Wine Merchant Websites and Hosting Service

Fast Setup

Our typical implementation plan is 10 days, and can vary by wine merchant.

Setup is primarily performed by WineWeb staff, with your responsibility being completion of checklists and review of the website.


 

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More Details

OK, you've read the Wine Merchant Website Features page. Now you want the specific details. We have highlighted them for your ease.

If you haven't yet read our white paper on the Hosted Services Model, you may want to read it to understand why WineWeb is different from a run-of-the-mill web development company. If you are deciding to who to hire to develop your website, please read our Brother-in-Law Syndrome white paper.

The following sections contain details of WineWeb's Wine Merchant services. As WineWeb's services are comprehensive and robust, this document is lengthy to incorporate all functionality. For those of you who are detail-oriented, this document can be printed and reviewed. WineWeb has attempted to reduce the technical jargon in this document, although sometimes could not be avoided. If you have any questions after reading this, please contact us.


Content Management

There are two main components to an effective website: design and content. The design should be aesthetically pleasing, reflect the wine merchant's style, and allow wine users easy navigation through the site. The content on the wine merchant website must be sufficient and current to encourage all visitors to easily find and buy wine online. Much has been written on developing effective websites. Best practices in the information technology industry advocate the separation of presentation (design) from the content, and WineWeb does exactly that. This separation allows a wine merchant to easily modify content without needing technical knowledge to understand the page design.

WineWeb's Content Management System was developed specifically for wine merchants and is continually being enhanced. WineWeb provides easy-to-use pages to enter and maintain your wine merchant website content, with anytime access. The content is maintained by topic or area, and is dynamically populated to the appropriate web page(s).


Website Customization

The WineWeb's Wine Merchant Website Hosting service allows a wine merchant to create a customized online wine store.

Look & Feel (Design)

A WineWeb-hosted website is not a "template" website. A template is a static html page that incorporates a specific design. The template pages are then duplicated and content is entered in each. Ongoing maintenance is to the html pages. The WineWeb is based on a custom-developed Advanced Content Management System with a stylesheet that controls the look & feel. Content is entered and maintained in a database. When a visitor requests a specific web page, appropriate data is retrieved from the database and displayed according to the stylesheet parameters. Ongoing maintenance is at the "content" level, not the "web page" level, which allows non-technical persons to update the information, and allows for the information to become data that can be used throughout the website, as opposed to textual, static content.

  • A cascading stylesheet (CSS) is created to control the look & feel of each of these generated pages. The stylesheet applies the colors, fonts, graphics and positioning of each design element on a page. This design can optionally be overridden on a page and element level (for example, if a page heading is normally red and centered, on the Vineyard page it can be blue and left-aligned). While the majority of stylesheets in use today control the color and font styles of page elements, the addition of graphics and positioning of all page elements leverages stylesheets to their full potential.
  • A separate and custom html page can be defined as the winery's home page, for those wineries that want a "pseudo-splash" page. It can have its own stylesheet, and it can also contain animation, audio and anything else imagined. The home page can display dynamic content, such as upcoming events of news items from the database.
  • Flash animation, audio and video can be incorporated into the design. The main restriction with the use of Flash is that it can't be used to control the page navigation, which is a bad idea anyway, since search engines can't read those pages.
  • Part of our setup service includes porting over the design elements of your existing website. For a site redesign or a new website, we can work with your designer or we can use one of our designers.

Navigation Menus

  • The stylesheet controls the placement and design of the navigation menus. If a winery wants something like dancing wine bottles on a menu mouse-over, it is doable. There are two menu areas available, typically for a top area and a side area.
  • We provide two types of navigation menus: dynamic and custom.
    • The dynamic menu options in the side menu area are populated by the content that is entered in the Content Management System. For example, entering information about winemaking creates a "Winemaking" menu option. The order and titles of these menu options have been optimized for visitor effectiveness and search engine rankings, but the order and labels can't be changed. The advantage to dynamic menus is that there is less maintenance as the menus expand based on the content areas.
    • Custom menus allow full control over the labels, order and hierarchy of the navigation menu options. They are relatively easy to modify, but new content areas must be added to the custom menus before they can be seen by your visitors.

 


Wine Clubs

The WineWeb provides functionality within its wine merchant hosting services to allow a wine merchant to setup and sell their wine clubs. This includes defining one or more wine merchant club offering(s) on your wine merchant online store, including the shipping costs to your approved destinations.

Visitors to your online store can then subscribe to your wine club(s).

WineWeb's Wine Club Membership Management add-on component, stores that information for you, and allows members to login to their online account, and provide tools to process your merchant wine club shipments.

Wine Club Features

  • The club is defined by the wine merchant, it can be defined as red wine only, white wine only, a combination, or the customer can select the wine color to ship.
  • Shipping cost can be included in the wine merchant club price, or you can specify shipping costs by destination.
  • We will apply sales tax based on your e-commerce settings.
  • The merchant wine club price can be variable based on the wines in each shipment.
  • Prepaid pricing can be specified for 3, 6 and 12 month subscriptions.
  • The delivery frequency and number of bottles can be specified by the wine merchant, in addition to a photo and detailed description of the wine club.

Wine Club Shipment Processing
Our Wine Club Shipment Processing service allows you to process wine club payments and shipments in a batch cycle.

Payment and Shipment Processing

  • You begin the shipment process for a wine club by specifying a planned shipment date, and specifying the wines to be included in the shipment, including wines for red-only or white-only customers.
  • You can run a pre-processing check for expired prepaid memberships, expired credit cards, and credit card authorization failures. The wine club members can receive an automatic email informing them of the issue(s).
  • You can run a process to charge each member's credit card for their shipment. This uses your e-commerce credit card processor and the funds are deposited into your merchant account.
  • Exceptions from the credit card processing are identified on the payment processing results page, and you can link to the member's record, fix the issue, and process that payment individually or in a batch of exception payments.
  • Carrier shipping labels can be generated in a batch and the resulting data file can be printed on 2-up sheet-fed label paper, sent to a thermal printer, or emailed to a shipping company.
  • Packing lists can be generated in a batch for all orders, just winery-pickup orders or just shipment orders. The file can be printed or emailed to a shipping company for inclusion in each box. You can also enter a note to be printed on each packing list.
  • Understanding that there will likely be member payment exceptions that will ship after the bulk of the orders, you can process the exceptions individually, or batch them by day.



Blog

Our enhanced hosting plan includes the ability to post messages to you own Web Log (Blog)

  • Post blog messages as often as desired
  • Allow replies from others to your messages
  • Edit your posts and the replies to them
  • Create blog categories and links to other sites.

Customer Tracking

Your company’s customers interact with you through a number of mediums including face-to-face, phone, mail, and online. During the life of a customer, they may use multiple methods of purchasing your wines, whether it is at your store, through your wine club, or over the Internet. You need to be able to understand who your best customer are, so you can market effectively to them. You also need to ensure that customer shipments are in compliance with the customer’s state regulations.

Imagine one place where all this data exists and imagine a set of tools to use in analyzing your customers and ensuring compliance.

The WineWeb provides a consolidated customer repository that can be used for customer relationship management and compliance verification. In addition to providing a consolidated view of your online customers, you can import customer transactions from other wine merchant systems (point-of-sale, wine club processing systems) to fully consolidate customer history from your store, phone/mail orders, wine club and online sales.

These features are available for Merchants subscribing to both the WineWeb’s Enhanced Website Hosting service and the Order Processing (e-Commerce) service.

Consolidated Customer Repository

  • Your company’s consolidated customer repository is a separate data entity from our transactional systems. Throughout each day, we feed data to it for new online orders and new wine club shipments. (The wine club data feed is available if you subscribe to our Wine Club Membership Management add-on component.)
  • We allow you to import additional customer history data into our customer repository for other sources of orders (phone, on site, etc.). You can then see a consolidated view of your customers, for compliance checking and for customer relationship management.
  • We provide online tools for you to view, edit and report on your customers.
  • Your customer data is safeguarded from unauthorized access by others. WineWeb never uses this data for any purpose other than high-level statistical reporting.
  • We use a matching algorithm based on a combination of name and address data to identify a customer, even if their information is not identical from order to order.
  • We compute the Lifetime Customer Value (LCV) for each customer and allow you to sort and select on this value to identify your best customers.

Reporting

WineWeb's Reporting Module allows a wine merchant to create custom, professional-looking reports on Orders, Customers, Wine Club Members and Wine Club Sales. You can display and print the reports in PDF or FlashPaper format. Numerous sort and selection options are available for all reports.


Domain Name

We can transfer your existing domain name (www.yourcompany.com) or can help you to register a new domain name for your company. You are responsible for your domain name ownership and registration fees. WineWeb requests that we are named as the Technical Contact for the domain name, and your company retain the Administrative and Billing Contacts. WineWeb can work with any domain name registrar of your choice.

You, as the wine merchant must be happy with the website setup before the domain name is transferred to our server. We don't bill for our setup fees until we this is complete.


Email Accounts

WineWeb will setup email accounts under your domain name (yourname@yourcompany.com). You then have full access to administer your email accounts and your email settings. Included in this plan are unlimited email accounts with 8 gigabytes total space.

WineWeb uses the SmarterMail email software from SmarterTools. This email software has advanced spam protection based on spam blacklists, Bayesian Filtering, Greylisting, Reverse DNS and Sender Policy Framework (SPF). The package also includes advanced content filtering and auto-clean folder settings at the domain and individual user level. A wine merchant can modify the spam settings for your domain as needed.

Your wine merchant messages can be retrieved from anywhere by logging into the website (webmail) or your messages can be downloaded and accessed through a mail program such as MS Outlook, Mail, Thunderbird, etc.

For those wine merchants that do not require the advanced features of our Email Campaign Management add-on component, we provide a mail list that is integrated with your website sign-up form. You can then manage this mail list and send email messages to all list members.


Site Statistics

WineWeb tracks the visits to each of the pages on your online store and lets you view this data. Our summary level statistics page shows the number of visits to each of your pages over a user-selectable time period. The detail pages show a record of each visit with timestamp and IP address.

The enhanced hosting package also includes access to the SmarterStats package from SmarterTools. This full-featured website statistics package includes over 130 pre-defined reports and the ability to create customized reports. Everything from page views, entry paths, search engine phrases, and referring sites can be viewed and analyzed.

For wine merchants that want to track the effectiveness of Google AdWords campaigns, we also integrate with the Google Analytics tool.


Data Center Infrastructure

WineWeb systems are housed in a professionally-managed data center with redundancy and fail-over for data, telecommunications, processors, power and environmental controls. Your data is protected and sensitive data is encrypted during transmission and storage.

  • Web server data is mirrored (copied immediately) to a second disk drive for redundancy.
  • This data is also copied to a fail-over server. This server would handle website traffic in case of a failure of the primary server.
  • Database data is stored on a separate server with redundant drives and is backed up nightly.
  • Data center specifics:
    • The data center is located well away from any known earthquake fault lines in Dallas, TX
    • Over 38,000 sq ft of raised floor
    • Sits atop multiple power grids driven by TXU electric
    • Multiple Liebert and PowerWare UPS battery backup power, and onsite permanent generator power
    • HVAC systems are a combination of glycol, chilled water, and condenser units by Liebert and Data Aire
    • Communications network is fully meshed and redundant with 6 backbone providers
    • Fire suppression includes a pre-action dry pipe system in both facilities including VESDA (very early smoke detection apparatus) along with over 600 smoke detectors.
    • Physical security is via key card access with CCTV.

Email Campaign Management (Free or Add-on Component)

WineWeb's Email Campaign Management service is an add-on component to our website service. The Email Campaign Management component allows you to manage your mailing list, create professional-looking emails, broadcast the messages to a subset or your entire mailing list, and manage the bounced emails.

There are three plans available:

  1. A free version included in the Enhanced Website Service that allows you to send up to 5,000 broadcast emails, with a single subscription list.
  2. A $30/month version that allows you to send an additional 5,000 broadcast emails, with multiple subscription lists.
  3. A $50/month version that allows you to send an additional 10,000 broadcast emails, with multiple subscription lists.

Features

  • Send up to 12,000 broadcast emails a month (need more? contact us for pricing)
  • Capture visitor email addresses on your home page.
    • Select additional demographic information to capture from visitors
    • Allow the visitor to subscribe to one or more email subscription lists
    • Single or double opt-in option for each email subscription list
  • Easily create HTML email campaigns including graphics and colors
    • Format your message using a word processor type interface
    • Create both HTML and text messages for each campaign
    • Send a test email to yourself before broadcasting to your list
  • Send emails to an entire subscription list or define a subset of the list for very targeted messages
  • Easily manage email campaigns
    • Automatically process bounced emails - no wading through bounced messages in your inbox
    • Setup filters to ignore out-of-office and vacation bounces
    • Separate hard bounces (unknown user) from soft bounces (over mailbox quota) and apply difference deletion rules to each
    • Track click-through statistics to the individual recipient level

WineWeb's policy, and our hosting company's policy, is to only allow broadcast emails to opt-in subscription lists. Any use of this tool for sending spam email is cause for termination of your services.


Wine Club Member Management and Processing

WineWeb's Wine Club Management service is included in the wine merchant hosting service. It allows wine club members to manage their membership information online and allows the wine merchant to process wine club shipments.

  • When a new member registers for one of your wine merchant wine clubs, they receive an email with instructions on accessing the online wine club member area of your online wine store website.
  • Members can login and update their shipping and billing information, and can renew prepaid memberships. If you have specified a credit card processor, the system will process their prepaid charge online to your wine merchant account.
  • A member can login and order extra wines, or they can enter their wine club member login information within the shopping cart. The system will pre-populate their shipping and billing information, and automatically apply the wine club member discount to their order.
  • If a wine club member prefers to contact you by telephone, with membership changes, you can login to your wine merchant account and make the revisions on behalf of the member. All transactions contain audit attributes showing the user and timestamp of the change.
  • You can view a list of your wine club members and sort the list various ways. You can quickly send a wine club member an email from the list page.
  • You can create reports of your wine club members that can be emailed or printed (via our Reporting Module).
  • You can create a data export file of your wine club members, in a variety of format, field order, and selection criteria.

Shipment Processing

  • You begin the shipment process for a wine club by specifying a planned shipment date, and specifying the wines to be included in the shipment, including wines for red-only or white-only wine club customers.
  • You can run a pre-processing check for expired prepaid memberships, expired credit cards, and credit card authorization failures. The wine club members can receive an automatic email informing them of the issue(s).
  • You can run a process to charge each member’s credit card for their shipment. This uses your e-commerce credit card processor and the funds are deposited into your wine merchant account.
  • Exceptions from the credit card processing are identified on the payment processing results page, and you can link to the wine club member’s record, fix the issue, and process that payment individually or in a batch of exception payments.
  • Carrier shipping labels can be generated in a batch and the resulting data file can be printed on 2-up sheet-fed label paper, sent to a thermal printer, or emailed to a shipping company.
  • Packing lists can be generated in a batch for all orders, just pickup orders or just shipment orders. The file can be printed or emailed to a shipping company for inclusion in each box. You can enter a note to be printed on each packing list.
  • Understanding that there will likely be wine club member payment exceptions that will ship after the bulk of the orders, a wine merchant can process the exceptions individually, or batch them by day.

Integration with Other Systems

  • If you already have a system in place to batch process credit card payments and/or shipping labels, you can export a data file in the specific format needed. This format can be saved and reused next time.
  • Wine club payment transactions are automatically fed into your consolidated customer repository, so you can track customer history and ensure compliance with future orders.
  • If your company requires advanced wine club management features, over and above those described here, we have integrated our e-commerce service with the Active Club Management (ACM) wine club solution. We allow ACM wine club members to order wines in our e-commerce service, with their customer data pre-populating our shopping cart pages and the wine club member discount automatically being applied. You can also export member online order data into the ACM system.

Go to Pricing

   

Customer Quotes

"Before we launched on WineWeb, our site had no online order system and to make changes we had to rely on the sole family member who knows Web programming. Now any of us can update the site at any time from anywhere, and we are fully e-commerce capable, giving our customers a simple and efficient means to place orders. In the first 12 months we've seen a return on investment of more than 500%."

- Chris Thorpe and Edwin Richards
Adastra Wines
Carneros, Napa Valley, CA


"We looked at the competition and the price and performance of their system was a "no brainer" decision! Ron and the WineWeb team converted our old site in days and were always there as we upgraded to ecommerce."

- Walt Brooks
Amethyst Wines / Campion Wines
Napa, CA


"The affordable pricing is attractive to family-owned wineries. Continuous enhancements are like gifts each month."

- Veronica Barclay
Barclay & Browning Wines
St Helena, CA