The last part of the Selling Wine Online process is creating Repeat Business.
You don’t need to be told that great customer service, competitive pricing, good advice and wide range are keys to repeat sales because you do this anyhow in your bricks and mortar store.
So I’ll just point out that if anything they’re more important in your online store as the internet is much competitive than your local market. I’ve used the analogy of the webstore being one merchant in a “city of shelf space” rather than just four aisles in your store.
Email Marketing and Selling Wine Online
What may not be so obvious is that your first customer may not be profitable. You may have spent $15 in adwords traffic to get a $12 margin sale.
Hopefully not. But the game here is to boost the lifetime value of a customer rather than rely on increasingly expensive PPC and highly competitive search engine listings.
Regularly emailing interesting and valued information to a list of customers ensures that the $10 sale becomes a $50 or $500 customer. It also means you might be able to outspend other wine retailers who only rely on PPC to get most customers and don’t have a good follow up marketing system.
My key tips for wine email marketing
- mix up sales messages with wine information
- not too often, not too late – every 1-3 weeks
- use an email marketing service (iContact, MailChimp, VerticalResponse, aweber etc; there are scores of them) to send out email as this allows double opt-in, auto unsubscribe, personalisation, segmentation, tracking and helps you comply with anti-spam law
- an email marketing service that automatically integrates (via a things called plug-ins, components, APIs) with your ecommerce website is preferable
- some suggest a plain text email rather than a pretty html email works better (this school of thought uses plain emails because of poor html presentation in customers’ email software and also appears more personal)
- some suggest mid week is better than weekends, Monday or Friday.
- do A/B split testing to test different ideas e.g. send half the list with one subject line and half with another to see which works better, then this becomes your control and you try and beat it next time with a new subject (continuous improvement)
- have a email subscription form on every page of your website and ask customers to opt-in to receiving messages pre or post purchase.
The key point though is to turn expensive acquisition of new customers into profitable long term customers by building a relationship via email. You can also do this with blogs, facebook and twitter but email is still the proven method.