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The Elephant In The Shop

Elephant in a Wine Shop

When selling wine online the biggest cost factor is the shipping charge.  Wine bottles are heavy and therefore expensive to ship. Many customers come to purchase wine online because of the convenience and cost benefits.

Influencing Shopping Behaviour

When a customer is shopping for wine we need to discourage them from ordering just one bottle, because the cost to the retailer to process one bottle is often unprofitable. Also the cost to the customer is often too much when the shipping cost is calculated in the checkout and causes the customer to abandon their basket.

Therefore there are ways we can influence a customer shopping behaviour and show shipping as good value.

When the customer first visits the website the shipping options and expectations can be seen early and above the fold.  This not only presents the shipping options but also tells the customer that this is a website that sells products and delivers fast.  The key points to include are:

  1.  Shipping regions - making this clear helps your brand integrity and reduces disgruntled customers from later realising you can't deliver to them.
  2.  The speed of delivery - this not only helps when needing to order for a deadline but also instils confidence.
  3.  Costs of delivery - this may be a price from but it sets the customer expectation.


To make shipping better value to the customer, help them increase their order size. Make sure that any page that has an add to basket button has options to select other relevant products from the same page.

Product Detail page should include:

  • Related products - we commonly use a contextural filter that return a list of similar products that match, colour, price and type, and often producer.
  • Recently viewed products - the inquisitive nature of a customer often means they won't commit a product to the basket even if they like it in case they find a better option. Including recently viewed products provides a very easy means of each customer being able to see what they looked at recently in the chance they don't find something better, they can return to it and add it to the cart.
  • Category links - include navigation to the product attributes of that product that return product listings of the wines matching, producer, grapes varietal and type.  This enhances the customer journey and helps them refine their selection when looking for more wines to add to their order.

Case Discounts

Incentivise with cost saving when purchasing a case size or more. Most of our websites enable customers to purchase by the bottle as a similar experience to going to a high-street wine merchants this provides customers with flexibility and choice that is appealing to many retail customers.  The Wine Reserve and Laithwaites wine offer this successfully by including two prices, one is the bottle price and one as the price for a case (6 or more).  This provides the financial incentive to purchase 6 or more that provides the knock-on effect of making the shipping much better value at the checkout stage.

Sell by the Case

This is ideal if you have customers who purchase by the case it makes the online experience quick and easy and allows room to run PPC campaigns for specific products.

Free Shipping

You may ask how can this be done with such small profit margins but incentivising customers to spend more to receive free shipping can often create a higher average order value. Due to human nature customers will aim to order over that value in order to get the free shipping even when it costs them more in the long-run.

Click and Collect

If your website is supporting a physical store click and collect is a great way to build up customer loyalty and promote the store at the same time. When offering click and collect as a shipping option it is imperative to be clear about where they need to collect from and to contact them when it is ready for collection.

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