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High-quality Bottle Shots: an investment that pays off

An Outshinery client speaks up about standing out in the wine e-commerce

The wine industry is a unique playing field: Farming is married to fickle weather. Selling to multiple generations requires multiple approaches. Wine has a fine margin. There’s little room to catch up if any element in the chain crashes.
Simon Solis-Cohen

This is a reality that Simon Solis-Cohen understands as the founder of Tasting Merchants, an e-commerce site that offers consumers handcrafted, naturally farmed, small-batch wines. He also runs a creative agency, Highway 29 Creative, where his team provides wineries with a boost to enter the digital landscape to acquire customers and engage their loyal fans.

He’s got some perspective on what it means to sell wine online. In this two-part series, he opens up about his investment in Outshinery visual content, both for Bottle Shots and Lifestyle Images. Every Tasting Merchants partner winery is vetted by experts. Every wine sold on the Tasting Merchants website is captured with Outshinery imagery. Solis-Cohen sees this as a must: “With e-commerce, you have to look pro. Consistency is the barrier to entry.”

Elevate products in a digital environment

Selling wine online is the way forward for wineries in 2019 and beyond. It’s awesome to make customers happy in the tasting room and, no doubt, wine club members are gold, but without a robust and appealing e-commerce channel, wineries are sorely missing out on revenue.

“In an increasingly digital world, what industry would insist that its consumers first come to its place of business to buy its wares?”
— Silicon Valley Bank State of the Wine Industry Report 2019

Solis-Cohen advises clients and Tasting Merchants partners that super high-quality visuals are an investment that pays off because they remove the pressure to simply compete on price. Consistent and appealing images bump products to the top in a digital purchase environment, particularly for Google Shopping which pops products in front of customers that are likely ready to buy. Tasting Merchants got “more click-throughs and better relevance because of visuals, not price,” says Solis-Cohen. “We had a very tiny budget, on average only $0.20 – $0.30 cents per click. With all of this against us, we quickly rose to #2 on Google Shopping with our ads,” recalls Solis-Cohen after just a week or two of entering this marketplace with their new images. “We were right behind Wine.com, but ahead of massive companies such as Total Wine and Wine Library.”

Google Ad display performance for Tasting Merchants

Simon-Colis verifies that quality visuals are about more than looking good, they help the customer see the value in wines depicted with Outshinery images.

“It’s clear that our Bottle Shots are unique and stand apart from the typical photographed white background shots. Consumers are seeing our images and clicking through.”

Versatile collateral with a long lifespan

Google Shopping is just one avenue that pays off for Tasting Merchants’ visuals. “There’s so much you can do with these images,” says Solis-Cohen. “Even a single photo is evergreen for multi-channel marketing.” Use visuals in print ads, newsletters, postcards, wine club collateral, social media, tasting room materials…what may start as an e-commerce advantage can be utilized at every turn in the sales and communication process.

Yesterday is today…move quickly

In today’s mobile environment speed is king and, according to Solis-Cohen, “yesterday is today.” With Outshinery’s delivery model, clients can actually have images before the product is bottled (or canned). “The speed of return is impressive as heck,” says Solis-Cohen, recalling the ability to set up visuals for a product in time for on-demand email blasts or product releases. This is particularly helpful for custom crush wines (those that don’t have their own winery) and virtual wineries that don’t have a tasting room.

“It’s instant marketing before the product even exists.”

The ability to produce images digitally steadies marketing goals and preserves them from disruption due to production lags. Digital images also remove the cost and coordination with photographers, consolidating your talent spend and shrinking delivery timelines.

The ideal look

An ideal Bottle Shot is “more about what it doesn’t have” according to Solis-Cohen “A bad photo is full of glare, shadows, and uneven light” which distracts customers with unappealing details. “Computer-generated imagery is a sandbox, you can do whatever you want with it,” says Solis-Cohen. “That just can’t be done with traditional photography.”

This is especially apparent in bottles that have intricate or deluxe details. Outshinery technology can capture the texture of the paper, the capsule, the embossing. “Even a basic bottle looks great with Outshinery, but if a bottle has a special finish, it’s a no-brainer,” says Solis-Cohen.

100% computer-generated bottle shots by Outshinery for Tasting Merchants. Simon never even had to ship physical samples to Outshinery to get all of those!

Bottle Shots are the first step, used on their own or as the starring element in a Lifestyle Image. “Lifestyle Images totally change the game,” says Solis-Cohen. When a client starts using Lifestyle Images, they are “waking up to what’s possible.”

Check out Part Two of this series to learn how Tasting Merchants uses visuals to truly connect to current and potential customers to “wake up to what’s possible”.

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