Reading between the vines: analyzing the readability of consumer brand wine web sites

Adam J. Mills (Beedie School of Business, Simon Fraser University, Vancouver, Canada)
Leyland Pitt (Beedie School of Business, Simon Fraser University, Vancouver, Canada)
Setayesh Sattari (Industrial Marketing and e‐Commerce Research Group, Lulea University of Technology, Lulea, Sweden)

International Journal of Wine Business Research

ISSN: 1751-1062

Publication date: 17 August 2012

Abstract

Purpose

Many audiences might view wine brand web sites as complex or unapproachable. Wine drinking is no longer a pastime of the affluent and elite; rather, it is increasingly popular among younger consumer groups and those from broader socio‐economic backgrounds. In order to communicate effectively with newer consumer demographics, wine brand web sites must first and foremost be understandable and readable. The purpose of this paper is to investigate this issue, aiming to answer the question of whether the web sites of popular wine brands are readable or not.

Design/methodology/approach

To investigate the readability of consumer brand wine web sites, web site copy from the 20 most popular wine brands in the USA was calculated across multiple readability indices employing content analysis.

Findings

The findings suggest that, while certain target demographics may be assumed by grouping wine brand web sites based on readability measures, there are marked differences in readability across wine web sites of a similar nature that only serves to reinforce consumer confusion, rather than help remove it.

Originality/value

There is scant literature on readability in the wine business literature in general, and with regard to the readability of wine web sites in particular. The research highlights the need for those who communicate with a broad audience of wine consumers to give attention to web site content, and readability in particular. This is for two reasons: less sophisticated consumers will not respond to wine marketing messages they cannot understand, and more sophisticated wine drinkers will react more positively to messages that are clear and well‐written. Readability is equally important for these more sophisticated consumers.

Keywords

Citation

Mills, A., Pitt, L. and Sattari, S. (2012), "Reading between the vines: analyzing the readability of consumer brand wine web sites", International Journal of Wine Business Research, Vol. 24 No. 3, pp. 169-182. https://doi.org/10.1108/17511061211259170

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Publisher

:

Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2012, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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