Nowadays, you would find dozens of eCommerce stores specializing in fashion, home décor, and electronics popping up every day. But among these, how many food eCommerce stores do you come across? Your answer might be 'barely any,' which is good news for you if you are willing to start a new food eCommerce store. The competition is relatively less here, and it is due to the limited amount of information available to help entrepreneurs execute this business idea.
How to start your food eCommerce store?
As you are selling food, you need to follow a ton of safety guidelines, and in no circumstances, you can violate it. But if you are passionate and can pull off these smart strategies, you will enjoy a generous amount of revenue by the end of the first year as well.
- Legal and licensing requirements
As mentioned already, there are some legal guidelines you need to follow if you are selling any food. The exact legal enforcements depend from place to place, and for this, you will have to look into the 'Cottage Food Regulations.' The regulations demand factors like having proper cold storage, permitting no pets in the kitchen, and maintaining proper sanitation in the cooking area. Apart from this, procuring a business license is a pre-requisite, and you will also have to collect permits from the government. Once you have this setup, you will have to abide by a health official's kitchen inspection once every year.
- Personalized feedback options
One of the mistakes most companies unintentionally make is sending feedback requests to customers just after acquiring the package. As a result of this, most of these feedback requests go unnoticed as customers do not feel the need to do so unless they have used the product. So the wisest decision would be to schedule feedback after 30 days of the delivery. It would give your customers ample time to analyze the pros and cons of the product. They can then send over their feedback and other recommendations regarding the particular product they have purchased.
- Deciding what to sell
You might have an idea in your mind regarding the type of foods you are planning to sell in your eCommerce store. In most cases, business ideas originate from hobbies and passions running in your family. For example, if you have managed to impress your friends and family with the taste of your marmalade made from oranges in your backyard, why not turn it into a business endeavor? Also, if you are fond of a certain recipe your grandma used to make in your childhood, then make the most of such nostalgic ideas.
- Reaching out to suppliers.
Even if you are making meals in your kitchen from scratch and sourcing ingredients from the store right now, the pressure might get overbearing soon. With the increase in orders, you will feel the absolute need for suppliers to source local and exotic ingredients to make your recipes. So from the very beginning, you need to get in touch with a reputable supplier to prevent messing up things. You can find the list of reliable suppliers in the Directories of your country. Your job doesn't end after selecting a supplier providing you with your choice of ingredients as then you will have to check the certifications they have acquired.
- Labeling and packaging
No matter how delicious your masterpiece is, if you score poorly in labeling and branding your food, you eventually lose out. As customers cannot taste your product before purchasing, you need to impress them with the label's design and the overall packaging. By looking at the package and the label, they get an idea about how your food will taste. Once you have figured out the visual aspect of your packaging with a designer's help, you need to keep in mind the regulations applicable. Ideally, the label should disclose all the ingredients used in the food. It includes the net quantity of all the ingredients used and the name of your brand and supplier. Furthermore, if your food consists of common allergens like peanuts and milk solids, make sure to highlight it on the label itself. If you are trading in breakable items, then mention specific keywords like 'fragile.'
- Set up your eCommerce site
Building up an online store is not only the most essential task for setting up an eCommerce store, but it is also the easiest. Contrary to popular belief, setting up an eCommerce web page does not necessarily require a coder's services. If you have the necessary technical knowledge, even you can do it by launching a website on giant eCommerce platforms like BigCommerce, Shopify, etc. Check out these sites' features, and you would come across various free and paid themes you can use on your web page. Now go ahead and add the products and along with visually appealing photos and set the prices. After that, you will have to connect payment gateway software to facilitate easy payment. If you can afford to hire a coder's services, you can customize your eCommerce store like the way you want, and your coder will also handle all the technical aspects so that you will be worry-free.
- Content creation and marketing
Well, now that you have your website ready, how are you going to spread the news of your business like wildfire? It depends on your marketing ideas and how effectively you implement them to draw customers to your website. As customers cannot perceive your products' quality before investing in it, you will have to connect your customers to your brand story. The best thing you can do is build a community of influencers to engage potential leads via word-of-mouth referrals. To grow your email list, you can offer recipe ideas for free to the users, and in exchange, they would have to enter their necessary contact details.
The path to becoming an owner of a successful food eCommerce store will be filled with challenges. But you have got everything to beat the hurdles and emerge out as a champion by showing your brand's true potential.