Wine brands can no longer afford to downplay the importance of mobile optimization. With Google’s recent mobile algorithm update, having a website that is not just mobile optimized but gives your customer the best possible experience is necessary to compete and win not just online sales and tasting room visits, but in the grocery store aisle as well.
In Angelsmith’s groundbreaking Digital Consumer Survey of U.S. wine drinkers, the mobile wine buying statistics reveal how mobile devices have dramatically altered the wine purchase ecosystem. Technology has forever altered the path to purchase wine.
Many marketers describe the consumer’s process from awareness to purchase as a journey or a funnel. We describe it as an ecosystem, because the decision to purchase is complex, it stops and starts, influences are numerous, the lines between on and offline have blurred and recommendations can come from anywhere at anytime. Thanks to mobile devices, wineries no longer have a digital consumer or a retail consumer, wineries now just have consumers who freely cross borders, sometimes using multiple screens at the same time.
In the survey, when consumers were ask about their behavior when considering purchasing wine in a retail environment, according to all respondents, almost 5 out of 10 (48.2 percent) always, frequently or sometimes use their mobile device to research the wine while in the store. For those under 40 years old, the likelihood that they will use their mobile device to research wines in this environment increases to 55.7 percent. Less than 3 out of 10 people (29.4 percent) reported that they never use their mobile device to research wine while in a store.
Wineries can expect consumers to increasingly use their phones and tablets to research wines while standing in a retail environment. Based on website analytics that we see on both our wine and other direct to consumer clients, we estimate that mobile usage in the next 18 months will become the dominant way that consumers access wine information on the web. For most of our clients across a variety of industries, mobile access to their websites is already more than 50 percent of total traffic.
Where do they go to do their research?
Most consumers go directly to a winery’s website to research wine. Overall, almost 8 out of 10 (78.2 percent) said that they will visit a winery’s website to gather more information about the wine.
While standing in the wine aisle, 52 percent of those who drink wine 5 or more times per week, report visiting a winery website frequently or always to research a wine before a purchase, while 42 percent of women aged 30 to 49, frequently or always use the winery’s website to research a wine before purchase.
Many wineries believe they have this issue addressed because they have a mobile version of their website. However, when we put this to the test in our local grocery stores, we found a couple of serious issues that hampered our ability to confidently choose one wine over the others in our consideration set.
- Not Mobile Friendly – Some of the sites were illegible on a variety of mobile devices and/or basic functionality was missing.
- Slow Load Time – While many winery websites loaded fairly quickly, the specific wine page we were looking for did not.
- SEO/SEM Issues – When we search for the specific wine, generally (not always) the correct winery website came up. That’s great. But it’s not good enough. The specific page with all of the wine information should be displayed in the search results, so potential consumers can click right through to get the information they need quickly.
- Navigation – Across the board, of the dozen wineries that we pulled up on our mobile devices in the grocery stores, our team had a hard time finding the exact wine that was on the shelf in front of us.
If you are making a consumer wait, wait, wait to get the information they are looking for on your wine, you are likely to get the veto vote. Instead of reaching for your bottle, they are going to reach for another wine. As with every touchpoint in your consumers’ digital journey, wineries need to have a detailed plan to address these types of mobile-in-retail interactions.
There is a big window of opportunity to design and develop wine websites to engineer sales conversions of those considering your wine while standing in the aisle in front of your bottle. Underscoring this point, only 4.35 percent of those surveyed always know the exact wine brand they are going to purchase before they go shopping. For women aged 30 to 49, only 1.65 percent always know what brand they will buy.
A wine purchase is more than just a happenstance, isolated incident. The journey from awareness of the wine to a consumer pulling out their wallet and plunking down cash is complex. And that process can happen in an instant in a wine aisle or it can take years for a consumer to move from awareness to purchase. But purchase is not the end of the wine purchase decision ecosystem, in our opinion, it’s just the beginning. But more on that later.
Wine consumers’ values haven’t changed, they still want a great wine, at a fair price, but purchase confidence has dramatically increased because of technology tools. Instead of blindly choosing a wine off the shelf, consumers are now using their mobile devices to make informed decisions about the wine they purchase. And this is very, very good for the wine industry.
The most successful wineries will develop a mobile-first strategy that places the consumer wine buyer’s needs as the nucleus that every touchpoint, both digital and bricks and mortar, orbits around.
As the rapid adoption of mobile further permeates the wine buying experience, wineries will need to quickly adapt to the changing paths consumers take and identify opportunities that exist to intercept and influence them in their decision making ecosystem.