The world took a drastic shift to the digital world in 2020. Many businesses, specifically ones that strived within the offline world—through brick-and-mortar retail sales, tasting rooms, and events—have had to adapt to the changing world.
In brick-and-mortar stores, consumers wanting to buy wine, beer, spirits, cannabis products, and other products can touch the product, twirl it, pick it up, read the label, run their fingers over the package, and decide on the spot if they wanted to purchase it or not.
Labels and packaging are extremely important for in-person retail sales. Typically, it takes the shopper around eight seconds to decide what products they will purchase—making that first impression is essential.
With the COVID-induced shift to digital retail and ecommerce sales—which is expected to last long after the pandemic is over—how can wine, beer, spirits, cannabis product producers bring the label experience to customers online?
Take Labels Seriously
Your first impression, your label, is what will ultimately define your band in consumers’ minds. By looking at your label, a buyer needs to know what the product is, the brand behind it, and whether they want to buy it or not.
“The label is your first friendly wave to a consumer, says Christy Bors, Head of Brand at Naked Wine. “It is an immediate translation of style, personality—even seriousness or fun. At Naked, we see a very real and important responsibility to carry that personality through the screen—and it starts with the label.”
Much of the research around how consumers use the product label to buy wine, beer, spirits, cannabis products is related to in-store purchases. But the best practices for labeling apply to online sales as well.
Labels matter. Premium labels are proven to make products stand out on the shelf, and that’s proving to be true online as well. The questions you need to be asking yourself before displaying your label are why you bring your product to the market, what it says about you, and how that way of thinking translates to the design and presentation of the product.
Naked Wines works with small, independent winemakers. Christy said, “At Naked, we support the world’s best winemakers. Oftentimes, the wines produced at Naked are the only ones to bear their first and last name, so the label means a heck of a lot. It’s a way to get the consumer invited to try your wines, sure, but it’s also declarative—a moment in history where you’re saying, ‘Hi, I’m the maker. This is my craft. And I made it for you to enjoy.’”
How to Display Your Label Online
Consumers go through certain steps when they’re purchasing wine and other products at brick-and-mortar retailers. Websites are 2D, so you have to show your brand with the label and the elements on the page.
“Wines are tactile,” Christy said. “People touch them, twirl the bottle, pick it up, put it down, run their fingers over the paper, smooth the capsule—you can’t offer that experience on a website.” Which means you have to use photography to display your product, label, and personality.
“Your colors should be bright. Textures, if there are any, should be pronounced. And make that photograph memorable by adding elements of your personality around the bottle too.” Christy says. “A local Napa wine brand I love for this is Forlorn Hope shot by my good friend and incredible creative Emma K. Morris. She captures the pop and flavor that the winemaking team is passionate about inside and around the label.”
There are other techniques you can use to make your labels stand out online, according to Damion Hickman, Art Director at Damion Hickman Design. “You have more opportunity to showcase the label details by intelligently using photography,” he said. “You can zoom in on label elements, shoot a group of products together, use crazy angles, and show products on fun backgrounds.”
With all this in mind, product photos aren’t something to take lightly. Displaying your wine, beer, spirits, cannabis products in photography isn’t an amateur endeavor.
Damion said, “People think, ‘Well, I have an iPhone, can’t I just take a photo?’ But it’s not that simple. If the photo looks cheesy or is not displayed great, it can impact sales.”
Christy points out that label features can be hard to capture correctly. “Watch out for photographing metallics and foils. Sometimes what looks great in person loses light in a photo.”
You spend so much time crafting your product. We preach you should take as much care in crafting your label. And when it comes to displaying your label with photography, it’s not the time to go cheap. Professional designers and photographers can make or break an ecommerce product display.
Another option Damion uses a lot is 3D renderings of the package design with the label. “Designers can create a digital version of the bottle or package with the label to help the customer know what it is going to eventually look like.”
Make Use of the Digital Platform
For brands used to selling in retail environments, at tasting rooms, or during in-person events, moving to online can feel daunting. But the ecommerce platform provides opportunities beyond what a retail space could ever offer.
“You can share so much more of the story about wine online than you can in the store,” Christy said. “On the aisle, you’re limited to the whims of a shopkeep, the placement on the shelf, your label, and maybe a shelf-talker or a rating if you’re lucky. At Naked, we have so many opportunities to show you just how this wine was made, who made it, and why. We have maps, videos, interviews… winemakers can interact with consumers to ask how you liked the bottle! Now, that’s fun.”
You can show and tell consumers about your product—tout the care that went into creating it and why they should purchase. Consumers can do their own research, read reviews from other buyers, and get a sense for your product’s story. You can draw viewers in with the label and then immerse them in your brand story.
Christy says, “Shopping for wine that way is so much more satisfying. It’s a holistic experience that really allows you to get to know the product on a personal level. Personality is what makes wine engaging, beautiful, delicious, and fun. And truthfully, that’s the core of our work at Naked. To honor the personalities of those behind it.”
Invest in Your Brand
If you put your heart and soul into your product but that doesn’t reflect in the label or the online display, consumers won’t be able to see your product for all it is. The personality behind the label is what makes the product engaging, beautiful, appealing, and most of all, fun.
Work with the experts in premium labels to showcase your brand. You can request samples to see how the small details—from the paper stock to the finish—help tell your brand and product stories.