It’s official: Millennials and the over-21 members of Generation Z have discovered the fruits of the vine. But their wine purchasing behaviour differs from generations before them. Instead of visiting vineyards or ordering bottles while they dine in restaurants, many younger wine drinkers make their purchases through their electronic devices.
This tendency to explore the wide world of wine online isn’t new, of course. Over the years, people have grown increasingly comfortable with purchasing all sorts of beverages digitally. And the pandemic made online wine buying more widespread and convenient. At the same time, purchasing wine online is also a more affordable option for people without the disposable income to take a trip to Napa Valley but with enough money to host a backyard wine-and-cheese party.
What does this mean for your winery? If you haven’t developed an airtight digital wine marketing strategy to help you increase wine sales, you should. Otherwise, you’ll risk losing out to competitors eager to snag market share and take advantage of this changing consumer behavior.
Below are a few creative ways you can increase wine sales through digital strategies. Each tip will help you bolster customer loyalty among all generations of buyers — and especially people who fall into the category of “digital natives.”
1. Shift wine tasting online
A wine tasting event over Zoom might sound like a stretch, but it has been done — and done well. Consider how Louis M. Martini pulls off private virtual tasting experiences for members of its wine club who spend at least $300 in online purchases. The brand has even dabbled in live tasting events via social media.
To make digital tastings work, you have to get innovative. Consider pre-selling a tasting kit to bump up sales and promote attendance. Or combine tasting and recipe-making with an “evening out … in a box” concept. About half of adults say they’re eating at home more often these days anyway, and many are likely eager for something new.
2. Freshen up your website
Boosting online wine sales will require having an excellent website. I’ve seen some smaller wineries eschew e-commerce and force people to send them emails if they want to place an order. Don’t make people work to support your winery. Instead, figure out how to make shopping online for your wine a pure pleasure.
For inspiration, look at other wineries successfully selling through their sites. Case in point, Mumm Napa’s shopping portal makes their selections clear and removes product-hunting hitches. At the same time, each product page offers important information, from tasting notes to pairing suggestions. For locals or visiting tourists, Mumm Napa also offers curbside pickup options for online orders.
3. Give social media a whirl
Maybe you’ve hesitated to elevate your online wine marketing beyond posting occasional content on your Facebook business page. At this point, that’s just not enough. Facebook is a terrific platform to engage with people, build brand recognition, and drive leads. Use Facebook to advertise upcoming sales, direct customers to landing pages or product pages on your website, promote collaborations with bistros and eateries, and more.
As with all marketing platforms, social media works best when you devise and follow a strategic plan. Plan a social media marketing schedule in alignment with your product releases or other timely events. Then track and analyze data for each campaign to see what resonates well and what doesn't. Continue revising your plan and strategy to grow a thriving social fanbase.
Knowing how to increase wine sales through digital means is more critical than ever. Why wait for people to come to your winery? Use the power of the internet to meet them where they already are. Then entice them to find out what makes your wine a winner.
Toni Scott is responsible for business consulting firm Morrison’s overall management and operations. She leads and directs Morrison’s grant services — working with clients in government, food, agribusiness, manufacturing, production agriculture, processing, and marketing to plan, prepare for, and secure competitive state and federal grant funding. She also oversees grant administration of client projects and contributes to business plan and feasibility study projects and conducts strategic planning and facilitation. Toni directs Morrison’s external communications and industry outreach as well.