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.
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.
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 to sell the dream that’s behind your wine: “With e-commerce, you have to look pro. Consistency is the barrier to entry.”
Solis-Cohen considers Lifestyle Images, which place a product in one of hundreds of available settings, as user guides to help consumers consider wine in the context of real life. Selling online means there is no tasting element and no chance to speak face-to-face with your customer — other details must evoke the senses and supply cues.
“The reality is that nobody has the formula for selling wine to a consumer who has never tasted or heard of your brand. Solutions will evolve with new and transformed service providers and consultants, and with wineries that experiment and fail quickly, using different techniques (print, digital, phone, etc.) to connect with remote consumers.”
— Silicon Valley Bank State of the Wine Industry Report 2019
Apply super easy customization for customers located around the country or the world with Lifestyle Images. “Market segmentation with visuals employs Lifestyle Images to illustrate wine in settings where customers live.” There’s no need to ship samples to literally get your wine out and about — pop it into any setting or atmosphere that potential clients will view as relevant and emotional.
Lifestyle Images suggest how to use and taste a presented wine, giving customers confidence. For example, a wine shown next to a grill full of savory meats suggests pairing with a steak would be fantastic. While the pairing may seem obvious to some, those new to drinking wine may not know the basics — and they may be nervous to ask questions. In the end, this novice person will not make a purchase and a new customer is lost. One of the biggest wins for sellers and consumers is that any perceived intimidation is removed.
“Lifestyle images break barriers. Don’t worry, it’s wine and here’s how you use it,”
Today’s generation has grown up with perfectly managed images, and consistency helps wineries “make the jump” between any set of demographics. Consistency — the same cropping, light, and texture — costs very little but it allows you to operate on a different level. It’s amazing how picky, in a positive way, Millenials and Gen X can be. They are forgiving as businesses grow, but they want professionalism. Anyone can spot disorganization and unauthenticity. When photos are all different it just doesn’t look like you have your stuff together.”