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How to build an ecommerce business that sells food online

Jennifer Lonoff Schiff | Aug. 4, 2015
Selling food online is one of the most difficult ecommerce businesses to succeed at. While creating an appetizing website is in itself a challenge, ensuring that your (typically perishable) products arrive looking and tasting as delicious as they appeared on the website can be a nightmare.

8. Include product videos. "Record your fans tasting [your product] for the first time and describing the taste," says Lancaster. Or "do a blind taste test with your product and competing brands and video the experiment." You could also create a video montage of customers enjoying your product(s), set to mood-enhancing music. The point is, people are very visual, and "video has impact," she notes. And don't forget to share your videos on YouTube, Facebook and Instagram!

9. Include customer reviews and testimonials. "Help customers decide what to choose by having reviews of the products from other consumers [on your product pages]," says Aihui Ong, founder and CEO, Love With Food, a subscription service offering all-natural and organic snack boxes. "Studies have shown that 90 percent of buying decisions are influenced by online reviews. So having this feature will help customers feel more at ease making a purchase."

Similarly, if a customer raves about your product, on social media or via email, quote her on your website (with permission, of course).

10. Consider offering free shipping. "Just do it," says Lancaster. "When you're competing with Amazon Prime and other [big] retailers, it's imperative to offer free shipping. To recoup costs, consider an order minimum and then markup accordingly."

11. Make it easy to contact you. Include contact information a phone number and email address, not just a form on your home page and elsewhere. "Customers appreciate feeling like they can reach you if they have an issue, and it helps to establish that their concerns matter to you as a business," says Ong.

12. Finally, don't forget to market your business on social media. Food is visual. So be sure to share images of your products on Pinterest and Instagram, as well as on Facebook and Twitter. "Social media is a great platform for online food businesses," says Mark Fachler, founder & COO, Veestro, which delivers healthy, organic, plant-based meals and juices. "It's visual and provides the opportunity to share."


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