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wine eCommerce and SEM: Ranking and Review Criteria

In my post Criteria: Marketing to eCommerce Process I gave an overview of the process for a small bricks and mortar wine retailer to sell wine online. Then I then went through the process in a little more depth in the following posts: traffic, conversion, ecommerce administration and repeat business.

In this post I’m going to nominate a weighting to put to the criteria.

The idea is you can make up your own mind what the eCommerce options are, what the weight of each criterion should be, and then score each option.

This way you can compare different internet wine marketing and ecommerce solutions. I’ll have a bash at this myself in the next post The Ranking, but first the weighting before we get to scoring and ranking. Remember the objective is to run a profitable online wine store out of your retail premises.


Set up (design, usability, SaaS, OS, bulk upload, internationalization, APIs):

New Traffic (PPC, SEO, comparison sites):

User Experience (navigation, search, reviews/ratings, upset, CMS):

Catalog (category and product management, product and inventory upload):

Shopping Cart (usability, shipping estimates, guest, payment methods, security):

Order Management (shipping setup, invoicing, legals):

Reporting (Analytics, Adwords, Conversion, Bestsellers, Top Customers):

Repeat Purchase (email marketing pro service, clubs, allocation, segmentation):

Support (forum, email, FAQs, knowledge base, tutorials, phone call center, 24/7, 8/5):

Lastly we need to consider Pricing (cost to you).

Website Monthly Price:  8%

Website Setup Fee    5%

Transaction Fee    5%

SEM Marketing Fee    5%

Which equals 100%.

Which reflects the process

Ignoring Pricing the criteria above reflects the process of selling wine online. Note how that most parts are between 9-11% with the rest not far behind at 5-7%.

This is because each part of the process is very important and yet many websites are built, look fantastic (“flash” slides, great vineyard images, trendy artwork) and fail to make a return on investment. Indeed many are purchased for, say $10,000, and never recover that investment.

I don’t mean to labor this point but would you build the best wine shop with the best fit out at the end of a dark alley, that is at the end of a side road, that is off the industrial park, at the outskirts of town?

Of course not, you would work out what you could afford and fit out the best wine shop you could in a high traffic location in the middle of a shopping district in the suburbs or in the CBD.

You’d make sure that you were in the phone directory, that you had placed some advertising with local papers, radio stations and even perhaps TV. You might even personally drop some leaflets off at local businesses and houses nearby.

You certainly would put a big sign outside announcing your presence.

But you wouldn’t build the best wine shop in the region at the end of that dark alley with no promotion, that’s just ridiculous…

And you wouldn’t spend all your money on a great looking website without also generating the foot traffic of the web – PPC, SEO, email marketing.

Actually online wine retailers do this all the time

They focus 100% on the design (just one small part of the criteria Setup above) and don’t know that they should have spent most of that time on other things. I’m not saying design is not important – only that it is one of a number of links in the chain: from customer’s attention to profitable business.

So what solution’s for me?

That’s what my next post will be about… I’ll use the criteria above to ranking a representative sample of the hundreds of solutions available.

Agree or disagree? Please comment – I’m happy to debate and change the criteria if you can convince me


  1. Awesome post


  1. The Ranking says:

    […] rating them based on a criteria outlined in this previous post […]

  2. […] rating them based on a criteria outlined in this previous post […]

  3. […] rating them based on a criteria outlined in this previous post […]

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