E-Commerce Guide for Food Brands
If you only plan to sell your food product in stores or at markets, you may be missing out on potential revenue. While the world of e-commerce for food brands is relatively new, it’s growing fast. More customers are ordering food online, and many will expect your brand to have an online shop in 2019. If you’ve never sold online before, don’t feel overwhelmed. There are more tools to do so than ever before! This guide will introduce you to the basics, so you can explore this potential market opportunity.
A Site that Sells
An e-commerce channel starts, in most cases, with a website. Though you could sell directly through Amazon or other e-tailers (more on that soon!), it’s worth the time to create a business website as a marketing and branding tool.
Creating an e-commerce store is easy with tools like Squarespace or Shopify. These two options are the most-used by food entrepreneurs for a reason. Both allow you to quickly and easily build sites that show off your product, and both have additional features that support your business. For example, Squarespace’s built-in CRM allows you to keep track of customers to increase sales and repeat orders. And Shopify even has a POS system, so you can integrate your online and in-store sales, inventory, and data.
(And our Toolkit members get 10% off Squarespace services!)
Even if you get a shop set up, you’ll need a few things to make it user-ready. Great product shots, logos and wordmarks, and testimonials from your fans will all help you sell more product. Check out this example from Bon Temps, a tea brand! They use a combination of pretty packaging shots and stylized context photos to showcase the brand.
Remember that e-commerce is heavily dependent on visuals, so it’s worth investing in quality photos. Though your marketing copy and brand voice are important, a picture is worth a thousand words.
Since food brands are flooding into e-commerce, you’ll need to distinguish yourself if you want to capture the customer’s attention. Is there something you can do different from your competitors? Maybe you can deliver orders to your local customers in a unique way, with a personal touch. Or you can offer a subscription service (many e-commerce tools support this option), so that your customer will refill automatically.
Bundling your products is a great way to create unique offerings while increasing your sales. A mixed-flavor sampler of your products, or a gift basket, allow the customer to get additional value from your products. Here, you can see how Mast Brothers uses bundling, limited editions, and a collaboration with Disney to add variety.
Not ready for a unique vertical? You can still offer special perks that your customers will appreciate, like free shipping or a bonus product.
Getting online orders of your food product is only the first step. Once those orders come in, you’ll need a system for packing and shipping them efficiently. If you’re extra-small, you may be able to handle everything manually: packing orders, printing labels, hauling everything to the post office. But that system doesn’t exactly scale.
That’s why we recommend ShipStation! Shipstation is an all-in-one solution for e-commerce fulfillment. It integrates with your ordering platform and carriers to facilitate a seamless process. You can even customize receipts, track shipments, and use the mobile app on the go.
The world of food e-commerce is too exciting to ignore. Get started today with the tools that will help you build your brand online!