An interesting moment occurred earlier this year as smartphone use surpassed conventional cell phone use. There is only one problem with the plethora of new smartphone users; wineries are not ready for them.
Meet Me In The Cellar’s Annual Wine Marketing Symposium in Woodinville served as a case in point. When winery owners and workers were asked how many had a website for their businesses, everyone’s hand went up. When they were subsequently asked how many of their websites were set up for mobile users, only one person in the room raised their hand.
Indeed, a cursory review of a number of Northwest winery websites showed very (very) few set up for mobile devices. For an example of one that is go to Woodward Canyon’s mobile site at http://woodwardcanyon.com/m/index.php.
What’s the difference? Websites set up for mobile devices automatically redirect users on smartphones and similar devices to a mobile friendly version of the site. This can be as simple as providing the same information in a more mobile friendly view (for example, see the Washington Wine Report mobile site here). Alternately, information mobile users are most frequently looking for is prioritized.
For wineries, this means displaying information like directions, winery hours, and contact information in a mobile friendly format. Visitors are often able to call the winery at the touch of a button. All of this is important when people are driving around wine country trying to figure out where to go, which wineries are open, and how to get there.
Want to see what the difference in experience is like for mobile visitors using a non-mobile site? For winery owners who do not have their site set up for mobile users, try visiting your website on a mobile device and see how the experience goes. I promise you, more often than not, it isn’t pretty. Alternately, try looking at my site from your mobile phone with the redirect off. Yuck.
The good news is that setting up a mobile website is relatively easy to do. The bad news is, of course, that most wineries will need to contract with their web developer to make the necessary changes unless they are software savvy. If you are, take a look at your site analytics to see how many users are currently accessing your website from a mobile device. It might surprise you. For example, nearly 20% of all visitors to this site are accessing it via a mobile device.
How critical is it for wineries to set up a mobile website right now? At present, probably not very. Of course, whoever is visiting your website from a mobile device is probably having a pretty bad experience which is never a good thing. However, currently very few Northwest wineries have their websites set up for mobile users, so you’re not likely to lose a potential visitor to someone who does. Of course it also means you’re less likely to gain a visitor because you site is set up for mobile users.
However, in the coming months and years this is certain to change. The use of smartphones is going nowhere but up. Time to get ready.
Yay, Sean! Thank you for bringing this issue up. Mobile is going to be more important as we go forward. I already use my phone as a GPS/driving directions appliance. Trying to plan routes and chart the best places to visit is really helpful and very handy on my Android phone.
Trust Cellars has a mobile website and has a limited offer in the TRs using a QR code to gather names for their newsletter – sign up and get a free tasting or 1/2 off their Riesling (which I am told is currently being paired at the Herb Farm with lobster ravioli). You can see it here: http://trustcellars.com/m/
This is less of an issue on modern smartphones and tablets which have resolutions equal or greater than laptops/desktops. My phone, the Galaxy Nexus, has a resolution of 720×1280, which renders all sites perfectly clear. Android phones especially with their larger screens make visiting non-mobile sites a breeze, even the ones using Flash.
As someone who visits a lot of vineyards and wineries, I have to agree with Sean on this. I rarely surf the internet on my Droid. When I'm using the phone, I usually need something. And, according to my wife, I can be a little impatient. So, jumping through ten screens to find what I want, well, you know, fuel for her fire. Usually I want to know when they close, and either the directions or address.
Many wineries/vineyards have put their listing on allvineyards.com which has a mobile app for Android and iPhone to locate and discover wineries/vineyards – this is one way that wineries/vineyards can channel their information to users. Mobile details at: http://www.allvineyards.com/apps
Great post Sean! Super important issue here. The future is mobile. It never hurts to be ahead of the game.
Just activated my mobile website for my winery at hardrow.com. Thanks for the nudge Sean.