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Here is the ultimate guide for you to start a food business online.
We are assuming that you already have food products ready to market and maybe you already selling in the offline market and now you are planning to sell that online.
Selling your food online is a great decision as statistics say that food and beverage marketing is growing at an average rate of 17-18% every year, and that is huge growth.
The online food business is completely different than selling clothes or jewelry online, a barrier to entry in the food business is comparatively high compare to selling your homemade hobby ideas. In food business safety and health is always the biggest concern and you need to comply with your local and state government by taking necessary certifications. A constant monitorization is required for your food products when you are storing them and shipping them to avoid wastage and spoilage of your food product.
Here are the steps you should follow to sell food and beverages online.
The first essence of great photos is making people eat food with their eyes. Photos should act as Food Porn, the ways porn tantalizes the brain, the picture of food also act similarly and it turbo charges more natural sensory experience. A mere photo of your food item should stimulate the appetite. One study has stated that “the amount of the neurosecretory protein hormone ghrelin in the blood increases as a result of visual stimulation through images of food”.
Thus, photos are the most essential part of your eCommerce story, amazing photos will make your customers want your product.
Some great examples of product photography
2) Website Content Writeup
Every customer is different, some customer just buys the product by looking at the photo of the product but some customer wants to know in detail about what they are eating, they want to know all about their product from sourcing to how you make them. They love going into the detailing of the product before they make their decision. Here is some of the important writeup which your website will require
- Product Details: which should have detail about the product including ingredients and nutritional values.
- Sourcing info: if you want to create more trust in your product.
- Recipes: If your product is an ingredient to some product or it can be used as a mixer then writing different recipes would be really helpful to sell the product.
- FAQ: Write down certain questions which can come into customer’s minds before ordering any products and answer them In the FAQ section which will ease the ordering of your products and you will save a lot of time answering same questions.
- About: You need to write a bit about your company, your vision, your purpose behind this product, how you started, why you started. A great story can connect your product with the customers emotionally and they can be your lifelong customer. You can also mention you and your team, putting a photo of the main person behind the product creates trust for the product. The consumer feels that they know the person so they can trust the product.
- 3) eCommerce platform
Choosing the right eCommerce platform is very important at this moment, there are different platforms available in the market as per the size and growth plan of your business. If you need professional help in any of the below platforms then we can consult you and can help you in the development of the below system as per your size and your budget.
- Low Budget Startup
For Low budget startups, we would recommend to go with Shopify & BigCommerce. With Shopify & BigCommerce it is very easy to launch the store in a couple of days if all the material is ready. With Shopify & BigCommerce you can choose the template and you are ready to go. You may not get options to customize your store a lot or perform complex modules with it but being a startup marketing has to be your major goal and complex things you can handle it manually. If you are a bit technical and have time to explore the option you can signup and start the process.
- Small & Mid-Size Business
If you are into the food business already and just planning to go digital then we can assume that you have a lot of things ready and just want to digitalize your operations. For this size of the business, we can assume that you will need to do many customizations in the way you want to sell your products and it may not be easily available in existing ready platform, So for this size of the business, we would recommend do go with Open sources eCommerce platforms like Magento, Shopware or WooCommerce. Being an open-source platform they will give you great flexibility In doing the customizations in the backend and frontend of the website the way you want.
- Enterprise companies
As an enterprise platform, your system needs to manage a myriad of tasks and needs a platform that can manage multiple product categories, 100’s of products, integration with ERP system, Warehouse system, CRM, Accounting system. Important is your system needs to be customizable and scalable to an unlimited extend without any roadblock. Some of the systems you can consider for your eCommerce platform are
- Magento Cloud Commerce
- Salesforce Commerce Cloud
- SAP Hybris
- 4) Shipping tie-up
Once you finalize and start building your eCommerce platform you need to start working on logistic options of shipping your products, If the products are perishable you may need to find out same-day delivery option. In food products, if you are into B2C or D2C and they are daily consumables then you need to plan daily delivery or max delivery by the next day. If you are into specialized products like Coffee or liquor then 2-3 days of delivery time is acceptable and if you are in B2B supply of wholesale product then max 5 working days is an acceptable time for the deliveries. You may also need to tie up with multiple logistic partners as all the partners don’t deliver across the country so you need to be ready with alternate logistic options.
- 5) Support and Ticket system
You will have to plan for web-based or telephonic support and ticket system, from the first day you start selling your products online you need to have a plan on a support system. Customers may have many queries before or even after buying your products and if they are not responded quickly then you may lose the customer and may not get repeat purchase benefit.
- 6) Marketing plans
- Social Media
Social Media is going to play a major role in your marketing activities, you can create a major buzz in the market by spending little money on social media. It is very important that you must invest money in creating visually attractive and witty content for the social media. Telling your brand story or behind the product story through a short video or animation would give a lasting impact on the viewer’s mind.
Through social media you can also generate a buzz by UGC(User Generated Content) by asking people to post their pictures of your food with their experience about it will help in creating trust in your brand.
For Immediate results and if you want to measure returns of the marketing money spent, there is nothing better than Google AdWords, you can run your campaign on famous keywords related to your food products, or you can even put famous competitor of your brand and run advt. campaign on that keywords.
- Influencer marketing
If you don’t want to spend a big budget on famous celebrities and still want to create the buzz then influencer marketing is the right tool. You can pay a one-off payment to some famous influencer who has a good number of followers and matching your product’s target audience and they can do marketing of your product. Currently, some of the famous platforms for influencer marketing are Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, TikTok.
- Email Marketing
Email marketing works pretty well once you have a good user base, you should be using email marketing for repeat purchase marketing, being a food product there is always a chance of repeat purchase and nothing better serves than email marketing. If you are into the B2B food segment then eMail marketing is a major tool to reach your niche audience, you cannot go all guns open in B2B sales as your buyer base would be less than 0.1% of your total outreach and in that case, using the right email finding tools can be very useful. These are some of the websites through which you can find verified emails of the contacts you are looking for in specific companies.
- Text (SMS) Marketing
Text marketing can again be used for repeat purchases, Phone is something which we hold for at least 8 hours in a day, we get 100’s of emails daily and many go into spam but still, the text has not reached that level and you can utilize text marketing to grab immediate attention of your user. For text marketing to be effective you need to make sure that your mobile website is very effective and fast as 100% of visits of text marketing are going to come through mobile phone.
Seo is a long-time game, but it is a must if you are into serious business. SEO should be started once your initial marketing is working and you are ready to take your business to next level.
All of the above are just basic viewpoints if you are in-game for taking the digital journey for your product, each of the points needs to look into depth if you want to achieve the A-game.
Connect with us for a discovery session of your product and we can help you to create a road map for your digital journey on going to trade of the future.
FILL THE BELOW FORM, IF YOU WANT US TO DO SOCIAL MEDIA MARKETING FOR YOUR RESTAURANT.