Taiwan is a country known for its sweet tooth. In a very crowded confectionery market, making a living out of baking cakes and selling these sweet creations is the stuff of dreams. But Momi Su, a young Kaohsiung entrepreneur, has realized this very dream. With a little creativity and a lot of hard work, she found the perfect recipe to expand her bakery online and compete within a noisy marketplace.
This article is based on what one young baker and entrepreneur learned in the process of successfully launching her business online.
Build credibility for your store and product
Like many new businesses expanding online, our baker soon found there is a lot more to opening an online shop than posting pictures and listing prices. Many merchants turning to an e-commerce service provider for the first time have limited experience and resources but they quickly discover that the website is a real store, and needs to be treated as such. “The site needs high quality photos, engaging product information, credibility and, most importantly, customers!” comments Momi Su.
1. “Use a picture. It’s worth a thousand words”
Customers always notice pictures first when they land on your online store. Good product pictures add life to your store, so show as many as you can – from different angles.
Actual pictures of your product, your kitchen and your baking skills are far better than generic stock photos. You can use pictures to highlight advantages and benefits of your product, for example gift cards or product personalization.
Many aspiring photographers offer bargain services for online stores and their professional eye will give your product the spotlight to stand out from competing brands. It is a wise investment, especially if your reputation and long-term profitability depend on robust online sales.
2. It’s in the detail
Sampling chocolate cake in a bakery is quite different from shopping online. Customers frequently abandon an online purchase because of a lack of engaging product information. Product information will help your customers to make informed decisions and have confidence in their purchase.
How do you provide engaging product information? “Put yourself in the shoes of your customer – what information would they consider valuable and essential?” advises Andrew Yang of Taiwan Rakuten Ichiba. Dietary information such as nut allergies, egg allergies, calorie count, free range and organic ingredients would be essential information to your online bakery. This can also play an important role in improving the reputation and conversion rate of your products.
3. Video-blog your top selling products
Video marketing is an interactive way to give your customers glimpses of the life of your store.
Show the work that went into creating that masterpiece and how your customer would enjoy your product. With an entertaining video, you can promote your brand and keep your customer informed.
A video – together with a blog – about your online store creates a connection with your customer. You might not be a Nigella Lawson or the famed Sylvia Weinstock but to your customers you are the star of your show. Take them on a journey to your product’s end. Show them the sweat and tears going into your next confectionery masterpiece. You can communicate so many things about a product in a video, including personal style, quality and taste.
4. Offer customer support
Customers may have questions and want to contact you about your product. Make it easy for a customer to reach you in case they have any concerns about their order – or want to place a bulk cup-cake order for their next garden party.
You should also commit to fast and responsive customer service. You should address any negative reviews as quickly as possible – before they go too far.
5. Feature your customers!
Engage your customers and they will provide you with shareable content. Encouraging customer reviews and asking for pictures of customers with her cakes are just some of Momi Su’s successful strategies. Customer’s friends and family are also inclined to share content on their social media channels.
Use social media in a creative way. With some online research, you can adapt an existing social media campaign and apply it to your business. Consider employing Pinterest, Instagram, Twitter, SnapChat or a selection of the many available social media platforms to spread the word. But a word of caution, be consistent. Once you start using these channels, they also need to be maintained.
Social media is a great way to reach out to your customers for their perspective about your product and store. Be personal with your customers and let them share their ideas for your next masterpiece.