Selling Wine Online: The Digital Age of Alcohol Business

Paresh Sagar
blog updated dateUpdated Date: May 21, 2024

On-demand Mobile App Guide for Selling Wine Online

Are you looking for the best guide on how to sell wine online in 2023? Congratulations! You’ve reached the end of your search.

#1. Selling Wine Online

Wine is the drink of the gods that once fell from the heavens unto man’s lips, and then gave us the taste of the world above. We don’t know whether this story is true or false, but wine does taste amazing.

The alcohol industry has always been one of the most profitable ones for years. A large part of the world consumes alcohol in one or the other form, whether it be wine, beer, or liquor. There was a sudden drop in alcohol sales when a global quarantine was set in place. Still, thanks to the online sales business model, the alcohol industry successfully bounced back and thrived even in the economic meltdown.

It became very clear that the businesses that follow an on-demand product/service model were the ones that stayed successful and more or less thrived in 2023. Here are some statistical proofs of how the alcohol industry has been performing ever since the decade of 2021-2030 started.

How to Sell Wine Online? – Watch Our Full Video

Statistics of The Alcohol Industry (Decade 2021-2030)

  • There are nearly 10,000 wineries in the U.S. alone.
  • Total alcoholic beverage sales will rise at a CAGR of 8.80% between 2023 and 2025.
  • If we talk specifically about wine, the total retail value of wine sales in the U.S. is $68.1 billion.
    Wine production in the U.S. amounts to 24.3 million hectoliters.

#2. Why 2023 Is The Perfect Year To Launch a Wine Business?

We all knew that soon every business would be selling its products and services online. Some adopted this trend early, while some tend to catch up after their sales started to drop. 2021 was a disastrous year in terms of health and economic factors. We’ve seen the loss of countless lives as well as money, but there’s always a silver lining to every gray cloud.

A quick adaptation of digitization in businesses has been the silver lining of 2023. Businesses have understood the importance of being present for their customers at the touch of a button. Several stores and small businesses were late to upgrade and have now closed for good.

If you own one of the lucky alcohol wineries or stores that are still alive or are yet to start your business journey, make sure digitization is the first thing on your mind. Although the year may seem very gloomy even to try, it is still the perfect year if you plan to launch an on-demand wine delivery business.

An alcohol delivery service app does a lot more than just be a new channel of sales for alcoholic drinks. It enables wine merchants to collect information about wine consumers that can be used to categorize their customers into small groups. Then these merchants can create hyper-targeted marketing strategies, offer customized deals, and give them a personalized experience via the liquor delivery app.

After years of experience running any form of business, it becomes obvious that personalized marketing is much more likely to attract new customers than generic marketing content aiming a broader user base.

So, as I said earlier, make sure that digitization is the prime objective on your mind when you launch your wine business this year.

#3. Different Online Wine-Selling Business Models

Wine Selling Business Models

If you are wondering, “Can I sell wine online?“- Yes, you can! As a matter of fact, there are several ways you can start a wine selling business, and whether it will work depends solely on who you are and your business goals. Still, if we have to offer an alcohol-selling business model for the online app and web-based medium, we would suggest two primary business models.

(a) Selling Your Wine Online

(b) Selling Others’ Wine On Your Platform

Both the business model have their own advantages and challenges, and you need to choose any one of them based on your experience in the wine business and your end goal from this business startup.

Selling Your Wine Online — Your Wine is Your Product

If you own a winery or your own line of alcohol products, this is the business model you should follow. In this particular online alcohol selling business model, your product is your wine, and the app or website platform used to sell is just another channel of sales.

Here, you partner up with a web and app development company to build the digital side of your business. Then you list out your alcohol products on your brand’s website and mobile app. People will visit these platforms and order the wine products that they want, and you deliver those liquor products to them at their homes.

For this business model, you need to have an efficient delivery system where the staff is equipped and trained in managing alcohol delivery and customer interaction. The best thing about this business model is that the entire profit margin is yours. You also create an amazing brand image with a complete wine service from manufacturing to last-mile delivery.

Selling Others’ Wine On Your Platform — The Platform is Your Product

If you are more interested in the business and less in making your own wine, this is the perfect business model. Here, your prime clients are the alcohol selling brands, and the product you sell them is the platform for them to sell their wine offerings.

Imagine an eCommerce app like Amazon — for alcohol; that is what you are providing. The development process is the same; you find the best web and app development company to build your brand’s digital side. Then you create and offer merchant accounts to the alcohol product sellers, and they list out their products, images, description, and prices.

You can offer the delivery service, or you can let the merchants deliver themselves. For the platform you provide them to sell, you earn a commission from every order made over your alcohol app platform.

Revenue Sources of These 2 Online Alcohol Business Models

We discussed two business models for selling alcohol online approach, and both of these models have different revenue sources.

Revenue Source From Selling Your Wine Online

When your wine is your product, then the revenue source is from selling the wine itself. Although, you can also add a small delivery charge for offering home delivery service to the customers.

You can even boost a higher amount of sales per order by setting a threshold like offering free delivery on orders over $250. This way, the customer who was going to buy wine worth $200 will now be buying alcohol products worth over $250 in total.

Although the revenue sources are limited in this model, there are no commission cuts, and your business gets to keep the entire profit every time.

Revenue Source From Selling Others’ Wine On Your Platform

If you believe in a business having multiple revenue sources, then welcome to paradise. When you are offering your best online wine store platform to other sellers, there is a myriad of ways you can make revenue for yourself.

The biggest revenue source is the commission that you receive on every order made from your liquor delivery app platform. You and the seller decide the rate of the commission previously. Your cut gets deposited for every order made through the app.

You can also sell premium memberships to the end-users that come to your app to buy alcohol. By paying a fixed amount on a monthly or yearly membership, your customers will get special services like holiday discounts, quick delivery, complimentary glasses, accessories, etc.

You can also earn from the delivery charges. if you offer the delivery service instead of the wine sellers. It’s a small price added for the home delivery service offered by you to the end customers.

There is yet another revenue source that you can apply. Sell prime advertisement space in your app to the highest bidder. The wine sellers will pay you an additional amount to showcase their products on top of the list and boost their brand on your alcohol delivery app.

Read more: 25 On-Demand Service App Ideas

#4. How To Start An Online Wine Selling Business?

Best Online Alcohol Delivery Services.

Now, to answer the million-dollar question, how to sell wine online? Or rather, how to start a wine business that sells online?

We discussed two business models that describe the online wine selling approach. Now, it is time to understand in detail how you would build such a platform and an online wine-selling brand.

1. Research The Market

Whether you start a kid’s toy company or an alcohol delivery business, the first step of launching any kind of business is researching. You need to research several aspects and questions, and when you are done, you need to research a bit more. It is the most powerful tool that you have as an entrepreneur, and it is absolutely free.

There are several questions you need to find answers to:

  • Do people need an alcohol delivery service in locations where you plan to launch?
  • Are there any other similar alcohol delivery services that will be your competitors?
  • What are the issues that people are facing with the existing alcohol delivery services?
  • What are the services that your competitors are offering?
  • Is their revenue model viable and efficient to your business approach and goals?
  • What are the laws about alcohol manufacturing, consumption, and selling in places you wish to launch your business?

There would be a hundred more questions that will come to your mind, all of them surrounding the ones mentioned here. Find answers to these questions, and then you need to make a few decisions accordingly.

2. Choose a Niche

So, we presume that you did thorough research, and now you are ready to apply what you have learned. It’s time to choose a niche.

Just like Amazon began as a bookselling platform, and kept expanding from there to the present day when they sell almost everything under the sun. You, too, need to stick to a niche, in the beginning, to impact more aggressively to a particular user base and then expand from there.

Here are a few ideas on the niche approach in the online wine selling business:

  • Become a wine selling platform that provides the cheapest wines for normal people
  • Perhaps become a brand that sells only the best wines to the most elite customers
  • Sell only the most hard-to-find, unique liquor offerings not available anywhere else
  • You can sell the most popular alcohol drinks in per glass quantity instead of the whole bottle
  • Selling cocktail drinks in single-serve quantity

These are just a few that came from the top of my head. You must have researched thoroughly and know the industry more intimately. So, you will come up with even better niche ideas.

3. Name The Business

Shakespeare once said, “what’s in the name?” As a person, maybe not much, but as a brand, everything is in the name. So, you need to think up a name for your best online wine store – something that people will easily remember, even when drunk.

Make sure to have a very unique, relevant, and interesting alcohol business name that will echo across the alcohol industry when you launch. Remember that a name is much more for a business; it is the logo, the title that people will remember, and your entire business’s brand image in front of the world.

Elevate Your Wine Delivery Services with a Custom App!

4. Build The App Platform

An important task should run parallel as you complete the rest of the steps mentioned here. That task is to build the alcohol delivery app platform that you are working on launching. Unless you have sufficient knowledge to develop an app, you can’t build it yourself, and you don’t even need to build the platform personally.

Find the best alcohol delivery app development firm with the experience and knowledge to develop such a mobile app. App development from scratch may seem a costly investment, especially when you haven’t even launched your business yet.

There is a way to build your alcohol delivery app without shelling out a significant amount of capital. You can go for the clone script alcohol app solution where app development companies like aPurple offer a fully customizable solution from the app’s design to features and much more.

5. Get The Licenses & Permits

Shipping alcohol is not like shipping clothes or electronics. Alcohol businesses have to jump through a few hoops to make it happen, but the reward is quite worth it. There are some alcohol laws in every country, state, and city. But these laws vary from state to state.

Some states permit wineries to ship directly to consumers (DTC), while others prohibit it entirely. And, some states fall in between that allow in-state shipping but not across state lines. So, in simple terms, your alcohol business’s ability to ship and deliver alcohol will be limited not just by the state your business resides in, but also by all the states where your customers are located.

Now let’s try to simplify this confusing mess a bit. Below is the list of the most common regulations that you, as an alcohol delivery service business need to comply with:

  • The first thing is to get an Alcohol Dealer Registration. This form will record your business’ tax information, dealer class, subclass. It should be filed and approved by the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB) before you start online sales.
  • Then comes the Winery License from your state. This will only be regulated if you do own a winery and manufacture wine there.
  • You need to also get a Retailer’s License from your state. You may already be selling locally, but you need this license to sell online.
  • A Shipper’s License for every state that you plan to ship alcohol to, proving that you are a licensed and authorized alcohol seller.
  • Finally, you need a Direct Shipping Agreement with all of your carriers.
  • If you are selling the alcohol directly to the end customer, you must also get the delivery signed by someone age 21 or older upon delivery. Make this clear when the app user orders to be present to receive the package.

6. Get The Product

If you own a winery, then you don’t need to gather products. You already have it stockpiled and ready to sell from your winery. But, in case you are just providing the platform for other alcohol brands to sell their products, you need them to register to your platform as sellers. So initially, your marketing strategy should aim to rope in sellers as much as the end customers (alcohol consumers).

You should also approach some of the top wine producers to partner up with your mobile app. Show them the scope of online alcohol sales and make them eager to join your platform to boost their revenue.

7. Setup The Delivery Infrastructure

Your app is ready, your sellers are all set, and your customers have ordered their favorite wine. But how will the wine reach from the wineries to the consumer? If your wine sellers have their own delivery guys and a working system, then you don’t need to worry. But, if they don’t, then you need to set up your own functional delivery infrastructure.

If you are offering bulk deliveries to customers that look for your services only for big parties and gatherings, you can ship via UPS or FedEx-type shipping services. On the other hand, if your alcohol delivery service is among the last-mile deliveries to normal consumers, then you need to set up a delivery network with a few delivery guys (in uniform with the delivery vehicle) in all the cities that you offer your delivery service.

This may feel like a hassle, but every hassle is an opportunity to earn more. As mentioned earlier in the revenue section, you can charge a delivery charge for this service to even out the cost and also turn a small profit.

8. Market Your Wine Business Platform

What use is a business if your customers don’t know about it? Once your online wine sales platform is ready to launch, and the infrastructure behind the execution is complete, your next main concern should be marketing your brand and its services.

You’ll obviously do all the offline marketing activities like advertising in newspapers, magazines, if a bit more ambitious, then probably hoardings. A service that is offered via a mobile app should be marketed maximum on the most popular mobile apps. A better chance of getting customers for your alcohol delivery services is by advertising on social media platforms like Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, etc.

One of the best advantages of online marketing is that you can be sure that every penny will be used well. Because, in an online marketing approach, you can set who watches your ad by setting preferences based on age group, location, previous search intents, and many such factors.

Another great approach is to start your own wine tasting channel that wine enthusiasts will subscribe to. Although, remember that this would be a lengthy process that will only start paying back after you’ve given in several hundred hours and grew a substantial viewer base.

One of the quickest ways to handle social media presence is by connecting your online wine business portal to social media platforms. This way, you can directly post new product listings, offers and deals, and any piece of marketing content.

Email marketing is one of the oldest and yet the most evergreen approach to digital marketing. Don’t forget to send out interesting and short emails to people that visit your business. Give them something to come back for, like special discounts, unique and personalized offerings, and sometimes just a few interesting facts or stories on wine and other popular alcohol drinks.

There are two goals with the online marketing approach:

(a)Create a unique and memorable image of your alcohol business

(b)Remind them time and again that your services exist

By doing these two things, you will passively be present in their minds, and they’ll come to you whenever they need a bottle of wine or some other alcoholic drink.

LEARN MORE How to Start an Alcohol Delivery Service App

#5. Some Of The Best Online Alcohol Delivery Services

Start An Online Wine

We began with the research process, and I cannot stress enough how the importance of this step. Let’s look at this from another angle. There are a few alcohol delivery services in the world that have achieved a lot in local and international markets.

The best way to start a wine business and sell wine online is by learning from what your competitors did right and wrong when they started. So, here are the most popular eCommerce alcohol delivery platforms and the best alcohol delivery apps that carved a big piece of the pie for themselves.

Best eCommerce Alcohol Platforms

  • Crown Wine & Spirits
  • Marquis Wine Cellars
  • Estate Wine Brokers

Read also: Drizly vs Saucey

Most Popular Alcohol Delivery Apps

  • Drizly
  • Minibar
  • Saucey
  • Klink Delivery
  • Thirstie
  • Buttery

Study these online alcohol sales platforms, how they began their startup journey, what they did right, and what they did wrong. After studying them to extend, sketch out a business strategy that applies their best points, and avoids their weaknesses.

Read also: How Dan Murphy’s App is Capturing Major Share in Australia’s Liquor Market?

#6. Cost Of Developing An Alcohol Delivery App

The price of developing an alcohol delivery app is subjective as it depends on several factors like:

  • The Quality of App Design
  • The Level of App Features Added
  • Total Number of App Features
  • Number of Payment Gateway Addition
  • The App Development Firms Location
  • Type of App Development: Custom Development or Clone Solution
  • And Several Others

So, an exact figure can not be provided until these factors are answered. Still, if you wish to know a ballpark figure then a custom app development approach can go anywhere from $70,000 to $150,000. As we’ve mentioned above, the price depends on several factors, and one of the major factors is the country from which you hire the app developers.

If the custom app development approach feels a lot to you, then you can always go with the clone app development. aPurple’s Drizly like alcohol clone app solution can cost you anywhere between $15,000 to $30,000.

Launch a Wine Selling Business

#7. Time To Start An Online Alcohol Business

We began this blog with the question, “Are you looking for the best guide on how to start an online wine business in 2023?” I believe your quest for the best business guide has found its home.

A word of advice; the most important element of an online wine sales platform is not the wine but the platform. To start a wine business that sells online, you need to build an alcohol delivery mobile app that exudes a high-quality user experience and app features. To achieve such a feat, you need to get the best alcohol app development company as your technology partner.

#8. FAQs On Online Alcohol Delivery Services

How To Start a Wine Business?

There are two approaches to starting a wine business. If you wish to start a wine business where you sell your own wine, you need to have a winery to make your own wine, package it, and sell it from there.

There is another approach where you don’t make your own wine but instead buy huge bulk of wines from different wineries at a wholesale rate and then sell it further to distributors and retailers with a decent profit margin.

The process of starting both kinds of wine businesses is explained in detail in the blog above.

How To Start Your Own Wine Label?

If you wish to start your own wine label, you need to own a winery to make your own wine. You can also grow the grapes on your own land or just buy them from grapes farmers located near you.

Then you ferment, process, and make your own wine in your winery, age it, package it, and sell it to a distributor. If you have enough wine stock and your wine label has started garnering a good name, you can also sell wine online through an eCommerce alcohol platform or a mobile app.

Which Are The Best Alcohol Delivery Apps?

The on-demand alcohol and beer delivery app service is still a bit new, and
there are only a few key players in this market. Here are the 5 best alcohol delivery apps in the world:

  • Drizly
  • Minibar
  • Klink Delivery
  • Thirstie
  • Buttery

How To Sell Wine Online?

If you own a winery and have your own wine label, then selling wine online is just another channel of sales and revenue. You can either become a merchant/seller on existing eCommerce alcohol selling platforms or launch your own online wine selling platform.

If you register for a third-party eCommerce platform, you need to pay a commission on every sale you get from that platform. While building your own platform is a (one-time) costly affair in which you own all the profits.

How Do I Start An Online Alcohol Business?

Here is a quick and concise breakdown of the steps to start an online alcohol business.

  • Research The Market & Your Competitors
  • Choose The Perfect Niche
  • Name Your Alcohol Business
  • Build The Alcohol Delivery App Platform
  • Get The Necessary Licenses & Permits
  • Get The Product/Sellers
  • Setup The Delivery Infrastructure
  • Market Your Wine Business Platform

The blog above answers this question in a more detailed and sufficient manner. Each and every step mentioned above is discussed extensively in the blog; take a look and clear your queries.

Do I need a License To Start An Online Alcohol Delivery Business?

Licenses and permits vary from state to state, but the most common ones are as follows:

  • Alcohol Dealer Registration
  • Winery License from your state
  • Retailer’s License from your state
  • Shipper’s License for every operational state
  • Direct Shipping Agreement with all of your carriers

Paresh Sagar
Paresh Sagar, the innovative CEO of aPurple, is renowned for his passion for experimenting with new business models, technological aspects, and software solutions. His knowledge and insights are a must-read for entrepreneurs, tech experts, and avid readers alike, offering valuable perspectives on the ever-evolving landscape of business and technology. With a keen eye for innovation and a dedication to sharing his expertise on business digitalization, Paresh continues to inspire and inform professionals across the globe.

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