your deals to coupon sites like Nextgenshopping.
  • Use a third party app, such as Wishpond. We have easy to use group deals to entice users to claim a coupon or special offer on a brand’s products and services. The app can run on a brand’s Facebook page, Twitter, website, and on mobile. All you have to do is add your branded marketing smarts!

Organize your products so they are easy to find

Set up your online store to make shopping user friendly.

Wine.com organizes their products by price, type, style, and region. They also segment their goods by “90+ rated under $20”, “best wine deals”, and “fine wine”.

Their gift giving options are easy to navigate. For example, they segment gifts by price. This creates a user-friendly system, as many consumers – business and personal – will likely have a budget in mind when buying a gift.

The simpler it is for your consumer to find the item they are looking for, the more likely they will purchase that item.

What can e-tailers learn from this?

  • Make the online shopping experience easy.
  • If your focus is on discerning consumers, organize your online store to make your quality items simple to find.
  • Similar to a brick and mortar store, make the buying experience a good one, and keep your customers returning for more.

Innovate to make your site mobile enabled

More and more customers are shopping through their mobile devices. Check out this infographic on mobile marketing Wishpond made, showing the growing trend in marketing for mobile.

Wine.com understands this. They have developed an app, specifically for the iPad. Their store is available  for browsing, learning, interacting, and shopping anywhere, anytime.

Their iPad app allows customers to easily browse and purchase items from their entire wine inventory, and to shop. It also has exclusive interactive features, not available through their website.

Additionally, they have a mobile friendly site. The site has all the functionality of their regular site, including their full inventory list, filtering categories, and readable wine labels. Their mobile shopping cart enables purchasers the freedom to buy directly from a handheld device.

Though having a mobile friendly site now seems like an intuitive choice, it is amazing how many older sites have not yet gone through this change over.

Any e-tailer not on mobile these days is definitely missing out on a huge market.

What can e-tailers learn from this?

  • Make sure your ecommerce site is mobile friendly.
  • Ensure the shopping cart process is easy to use on a mobile device.
  • If you have the funds, get an app made for your store. Or, encourage customers to add your site to their mobile device homescreen.
  • Include mobile friendly marketing tools, such as those in Wishpond’s Social Marketing Suite

Create a Facebook store, to socially share your products

Wine.com is again on the leading edge of online shopping. As of this writing, Wine.com is in the process of setting up their Facebook store.

A Facebook store opens up huge marketing potential for your products. By showcasing your merchandise on an easily shareable site like Facebook, your product can be seen by friends of your customers.

Customers can easily buy your product within a few clicks directly from your Facebook page.

Wishpond’s Facebook Store app (which is included in our Social Marketing Suite), for example, lets you:

  • Automatically import products from any ecommerce website
  • Share your products on your Facebook timeline and the newsfeed of your customers

What can e-tailers learn from this?

  • Be innovative in commerce opportunities
  • Create social elements to make your product shareable
  • Create social promotions to further spread your store’s reach
  • Set up a social store to market your product easily to friends of friends

Wine.com is an amazing example of how you too can succeed in your entrepenerual endevours. Try out these tips for your ecommerce store.

Written by Krista Bunskoek @ wishpond

Wishpond has many products that can help you to be the best online marketer you can be. We have easy to use apps for contests, group offers, social stores and more.


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