Setting up a website for an alcoholic beverage company may seem easy. After all, you just need to list a few products, put up a few pictures, and tell people to come visit your physical location (if you have one), right?
Obviously, it takes quite a bit more than that to get a successful website up and running. While it may seem overwhelming at first, there are actually a few easy tricks to making sure your website is as good as it can be. What you’ll want to do is focus on key challenges that face websites in your industry, then look for specific solutions that you can easily implement.
Challenges Facing Alcoholic Beverage Companies and Websites
Most companies within the industry have to deal with a few common problems. While it may seem like you’re struggling with a unique and challenging issue, there’s a good chance that other companies have already dealt with that particular issue. In other cases, you may not have even considered these problems and how you might need to tackle them.
Challenge #1: Setting Yourself Apart
Every industry has varying degrees of competition, but alcohol has some of the fiercest. Alcohol is fairly simple to produce, has inherent mass appeal, is easy to ship, and everyone has their own idea of how it should taste. When you combine those factors together, it’s easy to see why you’re competing against so many different sites. Not only do you have to worry about new users reaching your site and getting interested in your products, you also have to worry about them getting sidetracked by the hundreds and thousands of similar sites out there.
Challenge #2: Balancing the Old and the New
Alcohol is one of the oldest products in the world. That means you’re going to have customers that are old and new, familiar and inexperienced. This stands in stark contrast to the medium you’re using: the internet. Even nowadays, plenty of people are still leery about going digital when they could still with physical purchases and interactions. You need to make a site that is both comfortable and modern to experienced web users and straightforward enough for people that would rather just make their alcohol purchases in person.
Social stigmas and darlings may change by the year, but there are some pretty clear trends in what does and doesn’t work when it comes to marketing. More inclusivity generally translates to better press. Perhaps more importantly, a lack of inclusivity, whether intentional or accidental, can lead to outrage and serious damage to your reputation. You’ll need to make sure that your site is inviting to customers of all sorts, keeping in mind that some staples of the industry in past years can come across as prejudiced today.
Challenge #4: Abiding by Regulations
Alcohol is rather unique when it comes to just how many rules and regulations there are to keep track of. This can be manageable when you’re operating a bar and only have to abide by local regulations, but if you’re using a website to sell alcohol, then you need to be familiar with the rules everywhere you sell to. This can quickly become a legal nightmare if you don’t take the proper precautions.
Challenge #5: Competing Against Marijuana
A new problem for alcohol-oriented businesses is competing with marijuana as it quickly becomes legal in more and more states. For many, the two occupy a similar niche, so not only are you competing against other alcoholic beverage sites, but also marijuana product sites.
This may sound like an overwhelming list of challenges, but there are solutions out there.
Solution #1: Provide Unique Features with Immediate Value
This is hardly unique to the alcohol industry, but you want to make sure you are providing your audience with something they can’t get anywhere else. This may sound daunting, but you don’t need to think of a completely revolutionary idea. Instead, just take a look at your direct competitors. See what they’re providing and what they aren’t. You may not be the first person to think of a blog with useful articles for your customers, but you may be the first in your niche to offer that particular service.
Solution #2: Deep Dives and Research
If you want to prove to the customer that you know your stuff, then there’s no better way than to give them some well-researched and well-written content. Provide relevant articles that give your customer faith in your craft and entertainment, while also snagging fresh eyes that stumble onto your content either by social media or internet search.
Solution #3: Mobile Compatibility
More than anything else, you need to make sure that your website reads well on all the standard devices. Gone are the days of making a version for desktops and ignoring readability in any other format. If you don’t make a site that can be read on the go, then expect a lot of new users to open up your site, then immediately close it and never look back. If you don’t feel comfortable creating that sort of content yourself, then you can always contract someone else to write it for you.
Solution #4: A Budget
It may sound silly, but you need to make sure your site has a budget. You can’t just hand it off to a relative that might work for a couple bucks, you need to make sure that you invest time and money into having a sleek and modern website that doesn’t break down and goes where the user expects with each click or tap. Skimping on a website now means spending a lot more later when you want to update it.
Solution #5: Company History
A brief yet personal company history is a great way to get your customers invested and attached to your brand with minimal effort. Even if there is nothing exciting or overly interesting about the history, it merely existing and being there for the casual customer to read does mean something. When it isn’t there, your customer might wonder just how invested you are and if you’re really legitimate.
Solution #6: Upselling Opportunities
If you sell more than just alcohol or if you’re partnered with businesses in related fields, then adding in upselling opportunities can be a great way to increase customer retention. Adding visible and convenient deals on your site can remind your customers of other things they need and make it clear that your business cares about them and thinks about their needs.
Lastly, you want to make sure that your website interfaces well with social media. You want to go to where your customers are, then guide them back to your site. Organize posts on your official social media accounts that bring users to your site, then encourage users to return to social media and post about your products and events.
There are many different components to making a site for your business, but as long as you make sure to consider the needs of the customer and ensure that your business plan fits in with their busy lives, then you’re already on the path to success.