the forum

19 September, 2008

To respond to the unanswered questions below, or to ask a reader's advice, simply e mail:

oln.editorial@william-reed.co.u

k

Q I'm struggling to keep my website up to date with all my latest wines - and

don't get around to deleting what's sold out. Any tips?

A Do what D Byrne does: don't bother. If your range is constantly changing, you could waste an awful lot of time updating the site when all you really want to do is sell.

Gary, Melksham

A Your website doesn't need to carry a

list of every

wine on your shelves. Why not use the home page to keep customers updated about a small number of interesting wines and special offers? You could top this up with email alerts.

JY, Lancashire

A If you want to achieve online sales you have to

show customers

what 's on offer.

Think about employing a computer-literate member of staff who can look after the web site.

Sam, Cambridge

Q I'm considering running a wine festival at a local hall and selling tickets - I'm planning tutored tastings , nibbles and a decent range of wines. Do such events make money or is the best I can hope for to break even and generate some

publicity?

A We tend to break even, or possibly make a small loss, which we

certainly recoup in the form of a higher public profile and increased customer numbers . There's no exact way of measuring the benefit, but

it exists.

Peter, Cornwall

A You might be better off working in tandem with a local restaurant - put together a menu which matches food with various

wines

and agree a fixed price per head

. If you don't sell enough tickets, cancel the event and refund the money - and nobody loses.

Gerry, West Yorkshire

Q Should I start running three-for-£10 deals like the supermarkets?

And if I do, will the increased volumes compensate for reduced margins?

Jay, Kent

Q Where can I get sample-size disposable plastic tumblers for in-store tastings?

Jamal, Middlesex




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The limitations of Instawines

Picture the scene. You put your key in the keyhole, shove the door with your shoulder, drop your bags and look down. There, beaming up at you, is some relative or friend’s smug postcard with sandy beaches, Piña Coladas and palm trees (or, these days, an in nity pool and a detox smoothie) with a literal or metaphorical “wish you were here” written large.

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