By Vinbound Marketing
Which Online Store is Best For Your Winery?
Selecting an online sales platform for your winery can be confusing, complicated by high costs and unclear differences between platforms. It feels like selling wine online should be easy and affordable, but all too often wineries overpay for features that go unused and ultimately lose money in the process.
The best online store solution for your winery depends on your stage of growth, budget, POS needs and more. We’ve outlined our top choices in the following article.
If You Need Just The Basics: Squarespace Commerce or WooCommerce
If you just need a simple online store to make sales, without POS integration, wine club management, or compliance services, steer clear of the full-featured platforms with high monthly fees (i.e. WineDirect, Commerce7, Vinespring, Orderport, etc.). If you build your website on Squarespace, their Squarespace Commerce platform is excellent. For WordPress websites, opt for WooCommerce.
Simple Store #1: Squarespace + Squarespace eCommerce
$26/month Squarespace cost + 3% Transaction Fees.
Does not include website development cost
Besides being a very user-friendly website platform, Squarespace comes packaged with a great online store system. The online store backend allows for easy inventory management, custom shipping and taxation rules, promo codes and quick integration to the bank account of your choice. Your website and store are hosted on the Squarespace company servers, which are extremely secure and reliable. The store design is very customizable and beautiful. This is one of the most affordable options available right now. Learn more about setting up a Squarespace website and store with Vinbound. Examples of wineries using Squarespace eCommerce include Rafael et Fils, Pruett Vineyard and Kelley Fox Wines.
Simple Store #2: WordPress + WooCommerce
WordPress Hosting Costs (Avg $10/month) + 3% transaction fees
Dos not include website development cost
Over a quarter of the world’s websites are built on WordPress, and for good reason. It is fairly easy to make ongoing content changes yourself without hiring a developer, and WordPress websites can be customized to your unique needs without constraints. The leading online store option for WordPress is WooCommerce, a WordPress plugin that integrates seamlessly with your website. You can edit inventory and manage orders directly from your WordPress dashboard, and there are many WooCommerce extensions that allow you to extend the store capabilities to include extremely custom shipping calculations, the payment processor of your choice, etc. WordPress websites also are top-ranked when it comes to Search Engine Optimization.
The best thing about this option is that your website will look great, the online store will be perfectly integrated with your site, and your costs will be kept to a minimum thanks to no monthly fees for WooCommerce.
Examples of wineries that use WordPress + WooCommerce are Lazy River Vineyard and Cherry Hill Winery. Learn more about setting up a WordPress website and WooCommerce with Vinbound.
If You Also Need Wine Club Management & Compliance
The best way to grow your revenue stream is to build a wine club and ship to multiple states. Perhaps the best solution available for wineries that need these to solutions while keeping costs down is VinoShipper.
Store + Wine Club Mgmt + Compliance: VinoShipper
4.5 – 9% Transaction fees
Store embeds into any website
One of the biggest issues that new wineries face is acquiring the permits to legally ship wine throughout the United States. Unless you plan to limit shipping to just a few states, it will be time consuming and costly to manually purchase your permits and report your taxes to each state. This is where VinoShipper is a godsend. VinoShipper provides wineries with shipping permits to 40+ states almost overnight. VinoShipper is both a compliance and an ecommerce company. Their online store is embedded on your website, and any sale is run through their system. VinoShipper collects the proper taxes for each state and will pay these taxes on your behalf. There is no setup or monthly fee for VinoShipper, so if you sell no wine you will pay nothing for the service. However, if you do sell wine, there is a 9% transaction fee to VinoShipper (reduced to 4.5% for sales to states where you have your own permits). VinoShipper also has a solid wine club management solution that includes credit card storage and bulk processing, which makes managing your club a breeze.
The main disadvantage we see with VinoShipper is that the online store design is fairly basic and not very customizable. There also is not an integrated POS system, so most wineries use Square to handle in-person purchases and then manually reconcile their books on a regular basis.
If you need everything: POS integration, advanced club management, etc.
Larger wineries with a healthy wine club, busy tasting room and high volume of sales will need a platform that goes beyond simple online sales to include complete POS integration, email marketing tools, advanced wine club management, etc. Full-featured platforms are considerably more expensive than a simple online store, and wineries just getting off the ground or with a smaller following will almost certainly lose money with these large-scale solutions. However, established wineries will love that ecommerce, POS, wine club management and more are all bundled into one package, and won’t be hindered by the higher costs. Commerce7, VineSpring, WineDirect, OrderPort, and VinSuite all are major competitors in this space.
We aren’t going to go into the specs of each of these platforms on this post, but they all offer similar features. We recommend taking a demo of them to determine which would be a best fit for your winery. Currently our favorite solution of the bunch is Commerce7… it is simply the most intuitive to use, can easily embed in your WordPress website, has a great POS app, and overall just works well. VineSpring is a close runner up, with the rest feeling fairly antiquated.