6 Ways to Optimize Your Alcohol Brand Web Site for Sales
- by Andi Whiskey
We've found over and over again in the wine & spirits industry that so many web sites have old features, themes, layouts, or hold to archaic web practices that aren't up to date with current standards and trends.
What's more: most web sites are not optimized for e-commerce or sales, because e-commerce was an afterthought for the alcohol industry.
Most web sites lack the basic fundamental principle of e-commerce: telling your customer how and why to buy.
It is so important put the customer first in your marketing design, copy, and imagery, and keep the customer journey in mind.
Here are some questions your website should answer for customers:
“Why should I trust this brand?”
“What’s in it for me?”
“What are the benefits for me?”
"What values of mine does this align with?"
It’s all about the customer. Don’t just talk all about yourself. A customer doesn’t want to know everything about you. They just want to know how your product will fit into their life, align with their values, and/or make them feel fulfilled, etc.
They need to hear why they need the product in their life.
Alright, let's dive into how to optimize your site for e-commerce.
Fundamentals for Optimizing a Web Site for E-Commerce:
- Understand Your Target Audience
- Optimize the User Experience
- Implement Effective Product Descriptions
- Use High Quality Imagery
- Provide Trust Signals and Social Proof
- Regularly Analyze and Improve
By implementing these steps, you can optimize your alcohol brand's website for sales and increase the chances of converting visitors into customers. We want to see those conversion rates go up, and we want to see more of you become believers when it comes to selling alcohol online. It can be done, and you can make money this way. Let's make it happen.
1. Understand Your Target Audience
Know who your customers are, their needs, and what motivates them to make a purchase.
This is the most important first step, because you need to make sure that all of your marketing efforts are aimed at the right audience.
To find your target audience for your wine or spirits brand, you can follow these steps:
Define your product: First, clearly define what your product is and what problem it solves for your customers.
Identify customer demographics: Identify the age, gender, education level, income, geographic location, and other relevant demographics of the people who are most likely to need your product.
Conduct market research: Conduct market research with in the wine & spirits industry to determine what your potential customers are interested in and what motivates them to make purchases. Who is successful selling their products thanks to their digital marketing efforts? And who are they selling to?
Analyze competition: Analyze your competition and find out who their target audience is. This can help you identify gaps in the market and opportunities to target specific niches.
Use social media: Use social media to connect with potential customers and gather feedback about your product. Social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter have built-in tools for targeting specific demographics.
Attend industry events: Attend industry events and trade shows to connect with potential customers and network with other businesses in your industry.
Refine your audience: Continually refine your target audience as you gather more information about your customers and the market. Your first assumption is usually not the whole picture. This will help you focus your marketing efforts and maximize your return on investment.
2. Optimize for the User Experience
The keys to optimizing for user experience on your alcohol brands' web site:
- Make sure the website is easy to navigate
- Have a clear call-to-action
- Make sure it loads quickly!
Reduce friction as much as possible. Have someone not in your company go through the process of going to the web site and clicking around. Can they find the important information easily and quickly? Did the product pages load quickly and with all the info they needed? How quickly could they go from getting on the web site to getting to checkout?
And most importantly, did all the links work, and did all the pages load quickly?
Optimizing your web site is a process of asking a lot of questions about the customer journey, and all of them need to have answers.
3. Implement Effective Product Descriptions
Provide detailed and compelling descriptions of your products or services to help customers make informed decisions.
What is it? What exactly will they receive? What are the key features? How will it benefit them?
Really make sure the info is clear. When you're too deep in the juice, you can sometimes think you're being clear, when frankly, you're not.
The best way to test if your product descriptions on your site are clear and effective is have someone that isn't close to your product go on the site and look only at the product page, then ask them to tell you about your product. They should be able to repeat back the key features of your product easily.
And don't forget, these key features have to be features that mean something to the customer. You might think it's really cool that your vodka is distilled 20 times or that you use black currant in your gin botanicals, but it's important to take it a step further and tell customers what that matters. Ie. your vodka is smoother, with less ethanol heat for a better experience OR the black currant provides a tart and tannic depth to your gin that's unlike any other gin.
WHY should they care? Always ask yourself that.
4. Use High Quality Imagery of Your Wine or Spirits
Look, we might be biased, since we started out as a photography agency and have done photography and video for over 400 labels in the wine and spirits industry in the past 3 years, but we've seen the difference a good photo makes.
We have had clients switch all of their imagery to our photography and see a 20% conversion rate increase in 2 months' time.
If you're out there telling customers that you have a quality product, make sure you have quality imagery to prove it. You can't charge $30+ for a bottle if customers are looking at iPhone photos of it.
If this is something your brand needs, you can learn more about Twist & Tailor's wine & spirits brand photography services here >>.
5. Provide Trust Signals and Social Proof
Customers want to know why they should trust your web site with their card info, plus their own personal info. They want to make sure the purchase they're about to make isn't going to be a disappoint, or worse, a big headache.
Display customer reviews, testimonials, and any relevant certifications or awards to increase customer trust and confidence in your business.
Unboxing videos on your product pages and in your ads also go far for creating trust with the customers. I don't care if you don't have a pretty box. Here's why this is important anyways: don't leave it up to the customers' imaginations: SHOW them what it will be like receiving alcohol shipped to their door.
You know that one of the biggest hurdles for selling alcohol online has been convincing people that this glass bottle will land safely on their doorstep. Showing that process will help eliminate any objections they might have about it.
Offer Enough Payment Options
Provide multiple payment options to make the checkout process as seamless and convenient as possible. This also adds to the trust signals, because people want to know that you're legit and again, that their purchase isn't going to become a headache down the road because they had to use a new or rarely-used-for-them payment method.
Don't go crazy with it. But just make sure the payment process is low friction for the majority of your customers.
Social proof can be as simple as having your Instagram feed on your web site. It's a very simple add on that helps your brand look current, active, and engaged with your customers.
Another key element of social proof is either showing your brand in the hands of people that look like your key demographic via lifestyle photography on your site and in your product listing, and/or providing user generated content that you get from current customers or UGC creators.
6. Regularly Analyze and Improve
Use analytics tools to track your website's performance and make improvements where needed.
We like to use Inspectlet to watch users on our site to see where they click and what they do.
We also use TripleWhale to watch the customer journey for each successful sale. This shows us whether conversions are made from our Meta ads or our email newsletters, or a combo of the two, etc.
The point is that this isn't a one-and-done thing. Optimizing your site should be an ongoing responsibility for your marketing team. You need to make sure everything stays up-to-date, nothing breaks, and you continue to find ways to serve your customers better based on the data you learn.
Your Alcohol Brand's Optimization Homework
We threw a lot of questions in there for you to ask your team. So here's a quick worksheet to go through for optimizing your site:
Alcohol Brand Audience Questionnaire
|Questions to Ask||Answer|
|What is the age, gender, education level, income, geographic location, and other relevant demographics of the people who are most likely to want your product?|
What brands have you seen successful in selling their products online?
|Who do you think those brands are selling to, based on their web site/marketing?|
Who are your competitors?
|Who are your competitors selling to?|
|Do you see a potential gap in the market of people not being sold to who would enjoy your product?|
Alcohol Brand Web Site User Experience
|Questions to Ask||Yes/No|
Can customers find the important information easily and quickly on your web site?
|Is the call to action clear and obvious?|
Do the product pages load quickly and with all the info they need?
How quickly can customers go from getting on the web site to getting to checkout?
|Do you provide examples of why the customer should trust your brand?|
|Do you have evident social proof of your product in people's hands?|
Alcohol Brand Product Description Optimization
|Questions to Ask||Answer|
What is the product?
What exactly will they receive if they order it? (ie. what comes in the box?)
What are the key features?
How will each of those features benefit the customer?
|What makes this product different or better than similar products?|
|Why will they love this product?|
Need Help Optimizing Your Site?
Our team at Twist & Tailor regularly runs audits for wine & spirits brands, going through their current site and getting it up to par with industry standards for e-commerce and selling spirits or wine online.
We also do full web site design and setup, and work closely with e-commerce distributors like Speakeasy to design your e-commerce experience for customers.
If you're interested in learning more about how we can help, you can schedule a consultation with us.
Good luck out there, y'all!