Simplify the Process of Selling Alcohol Online
Today’s consumers expect convenience. Virtually any retail good is now available online at the click of a button. It comes as no surprise that customers are purchasing more online and that the liquor, wine, and beer industries were no expectation. In addition, the alcoholic beverage industry is growing fast. Now is the perfect time to upgrade your liquor store POS software and learn how to sell alcohol online.
In 2022, retail eCommerce sales amounted to approximately 5.7 trillion U.S. dollars worldwide. This figure is forecasted to grow by 56% over the next few years, reaching about 8.1 trillion dollars by 2026. In addition, a worldwide study released in 2022 showed that 32% of U.S. respondents used mobile apps for wine, beer, or spirits shopping. For small retailers running a brick-and-mortar store, it may seem intimidating to start selling alcohol online due to legal and compliance requirements. We’re here to help simplify that process. Discover tips on how to sell alcohol online and take your liquor, wine, or beer store to the next level.
Obtain Licenses and Registrations
Alcohol is a highly regulated product to sell. Before you can start selling alcohol online, business owners must obtain all the necessary licenses. Each state has its own licensing requirements and shipping laws, so it’s important to check state websites regularly to understand the impact of any changes. To be compliant, most states require the following:
- Alcohol Dealer Registration (ADR): Proves to the government and customers that you’re a lawful seller of alcoholic beverages
- State Retailer License: Allows you to conduct business in the state that your company operates
- Shipping License: States way of approving your business to send alcohol to customers
If you only plan to ship alcohol in the same state as your business, you’ll only need one shipping license. However, to expand nationwide, you’ll need to acquire an eCommerce shipping license for each state in which you want to sell your products.
Plus, businesses are required to register with the following:
- The Federal Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB)
- State Departments of Revenue (DOR)
- State Alcohol Beverage Control Departments (ABC)
In addition, if you haven’t yet gotten your employer identification number (EIN), eCommerce business insurance, or an eCommerce business license, you should do this. An EIN and other types of paperwork are required to protect your business and profits.
Check Laws for Selling Alcohol Online
If you’re in the United States, Canada, Europe, etc., there are important laws to consider when learning to sell alcohol online. The simplest thing you can do to offset this is to set shipping rules. For example, in the U.S., some states still don’t allow alcohol to be shipped directly to consumers. With a liquor POS system, you can set shipping restrictions to places you don’t want to sell. Or, you can get even more granular by setting your store to only local shipments in a set radius.
Additionally, the type of alcohol you sell can impact if you can ship. For example, wine is the most established direct-to-consumer (DTC) beverage market. Therefore, you’ll want to review which states allow alcohol shipment DTC and what types of alcohol their policies allow.
Get a Robust POS
Once the paperwork is complete, you can start focusing on store operations. The best way to streamline selling alcohol online is with a POS system built for liquor stores. Efficient inventory management is one of the biggest challenges retailers face when implementing eCommerce with their brick-and-mortar stores. Retailers need a system that can streamline omnichannel orders to ensure accurate tracking of products. Customers will quickly turn to your competitor if they make a purchase online for an item that ends up being out-of-stock. With a POS system that offers liquor eCommerce integration, your solutions will work together to keep your inventory error-free.
In addition, a robust liquor POS can handle complex eCommerce order management. Typically, when a customer purchases online, the merchant will receive a notification from the third-party platform. Then, the merchant will manually ring up the transaction on the POS system to finalize the transaction. It’s crucial to have a system in place to make order management efficient and ensure a consistent omnichannel experience for customers.
Integrate with Providers
Liquor integrations help take your store online and reach customers through an eCommerce website or app. The eCommerce site you partner with must have age verification and other essential features. Partnering with industry leaders ensures you have everything you need to remain compliant.
Each provider has unique features that may work better for your business needs and budget.
- Flaviar: Retailers become fulfillment partners, and consumers can join via a subscription. Solution reviews stock levels and prompts retailers to fulfill orders with in-stock items.
- CityHive: Provides a DTC mobile app, website, and robust engagement tools.
- BottleCapps: Offers a DTC store-branded mobile app.
Offer Excellent Customer Experiences
With stiff competition, you must go beyond basic selling and offer a seamless customer experience in-store and online. When you integrate your POS system with liquor eCommerce tools, you can provide customers with options to shop how they want with options like buy online, pick up in-store (BOPIS), or click-and-collect.
Additionally, with a solution for the liquor, wine, and beer industries, you can get discount capabilities ideal for your business type. For example, offer deals your customers will love:
- Mix-and-match: Buy three, get one free
- BOGO: 50 ml mini liquor bottles
- Subscription options: Wine of the month subscription
Take customer service to the next level with a loyalty program. You can quickly set up a program and track customer data with the right POS system. More information on customer preferences allows workers to recommend products based on your customer’s purchase history and send or schedule personalized content to build a relationship.
How to Sell Alcohol Online With The General Store
To meet your customers where they shop, integrate your liquor store POS system with eCommerce. From streamlined operations to delightful customer experiences, a liquor, wine, or beer store POS system from The General Store can help you grow your business. Request a demo with our expert team, and they’ll quickly walk you through how to sell alcohol online with our POS system.