Alternative Wine E-commerce Software (Save $271+ A Month)

Posted by | December 06, 2013 | Website Design | No Comments
Wine e commerce

By Courtney Holmes

I don’t know why more people in the wine industry don’t use this software. Shopify is full of super cool features that are perfect for wine industry needs and the costs are much much lower than the industry specific software.

There is a reason, though, why I do still recommend the industry specific software over the alternatives. I haven’t found a good way that will allow the web user to sign up for the wine club while collecting credit card information to auto-debit different rates for each shipment. If wineries charge the same each quarter or bi-monthly then they can use Shopify. But if the wine club charges are $178 this month and then $189 the next month, the winery cannot collect credit card information online for new wine club member signups. That will have to be done with a follow-up call.

In every other way, I love Shopify because they are always ahead of the curve for e-commerce features. They are larger and allow outside companies to develop “extensions” for their software. So, instead of waiting for Vin65 or eWinery solutions to develop a new feature for their software, outside companies are allowed build these features on Shopify and just charge a nominal fee.

Favorite E-Commerce Extra Features:

Fulfillment

Shipment Tracking, Free

http://apps.shopify.com/aftership

This is an essential for any e-commerce company. Part of the excitement of a purchase is often tracking the shipment to see when it will arrive. If you don’t have this feature, you may be spending a lot of time replying to your online customers on the status of their shipment.

This feature often works internationally. We were even able to integrate our Brazilian wine website with their national postal service – Correios.

Aftership Wine e-commercew
 

 

Accounting

Quickbooks Integration: $10 – $50/month

http://apps.shopify.com/shoplink-qb – Quickbooks integration

Bookkeeping – a thankless job on most accounts. Well this makes the job painless and easy. Simply install this app in your Shopify store and update your books automatically.

 

Marketing

Email Marketing with MailChimp – Free

http://apps.shopify.com/chimpified   – email

MailChimp is my most recommended email marketing software – but don’t worry Shopify isn’t limited to MailChimp. Many wineries still use Constant Contact and Vertical Response – disappointing to tech geeks like us. But this application makes it easy for your wine company to remarket to your online buyers through the MailChimp add on. There is Contactified for Constant Contact. Otherwise, the contacts would need to be manually imported to Vertical Response.

 

Social Login – Free

http://apps.shopify.com/social-login

Don’t make your users have to remember their unique password to log into your website. According to a research study done by Janrain, about 90% of study participants are bothered by user registration. In fact, 54% reported they would leave a website and not come back.

 

Facebook Store – Free

http://apps.shopify.com/facebook-store

I am not quite sure about the conversion rate for the online purchases via Facebook. But I have a feeling that it is not very high. Here is why – Facebook fans don’t engage with your fan page but once when they first “Like” your page. Your page is where you Facebook Store App is hosted. The primary place that users engage with you on Facebook is their own personal newsfeed. So chances of them buying something through the app is low. But if this add on seems like a shiny feature your boss just has to have, then its a good thing Shopify offers this app for free – unlike other e-commerce providers in the wine industry.

 

Upsell at Checkout  - $10 – $60/month

http://apps.shopify.com/product-upsell

This add on really stood out to me because of all the positive reviews it has received from its customers. Here is how it works – customer “A” buys some Cabernet Sauvignon 2011 from Oakville block from grape grower “Bob Smith”. On the admin side of your website you have set “if, then” parameters so that if they buy that wine you can recommend on the webpage that they might also like another vintage from that same grape grower and a cab from that same AVA. You can even offer them a discount on that recommended wine. The maker of the application cites a 22% conversion rate; that means that 22% of people that saw the recommendation clicked on the offer and added it to their cart. Pretty sweet app to sell more wine online. 

 

 

POS (Point of Sale)

Mobile POS – $49/month

http://apps.shopify.com/shopify-pos

These are becoming very common in the e-commerce industry – many of the platforms now have their corresponding POS Systems. Shopify’s is a great app and has really good reviews. It does, however, have one downfall – you have to be connected to the internet. So you will need a functioning internet connection and this isn’t always easy for wineries up in the mountains where internet connectivity comes and goes on a whim.

However, this doesn’t mean that Shopify is off limits for you, it just means that if you have poor internet connection then you just need to stick with your current POS.

Shopify Point of Sale

 

Wine Club

Wine Club Signup $19 – $79/month

http://apps.shopify.com/recurhub – subscriptions

This is the best option to sell your wine club on Shopify. It will do the job, meaning it will allow you to store and charge credit cards on a reoccurring basis and it is PCI compliant. To do your wine club subscription by a simple online form and not an app can get you in big trouble – anywhere from $5,000 to $100,000 a month. The only downside with Rehub is that you can only charge the same amount each time. Many wine clubs fluctuate their fees, so this may not be ideal for you.

 

Wine Club Membership Engagement Reporting – Free

http://apps.shopify.com/retentiongrid

If you read my blog you know that I am all about the data. It is really important, as a business operation, that data is collected at all possible points so realistic goals and obtainable metrics can be set for quarterly goals. Customer retention is a great metric but not always an easy one. This free tool gives your marketing manager a clear picture of how they are doing on customer retention and where they need improvement. 

 

Abandon Cart Management

Abandon Cart Email- $10/month

http://apps.shopify.com/abandon-aid

This app is so critical. I cannot emphasize that enough. You are walking away from 25% of your online business if you do not remind that buyer that they need to complete their order. Sometimes they abandon just because they don’t have their credit card available or they want the input from their partner on how many of your Cabernet Sauvignon they should order. Send them gentle reminders to finish their order with this free application for your online wine store.

Online Wine Shop Cart Abandonment

 

About Courtney Holmes

Courtney Holmes is the founder and creative director of Talk is Sheep Marketing. She developed her company as a full service wine marketing and design firm for two reasons. 1) She saw a direct need in the industry for modern internet marketing and design services. 2) She loves working with the people behind the bottle. They're smart, funny and generally pretty cool people. She works on keeping life simple. She is obsessed with yoga. In love with her husband. And is always failing at being a great dog trainer to her youngest - her 3 year old mutt and terrorist, Augie.