The pressure to have an online presence for our businesses has been building slowly for the past 10 to 15 years; however, in these last few months, business owners are no longer able to put off the idea of adding an online store or online ordering process. Thanks to quarantine and social–distancing policies, bakery, restaurant, and food business owners everywhere have been forced to change the way they do business seemingly overnight.
If you’ve found yourself at a loss for how to transition your current website to keep up with the buying trends of your online customers, I’ve pulled together three solid points to help you shift your business into a new chapter of online ordering.
Add on to Your Existing Website
If you already have a website, there is no need to panic. You do not need to create or invest in a brand-new website that has all of the e-commerce bells and whistles. Thanks to companies such as JotForm, you can easily create an online order form to connect with your customers.
Order forms are great for standardizing the ordering process and for making the buying process a lot simpler for both you and your customers. Simply create a form, connect a payment option, and add the form to your current website or add a link to the form in the navigation menu of your site.
Also, make sure to check with your website platform. They may have other options or services that can easily integrate with your current website, and it may be as easy as a simple upgrade to your account.
Create a Website with Online Shopping
If you don’t already have a website or you’re ready for a major website overhaul, creating a new online store might be the way to go. Companies such as Squarespace and Shopify offer really great e-commerce options for their online users; however, I highly recommend creating an online store using Square for free before investing a ton of money into creating a full e-commerce website.
A lot of sweet bosses are familiar with Square as an invoicing system, but did you know that they also offer a free and very user-friendly online store option to their users? If you process invoices using Square, check out their online store option the next time you log in and test the waters a bit. I recommend adding your more popular menu items to the site first and make sure to provide at least one if not more appetizing pictures to help entice your customers to make a purchase.
Partner with a Food Service App
The idea of online ordering completely changed with the invention of foodservice apps such as Goldbelly and Uber Eats. These apps connect hungry shoppers with food vendors in communities across the country.
There are many perks to being a vendor on these food apps, including reaching new customers in your community, using leading technology to process orders and payments, and increasing brand awareness and prestige. The application and requirements are different for each app; however, I highly recommend that you consider joining these apps as you work to expand your business’ online presence.
There’s so much more I could say, but these tips should be a great place to start when working to create an online ordering process for your business. Make sure to check out @sweet_fest on social media to discover a short video with four more tips about adding online ordering to your business.
Also, don’t forget that you are not only a boss, you’re a sweet boss. As long as you stay focused and keep listening to your customers, your business can and will thrive in these quickly changing times.
About the Author:
Cydni N. Mitchell (a.k.a. Cyd) is a bakery consultant and the sweet business coach behind Sweet Fest®. Based in Atlanta, GA, Sweet Fest® is an online company that supports the business needs of the sweets community in the areas of professional development, marketing, branding, and web design. By trade, Cyd is an accountant and financial analyst with a master’s from the Kenan-Flagler Business School at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She is the co-founder of the Sugar Coin Academy, an online business academy for business owners in the baking and sweets industry, and she is also the organizer of The Ultimate Sugar Show, Georgia’s largest annual baking and sweets expo in Atlanta.