As COVID-19 spreads, more people are shopping online, including alcohol. This is especially true in countries where lockdowns were imposed and liquor stores were closed. However, even in countries where liquor stores remain open, buying alcohol online has become popular. It’s convenient and safe to shop online. With faster delivery and the option to purchase from home, it’s no wonder so many people are switching to e-commerce.
The rise of alcohol e-commerce and how to buy alcohol online
Alcoholic beverage sales surged dramatically, with internet sales in the United States increasing 262%  from 2019.
As the pandemic progressed, the untimely shutdown of bars and restaurants shifted consumer spending to alcohol retail establishments. Companies that supplied retail e-commerce services thrived as businesses grew in this sector of the industry.
At the NABCA symposium in 2021, Bourcard Nesin, a researcher for Rabobank, stated that the e-commerce platform City Hive expanded 1,000% year on year in 2020. Drizly, a digital delivery service, increased its revenue by 300%.
Nearly every alcoholic beverage company selling online has seen growth in the past year. However, as vaccines become available and more individuals abandon their stay-at-home lifestyles in favor of a reopened economy, the issue remains: How will U.S. customers acquire alcohol after the pandemic is over?
How COVID-2019 is affecting alcohol sales and delivery
The COVID-19 pandemic has had a major impact on the alcohol industry. With bars and restaurants closed, and people staying home to socially distance, alcohol sales have plummeted.
However, while on-premise sales may be down, retail sales of alcohol have actually increased. This is because people are buying alcohol to drink at home, rather than going out to bars and restaurants.
Of course, this shift to at-home consumption has also led to a rise in alcohol eCommerce. With people unable or unwilling to go to liquor stores, more and more are turning to the internet to buy their alcohol. It’s inevitable that this will happen as consumers rely increasingly on their smartphones and the internet to place orders for delivery rather than visiting stores.
Beer, wine, and liquor store sales totaled $41.9 billion  between March and September 2020, a 20% increase over the same months in 2019 and an 18% increase over the period between August 2019 and February 2020.
Delivery services have also been overwhelmed, with some reporting wait times of up to two weeks. The increased demand has also led to higher prices, as sellers take advantage of desperate buyers.
More and more states, including Georgia, Pennsylvania, Arkansas, and Oklahoma, have recently broadened their beverage alcohol delivery legislation  to allow for home delivery businesses. In total, 25 states now allow the delivery of wine, spirits, and beer, with an additional eight states allowing wine and beer deliveries.
How to create a functional online liquor store?
Today’s customers want everything easy, fast, and functional. Does your store match these criteria?
Here are some helpful tips you can follow for establishing a profitable online store.
- First of all, you need to get your license.
Depending on the state’s laws and the type of alcohol you are going to sell, this process can vary. Your type of establishment requires certain licensing. Having a brick-and-mortar venue where clients can drink requires a premises license. If you only sell alcohol online, you may not require a license. State and federal licensing laws differ.
- Then it’s time to think about the website.
To increase sales, online liquor stores must have user-friendly websites with attractive designs. Upload high-quality product images with detailed descriptions. Make sure your store is working on all mobile device types.
Your website’s design, speed, usability, and responsiveness to mobile devices should all be top-notch. The sum of these contributors is what we call “customer experience,” and it’s a major element in the final purchasing decision.
- Age verification.
You probably know that you can lose your license if you provide alcohol to an underage person. To avoid this, you’ll need to verify the ages of your customers. There are a few ways to do this, including using age verification software.
- Create a Strategy for Marketing
An eCommerce marketing strategy is a must-have for any online business. You’ll need to create a plan for how you’ll attract and retain customers. There are a number of ways to market an online liquor store, including using social media platforms, search engine optimization (SEO), and email marketing.
- Develop a Brand Identity
Your brand identity is how your business will be perceived by customers. It’s important to develop a strong brand identity for your online liquor store. This can be done by creating a unique logo, choosing a color scheme, and developing a tagline.
Once you’ve got these steps in place, you’ll be well on your way to opening a successful online liquor store. With the right strategies, you can build a thriving business that will provide customers with the alcohol they need, when they need it.
How to promote online liquor stores?
Take part in various events, and discussions about alcoholic beverages
Many people are interested in trying new drinks, and they want to know about the different options available to them. It is important to offer a wide variety of products so that customers can find something they like. You should also have a good selection of wine, beer, and spirits.
Build your email marketing strategy
Start by building an email list of potential customers. You can do this by hosting a contest or sweepstakes, or simply offering a discount for signing up. Then, you can send out regular newsletters with information about new products, special offers, and upcoming events. Be sure to include links to your website so that recipients can learn more about your business.
Use social media to your advantage
Social media is a great way to connect with potential customers and build interest in your business. Create a profile for your liquor store on platforms like Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram. Then, start sharing photos and information about your products. You can also use social media to run promotions and giveaways.
Use multiple channels for your shop promotion
You should have a well-designed website that is easy to navigate. You can also promote your business through online directories and review sites. Make sure to include all the essential details about your store, such as your hours of operation and contact information. In addition, you can distribute flyers and postcards to local businesses. And lastly, don’t forget to promote your store through word-of-mouth. Ask satisfied customers to leave positive reviews on sites like Yelp and Google.
Use influence Marketing
You can partner with mixologists and bartenders to create unique cocktails that feature your products. You can also sponsor events and parties that focus on alcohol consumption. And lastly, you can work with social media influencers to promote your business through their channels.
Collaborate with other brands
You can collaborate with other brands that produce complementary products. For example, if you sell liquor, you can partner with a company that makes mixers or barware. This way, you can cross-promote your products and reach a wider audience.
By following these tips, you can create a successful online liquor store. With the right marketing strategy, you can reach a wide audience and build a loyal customer base. Thanks to the convenience of online platforms, now you can easily reach more customers and make more sales.
You get to decide how your online store will look, what kind of products you want customers to see, how the ordering and delivery systems will work, and so on.
So, if you’d like to bring your best assortment to a wider audience, visit Local Express and get started today.