Let’s start with business: next week we’re taking a bye for a much needed family holiday. You’ll have a week off digital, but hopefully not off wine 😃🍷
Now, onto this week’s helpful hints and handy tips. I’ve had a few people email me lately asking how they can improve their winery’s website product pages. I always get over-excited by these requests because product pages are baby steps toward the URL + IRL that we discussed last week. Plus, most wine site admin interfaces allow you to make these changes yourself.
BUT, before you start (and this is super important), any successful digital improvement begins with an understanding of your customers. None of the tips that follow have a ghost’s chance in hell if you aren’t in tune with your buyers. (You can google Customer Personas to be totally overwhelmed, or read this article by one of my digital heroes.)
It’s often on the product page where users make up their mind on whether or not they want to purchase the featured product.
This makes the product page layout, product page design, and features, the centerpiece of the user’s ecommerce experience.
At the same time, the product page layout and features are under a lot of strain as they’re largely a template reused for almost every single product on the site. The Baymard Institute
While each winery has its own unique challenges, here are the top five most common recommendations.
Consistent, high quality images. Yes, product photography can be expensive, but it has a proven ROI. Research suggests that a whopping 67% of consumers consider image quality “very important” when making a purchase online. The best solution we’ve found is to cheat: excellent mockups can ensure consistent background, lighting, shadows. And, all you need is your label, which means you can have the images created before the bottles are off the line. Many design studios are equipped to create these for you, or you could use a service like Outshinery (we love Outshinery…).
VIDEOS. YES I AM SHOUTING THIS AT YOU. Video on your product pages is possibly the single biggest improvement you can make to converting customers AND improving your organic site ranking. It doesn’t have to be ghastly expensive, either, as discussed in #4 on this newsletter from October.
- A video makes it 53X more likely that you’ll get a front-page Google result
- Videos have a 41% higher click-through rate in search results than plain text
- Consumers are 64-85% more likely to purchase after watching a video 
Think, digital version of an analog experience. Winemaker’s notes? Vineyard footage with narrative? Food and wine story? Video review? Every time you start to write more copy, ask yourself, could this be done better with video.
The Right Copy. This is a biggie for wineries, whose sites often fall into one of these two categories: a templated page with the bare minimum content; or a page so full of erudition that it info-shocks prospects who aren’t wine nerds. The trick is to create layers of information that progress through your user personas in the following general order:
1) Short description, plain speak, for the novice or re-purchaser. This the broad-stroke description of your product, not pH and residual sugar.
2) Insert your first Add to cart button
3) Follow with review or testimonial, we’ll get to that in a minute.
4) Storytelling about the season or vintage. This is for the user who isn’t a noob, wants to feel knowledgeable, but really isn’t interested in the nitty-gritty. Here we’re talking harvest and fermentation, etc, but in plain speak.
5) Technical notes, for the wine geek. This is where you can go nutso with row spacing and clones.
6) Insert your second Add to cart button.
Think of it like a conversation. You introduce a topic to a new acquaintance and give them the chance to demonstrate how interested they are as the scroll down the page.
Social Proof. This is gonna piss someone off no matter what.
Whether we like it or not, customer reviews are proven to help sell products. Yes, an open review system on your site is terrific, but I know how hard they are to effectively implement. One way that we work around this is by heading into Vivino, finding a kickass wine review, reaching out to the reviewer and asking if we can feature their review on the product page with a link to that reviewer’s Vivino acct. Again, this is about user interest level: a less interested shopper will read the positive review and make their decision. A more interested wine shopper will click the link, head to Vivino, and then read other review of your product. We are subtly acknowledging that ALL the reviews — good and bad — can be found via that link.
Now, here’s where we veer into inevitable contention: awards and pro reviews. (I see people eyerolling even as I type this.) Use them, but don’t rely only on them. There is a whole contingent of upcoming shoppers who don’t credit points and pro reviews. Alas, there is also a large contingent of established shoppers who do. Again, know thy customer. When in doubt, put up only the reviews and points THAT YOU ARE PROUD OF.
Last but not least, similar and alternate product suggestions. Again, think “tasting room”: what would you say if a customer was standing before you trying that wine? If they loved/didn’t love it, what would you pour next? How would you talk about it? Amazon uses “Customers who bought this also bought” and “Customers who viewed this also viewed,” but wineries don’t have to rely on templates and algorithms. “If you love this style, our winemaker also recommends….”; “Not a fan of <fruity/dry/floral/acidic/whatever>, check these out instead.” A great way to create this content is to listen to the tasting room conversations and make notes (because really, I want to say record what’s being said, but we’ll all get in trouble for that….).
There ya have it, the 5 big updates that are proven to increase your conversion rates. The good news is that none of these require complicated solutions; they only require that you begin to see your digital space as a direct extension of your real life winery experience. When in doubt, step away from the computer and role-play: what would you say to a fan or visitor? How can you use copy, images, and video to share that message on your wine pages? Make a list, pay attention, and give yourself the opportunity to embrace new norms for interacting with customers. Just because they aren’t standing in person in front of you, doesn’t mean you can’t enfold them into your brand.
Have a happy two weeks. (I’ll be listening to hippie world music drinking meh festival wine.)
[Photo by Jahsie Ault on Unsplash]