New survey ranks best online wine retailers around the world
Friday 24 June 2011
A US website that takes the pretense out of wines with its user-friendliness and boasts a broad range of vintages has been named the best online wine retailer by 3,000 oenophiles.
The San Francisco-based site wine.com was deemed the best in a survey that asked 3,000 wine drinkers to test out the user-friendliness of 29 websites around the world: 20 from France, two from the UK, one from Italy, one from Spain, one from Germany, two from the US, one from Australia and one from China.
The third edition of the e-Performance Barometer was prepared by Gregory Bressolles, a marketing professor at BEM Bordeaux Management School and presented at Vinexpo in Bordeaux this week, the largest wine trade fair in the world.
The task for volunteers was simple: to buy wine with a budget of €250 and report back on aspects of the site that included information, products, design, navigation, secure payment options, interactivity and dependability.
Of the 29 sites, wines.com pulled in the highest score with a ranking of 16 out of 20. The UK's laithwaites.co.uk ranked second, and china's boboqiu.com - the first time a Chinese site was included in the survey - ranked third.
Originally founded as eVineyard.com in 1998, the site changed to wine.com in 2001 and was rated the No. 1 online wine store by annual revenues, according to the Internet Retailer Top 500 Guide.
In addition to offering a wide range of bottles and vintages for all budgets, the site allows consumers to learn the back story behind the wine: who made it, where it was bottled, with what grapes, as well as consumer and expert reviews.
The site also provides an "online virtual cellar" where buyers can keep track of past purchases, make notes, and print bottle tags.
The report identified the online wine buyer as mostly male (79 percent), aged 35 and over (69 percent), and pulling in an annual net income of between €30,000 and €60,000 a year (80 percent).
Of the 3,000 participants, 45 percent said they've already visited a wine site, and 20 percent said they've also purchased a bottle online.
The report also found that online wine sales grew by 33 percent since 2007, equal to about €3.4 billion in sales around the world.
Meanwhile, 83 percent of international online wine retailers were found to have a presence on Facebook and Twitter. Of that number, 67 percent had been active within the last six months and 50 percent had more than 500 fans.
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