Editor´s note: This is a guest post by Brian Zeng, the owner of Ponbee.com
Good food is a necessity rather than a luxury! Whether you are getting bored alone at home or are tired from having worked hard all day, eating good food can uplift your mood within moments. The easiest way to get food is by turning to either home-delivery services or online grocers. These present a hot opportunity for entrepreneurs looking to create a foothold in the e-commerce business. Feed people’s appetites online and see the growth graph go up.
So if you are an aspiring online food surveyor, here is how you can tap into the market and grow your business manifolds.
However, selling food online is one of the toughest businesses. “The retail e-commerce revenue from food and beverage sales amounted to 9.4 billion dollars in 2016,” according to Statista
Moreover, the 2016 Online Food Report finds some more interesting fact about food industry:
- The online sale of food is suddenly a booming market.
- Online grocery shopping could grow five-fold over the next decade, with American consumers spending upwards of $100 billion on food-at-home items by 2025.
According to Morgan Stanley Research, online food delivery presents a $210B market opportunity.
- Create a Unique Experience
By now almost everyone knows that they can buy food online, but what is your USP and why should customers buy from you? Think out-of-the-box and offer something that buyers have never seen or experienced before. Do some research and find out what’s already on the platter and what needs to be served yet. Take the example of The Cookie Cups. Everyone buys cookies, but how about cookies that look like cupcakes?
Another is Wholeshare, which is now part of the Direct Eats family, is an e-commerce food business that allows consumers to buy groceries at discounted rates. Traditional buying clubs are highly disorganized and consumers have to take a lot of pain to get what they want. The founders at Wholeshare identified this and started an online buying club.
Wholeshare allows vendors to edit their catalogues, manage the logistics and fulfill orders. Consumers can form a group of five to fifty people (with each member having a personal account) and place their orders. Once the group’s order reaches the wholesaler’s minimum, the order is processed and each member is charged individually. The order reaches a central location from where the buying club members pick up the items.
The USP: Consumers get heavy discounts (about 30 to 50 percent) and have access to more than 15,000 products.
Creating something new, innovative, and convenient can make a lot of difference. Remember, the competition is stiff, so you need to think out-of-the-box to create a foothold in the industry.
Fulfill Orders in a Timely Manner
Freshness and appeal are paramount in an online food business. Whether you run a home-based food delivery business such as meal delivery services, baked goods, and catering etc. or own a well-known food chain, you should be able to fulfill orders on time. Remember, people can wait for a day to wear a new dress, but they will not even wait to satiate their hunger. Stephen Hall, the co-founder, Tinker Coffee says, “Know your production schedule backwards and forwards. We know exactly how much coffee we should be roasting at any given time to fulfill online orders within one business day.”
Create a Website That Makes People Drool
It is important for the food to taste good, but it is even more important for it to look good. The website must be a reflection of what you are and what you offer. When it comes to e-commerce food business, there may be several others who might be offering the same products as you, so you need to set yourself apart from them. Here is an example of a simple, yet an interesting website that sells cakes, Keith Cakes:
Just take a look at Keith Cakes’ website and you know what is on offer instantly. If you too want to create a similarly visually appealing website, here are some best practices to follow:
- Use high-quality professionally-clicked photos of the food you offer. Avoid using artificial pictures.
- Typography adds to the appeal of the website. So choose the typography carefully.
- The design must be clean and tidy. Make sure your customers can find products easily.
- Including some interactive features can make things even more interesting and attract attention quickly.
- Use unique food descriptions that will increase hunger. Include stats such as the size, ingredients used, allergy alerts, etc.
- Choose the color palette carefully, since colors have a deep impact on human emotions and that includes hunger.
- Keep the check-out process simple and easy.
- Offer multiple payment methods.
- Include real customer testimonials.
Remember the old saying, “The way to a man’s heart is through his stomach?” This is applicable to women and children too. But when it comes to e-commerce, it is through their eyes. So having an appealing website that promotes your products is very important.
The e-commerce food industry is full of new opportunities; you just need to be ready to grab them. However, the competition is stiff, so you need to work really hard to make your business successful. Offering great food is not enough, you need to reach out to the people and convince them to buy your products. But that is not easy. Follow the tips mentioned above and get started (as well as sustain the competition) with your e-commerce food business.
Brian Zeng is the owner of Ponbee.com. He is an entrepreneur by spirit. Through Ponbee, Brian would like to share his insights on an array of topics related to business, e-commerce, digital.