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Selling Wine Online: Taking a Local Wine Store Online – the Basics

Selling Wine Online? Put simply you need:

  • Traffic – increase web traffic for your wine website, especially from Google
  • Conversion – convert this traffic into sales through probably good content, user shopping experience,  suitable wine range and fair prices
  • wine eCommerce – have a wine eCommerce website i.e. online catalog, shopping cart and order administration system
  • Repeat Customers – turn new customers into repeat customers through email marketing.

Where to get this software and service from:

eCommerce software for Selling Wine Online

  • Specialist wine eCommerce providers, the biggest of which are: Inertia, eWinery Solutions, WineZap, vin65
  • Small business eCommerce providers (100s), of which three representative ones are: volusion, yahoo, miva merchant
  • Wine shopping comparison websites: snooth.com, winezap.com, wine-searcher.com and a few others
  • Local web developers
  • Large eCommerce brands e.g. IBM, Varien
  • Do it yourself for free with magentoecommerce.com or WordPress

Search Engine Marketing (SEM) for Selling Wine Online

This incorporates every method of driving traffic to a website including search engine optimization (SEO), adwords (Google, Yahoo, MSN bing), wine shopping comparison websites, and social media (facebook, wine blogs, twitter).

  • specialist wine online marketing consultants or agencies
  • most of the eCommerce providers offer this as an add-on service sometimes with their own marketplace (e.g. winezap), the wine shopping comparison websites do this very well (e.g. snooth.com)
  • large SEM agencies
  • local SEM services
  • a plethora of services found on the internet, sometimes of dubious nature
  • media agencies
  • DM agencies
  • ad agencies
  • Do it yourself

Regulation and Legal Compliance

As you no doubt know the legal environment of selling wine online is a complex and dynamic area including:

  • Complying with laws re minimum age to purchase liquor.
  • Complying with US inter-state liquor shipping law or “shipping compliance”. Many US states legally restrict the distribution of wine from out of state (and in-state) suppliers.

A Rapidly Changing  Internet Environment

What you might not know is that the internet environment also suddenly changes:

  • Google/Yahoo/MSN Search Engine and Adwords rules suddenly and (unfavorably) change
  • Adwords bid prices rise above seemingly profitable levels
  • Social Media share of traffic is said to be increasing (especially Facebook) resulting in concerns that Google et al marketing programs are leading to less traffic.

Internet Services Rapidly Improving

And more positively internet services are also rapidly improving

  • DIY websites: websites have become easy to set up (see blogger.com and wordpress.com).  eCommerce websites have also become simpler to set up and administer though certainly still requiring some technical knowledge.
  • DIY SEM: Google increasingly makes basic SEM a simpler process especially with keywords and Adwords campaign set up. Although there will always be a component of art (research and copywriting) to SEM this is slowly shrinking.

I’ll cover each these areas in more depth in following posts. If you think I’ve left something out, please comment below:

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