How to Sell More Wine Online

This week I’ve been incredibly fortunate to participate in the very first MUST: Fermenting Ideas conference, organized by Paulo Salvador and Rui Falcão and held in Cascais, Portugal. This morning I presented on the subject of innovations in online sales, and how big data helps with that.

I’d like to share with you these takeaways from my presentation, which offered ten suggestions on what wineries themselves can do to maximize their exposure and performance online. Note that the audience I was speaking to was primarily Portuguese and European so, although the suggestions are broadly applicable, some of the content addresses the European circumstances specifically.

The first six suggestions, below, break down two action points from each of three data partners with the largest footprints and implications for the particular space of selling wine online. Next week’s post will continue with the final four suggestions.

  1. Wine-Searcher.com, Brand Check: When a consumer begins a search to buy wine online, they’re very likely to start at Wine-Searcher. The integrity and accuracy of their data is a point of pride for this platform, and their team wants very much to know if the presentation of a wine is inaccurate. Yet, unreasonably so, a surprising number of wineries haven’t “test driven” their own brands on the site in order to ensure that their best foot is forward at this Google-for-wine.
  2. Wine-Searcher.com, Producer Report: Wineries can request a producer report, which summarizes all the prices and locations of your wines in the past month. If a winery is serious about understanding their positioning online, the report is fundamental for things like benchmarking (that is, what the winery wants to measure), gap analysis (identifying under-supply), and gauging virtual stock (how many retailers are virtually stocking their wines).
  3. Wine.com, Greatest Reach: Wine.com is the largest online retailer in the U.S. with more than 15,000 SKUs, and more than 300 of them are Portuguese wines, both fortified and still. There is no bricks-and-mortar retailer who can match that reach. In order for an international brand to be listed on Wine.com, they need to be imported and distributed in California, and ideally New York as well to optimize their reach to high-volume markets.
  4. Wine.com, Millennials + Mobile: Wine.com has found that millennials are two to three times more likely to shop for wine online. Younger consumers spend more per bottle on Wine.com, with millennials second only to Gen X (around $31.50 to $32.50). Which in itself is more than three times the industry standard of $9 per bottle. Millennials also buy directly on mobile, and they’re much more likely to use apps to do it. Wine.com is also a very solid platform for storytelling.
  5. Vivino, Brand Check: (Are you noticing the brand-check trend here?) With more than 24 million downloads globally of the Vivino app, some consumer somewhere is searching for the wine you have in mind. Just as with Wine-Searcher (which trends more toward users from the trade), wineries need to “test drive” the platform to ensure that their best foot is forward when consumers are interacting with their wines, especially when they’re using the popular label scanning feature. Try it out.
  6. Vivino, Deals Program: Vivino analyzes its own data in order to offer users daily deals that are curated and tailored to the consumers’ own search and scan habits. This is an opportunity for wineries to interact directly with consumers, who are rating and reviewing their wines. It’s a 1:1 marketing opportunity, where the producer’s name is directly in front of deals subscribers. 

When we’re talking about selling wine online, particularly to a European audience, these six suggestions cover quite a lot of ground. The message is that wineries and their sales team can understand how these platforms work and, most importantly, they are empowered to act on that understanding so that the data is working in their favor.

If we can help or explain further, or put you in touch directly with people at these platforms, by all means please let me know.

As always, thank you for reading.