Alcohol sales are at an all time high but does your website tell your customers you are ready to trade?

Pubs may be closed, bars shut and beer gardens empty but the demand for alcohol remains. Alcohol focused stores have seen a 31.4% surge in the volume of sales over the past few weeks according to the Office of National Statistics. This comes as many shops shut their doors and retail sales reported their largest fall on record in March.

Consumers across the country are drinking at home, finding new ways to buy their favourite tipple and discovering new brands online. Many of us are turning to the internet to search out our drink of choice online. This presents a huge opportunity for breweries and distilleries to use their website as a shop window - but are they taking it?

insight6 researchers visited the websites of 90 different UK breweries and distilleries between the 22nd - 30th April. We wanted to know how well these sites were connecting with customers and how easy it was to buy from them.

We asked our researchers: ‘based on your experience of the website, how likely would you be to recommend the brewery or distillery to your family and friends?’ They scored each company on a scale of 0-10 to give us a Net Promoter Score. The overall score was -20 which indicates that after viewing the websites, our researchers were unlikely to recommend the companies.

Why did our researchers feel this way?

Incredibly, our research found that 64% of the websites made no reference to Covid-19 on their homepage leaving visitors unsure if the site was up to date. Any confusion for the visitor was further compounded by the fact that 46% of the websites did not make it clear on the homepage whether the company was still operating. This means that potential customers could be turned away early on in their journey, instead searching out a competitor with a clearer message.

There are some positive messages that companies could be sharing to reassure customers. Researchers found when digging deeper into the websites, 81% were offering online purchase and delivery and 27% were even offering free local delivery regardless of the size of the order.

Again, it was the messaging from the breweries and distilleries which caused confusion for our researchers as 17% of websites did not clearly explain the delivery and collection process. Customers want to be reassured that their safety is your number one priority when it comes to delivery and collection. Without a clear message about the process they may be unsure whether it is sensible for them to proceed with the order and result in lost sales.

Communication is the key

We compared the scores of the websites that our researchers said they would recommend and those that they said they would not. There was a very clear distinction in the communication levels.

The highly rated websites had amended their homepage to include:

  • Some reference to the Covid-19 crisis (with empathy)
  • A clear message that they are operating and in what capacity (with empathy)
  • Detail on their current delivery processes and timescales

22% of the sites communicated all of the above, resulting in a Net Promoter Score of 60. This means that visitors to these websites would be highly likely to recommend them to their friends and family, resulting in added exposure and greater opportunity for sales.

Empathy is a crucial factor and messages that start and end with phrases such as ‘we are here for you’ and ‘reassure you’ help to alleviate anxiety or concerns that potential customers could have.

Six tips to get your website messaging right

  1. We understand that not all organisations sell directly to consumers but there is nothing to stop you from helping them to buy your product elsewhere. If you are a large B2B organisation which doesn’t have a B2C offering, make that clear in your communication - for example. ‘Whilst we are not able to sell you our beers & ales via the website, we are working hard to ensure that they are available to buy from your local supermarket during lockdown.’
  2. Update your website to clearly communicate the current status of your business. Reassure your customers that they can still buy from you and tell them what you are doing all you can to keep them safe.
  3. Make it as easy and simple as possible for your customers to interact with you. Ensure that all the processes along the customer journey are clearly communicated.
  4. Ensure your messaging contains empathy and that it is written in the right tone. Messages that use words such as ‘reassure’ and ‘stay safe’ resonate with visitors who could be feeling concerned in the current situation.
  5. Have a fresh pair of eyes look over your website for you. It is amazing the small things that may be missed, or the details you may not realise are important when you are writing it yourself.
  6. Think about the look and feel of the website. It is not just the text that is important, think about the colouring and the impact it will have on the way your customers will be feeling. Ensure that you are not fuelling your customers' anxiety and concern by highlighting negative impacts in red, overdoing it with bold fonts or capital letters.

If you would like us to review your website, or if you have any questions at all, please leave a message in the form below. Your local Customer Experience Director will make contact to provide the support you need.

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