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An Interview with Tom Wark of the National Association of Wine Retailers (NAWR)

May 18, 2017

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Immediately Impacting Holiday Sales via Product Ads

October 27, 2016

By the time you read this, the window for making large-scale changes to your digital presence or online marketing strategy will be nearly closed.  That said, for businesses keen on making adjustments to impact their online sales this holiday season, there are a number of product marketing services (often referred to as “product feeds”) that can be implemented quickly to create immediate impacts on website sales.  

 

Wine-Searcher as a Starting Point

Most stores selling wine online know about Wine-Searcher, which has been the largest online marketplace for buying and selling wine for almost two decades.  If you have an eCommerce website you’re likely already submitting a product feed to Wine-Searcher as they have a free listing service.  However, the free listing offers very trivial amounts of exposure, and it’s only with a sponsorship that you can gain traffic and sales that will actually impact your bottom line.  In the last couple years, however, the sponsorship program’s costs have become very complex where stores pay a fixed rate at first, and then pay $50/month + $0.32/referral.  What’s even less clear is that the “referrals” don’t only include traffic to your website but also include anyone that simply visits your Wine-Searcher.com merchant profile page.  With the help of Beverage Media retailer network, we can estimate that stores actually end up paying about $0.47 for each click-through to their website.

 

All in all, the costs have become substantially higher to run the sponsorship program, and the lack of tools for limiting ads by geography make this an impossible service for stores that cannot offer interstate shipping.  Still, despite this, there’s no denying the traffic and sales from the service.  The average store on our network finds the costs of the service are about 8% of the sales they obtain from it.

 

Vivino:  Making Moves

After securing $25M in funding in January 2016, Vivino has quickly emerged as another service where online retailers can submit and list products.  Like Wine-Searcher, they have a free listing service, but paid sponsors get deeper exposure as they’re incorporated into in-app purchases.  Vivino has adjusted their pricing model during the course of the year, but in its current iteration, they take a percentage of each sale, and, for in-app purchases, they want the store to honor a $15 flat shipping rate.  The in-app purchase “$15 shipping” is a bit of a sticking point for stores that might spend $50-$65 shipping a case of wine across the country, but Vivino offers their sponsors a simple tool that lets them “turn off” specific states and limit the ad targeting to specific regions.

 

Google Adwords Rewards Experimentation

Google Adwords, a search engine marketing service, has an “ad type” called “Product Listing Ads” (PLA) which allow stores to upload a product list and populate “ads” under the Shopping section of Google.com.  A store can set bids on the different items, and pay those bid amounts per click (the higher the bid, the more exposure).  The return on investment (ROI) for this service can vary considerably based on how a store sets up their bids and ad targeting (ads can be limited by geography, bids can be adjusted by product category, price, etc).  That said, stores that experiment and continue to optimize their ad settings often tend to get profits as good as any of these services.

 

While these 3 services are perhaps the best options to impact your online sales immediately, other product advertising options have started to emerge.  Stores that power their mobile app via Drync enjoy product listings on eBay.com.  Facebook also has quietly released a set of tools to set up dynamic product-based ads, which offer ways to target people that have already been to your site.  Altogether, if a store wants to give their online sales a surge this holiday, there are many options to look at.

 

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