We’ve been lucky enough to carve a niche in working with some of the top wine & spirits stores on Shopify over the past few years. We’ve learned a ton about the rules and requirements around setting up a Shopify store for both retail and online only stores and want to share some of our top learning and tips.
If you're looking for help in starting an online wine store online, please contact us and we’d be happy to lend our expertise!
In this article, we’ll walk you through some of the apps we typically use when we’re designing and developing a new wine and spirits store that we’re building on Shopify.
THE BEST WAY TO SELL WINE & SPIRITS ON SHOPIFY WITH THESE TIPS & TRICKS
- Adding an age gate and checkbox to the cart to verify your customers are over the age of 21.
- Creating different shipping options based on whether you're selling spirits, wine or accessories using product tags to remove the need to use ShipComplaint.
- Building a visual search experience that makes it easy for customers to find the wine & spirits they’re looking for.
- Adding curated recommendations and badges to show the top recommended wines and spirits on your Shopify store.
- Connecting your product inventory to external services like Wine Searcher, Google Shopping, Caskers and Vivino to boost exposure and orders.
- Setting up custom shipping rules for different types of products and limit what states you ship to.
- Creating shipping labels that automatically require signatures on delivery.
- Building a wine and spirits product feed that automatically syncs with Google Shopping.
- Leveraging ReCharge to build a wine or spirit of the month club on Shopify.
- Offering local pickup options for customers who live near you.
- Offering discounts when an entire case of wine is purchased vs a single bottle.
- Build a password protected collection or set of products that you only offer to your top customers. This is great for exclusive releases that you want to offer to your top customers.
- Hooking Klavyio to automate email campaigns about upcoming wine or spirit releases.
- Building a wholesale or wine club members only section of your wine or spirits store for limited releases.
ADDING AN AGE GATE TO YOUR SHOPIFY STORE
One of the first things you need to do before you go live with your new wine or spirits store is to make sure you’re compliant with Shopify terms of service regarding selling alcohol online. Luckily, there are lots of great apps that make it easy to verify the age of the people that are visiting your site, without requiring any custom development.
Our favorite age check apps are:
Age Check - $5/month
Age check w/ Age Verifier - $4/month
CREATING SHIPPING RESTRICTIONS FOR SPECIFIC STATES FOR WINE OR SPIRITS USING PRODUCT TAGS
Depending on the state you operate in, the rules for where you can ship wine and spirits varies greatly. This is one of the top requests we've heard from our existing clients, so we've built out a custom set of features that allows you to specify which type of products can be shipped to specific states.
For example, if you're license allows you to ship wine to all states, but only spirits to some select states, we can create shipping rules that make this possible. This is a little more complex, but is something we can help build for you.
HOW TO BUILD A RICH SEARCH EXPERIENCE FOR YOUR WINE & SPIRITS STORE
For wine and spirits stores that have tons of products for sale, having a good search experience is extremely important. Shopify’s built in search functionality is so/so at best, so we usually recommend a few search apps that offer real time search, autocomplete results and related item suggestions.
Our favorite search apps are:
Smart Search & Instant Search - Free - $40/month
Instant Search+ - Free - $20/month
HOW TO CONNECT YOUR WINE OR SPIRIT STORE TO VIVINO, WINE SEARCHER, CASKERS or RESERVE BAR
In the past few years, services like Vivino, Caskers, Reserve Bar and Wine Searcher have become incredibly popular services that make it easy for people to find the products they’re looking for. The good news is that by using a service like Shopify to sell wine online, you can automatically feed your inventory to both of the services when there’s a match in either of the apps.
Building a product feed to both of these services is something we specialize in and have done for numerous stores. If you’re interested in getting more info on how to do this, please contact us.
Don’t want to pay for ShipComplaint or build a custom integration for Shopify? Good news, you can leverage two of our favorite Shopify shipping apps to ensure your store is compliant with the various state and local regulations around shipping wine and spirits across the country.
With these Shopify shipping apps, you can offer per item rates and restrictions along with automatically hiding specific rates (or all rates) when certain items are detected in the cart. You can also automatically require a signature when the delivery arrives at its destination.
IF SHIPCOMPLIANT IS A MUST-HAVE
ShipCompliant is an industry leader in ensuring tax and legal compliance for selling alcohol online. It’s a robust tool, but unfortunately its integration with Shopify is limited. Though we have found some instances of successful custom integrations there is no out of the box solution or app in the Shopify App Store that will seamlessly enable it to integrate with Shopify. Hiring an agency to develop a custom solution is likewise cost-prohibitive for many merchants. Shopify does have some native features to can restrict shipping states, but that’s not in and of itself a legally compliant solution. It’ll require manual oversight of the rules and the reality is that keeping abreast of evolving and complex liquor compliance laws isn’t an option for many business.
SHIPCOMPIANT AND BLOOM
In spite of the absence of a ShipCompliant-created Shopify integration or an app in the app store, Bloom is the best solution for most merchants looking for ShipCompliant integration. Bloom’s team will need to assist with integrating their app on your store, but it offers full reporting and compliance. You’ll still need an active Shopify subscription and ShipCompliant license.
It’s primarily created for wine clubs and their pricing model reflects that:
The Bloom team does offer more custom pricing solutions so if your business isn’t wine club-focused, it’s still worth starting a conversation with their team. Presidio Creative is happy to speak with Bloom on your behalf and assess if it’s the right fit for your business.