5 Ways to Get Your Specialty Food Brand Started in eCommerce

Authored by Emily Charette, Guest Blogger and Owner of WeAreCharette

Fast-Track Your eCommerce Success

Are you ready to start selling your products online? Maybe you’re already on Amazon but you’re ready to sell on your own to improve margins? Not sure where to start? The world of eCommerce may be overwhelming to the newbie, but it can also be an amazing opportunity to grow your business. Brand strategist and eCommerce specialist Emily Charette shares five facts you should know before getting started (or re-started) with your website.

1. Pick the right platform. 

Back in the day, people had custom sites built in one-off projects that went on for months, then committed them to a single developer. Yikes! Nowadays, eCommerce platforms make building a site faster, cheaper, and more flexible in the long run. You’ve probably heard of or had some experience with WordPress, Squarespace, Shopify, Big Commerce, Wix, or Magento. Some platforms are better suited to eCommerce and offer ready-to-go integrations. Shopify, for instance, integrates with Facebook Catalog, allowing customers to shop directly from Instagram, and Amazon Fulfillment, meaning you can manage all your fulfillment in one platform if you prefer. It also offers shipping fees calculated by weight and carrier, an integrated POS system, subscriptions, and lots more. Plus, tons of apps developed specifically for the platform that can basically do just about anything you need it to do for a small additional fee. Shopify has some templates you can start with, but in order to differentiate your brand, it’s better to work with a web designer who can capture your branding and unique sales needs with a custom design. 

2. A picture is worth a thousand words. 

Photograph your product along with your ingredients in order to communicate flavor, quality, and artisan nature of your product. Photograph your product in use (is it a snack? Put it in a backpack! Is it a side dish? Shoot it on a plate with a nice protein and salad!) and pay attention to your lighting. Natural light makes food look more appealing.

Finally, consider hiring a professional photographer. It’s a considerable investment, but entirely worth the expense. 

3. Get your branding in order, then amplify it through a well-branded site. 

The last thing you want to do is invest thousands of dollars in a logo your neighbor’s artsy nephew made. The development of your eCommerce store is a great opportunity to take a step back and look at your branding as a whole. Make sure your logo is unique, memorable, easy to read and communicates your brand’s core values and benefits. The best way to make the most of your branding and eCommerce site creation is to work with a designer who does both. Even better if they can help you tweak your packaging design before you spend a bundle on that photography!

4. If you build it, they *might* come. 

But, lucky for you, there’s free publicity through social media. While your site is in development (expect the design & build process to take at least 8 weeks) spend your time crafting your social media presence. Start with an instagram account that matches your brand name. Use that photography you’ve invested in, and add in posts about how and why you create your products.

Your personal story is what makes your specialty food, well, special! So don’t be shy about sharing your passion for food, flavor, and nutrition. 

Meerkat Media Group carefully curates brand stories through brand voice, product photography and video. Check out our case studies here.

5. Plan for long-term relationships with your customers. 

Depending on what your product is, you probably have a fair amount of differentiation and/or education you need to share with your customer in order to make the sale. Don’t expect your site visitors to buy right away. They need that education/differentiation and sometimes they don’t get it all on the first visit. But how do you capitalize on your non-converting web traffic? Be sure your eCommerce site offers low-commitment options for your risk-averse potential customers. A free newsletter with recipes and coupons is a great start. An invitation to follow on social media is another. Freebies (downloads or trial sizes) … Even better! Building your audience takes time, but eventually this will become one of the most valuable assets of your business. 

That’s just the 50,000 foot view — there are so many more details you will become familiar with as you move into the world of eCommerce. Fortunately, there are a vast array of tutorials you can learn with as well as many eCommerce specialists who can help get your products on the web. With the right platform and team, you’ll find eCommerce isn’t as overwhelming as it seems. In time, you’ll be reaping the rewards of selling your brand to the enormous audience available online.

Ready to Get Started?

Contact author Emily Charette at WeAreCharette for all your brand’s design needs, and let Meerkat Media Group lead the way in digital marketing.