Why Your Winery Needs a Mobile Strategy

I had to interrupt my posts about Niagara winery visits for this as I think it is pretty important.

I recently came across a great slide deck produced by Business Insider (www.businessinsider.com) that highlighted fundamental shifts in how people are accessing the Internet. I’ve captured some of the key points that really should matter to all businesses, but especially to wineries.

Key Data Points in the Business Insider slide deck:

1) Smartphones: In 2011, the number of Smartphones sold exceeded the number of PCs sold (Globally).
Takeaway 1: The world is moving to Smartphones at an electrifying rate. Apple and Rim sold well almost 5 Million smartphones in Canada in 2011 (2.85M Apple, 2.08M RIM). If the global stats apply to Canada, Android accounted for another ~4 Million devices, making the total sales last year for smartphones in Canada around 9 million units.
Takeaway 2:There’s no question that your customers will try to access your website/content from a smartphone sooner or later.

Smartphones Outselling PCs - Business Insider

2) PCs Will Become Minority: In a few years, the number of mobile devices (Smartphones and tablets) will completely DWARF the number of PCs.
Takeaway: Almost all of your customers will be accessing your site/content from a Smartphone or a tablet in just a few years.

Mobile (Smartphone + Tablet) Sales will soon Dwarf PC Sales - Business Insider

3) Demographics: Smartphones are used today mainly by young adults with money – greater than 75% of young adults (ages 18-44) earning more than $100K have a smartphone today. Even from ages 45-64 the number is greater than 48% today and growing.
Takeaway: This is the same demographic market you are chasing. You can’t ignore the penetration of smartphones as a “teen” thing.

Who Buys Smartphones: Age + Salary Distribution - Business Insider

4) Usage: People do on mobile pretty what exactly what they used to do on PCs; They look things up (general reference), they check email, they shop, and they buy/use apps (this last one is different).
Takeaway: Your engagement (website, content) with mobile users needs to account for the fact that they are not sitting at a desk with a 22″ monitor. They will be reading your email, clicking on links (and ads) from a smartphone or tablet. They won’t wait to get to their desktop PC to look you up.

5) Growth: Global internet users will double over the next few years and almost all of them will be mobile users.
Takeaway:The opportunity is only going to get bigger (I originally said the problem isn’t going to get worse).

Mobile Will Dominate Internet Usage - Business Insider

Ontario Winery Website Assessment

As an experiment, I recently visited the website for every Ontario winery I know of (all the ones listed in my free Uncork Ontario app) from my iPhone. Although this may be an “Apple-biased” view, what I found was disturbing to say the least. Here’s the data from that experiment:

Only 4 wineries have a mobile-optimized interface:

Joseph’s Estate Wines

Joseph's Estate Wines - Landing Page

and as you scroll down you see the menu

Joseph's Estate Wines - Landing Page

Ravine Vineyard

Ravine Vineyards - Landing Page

Again, as you scroll down you see the information clearly:

Ravine Vineyards - Landing Page

Carolinian Winery & Eatery

Carolinian Winery and Eatery

Carolinian Winery and Eatery - location

Muscedere Vineyards is a good example of what looks like the same WordPress plugin I use:

Muscedere Vineyards

Sprucewood Shores looked like it was mobile optimized but would not render properly on the iPhone (perhaps a Flash issue?).

Several wineries, although not mobile-optimized, have a complete listing such that the “Reader” functionality of the Safari (default) browser on the iPhone gave a readable summary of the winery, including hours, etc.

I haven’t listed them all here, but Caroline Cellars, Georgian Cellars, and Good Earth all had better than average landing pages that gave decent summary info when the “Reader” button was selected. Unfortunately, many iPhone users have no idea that this button exists, nor what it does.

"Reader" Function in Safari Browser

Most other wineries fell into the “not really mobile friendly” category, causing the user to scroll around and enlarge various parts of the screen attempting to find the information they were looking for (and quite possibly repeat that operation on the next page they selected).

Some designers have decided that they need to use Adobe Flash in their website designs, but because of the Apple limitation with rendering Flash, have excluded a large audience from viewing their website over mobile. Apple sold 2.58M iPhones last year in Canada, so that’s a pretty large audience to dismiss.

What Can You Do?

Technology and web design is not the forte of people making wine (except in very rare cases), and it shouldn’t be. But if you are paying others to update/build/maintain your site for you, you need to be asking them what it will take to make your site mobile-friendly. It shouldn’t cost a fortune, but if the company you’re working with tells you it will, it might be time to look for a new partner.

Last takeaway: In Ontario, there are already so many obstacles to getting your wine into your customer’s hands (and mouths). Don’t let your lack of a mobile presence be another.

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One Response to Why Your Winery Needs a Mobile Strategy

  1. Frank Haddad says:

    Some very good points here. When touring wine country I use my I Phone or I Pad for maps, information about wineries opening hours etc. The use of flash just becomes annoying. If the information is to hard to read or incomplete we may not stop in or travel to a particular winery.

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