5 Ways to Sell Your Food Product Online

Do you want to increase your online sales for your food business? How about sell to millions of customers instead of your small town?

That’s the power of the internet.

Online shopping is a big industry. Just look at the sale of groceries online – it’s a $6 billion market. Wouldn’t it be nice to have a sliver of that pie? Yep – you and me both.

There’s one problem: building your online business is tough. The food industry is still face-to-face. Sales are made in person. The internet simply helps you sell to brick and mortar stores.

However, over the last few years, many solutions have popped up to increase your sales to consumers from coast to coast.

Below, I’ve described a few avenues you can take to increase your online food sales. Some are more expensive than others, but none are out of reach. The first on the list, which you should strongly consider trying is monthly subscription boxes. Companies like Birchbox, Dollar Shave Club, Ipsy started the trend and now companies in the food product space have followed. Companies like Sumojerky, Spiced Pantry Box and My Bakers Box are some food product subscription boxes gaining a lot of popularity recently. They all run and manage their businesses on Cratejoy. Cratejoy is a website that lets anyone create and run a subscription box easily.

Let’s take a look:

1. Monthly subscription boxes

Hatchery Subscription Box

Subscription boxes are all the rage. There’s monthly this and monthly that. You can’t keep it straight! Getting your product into a monthly tasting box is a great way to expose your product to thousands of customers. Here are a couple other things to consider:

Pros:

  • Great exposure – tons of people try (and hopefully buy) your product
  • Less marketing – the subscription company does all of it for you
  • New customers – chance to break out of your hometown
  • Recurring revenue – Rather than selling to a customer one-time & never seeing them again, you can turn customers into long term subscribers, which means guaranteed recurring revenue for you.

Cratejoy is an all in one subscription commerce platform that includes everything you need to start your own subscription commerce business online. Try it free for 14 days.

2. Your own online store

It's Arthur's Fault Caramel Sauce

This one’s a given. At every farmer’s market and retail demo I’ve done, this question always gets asked: “Do you sell online?” And I hope your answer is yes. Selling online opens up your food product to a nation of hungry consumers. Here’s a couple of pros and cons for creating an online store”

Pros:

  • Another revenue channel – it’s great to sell direct to consumers, isn’t it?
  • Nationwide market – customers from all over can order you product
  • Meet customers – interact directly with customers to learn how they use your product.
  • Inexpensive: many online stores are free or just a couple bucks a month.

Cons:

  • Time – it takes a while to pack up the order and ship it out
  • Money – it’ll cost you a couple hundred bucks to get boxes and such
  • Maintenance – keeping track of inventory and making sure your store doesn’t crash

3. Square market

Square Market

Even though it’s an online reseller, Square market is loaded with small stores. Plus, if you already use Square to make mobile payments at markets, fairs, and festivals, it’s a natural extension of your company.

Pros:

  • Easily discovered – with thousands of hits a month, customers are bound to find you on Square
  • Simple setup – if you already use Square, you’ll have a store in just minutes.
  • Inexpensive – same with the credit card fees, Square charges 2.75% of the sale. No monthly fees. Now, that’s awesome.

Cons:

  • Limited branding – you can’t quite make the store your own yet.
  • Limited layouts – again, not much choice with how your product shows up

4. Online resellers

Amazon Food & Grocery

Amazon.com is huge. There’s no denying the power of selling on the world’s largest retail website. And there’s so many more online resellers, too. From Abe’s Market to Joyus, there’s plenty to go around.

Pros:

  • Selling to an established market – customers are already coming to the site!
  • Easy setup – just send product information over and they’ll likely do the rest for you.
  • Drop-shipping – you keep the inventory and ship product out when orders come in.

Cons:

  • Competition – look at the number of products already on the site.
  • Drop-shipping – you need people to get the orders together
  • Sales pressure – if your product doesn’t sell, you might be dropped from the site

5. Gift basket companies

Gift Basket Collection

After being approached by several gift basket companies locally, this doesn’t seem like a bad idea, but think twice about it. Here’s a look at some pros and cons for our final way to sell online:

Pros:

  • Less work – They put together the baskets – you just sell the product
  • It’s always busy season – Gift giving is year-round
  • Partnerships – Gift basket vendors like to work with the same people – you’re in it for the long-haul.

Cons:

  • Smaller sizes – gift basket companies like sample-size products
  • Margins – they may suffer on smaller-sized product
  • Inclusion – you may only be in 1 or 2 gift baskets

Selling online can be a fruitful endeavor for your food business. Whether you select one or all five of these ways to sell your food product online, you’ll be successful. After all, it’s another sales channel for your business.

About Michael Adams

Michael Adams has 12 years of experience in the food industry, having launched cookies, energy bars, and now mustard. He has owned Green Mountain Mustard since 2010. He currently writes about growing a food business at Gredio.com.

3 thoughts on “5 Ways to Sell Your Food Product Online

  1. Excellent article, just what I needed. My teenage daughters are starting a subscription snack food business. As a proud father I want to do whatever it takes to help them succeed. This article has given me new life and hope. Do you know the market projections for subscription business? And what are some of the pitfalls to avoid when starting subscription business?

  2. I am glad you have included all of the important available sources here which can be used to sell food product online. I am quite confused about the difference between own online store and resellers, need to explore more about them.

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