Online Liquor Sales: Selling Liquor Online

By
Nicole Georgiev
Table of Contents
    Thank you! Please check your inbox now for your welcome email.
    There was an issue with the form. Please try again.

    Food and drink is as ageless an interest as time itself. Thanks to the growth of the internet and related technology, selling food online is simpler than ever. You can turn your hobby into your profession with some extra money and commitment, and you don’t have to open a bar or liquor store to make it happen. Selling baked goods online or learning how to sell cookies online can be lucrative if you have great recipes and persistence. 

    Perhaps beverages are your passion and you’d rather learn how to sell wine online, sell beer online, sell whiskey online. No matter your reason for selling alcohol online, it’s a great market to step into. 

    eCommerce growth for the liquor market increased by 11% in 2019 and then surged by over 230% in 2020, due primarily to the COVID-19 pandemic. Total alcohol sales via eCommerce reached $6 billion in the US. Looking forward from 2022, alcohol-related eCommerce sales are expected to reach $42 billion by 2025. 

    Starting an eCommerce business to sell liquor can be an exciting, rewarding adventure. You need to get the appropriate licensing, fill out paperwork, find the best eCommerce website for your business, and build a powerhouse marketing plan to make it work. Keep reading to learn what goes into this modern and flexible eCommerce niche.

    schedule a bluecart demo

    Can You Sell Liquor Online?

    With proper legal and business documentation, you can sell liquor online. Now is a great time to enter this market as well, with eCommerce as a whole expected to grow by 15-30% year-over-year (YoY). Buyers are now fully accustomed to shopping for almost anything they need online. 

    Each state’s liquor laws differ, and this includes online liquor sales. The laws for selling alcohol online are stringent, and you don’t want to get caught on the wrong side of them.

    Having a restaurant liquor license is different from an eCommerce license, which is also different from a shipping license. Overall, there’s a lot of licensing that goes into an eCommerce business, and even more when you add alcohol to the mix–but it’s worth it for the mixed drinks you can sell. 

    Before you can start selling your favorite beverages to customers, you’ll need all applicable licenses. Continue reading for information on how to get this licensing. 

    License to Sell Liquor Online

    Setting your liquor business up for success includes being on good terms with the government. That means you need to ask yourself, “What license do I need to sell alcohol online?” Like any liquor business, there are plenty of laws for selling alcohol online.

    From being a personal license holder to having retailer rights, there’s plenty you need to get squared away with. Here is the documentation and licensure needed for your eCommerce venture: 

    • Alcohol dealer’s registration (ADR). This paperwork proves to the government and customers that you’re a lawful seller of alcoholic beverages. Alcohol can’t be purchased by someone under the age of 21 in the US, so this is a crucial legal protection for your business. This document also puts your business on the map with the Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB). 
    • A retailer license. This is the document that allows you to conduct business in the state that your company operates. It’s basically the government’s way of giving businesses permission to start selling. 
    • One or more shipping licenses. A shipping license is the government’s 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. If you want to expand nationwide, you’ll need to acquire eCommerce shipping licenses for as many states as you want to sell to. You should also verse yourself in flat rate shipping, overnight shipping, and expedited shipping, to be prepared for any and all scenarios.

    You’ll also want to understand the basis of premise licenses, purely for the sake of research. Once these documents are fulfilled, you’ll have all the paperwork necessary to sell liquor online. 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 is required and the other types of paperwork protect your business and profits. 

    You should also research the best banks for eCommerce business. Selecting the right bank prevents unnecessary fees, offers convenience, and ensures you have all the tools you need to generate sales. If you're selling liquor through BlueCart eCommerce, you can connect your account to your eCommerce store to get paid instantly when you sell products.

    selling products online ebook download

    How to Sell Liquor Online

    Getting your paperwork completed is an exciting milestone because it means you’re in the clear to build a business. Creating a sales and eCommerce marketing engine takes time to perfect but should always be at the forefront of your efforts. 

    Here’s what’s involved in online liquor sales: 

    1. Get Your eCommerce Platform Set Up

    Every successful business needs a kick-butt website. You can use a headless eCommerce platform or a site with front-to-back integration, but the most important thing is that it works for your customers. From your eCommerce website design to intuitive eCommerce hosting, everything should mesh with your customer service. 

    Websites always need to be tweaked over time, but you should have one that efficiently and powerfully serves the needs of your customers. These are the necessary functions and features of any website: 

    • Fast page loading
    • Simple navigability
    • Professional imagery
    • Security features for sensitive information, like payments–see PCI compliance to learn more
    • Easily identifiable contact form
    • Built with DTC food in mind

    BlueCart’s eCommerce tools are designed with ease of use in mind. Book a demo today to learn about our eCommerce marketing automation tools and SEO-friendly platform.

    1. Create a Marketing Plan

    To stand out in the crowded sea of eCommerce food and drink, you’re going to need a stellar eCommerce marketing plan. Every business is different. However, you can tap into the psychological pricing principles of persuading buyers with the following strategies: 

    • Know your branding extremely well. Customers can see through a brand that is not consistent with itself. If you know what makes your business stand out, it will be far easier to attract the right customers. Whether you sell wine meant for regular consumption or special occasions, your products should be presented in a way that intuitively communicates this. 
    • Understand what your ideal buyer wants. Are there a lot of wine enthusiasts in your audience who want the best? Do you cater to shoppers overwhelmed and confused by all the wine names and wine varietals? No matter who is shopping on your site, you should be positioning yourself in a human and helpful way. Enthusiasts don’t want to spend time reading about the basics, and first-time wine buyers may think you’re snobby if you’re bragging about the finesse of your drinks. Use an independent survey of some kind to ensure you aren’t using irrelevant language for your audience. 
    • Use attraction marketing, not push marketing. Attraction marketing is any eCommerce marketing strategy that naturally or intuitively draws people closer to what you’re selling. Examples of attraction marketing include eCommerce SEO, social media posts, video testimonials, eCommerce content marketing, and incentive programs. The reason this works so well instead of push marketing is because it encourages customers to learn more about your brand on their own. If you’re constantly shouting at people to buy your stuff, they will distance themselves from your brand. 
    1. Go Where Your Customers Are

    Generating awareness and interest in your company is an obstacle that all kinds of business owners struggle with. Many entrepreneurs believe that buyers will come to their site if it looks snazzy or has great products. 

    Unfortunately, this is not how human nature works. People need to have quite a bit of familiarity with your brand before they decide to buy. Instead of expecting people to simply show up to your website, you should actively reach out to them in multiple ways. This is especially true if you're in a popular niche, like selling coffee online in the wholesale coffee arena. 

    A powerful way of attracting new leads is borrowing someone else’s audience. Numerous successful businesses and influencers offer sponsored shout-outs for companies of a similar nature. The key here is to fully grasp your audience’s characteristics and what they’re most likely to appreciate.

    As a liquor business, you may consider advertising on a sports network, in food magazines, or throughout media consumed by men. It’s not to say women don’t drink alcohol as well, but men are a larger audience for most alcoholic goods. These are considered some of the most effective channels for sharing new alcohol products as they’re closely related to target markets’ other interests. 

    1. Strive for Excellence

    It should go without saying, but professional presence and top-tier products are responsible for creating successful brands. It’s unwise to expect customers to purchase your goods merely because you sell something popular. Your products need to have a personality of their own and offer an experience that can’t be found elsewhere. 

    A great way to enhance your company’s excellence is using customer surveys. Customers generally enjoy sharing their opinion and will be more inclined to do so if your survey is brief and easily understood. 

    Where Can I Sell Liquor Online?

    When it’s time to attract interest in your liquor brand, it’s important to know what online avenues to use. Thanks to eCommerce growth trends and consumers’ desire for convenience, it’s easier than ever before to reach buyers. 

    There are many places you can sell liquor online. Here are some of the most commonly used: 

    BlueCart’s eCommerce platform is built with your key marketing objectives in mind. Track all of your sales and optimize your products for mobile and web visibility all in one place.

    A Great Business Opportunity

    Alcoholic drinks are cultural centerpieces for weddings, celebrations, anniversaries, and parties. The average American drinks about 2.3 gallons of alcohol across a year, which is up 0.3 gallons since the 1910s.

    If these numbers indicate anything, they show that the eCommerce alcohol niche won’t be slowing down any time soon. Keep providing top-notch customer service and superior drinks to your buyers and you can’t go wrong. Learn how to sell products online with our all-inclusive guide.

    Disclaimer: This information does not function or serve as a replacement to legal reference materials. It is intended for educational or informational purposes for personal use only. Conduct your own research or consult with a lawyer to make sure your business is in full compliance with each federal, state, and local law.

    Frequently Asked Questions About Online Liquor Sales

    Our answers to these frequently asked questions will give you some specific answers to queries you’ll be looking into before you start selling liquor online. There are plenty of other questions you’ll come across along the way, but these are a good start. From types of alcohol in online alcohol sales to states laws around licensing needs, we’ve got you covered. 

    Can You Buy Whiskey Online?

    Yes, you can buy whiskey online. However, this can depend on the state that you live in. There are some states that restrict online alcohol purchases. Those rules even get specific about direct to consumer wine shipping laws, liquor sales, and specifications on types of alcohol you can sell in different capacities. 

    Where Can I Sell Liquor Online?

    Some places where you can sell liquor online include:

    • Beverage trading sites
    • Collectors’ sites
    • An online marketplace
    • Wholesale directory 

    Similar to whiskey, there will be specific rules on where you can sell liquor online depending on your location. Make sure you research those rules before you start selling. 

    Do I Need a Liquor License to Sell Liquor Online?

    Yes, you're required to have a liquor license to sell liquor online. You might think that because you’re selling online, without a storefront or bar, there are less rules involved in online alcohol sales. That’s not the case. If anything there are more rules, as shipping liquor comes with its own set of regulations. You might not need a premise license, but a licensing authority is looking for more than rules around selling in a physical location. Getting a liquor license is vital to selling liquor in any capacity. 

    schedule a bluecart demo

    Selling Liquor Online: Online Bar Service

    You won’t be able to sit back behind your virtual bar and watch your customers enjoy a mixed drink or cold beer brand that you served up, but selling liquor online is just as rewarding in many ways. From shipping out different types of alcohol to being a virtual liquor store that customers can rely on, selling alcohol online is intrinsically linked to the world of bars, restaurants, and all manner of liquor sales. 

    Whenever you’re looking to brush up your eCommerce knowledge, the BlueCart blog is here to help. Wherever you’re at in your eCommerce business, BlueCart has you covered with our expertise in Internet-based business matters. 

    Book a Demo
    Streamline order management, grow your bottom line, and get back hours of your time with BlueCart. Schedule a demo now:
    Thank you! Your submission has been received!
    Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.