How did you get the idea of selling online?
Through the different positions I have held during my life as a wine merchant, I always developed websites for those activities, the first back in 1999. In 2009 when I opened my physical wine shop, I also created a commercial website for that thanks to ePages Base.
Why did you choose ePages?
Back in 2009, while evaluating all the e-commerce CMS offers and distinguishing the advantages and disadvantages, I discovered that most offered heterogeneous systems, where you had to start on a basic system and then add paid applets developed by external companies, which often caused some real upgrade problems.
ePages Base was an “in-house” solution and therefore reliable and complete enough to meet all my requirements and those of my customers. That’s why I chose ePages Base.
In 2019, I needed a second website and created it with the new version of ePages: the “Now” version. This version is still an integrated CMS, but it’s easier to use.
Why did you need a second website?
I needed to upgrade my original website from 2010 www.cave-de-mareil.com (which was WordPress and had no selling basket) to a more modern solution. The Now version allowed me to upgrade that standard site to a commercial solution. My other website www.caves-merveille.com (developed in 2012/2013) was then redirected to my Now shop.
What advice would you give to beginners?
Everyone just starting out in the creation of a commercial site is a bit lost, but ePages Now is very easy to understand. As far as the user interface is concerned, it’s very simple to do the design, and create products. All it takes is a rigorous approach to product and category setup. It’s helpful to classify your image files, name them correctly and always use the elements provided in supplier documentation when detailing products. Then later, just making product changes in a CSV file will make the updating task easier. In one word: organisation.
What advice could you give in general to online merchants?
I advise online merchants to be well organised when designing a website:
- Understand how the back office (user interface) works
- Determine your media needs (images and other graphic) and text content.
Which features do you like most in ePages Now?
The feature I appreciate is the editor, which allows you to integrate graphics and display products in a very short time. In only a few minutes you can create a category (for example “Wine Fair”) and organise your offer.
Which function is most useful to you?
The most useful function is the integration of Stripe, the external payment method. That option was not in the Base version and this banking service provider has a much more competitive commission rate per transaction than its better known competitor.
Did you create your shop on your own or did you have help?
I created the shop on my own, knowing that I have gained experience in graphic design and HTML/CSS coding.
What additional functions would you like to have?
A very useful function for my customers would be a product availability alert. A customer who liked a wine, momentarily out of stock while placing an order, can be notified by e-mail when the product is available again. This is a real benefit in my physical shop; allowing me to offer this online alert service to my offline customers. Some don’t know that they can also order from me online, and an email alert service from the shop could allow them to discover it.
Another practical function would be to be able to have more options placing content elements as one wishes on the category pages.
What are your advantages compared to the biggest merchants in your sector?
My advantage is flexibility in my purchases, which frequently brings me new products. These products can be set up quickly with the ePages Now version. I can inform my customers about these new products immediately via newsletter. You could say that I have a very lively and responsive shop.
On the other hand, during the period of the Covid containment (mid-March to mid-May), the efficiency of the site allowed me to quickly set up free delivery for my local customers. Feedback I have gathered shows that the vast majority greatly appreciate the global view of my range of wines, the shop’s ease of navigation, easy reading of the products and their categories.
Why did you update to ePages Now?
While I was on ePages Base, I evaluated the “Now” version as it evolved. The opportunity arose to build a second website. During testing, I quickly realised that I could easily switch my 900 products from the Base version to Now – much more so than I had imagined. I was even able to migrate all of my site images and product photos in a single import.
Are you satisfied with ePages Now?
Although I’m looking forward to a few developments, I’m really satisfied. I don’t lose sight of the main idea of the Now version: simplicity for efficient customer results.
What are your further goals with your online shop?
My objectives have to some extent already been achieved. The Covid period is unfortunate, but within a few days I was able to adapt my site to the confinement situation, setting up delivery with contactless online payment. The site was operationaly tested during this period, with an average of 8 orders per day.
In the future my objective is to communicate incentives online to bring more visitors to my physical shop and increase overall sales.