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August 09, 2011


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All so true... not sure why people don't listen! I feel like I have preaching this forever.



Let me add/expand on your list:

1) Make contact info dead easy to find. That should include list signup, how to make tasting appointments (or, if you don't do tasting appointments, that fact) and hours (if you have them).

2) If you sell directly, create a section which lists wines organized by some easy to understand criterion, probably grape variety. Have each category page list the wine basics (vintage, wine name, price) and link to a product page with that plus ordering info and things like tasting notes and reviews. If you have online ordering, make the Add to Cart buttons dead easy to see. If you're asking people to download an order form (sigh...), link to that form on EVERY product page and make the link easy to see.

3) don't get hung up on fancy graphics. DO use graphics that brand you, probably ones that you use in printed collateral now. Reuse your colors too. If someone's seen your label the site should reflect the same branding.

4) Be personal. WRite like you talk (within limits...). Talk about why you make wine, your approach, what you hope to achieve. Imagine you're talking to an interested visitor standing in front of you. Think about the questions people ask you when they do visit and write things that answer those.

Most of all GET STARTED. Most wineries won't. They justify this in many ways, but at the end of the day, most of them don't believe their website will help their business. Of course, if they don't put in the thought and effort to make it do so, it won't so this becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy.

Mike Duffy

Great list, Rick. Thanks as always for reading and commenting.

Larry Chandler

There is one thing that many wineries do badly, and it does not involve making major changes to their site or spending lots of time analyzing purchasing patterns.

And that is sending out email to customers that is actually wrong or confusing. You might be surprised at how many major wineries (as well as smaller ones) send out faulty emails.

I do a quick check on most of the winery emails I get. And here's what I find:

1. No landing page. The email offer sounds great, but the link in the email goes to the home page or a page that has something entirely different on it. How many potential customers will actually do a thorough search to find what they were promised?

2. An offer of, say, 30% off if a minimum quantity is met, but the site only gives you 20% when you order what they ask.

3. Email says "all our red wines on sale" yet the site has only a few on sale.

4. Offer is buy a case and get half off 2-day air shipping. You buy a case and don't get anything off shipping, or it applies only to ground shipping.

5. Email says "use promo code XYZ" and you enter "XYZ" and no promo gets offered.

The list really goes on. And on. I would say that about 30% to 50% of winery emails I get have wrong or incomplete offers. In many instances, the resulting price is lower than what was advertised, though most have higher prices.

How difficult is it really to check your email before you send it out?

Mike Duffy

Larry --

Thanks for commenting.

The landing page problem stems directly from not being easily able to add pages to a site.

The rest is failure to test (which can stem from not having a site with an e-commerce system that permits testing).

You paint a pretty bleak picture....

Larry Chandler

It shouldn't be bleak. If the winery cannot add a landing page, then the email should have instructions on what to do after you link to the home page.

How can there be an inability to test? I tested it and saw it was wrong. Couldn't they test and fix their email, if not their site?

I do get word to some of the wineries and they frequently do fix their sites, promo codes, etc. Or they re-write their emails.

It's carelessness, mostly. And it's big wineries and small wineries. And the big wineries mostly have the ability to add pages.

Mike Duffy

They can certainly test e-mails and the checkout process, up to the point of placing an order. Most sites don't test to make sure orders actually go through to fulfillment (internal or external).

I completely agree that it's carelessness. And big wineries (how big is big?) have no excuses. Small wineries are careless at their peril.


Lately, I’ve been viewing winery websites that look superb and contain all the necessary features and information. I can only surmise that they got themselves a good web designer, or that they may have read your posts. Good job, Mike!

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