Ideas for selling wine online

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Wineries have long had mail order clubs where people sign up to receive a mixed case of wine every 3 months or so. Yet few wineries here in New Zealand take advantage of e-commerce solutions for selling wine.

In this article you will learn how your winery can implement an online members only wine club. You can sell subscriptions and sell bundled products, such as mixed cases of wine, online.

Selling products online can be difficult. Throw in a few variables like product bundles, membership based product access and allocating products and it can turn into a nightmare.

Thankfully using WordPress, WooCommerce and few extensions we can set up a website that will take care of your needs. And give you a tool you can use to grow your business.

With the right set up you can cut down on the amount of manual tasks involved in running a mail order wine club. Members can pay online, choose the wine they want this month and all you have to do is fulfil the orders.

First a bit about WooCommerce. WooCommerce is a WordPress plugin that can turn a WordPress website into a very capable e-commerce store. It has extension plugins that can tailor WooCommerce for a particular use case. There are extensions that you can use to make a booking site for a hotel, you can sell tickets, create an auction site and much more.

I’ll go over a few use cases for wineries and describe how to achieve them using WooCommerce and a few extension plugins.

Creating an online wine club.

Like I mentioned earlier, mail based wine clubs have been around for ages. Wouldn’t it be easier if you could create an online solution where people can sign up and pay for subscriptions online.

An online membership site is also a great way to grow an audience too. You can collect email addresses and use email marketing to send useful content and info to members. Special offers and discount coupons are another great way to encourage repeat business. For more on email marketing for e-commerce stores click here.

A membership based online wine club has a few needs. You might need different levels of membership. a basic plan, a silver plan and a gold plan. You could give different discounts, wine allocations and make certain wines available to certain levels of membership. This is ideal for rewarding long-standing members and repeat customers.

All of this is possible with the WooCommerce Memberships plugin.

The WooCommerce Memberships extension can handle your member based e-commerce needs.

The extension can handle multiple levels of membership so you can have different plans and different levels of access.

Memberships can be purchased through the website or you can offer memberships when people sign up for your email list.

To make your membership site even easier to run you can incorporate subscriptions. Using the WooCommerce Subscriptions extension we can sell recurring memberships. It allows members to upgrade, downgrade and you can offer free trials.

WooCommerce Memberships and WooCommerce Subscriptions can integrate with the other case studies below too.

Allocating wine for members.

Part of collecting and drinking wine is getting hold of those rare bottles from great vintages. Naturally wineries like to reward repeat customers with access to their top level reserve wines.

WooCommerce has basic inventory management out of the box. But say you want to allocate a few bottles to certain website members or past customers?

With WooCommerce and the Product Allocation for WooCommerce extension we can set per customer limits for certain products on the website. This ensures the limited amount gets shared out fairly.

Wineries can control the availability and access to their very best wines. This is particularly useful for small, boutique wineries with limited production capacity.

Again it can be used to get people to sign up for your email list. People who aren’t signed up can be refused access to certain products.

Waitlists.

If your wineries produces a small batch of sought after wine every year you can allow people to sign up for a waitlist. Using the WooCommerce Waitlist extension customers can asked to be notified when a certain product is back in stock.

It can be used in conjunction with the Product Allocation for WooCommerce extension above. Scarcity can be a very powerful tool in getting people to purchase from your store.

Selling mixed cases.

When it comes to selling different products, with different prices in a bundle together a lot of e-commerce solutions can fall down.

Using WooCommerce and the Mix n’ Match extension we can create a case that people can purchase and then add wines from a selection set by you to make up the 12 bottles.

You can create 3, 6 or 12 bottle packs as well as creating different packed of different values. You could create a budget case, a premium case and a reserve case. All with their own mix and match selection of wines to choose from.

I’ve just scratched the tip of the iceberg with what WooCommerce can do here. It also has many non-wine related but useful features for running an online business. It can integrate with your POS software and your accounting software. You can connect social media accounts to your site, create email marketing right from within your site and many more marketing related solutions.

There you have a few great ideas for selling wine and creating an online wine club. Some wine specific e-commerce solutions can cost tens of thousands of dollars. You can create an easy to use e-commerce site with WordPress, WooCommerce and the right extensions. Create your own online store for much less money.

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