In this post-pandemic era we are right now, some of us want to turn their passion into a job. And you’re right! The best way to love what you do, is to do what you love.
When you love baking or cooking, you might ask yourself, how to sell food online in 2021? I’ll detail the way to make it work with my personal experience.
Know your skills
I want to be brutally honest. You don’t have to be skilled with the Internet to start your online business. Starting is not the bigger deal. Growing is.
This blog post is on how to start your online business. At least the first steps to get you on your way. So don’t be scared!
First, you need to focus on a single product, and master it. Make sure that the food you do has a special twist. It will be key to position yourself afterwards and orientate your brand image.
Are you on the higher end? Do you sell wholesale to distributors? Is it Business to Business or Business to Customers? Do you sell locally or nationwide? All those questions will help you to define your brand and position yourself among your competitors (yes, you always have competitors).
You can’t be an expert in marketing, cooking, baking, or sales at the same time. But be ready to learn a little of each to jump start your business without breaking the bank. It is the best way to try and test a business idea in the real world.
I’m going to detail each skill needed at least to start, so you can prepare yourself to learn on those topics. Or wait, are you alone on this journey? Don’t be. Here is why.
Don’t be alone
Something very important, you can’t start an online business alone. Unless you are starting a dropshipping business which I don’t recommend (here is why).
Finding someone to jump start with you is not always easy. But to succeed in any field, you need to have at least one extra person.
Think about it: Like I mentioned earlier, you can’t be skilled in baking, marketing, SEO (Search Engine Optimization), etc. at the same time. Even if you were, you won’t have the time to focus on each field individually to build and grow your business successfully.
Another good point of having someone else onboard, is that you get challenged daily.
When you bake daily, you will get tunnel vision on problems in the kitchen. Is this macaron flavor too sweet? What about this purple cherry color? Asking someone that doesn't do it daily will bring a new angle on what you’re doing. It will give you a fresh opinion outside of the box.
And keeping yourself challenged is a key in this journey. Facing challenges alone never works. Two brains (or more) will challenge themselves all the way.
Here at Pastreez, we got this formula and it works. I am the marketing guy, and my wife Yami does the macarons & crêpes. Even if I’m a French chef as well, I simply have no time to focus on both marketing and baking.
This way we can handle 100% of the business with a team of two. But it’s not that simple to work on a daily basis with family members.
Communication is the most important thing to keep. Each one of us has its own routine, its own tasks.
You want to communicate very often with your partner in business. Remember, a candid look on your work will have a great impact. And needless to say that both worlds intersect each other.
For example, if a macaron flavor is out of stock, I would need to know to update the website. On the other hand, if a customer reached out and updated their order, I need to let the kitchen know as well.
Ok so now you understand better how important it is to not be alone when you start your online business. Let’s dig in on what platform to pick from.
Choose the right platform
Do you recall when I mentioned you should be ready to learn a bit of each field? This is the time you need it.
In this section, I will detail three online e-commerce platforms that will help you sell your products online.
First of all, Wordpress. It is the most popular website builder. For instance, 42% of the web is built on Wordpress. But wait, don’t jump in just yet. Let’s see if this is made for you.
Wordpress was the first content management system in the early 2000s. This is probably why almost one in two websites are built with Wordpress.
Wordpress is powerful because it is totally free and customizable. Most people are using Wordpress to blog. It is very easy to create web-friendly blog posts there.
But its main drawback is that it is not designed to sell (at first). It means if you want to start your food ecommerce, you would probably need the help of a developer. Not cool.
Then, you have Wix. Conversely, Wix is the easiest platform to start selling food online. You don’t need any skill with the drag-and-drop technology.
In addition Wix is built to sell. Meaning you won’t have to deal with any customization to start and implement payments, checkout, etc.
So if you really don’t want any hassle, I would advise you to go with Wix. But remember you are trying to build an online business that grows here for a while.
Wix is tricky when it comes to customization. You might get stuck with Wix when you try adding features on your website.
As an example, we added on our website a macarons selector to build your own set online. This is custom developed. It would have been very hard to do that with Wix. But it was doable with Shopify.
Shopify is what I personally recommend to sell food online. It is versatile.
It is ecommerce ready, meaning you have a checkout implemented by default and customers can pay using debit cards, credit cards, Paypal, Amazon pay, etc.
You don’t want to mess around with payments, your website should accept ALL types of common payments. Making it easy for your customers to buy will increase your conversion rate.
Shopify is also great for blogging. I know it might sound weird, since this post is related to selling food online. But hear me out.
Blogging is a great way to attract visitors to your site. Take Pastreez. I love writing about what passionates me. You will find on our blog a lot of tips to start your food business, recipes, culture, etc.
While it is not directly related to macarons or crêpes, it is close enough for you to consider Pastreez anytime you would need these products. The point of blogging is two sided: Build trust with your audience, and improve your Search Engine Optimization (SEO).
Finally, Shopify is great for customization. I’m not a developer. But I can easily find a Shopify expert to build any kind of custom development. Either on Storetasker or Upwork, thousands of experts can help you build whatever you need on your website.
I hope you enjoyed this guide to start your online food business. I’m always happy to help by sharing my experience, so feel free to comment below any question you might have. Cheers!