The marketing and selling of wine online are somewhat more complicated than many newcomers initially imagine. It’s therefore important to be respectful of the practical, legal and marketing challenges involved if you are looking to sell wine online for the first time.
So, whatever the nature of your wine business may be, here are the key steps that you will need to go through to ensure relatively steady and fuss-free sales.
So, you want to start selling wine online?
You should know that starting an online wine eCommerce business – involves some important legal steps that you can’t afford to skip.
Don’t panic. As always, we’ve got you covered. Here are the correct steps to follow before you power up your site:
Do you hold the appropriate licences?
Only by holding both a personal licence and a premises licence will you be legally entitled to sell alcohol online. The former gives you the necessary permission to manage and sell alcohol, while the latter sets out your business premises as somewhere the dispatch of alcohol can legally take place.
Obtaining a personal licence will enable you to legally sell alcohol on behalf of any business, online or offline, provided that it has a premises licence.
No one within your business will be able to sell wine online unless they hold a personal licence or are authorised by a personal licence holder, and both training and application processes are involved in obtaining one. Consult this part of the GOV.UK website for more information on how to apply for a personal licence to sell alcohol.
What about the premises licence?
You will need to apply for this from your local council, in accordance with The Licensing Act 2003 if your business is in England or Wales; the licensing situation is slightly different in Scotland and Northern Ireland.
While a premises licence can be granted to any fixed commercial property where alcohol will be handled and dispatched – such as a warehouse, storage facility or shop floor – it is unlikely that you will be able to obtain such a licence for a domestic dwelling.
That means you can probably rule out any idea of selling wine from home unless the premises for which you seek a licence is an outbuilding on your land that has the relevant planning permission to operate as a commercial site.
Are you set up to operate in accordance with the law?
Your work on the legal side of selling wine online won’t be done once you have acquired the above licences. That’s because your business will also need to remain in compliance with the law as it trades, and especially the key requirement being to avoid selling alcohol to anyone under 18.
That means, as a bare minimum, having an over-18 declaration on your website, and requiring the customer to verify their age when they purchase from you. It may also be necessary for your wine business’s delivery drivers to request ID before handing the package to the buyer.
We would advise you to check with your local council what their exact requirements will be from you when you sell wine online.
Finally, you can focus on setting up your online presence
The process of actually starting to assemble your wine business’s online presence – including the design, development and launch of its website, as well as the associated social media and content marketing campaigns – may seem to be the ‘glamorous bit’, but again, there can be potential issues.
Not all eCommerce platforms and online payment providers actually permit the sale of alcohol, so you’ll need to pay close attention to their terms and conditions and lists of prohibited items.
As for your firm’s approach to wine marketing, this is something we can greatly assist you with here at Market Jar. Indeed, we have a strong track record as wine content marketing specialists, having been the creative agency behind such wine brands as Pandemonium Wines, Pull The Cork and Plonk Wine Co. This leaves us well-placed to shape the marketing campaign that will make you a key force in this competitive and ever-evolving sector.
Reach out to us today, and we’ll be delighted to discuss with you how our skilled and experienced marketing professionals can best serve the ambitions and requirements of your wine business.