Digital do’s and don’ts — how to present your website to maximise wine sales

The World Wide Web has been around for a while now. So it’s rare to come across a winery website that isn’t ticking all the boxes when it comes to creating a good first impression for visitors and, ultimately, delivering a sale, right? Not so, say Margot Stolle and Lynda Schenk from Purple Giraffe. How does your website measure up?

Your website should not only reflect your brand, it also needs to be the central location for your business. In today’s world, there’s simply no other way around it; all your marketing efforts lead back to your website. Which is why it’s of the utmost importance to set up your website correctly right from the start.

Considerable time, effort, money and emphasis is placed on driving traffic to your website. A website is one of the most important assets in this digital day and age and must function as an extension of your brand and personality as well as your online shop front. However, the scary thing is that if a visitor doesn’t like what they see when they first land, it has all been in vain!

On average, a person will decide within a few seconds whether to stay or leave your website once they arrive. Making it immediately appealing is essential and can be the difference between creating a good first impression or losing a sale.

Here are some tips on how to make sure your website is successful.

Looking good is a winner

Let me ask you a question: if you were interested in doing some shopping and you were standing on the footpath looking at two shops, would you go into the tidy, clean, colourful shop with clever window dressing and a clear name, or would you choose the dirty, dark shop with a haphazard window design and no name?

My guess is you would choose the clean shop and you wouldn’t be the only one!

These same rules of attraction apply to your website.

With so many clever and inexpensive programs and providers available in today’s marketing environment there is no excuse for having a clunky, poorly designed or ugly website. A website should be beautiful, simple and functional.

Do: Make sure you look friendly, organised and professional. Make sure your website properly reflects your brand and will appeal to your target market.

Don’t: Use an out-dated platform that is unresponsive to different devices, have a confusing and cluttered home page and hard to read content that is visually un-appealing.

Load speed

We are all so busy today, nobody wants to wait for anything longer than they have to. I mean, ask yourself, how long would you wait for a website to load?

Again this comes down to useability and user attention span. It might seem like a great idea to have image-rich content on your site, but if it’s slow to load and sluggish in its performance your visitors will give up and go elsewhere.

Do: Use images that are beautiful to look at but that have appropriate file sizes for websites.

Don’t: Overload your website with video content, too many images or images that have large files sizes and are not appropriate for online platforms.

Simplicity and consistency

Again, make it easy for your users and use clear, crisp and simple content up front and centre. Remain consistent from page to page in look, layout, design and language. This will provide users with a sense of who you are and will make them feel like they are in the same shopping experience.

Do: Be consistent and use clear space. An uncluttered website is less confusing and easier to use making it easier for visitors to find what they are looking for. Use a font size that is easy to read.

Don’t: Have too much information on each page or use complicated language and messaging. Using all upper case letters in body copy is a ‘no-no’.

Have purpose

Make the customer and visitor journey on your website clear and easy to follow. Tell them what you wish them to do and make it dead easy for them to do it.
Do: Provide a clear call to action and purpose and make it easy for them to complete it.

Don’t: Assume that the visitor knows what you wish them to do.

Let your personality shine through

Tell me, why is your favourite bricks and mortar shop just that – your favourite? Is it because you like the products that are available in it and you like the people who run it? They make you feel safe and that you are in good hands. Essentially, you trust their advice and product or service. You know that they care, it’s obvious in the time they have taken to present themselves. They care about their brand, their products and you the customer.

Your online shop must try to create this ‘personality’ and ‘care’ factor without any actual direct interaction. This must be conveyed through the messaging on your website as well as how it looks.

Do: Have a strong message on the home page of your website. Take time over your copy and branding messages so they create a personality for your brand that is true.

Build an ‘About Us’ page offering some information about yourself, your philosophy and your journey.

Include reviews and awards where you can. They are important and can further build trust.

Don’t: Be impersonal, give no information about yourself and your brand or use inconsistent language.

Make sure your website is up to date

It’s important that a visitor is acutely aware that your website is current and relevant to your business at this very minute.

Whether you are releasing new products or services frequently or not, make sure that all of the information on your website with regard to shipping, contact information, product information and more is all up to date. Take some time to go through product descriptions, as well as old blog posts to ensure that there isn’t any out dated information that may be misleading to a potential customer.

A good way to subtly display that you’re on-top of things is to have a media, news or blog page and regularly add content to reflect any new goings-on in your world.

Do: Post new content about what is happening within your winery. This could be awards, vintage news, new releases, new staff news or anything else.

Don’t: Forget to review the website and remove old and out-dated content.

Let your customer know your website is safe

Now more than ever, online shoppers are very aware of their privacy and security. With that in mind, if you are asking a customer to hand over their details, it’s important to be able to prominently display that a visitor to your website is browsing securely.

Do: Display your secure badge SSL certificate symbol or a notice informing them that yours is a secure site. Include a privacy policy on your website.

Don’t: Neglect to have the proper safety software on your website to ensure that information provided by customers and users is safe.

Have an active online presence

Australians are some of the savviest online shoppers in the world given our distance from many overseas brands. A typical behaviour of any online consumer, both here and abroad, is to look for a further online social media presence. This helps to check the validity of your brand and see if you are active in your community.

It’s incredibly important to show you have an active voice and that you’re regularly engaging with your audience. It eases a buyer’s mind that you are who you say you are and that other people buy and use your product and/or service.

If you have social media profiles, pages and accounts, make sure you provide a link to them on your website. They will not only validate that you are who you say you are, but provide multiple touch points to display your marketing messages.

Do: Have other social media and marketing platforms attached to your business and link them on your website.

Don’t: Have broken links on your website or no content on other digital marketing platforms.

Be easily contactable

Why make it difficult for your visitors to contact you?

There is nothing more annoying and more intimidating than not being able to find a direct email or phone number on a website. Not being able to contact a business will completely turn off a sale.

If you are a trusting business then trust that your visitors will only contact you with reasonable requests and give them a direct line!

By setting up a simple contact form on your website or providing an email address you’re doing yourself wonders in building two-way communication.

Do: Provide email addresses, names and phone numbers to make it easy for customers to contact you if they need to.

Don’t: Provide no details, or make these hard to find. Customers will not only be frustrated but will also be wary of being a part of your community or becoming a customer.

Make sure your website is mobile and tablet friendly

These days users browse website on the move. Phones and tablets represent a significant percentage of viewing time that is only growing. If your website is not compatible with this format then the chances are you are not putting your best foot forward for lots of your users.

Do: Make sure your website is responsive to different devices and still looks good on all different formats.

Don’t: Assume that your web developer has done this for you. Check that this is the case and, if not, update it.

In today’s marketing environment a website is an incredibly important tool to have in your suite of customer experiences and touchpoints. It’s a first impression, an on-going visual information source, a shop-front and a community forum. Therefore it goes without saying that it’s important to get it right from the get-go. Clear, simple and consistent messaging and branding should be its foundation. Then providing an insight into the personality and people behind the wine is equally important. With these two aspects in the bag you will find it provides the return you need.

This article originally appeared in the October 2018 issue of Australian & New Zealand Grapegrower & Winemaker magazine.

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