You may have just started your baking business or have been in the scene for years. But whatever the case, you must adapt to the more modern way of reaching your customers. In other words, you need to be more accessible to your customers or turn away from the ‘boomer’ ways of doing your business and turn to the millennial-friendly ways of selling. Yes, we’re talking about going online!
Because why not? It’s going to help your business bloom, particularly if you’re just starting your bakery business and don’t want to risk investing in property, or you simply want to start a home bakery. Either way, taking your business online is never a bad choice. But like most things are, it’s a process and you can’t do it without following some crucial steps! So here is our handy little manual to take your baking business online!
Define Your Brand
When people visit your website or your social media accounts, it’s very important that they can immediately put a finger on what your brand is all about. Be it your brand name or your content, it should always reflect your niche and you have to have a niche. Take Levainbakery.com as an example. You understand what they’re selling the moment you open their website. Having a niche is going to help you reach your target demographic effortlessly and help them to reach you effortlessly too.
Artisan Over Mass-produced Foods
With the rise in social media marketing and business going online on a day-to-day basis, there’s too much competition out there and to sustain through it. So your brand needs to stand out. Nobody loves generic products anymore. Whether it’s because of the rise in the demand of organic products and emerging trends in the diet industry, or only because of the fact that customers value creativity over mass production; you’ve to make your brand look different from the rest.
Create Your Online Platform
Your online presence is going to affect your sales like nothing else will. Let’s guess, you have bought and registered your domain, now what? It’s important for a brand to have a website and social media presence that keeps the customers interested and aids to their sales. Whether you decide to hire a professional to create your website or you want to do it yourself, you’ve to be clear about the basics of your business, your brand identity, your niche and target demographic. It will only make the process of designing your website easier for you.
Everybody Loves A Smooth Landing
Nobody appreciates an uninteresting display, right? User interface is a huge part of your online business. It holds the power to either make a deal or break one! Making an easy landing page for placing orders, browsing through the menu and making the payment is one of the most important tasks. Your customers don’t want to waste their time figuring out how to browse through your website and make the payment. So a well-designed and easy-to-use landing page is the way to go.
Different Problems Need Different Solutions
You can not run an online business with the ways of a traditional approach. Let’s see, you are all set and ready to finally “do” the stuff you are here to do – to produce and sell. In a traditional setting, the methods of storage of goods and the schedule of purchasing the ingredients will be different than an online business. You’ve to make a schedule for every task.
If you’re starting a business from home, most likely you’ll be required to purchase separate equipment for your business and according to some states, even have a separate kitchen for your business as it’s not allowed to have the same cooking area for your household as well as your business.
You’ll have to plan days for shopping for ingredients and consider the shelf life of the products as you have to calculate the shipping period too. Also, you need to keep your customers updated on the availability and waiting period for certain products due to low stock levels or shorter shelf life of the required ingredients.
Use Legal Protection
Completing all legal formalities is the only thing that will keep your business protected in the long run. So make sure you have registered your business with your local government. It will help you obtain a license, which certifies that you can produce and distribute your baked goods to your customers.
An additional step to this is to apply for a food manufacturer or distributor’s license (depending on your state laws). The next step is to follow the FDA guidelines and laws while you prepare your products and sell them.
This is the step where you have to use all the traditional and non-traditional marketing techniques you know to spread the word about your brand. Mouth publicity is the best type of publicity as comes from the honest experience of one customer and reaches potential customers. So make sure when you make a sell, you’re also selling a good experience along with your product.
Take Nike for an example, they’re no more only selling shoes, they’re selling fitness. Just like that, you sell cakes, but what you’re providing is a way for families to ‘celebrate their special moments’. To put it simply, you don’t sell a product, you sell an experience.
For the most part of the marketing, it’s advisable that you hire a professional if you’re not really sure how to do it by yourself. If you want to study or do a crash course on marketing, you can always find free and paid online courses on websites like Skillshare and Udemy.
Make Your Customers Feel Special
The key to run any successful business is to keep your customers happy. Your customers matter the most and you should always keep reminding them how much you care for them. Including and considering their diet needs is perhaps the simplest way you can show it to them. Design your menu in a way that is inclusive of all healthy needs of your customers. You can make different sections for diabetes-friendly, vegan, vegetarian and gluten-free products, mentioning allergy warnings when there are ingredients like peanuts involved. Remember, you’re not here only to sell your foods, but also to provide a healthier and tastier eating experience.
We hope you enjoyed reading this article and that we could help you figure out how you will be taking your bakery business online.