Guest Blog: Top Tips for Selling Artisan Produce Online
Katie is one of the founders of Yumbles.com the top online marketplace exclusively for independent small producers of food and drink and Food & Drink Website of the Year 2014. Working with close to 250 top small producers Katie and the Yumbles team have unprecedented insight into what works when selling artisan food and drink online.
Top tips for selling artisan produce online
Success online isn’t simply a case of being plugged into a thriving marketplace like Yumbles. In a “real world” marketplace if you simply put your produce down and stood back waiting, you’d probably not expect to have much success. The same rules apply online. Even just a little bit of thought and preparation goes a long way.
Here are my top 5 tips for building a strong online business for your produce:
1. Relate your produce to online demand
Online buyer behaviour for food is different to behaviour in a bricks and mortar store. Purchases are more deliberate online with buyers typically buying for a particular purpose rather than impulse buys or to address more immediate needs. As such the best sellers online are: gifts, specialist food that’s hard to find, produce for special occasions, bespoke/ made to order and convenient food delivery and subscription services. Online buyers also rarely order a £5 item and pay the same thing again for shipping. Think about your range and how to best present it for online sales – you may need to offer it in different formats or at least quantities.
2. Invest in photos of your produce in all it’s glory
Great quality product photography is key for tempting online buyers who can’t see and touch the produce. What’s more, the style of photography matters. Produce shown in a lifestyle setting consistently sells far more than produce with catalogue style photos on stark white backgrounds. Think about natural lighting, simple lifestyle settings in keeping with your brand and attractive compositions.
3. Tell customers what they need to know about your produce (it’s amazing)
Your descriptive content is a powerful tool online so don’t scrimp on this step. It determines the level of exposure that your produce receives in the first place (be sure to cover all relevant keywords in descriptions and tags so that your produce appears in searches.), it is your selling tool (tell your story – what makes your produce unique) and it answers FAQs buyers may have before they can buy (allergen information, shelf life, ingredients, dimensions, how to use it etc).
4. Enable customers to get your produce when they want it
Buyer expectations are increasingly for fast delivery but equally there are many buyers prepared to wait for items to arrive in return for lower cost shipping. We recommend offering at least two shipping options so that simply buyers can choose which they value more – an economy shipping that takes several days and a more express premium option with delivery within 2-3 days or even next day if you can (particularly key for gifts/ and peak seasons like Christmas).
5. Delight your customers each and every time
An age old adage is keeping customers happy but one that can be easily forgotten when customers aren’t face to face and the emails pile up. Fulfil orders on time, keep order statuses updated so that customers are kept informed, and respond quickly to any questions. Loyal customers are worth their weight in gold.
If you make incredible and original food or drink Yumbles wants to hear from you! Find out more and send in a no obligation application here.