At what time during the e-commerce shopping process are you going to ask for a shipping state? Are you going to ask early on if the person is shipping to a prohibited state and then warn them? At what point are you going to run a full compliance check?
Another question is: are you going to show your wine to visitors who are shipping to a prohibited state? If you show them the wine, are you going to let them know up front that they can't purchase wine due to the state they are shipping to?
At wine.com, before you enter the site they ask for your shipping state. If you choose a prohibited state like Alabama, they don't even show you wine on the site, instead they message you and show you other gifts.
Most of the e-commerce sites developed by eWinery Solutions ask you for your shipping state when you place your first item in your cart. If you pick a prohibited state like Alabama, they message you and then in most cases limit the products you can see unless you change your shipping state. (We were previously the developers of the eWinery system and we know that this question went round a few times over the years).
At Inertia Beverage most of their e-commerce sites allow you to add wines to your cart, checkout, and then during the checkout they tell you that they can't ship to your state if you've choosen a prohibited state.
(If you’re reading this and I misrepresented your company in any way, feel free to correct me in the comments).
There are definitely pros and cons to each of the above methods.
At Vin | 65 we have handled this a few ways. On our recent site launch of Burgundy and Beyond we allow you to pick your shipping state at anytime in the order. So you can pick it while you are shopping (and if you pick a prohibited state, we show you product but we don't allow you to purchase, instead we message you at the top of the screen). We also allow you to select your shipping state in the cart (here again if you pick a prohibited state we message you, if you pick a compliant state we are showing the shipping and taxes up front). We also allow users to proceed right to the checkout before telling us their state if they like. During checkout if you pick a prohibited state we do stop them from completing the order.
So when do you feel it’s appropriate to start gathering a shipping state? Is Wine.com’s method to upfront? Do you want to ask in the cart? Do you wait till the checkout? And how about people who are from prohibited states, do they get lead down a path and not told till the checkout? Or do you think they know they can’t buy wine online?