There is a small industry that caters to wineries seeking ecommerce. These companies, IBG, Vin65, eWinery Solutions, Submerce, and others, exist because they develop and build (possibly also design) websites just so wineries have a way to sell their products online. Wineries pay perhaps $5,000 (amounts do vary) for the build and then pay a monthly hosting fee (really a software rental fee) that comes to $300-$400, less if the hosting company takes a percentage of sales.
So will Facebook and other social media sites eliminate them? See the excellent blog post from goodgrape.com: http://bit.ly/btFX3h The relevant portion is the second part of this post. And see the comments for some thoughtful disagreements.
Facebook won’t replace winery websites at least for now. But the times they are a changing, and it will be interesting to see how and when it all happens.
Something similar happened once before to another industry. It was an industry I worked in for years, and one day, poof! It was gone. Here’s the story:
Once upon a time there was a big industry that employed lots of craftspeople (artists, really, in their own way) called the Typesetting Industry.
It employed a hundred billion people (well, quite a few anyway) in many cities, especially New York (the place I was most familiar with). The classified job listings in the Sunday NY Times specifically looking for typesetters was huge. (This was before Craig Newmark invested his list.) The ads just for typesetters took up many columns of tiny type (a job a typesetter had, by the way). If you were even halfway good, you could work all the time plying your craft.
Then one day in 1984, the Mac, an Apple Laserwriter, and software called Pagemaker came knocking at the door. They hadn’t been invited to the party, but decided to attend anyway.
The typesetting industry laughed and laughed. “This is not how we set type, you puny little toy machine. We use big machines, with lots of code.”
Someone started up a magazine about this new fangled thing now called “Desktop Publishing.” And someone took their new Mac, their new Pagemaker, their new Laserwriter, and created a big ad for this magazine.
And it was the ugliest thing you ever saw. “Would You Believe We Created This Ad on a Mac?” the big headline of the ad said.
Everyone laughed. It was badly typeset. Wordspacing, linespacing, typography was awful. It was impossible to read. It needed to be laughed at.
But not for too long. Because hardware gets better, software gets better, and most of all, people get better. And over time, this new-fangled device started to take over the lower end of the market. Simple ads, resumes, flyers.
The quality and variety of the work done on a Mac increased exponentially until it even surpassed the existing model. And those in the type industry who didn’t get it, didn’t stay around much longer. And those who did, adapted, found a new business model, learned what was now needed in the marketplace.
So perhaps Facebook (and whatever else there is now and may be coming soon) is not an ideal solution to replace a winery website now. But it would be a mistake to ignore it.
It may be too complex for Facebook to replace ecommerce sites now. But that will get better (or something better will come along to replace it), people will learn how to use it better, and for some, it will be good enough for now.
One day wineries will wake up to the face that they may not need to spend $300-$400 per month on software rental and maintenance. And then the companies that develop winery websites will either figure out how to extend their reach, how to offer additional services or they too will go the way of the typesetting industry.
Adapt or die, as they say. Adaptation takes time, dying happens all at once.