Baking always starts as a hobby for most people. The desire of an individual to have everyone taste their products is where the idea of monetizing the hobby begins. The next step is laying out plans for a small business.
Most bakers start with a made-to-order business, which means that they would only create the product once there is an order for it. For most who’ve only started, the first customers would be friends and relatives. These people would then inform their other relatives and friends about the products, making a full connection.
This small business would thrive through word of mouth. But this isn’t enough to gain much bigger earnings. They need to spread the word out on a bigger scale. Thus, the beginning to use social media as a medium. Posting at the right channels would drive people to see and buy the baker’s products.
Suppose the baker had initially started a physical store and then decided to go online. Is this scenario possible? Of course! Going online opens up lots of possibilities for the business.
The step would help gain more buyers and followers. This transition is the beginning of a successful online bakery business. What started as a hobby would blossom into a sustainable business.
By moving its operations from physical to online, the business can cater to more people. Of course, there are steps to follow to begin an online bakery business. This article will discuss these steps in detail.
Know the products to focus on and the customers’ needs.
Before starting the business, it’s best to know what expertise the baker has and decide which product will become a specialty. The baker also needs to discern if this product will “click” with the masses.
To gain more knowledge, bakers should check on other bakeries and their specialties, do market research and think about what they can offer. Their specialty must outperform other bakeries’ specialties. Checking out other bakeries would also help in learning about their best practices, of how they run the bakery. They can either assimilate the knowledge or upgrade it to their advantage.
Knowing the in-demand product also helps a lot. Checking out the demand in the local area will help in deciding for a specialty. Finding what is trending in that area is essential as well.
The Logistics Factor
Think about it. No matter how good the product is, if it doesn’t reach the customers, it’s worthless. As a business owner, especially an online food business would need to shoulder the delivery services. The time required to complete an order is also essential. Checking if they have the correct equipment is vital as well.
The place where the baking will happen is essential too. If all the baking happens at home, there might be a delay in fulfilling orders. The baker needs to have a location dedicated to baking. Once completed, they can use a logistics company to deliver the orders.
Keeping a list of ingredients is essential. Once they have a list, searching online for shops that sell these ingredients should be easy. Having more than one option to buy from is necessary. They will never know when an online supermarket loses its stock and would hurt the baker’s business as well.
Building an Online Presence
After accomplishing the physical side of things, it’s time to go online. If the baker has skills in creating a website, this would be the first step. If they don’t, hiring one is the alternative. They can also start by using social media sites and posting in their marketplace.
Now that the baker has a website, it needs to have a landing page. A landing page is where customers can fill-out forms to order products. Taking good quality pictures of the products is a plus too. Make sure that the photographs will entice the consumers to make an order, but of course, should not be a vast expectation versus reality gap.
Create a tempting home page. It should highlight the baker’s specialties and a brief description of the products. Also, customers are sometimes challenging. Pique their interests and place articles on the site that describes the food. Letting them know the history of the food will entice them as well. The story makes it more interesting.
As much as possible, make the ordering procedure easy for the customers. That would create a lasting impression that they would spread to others. That online shop will gain a good reputation through a smooth ordering process and great food.
Registering the Business
As with all other businesses, registration is a must. Even though it’s an online business, it’s always better to be on the safe side. Registering the business involves getting a license to provide baked food to consumers.
It’s better to get all the necessary papers like permits from a health department, sales permit, and mostly, a business permit. That way, the baker can concentrate on what they do best: baking. Also, registering a business makes everything legal. Licenses are essential, mainly when a business deals with food.
Ensuring the Safety of the Food
This goes without saying. One of the most important things to consider in a bakery business is food safety. The baker must make sure that all the ingredients used in baking are clean and safe. They should only get ingredients from trustworthy shops like Walmart and Target.
Food preparation is essential, as well. The utensils and equipment used should undergo cleaning sessions after its usage. Bakers should check their packaging as well. They have to place any allergen information at the back of the pack.
They also need to place icons that the ingredients used are suitable for vegetarians. Vegetarians also eat pastries, but only if the ingredients are ideal for them.
Going back to the allergens, lots of baked products have nuts within them. A person that is allergic to peanuts must know that there are peanuts on a pastry through its packaging. This is only one example of an allergen. Doing this will save lots of lives.
If the baker has an online shop, they have to place descriptions about the products they sell. The owner needs to inform the people about its ingredients and potential allergens. They can also state if the ingredients are plant or animal-based as consideration for vegetarians.
Get the Word Out
Do effective promotions. Create accounts for various social media channels and promote the business online. Some bakers create their own pages in these channels and ask people to visit and like their page. A little help from family members and friends will hasten the spread of the word.
They can also place order forms on their social media pages. Nowadays, online businesses revolve around social media. Having a website is still great, but social media pages are more efficient. It caters to people from all walks of life so anyone will learn about the existence of the business.
Highlight testimonials that people give about the products. When people see these testimonials, they tend to have more faith in the products. Not only that, but they will also learn to trust the one behind these treats. These would earn the reputation that the baker needs to increase its credibility.
People with businesses tend to use Facebook to have an online shop. Creating pages is easy and will take only a couple of minutes. They would then start uploading pictures of the products and place descriptions. Once the page is ready, they get the page’s link then use their social media accounts to post the said link. Having an account with many friends helps in the promotion of the business.
All they will do now is wait for orders to rush in. It is normal to get a few orders on the first day. Once the people received their orders and liked the product, they will order more. They will ask their colleagues to patronize the product as well.
Providing the Best Deals
At first, it’s good to provide discounts or freebies with every order. In the first few weeks after the business’s launch, people will look for discounted prices. Oblige by ensuring at least a five percent discount for a bundle of pastries.
The discount will also depend on the earnings of the baker. If they can still reach high profits while providing discounts, then it’s a good deal. They might even extend the duration of the discount depending on its effect on people.
Another technique is providing more products for the price of one. For example, the baker can add one type of bread to the customer’s order for free. Again, the number of freebies provided will depend on the baker’s earnings. As much as possible, always try to find a good deal between the baker and the consumer.
With promotions like these, more and more people will order from the online shop. They will take advantage of the discounts and freebies while supplies last. This is a tiring part of the business but necessary to build a solid consumer base.
Maintain Good Communication
When accepting orders, always make sure that there will be no issues in completing it. If the baker says that the order will ship on a specific date, they should follow through. Failure to fulfill deals will result in losing customers. Not only that, but they would lose the consumers’ trust and confidence as well.
Lots of businesses, both physical and online, fail because of not fulfilling orders. Bakers should only take orders that they can fulfill in time. The temptation to accept many orders is strong, though. That is why they have to hire people if needed.
Understandably, bakers couldn’t handle all the orders by themselves. Of course, they need to calculate first if they would still earn enough while paying for hired help.
Always make sure that the chat lines are open. One will never know when a bigtime order would come up. Speaking of chat lines, an online business must have different lines of communication. The most common are chat, email, and phone calls.
The more communication lines used, the better for the business. Have a mailing address ready as well. A lot of people still use snail mail as a form of communication.
Using a Personal App
This idea is ambitious, but if the business is already well-known, it will make ordering easier. Most food businesses use a smartphone app for people to order instead of going to social media sites. These apps are very intuitive since the menu is already there – only a few taps, and the order is complete.
A typical partner of these apps is delivery options. Either the baker has its delivery service, or they can opt to deliver using DoorDash. Depending on the situation, the former option is cheaper than the latter. This is because third-party delivery services have fees. Delivery personnel sometimes make mistakes in the delivery.
To have an app of their own, either they create one from scratch or hire someone to do it for them. Again, depending on the scenario, creating one of their own is better. It would allow them to have the liberty of updating/patching the app whenever they want. Should the app misbehave, they can do fixes on their own.
If they choose to hire someone to create their app, they would need to hire that person for app management. Not only that, should the need to patch the app arises, but they also need to contact that person again. Every time the app misbehaves, they would need that person still. It will only cause unnecessary charges for the baker.
Sure, it’s more work for the baker. They also need to spend time learning how to create an app. But if they do this now, it will benefit them in the long run because of the money that they save. With most people doing transactions on their smartphones, apps make ordering easier.
Choosing a Delivery Service
As mentioned earlier, bakers use online delivery to send orders to their customers. Examples of these services are DoorDash and UberEATS. Uber is a successful transport business. It recognized the earning potential of food delivery. It also provided people that don’t have cars to work through food delivery.
One would only need to pass specific exams and must have at least a bike to do the delivery. Depending on the country, UberEATS allows bicycle and motorcycle deliveries. They can even walk and commute to deliver the food as well. Uber drivers can also do part-time work as food delivery personnel if they don’t have passengers.
Another branch of Uber that deals with deliveries is UberRUSH. This delivery option not only delivers food but other items as well. But most bakers tend to use UberEATS since it focuses on food delivery.
How UberEATS works
People will order on UberEATS by checking a list of restaurants. The baker will need to apply to Uber so that they could join this list. They can also place their time of operations on the UberEATS app. That way, the people would know if they are available for orders or closed for the time being.
Once the customer completed an order, the UberEATS personnel will take it. They will then go to the restaurant, show the order to the baker and get the order. During this time, the consumer already paid for the meal online. The baker would also work on the order at once. They should complete it before the UberEATS personnel arrives.
It’s effortless to have an online bakery business. By using the internet as a medium, bakers are on their way to earning lots of cash. Nothing beats earning while doing something they love to do.