The way people buy food is changing rapidly. In 2017, just 6% of U.S. consumers did their grocery shopping online. One year later that number more than doubled to 16% — over 52 million people — and continues to grow exponentially. That means that as a baked goods company, whether a small baker or manufacturer, you must factor e-commerce into your growth strategy.
Room to Grow
Though food shopping is moving online, most consumers still purchase their baked goods from grocery stores and mass retailers. According to Innova Market Insights, just 1.9% of consumers purchase baked goods online direct from manufacturers. But that number is likely to change.
To position your brand for future growth via online sales and still maximize in-store sales now, a balanced attack is called for. Below are four steps that will help you develop a direct-to-consumer e-commerce strategy while still executing on the brick-and-mortar front.
Step 1 – Build an Online Presence
Starting to sell directly to consumers online is difficult when you’re doing it from scratch. The first step is to build an online presence.
You need to build your organic search rankings (where you pop up in Google) by optimizing your e-commerce site for SEO and putting out frequent blog posts with SEO-optimized keywords. Research keywords and purchase paid ads to target your audience. Use social media to showcase your company and give potential customers a 360-degree experience of your brand.
Step 2 – Optimize the Path to Purchase
You can build a respectable online presence and still fall short of your target sales if you don’t optimize the path to purchase. This goes for everything — social media posts, blogs, your website and your paid ads. Remove as many steps as possible between your consumers, your products and the shopping cart.
Step 3 – Scale Production
This is where co-packing comes in. Co-packing in the food industry delivers not only customization, but also agility and the ability to scale — exactly the capabilities your brand needs to compete in the fast-paced world of e-commerce.
To sell successfully online, you need to be able to react to consumer preferences in a flash and be prepared for sudden spikes in demand — the kind that just don’t happen when you’re primarily marketing B2B.
Steps 1 and 2 will help you generate demand. Step 3 will help you meet it. Step 4 is about keeping it.
Step 4 – Earn Loyalty
With a million-and-one products to choose from online, consumer choice is king. In this environment, brands must develop consumer loyalty to enjoy long-term success. There are a variety of ways you can do this, but most of it has to do with staying connected with your customers.
The customer journey cannot end when the sale is completed. You must continue to offer things of value to your customers — from helpful online content to loyalty points and discounts for referrals — or they will churn to a competitor.
One way to bake loyalty in from the very beginning is to set up a subscription service where products are delivered weekly, bi-weekly or monthly. Consider offering a discounted rate to subscription users.
Diversify with a Leader in Co-Packing in the Food Industry
Baker’s Pride is a trusted co-packing and private labeling partner to midsize and multinational baked goods companies across the country.
We rigorously maintain the quality and consistency of our delicious products, help expand our customers’ production capacity and distribution, and simplify their logistics.
For more information about our products or what we can do for your brand, visit our homepage today!