Why Wineries need Mobile-Centric Marketing

“Do as I say, not as I do”

The above is a phrase one hears from elders who wish to pass on their sage advice from lessons learned the hard way. Like other folks, we in the wine industry seem to have no trouble following this maxim, but sometimes it works against us.

How so?

Virtually everyone who owns, manages, or works at a winery utilizes their smartphone dozens, if not hundreds of times a day, to make calls, read, or send emails and texts, engage mobile apps, take photos, or for other functions. And they do this at work, at home, at play, and when out and about. In fact, if you asked most people in the wine industry if they could live easily without their mobile phones, they would tell you simply, “No way”.

So why is it that all of that is forgotten when decisions are made on the technology, resources, and people required to digitally communicate effectively with their customers and prospects? If they live in a mobile optimized world, why shouldn’t their customers expect the same? 

And why is this such a big deal?

Here’s why. According to the latest Litmus Email Analytics Report, mobile email opens surged to an all-time high in the second quarter of 2016. The report says that 54% of all email in the U.S. is now opened/read on a mobile device and an additional 27% via web mail. Only 19% is now viewed on a desktop through “traditional means”.


How about Search, Commerce, and Other Fun Stuff?


Hostingfacts.com August 2016

More than 75 % of U.S. consumers access the web through a mobile device. Traffic from mobile devices is now more than 50 percent of overall online U.S. retail traffic, according to the latest data from IBM Digital Analytics Benchmark.

In addition, more than just clicking the buy button, it’s also about getting the message delivered to the right inbox and having it read.

Let’s explore this further.

Google stats last year reported that 600 million+ people around the world are now getting their email marketing messages delivered through Gmail. Of these, 66% access their emails on a mobile device. For those Gmail lovers out there (count me in as one), Gmail does it’s users a favor by segregating emails into Primary, Social, and Promotions buckets. My current Promotions bucket has 10,000+ emails in it, most of which I have not clicked on. So getting stuck in Gmail Promotions with a non-optimized email is like landing in purgatory. 

Our friends at Google have also raised the ante for search engines, where Google holds 68% of the U.S. market. In 2015, Google announced it had adjusted its’ search algorithms to “demote” in page rankings websites that were not fully mobile optimized for a good user experience. In other words, if your winery website is not mobile optimized, your search rankings will be negatively impacted in Google searches by consumers.

And Google also says 61% of users are unlikely to return to a mobile site they had trouble accessing and 40% visit a competitor’s site instead. (McKinsey & Company).

So having discussed the problems with email conversions and search that result from not being mobile optimized, let’s get to the heart of the matter — cart abandonment. Here’s how I like to describe it:

“Shopping cart abandonment — when shoppers put items in their online shopping carts, but then leave before completing the purchase — is the bane of the online retail industry, and that includes the wine industry.”

Statistics show that across all U.S. online retail, cart abandonment rates on average are close to 70%. In the wine industry, this figure can reach 80% due to the high cost of shipping and the vagaries of compliance. This means that 4 out of 5 potential customers placing items in winery website carts are abandoning ship and leaving items in their shopping cart. Key reasons consumers state for abandoning carts are frustration with the website, complicated checkout process, and inability to easily complete the transaction. If your website is not mobile optimized, you fall into this bucket. In addition, cart abandonment does not include website visitors who bounce off the site without even getting to the shopping cart, which makes the total site abandonment problem even greater. Unless your emails are mobile optimized, with optimized landing pages and shopping cart behind them, you are forcing your customers to fight through a poor user experience, if they choose to fight at all by opening the email.

The ROI on all of this important to note as well. Sending out emails through most email marketing platforms is not free. There is a cost associated with mailing your list, not just for the staff time involved in planning the content and developing the email, but the actual cost of email. So paying to send something that may not get delivered, may not get opened, and that if it does get opened, may result in site abandonment — there has to be a better way.

More to come on this in future blog posts.