Although the headline emphasised the preference for the internet (14.4%) over wine guides (8.1%) and specialist magazines (4.6%) when deciding what wine to buy, by far the most influential remains the advice your friends (57.3%) followed by advice from wine merchants (41.7%) and 19.8% for on-trade professionals (sommeliers, restaurateurs, etc.). The least influential is general interest magazines (2.6%). Going to producers' wine fairs (16.4%) is quite popular. However, asking nobody’s advice (16.7%) remains a more popular option than surfing the net. It is clear that wine buyers prefer not to pay for advice on what to buy!
1003 people, aged between 18 and 65 and representative of the French population were questioned on line and the survey was carried out between 22nd and 29th January.
The survey has some very interesting findings on what surfers look for and what's important on wine producers websites.
Importance élevée accordée à certains critères d’information sur un site de producteur (Importance given to finding the following information or facility on a producer's site. Listed in order of importance:)
(Details about the terroir, the vineyards and the appellation.)
78.5 Trouver les coordonnées du producteur lieux de vente
(Details about the range of wines.)
(Wine and food matching.)
58.8: Trouver des actualités sur la marque/le domaine
57.1 Trouver de l’information sur le producteur/famille et le patrimoine
55.4 Trouver de l’information sur les techniques d’élaboration
(How the wines are made.)
People are looking for clear basic information: firstly about price and then about the vineyards and appellation. They want to know where the wines can be bought plus wine and food suggestions. Tasting notes or details and how the wine is made are less important.
(Facilities on the website etc.)
(Ease of finding your way around the site.)
68.9 La qualité des images
(Quality of photos.)
62.7: Les contenus vidéos
61.0 L’opportunité d’échanger avec le producteur
(Chance to chat or exchange emails with the producer.)
51.4: La possibilité de s’inscrire à une newsletter
(Sign up to a newsletter.)
If these results look obvious then it is something that all too many producers forget when designing their sites. People want sites that load quickly and are easy to find your way around. The last thing they want is flashy design – long and tedious intros, etc. Of course ease of navigation is down to good design but it is good, practical design but not flashy and, often expensive, design that gets in the way and turns people away. With the web you often don't notice good design but you certainly notice the bad and it's infuriating!
Even though a number of people use the net to decide on what wine to buy, they still tend to go to physical shops to buy their wines. 61% of those who do their research on line actually buy the wine from a shop. However, those who do buy on-line, purchase four times as much as in a traditional shop or supermarket and the average price of a bottle is 12.30€ compared to 6.50€.