The online grocery business is definitely gaining some attention since our lives have become busier than ever. This is a matter of convenience – you could order your groceries while at work, in traffic, or drinking your morning coffee. However, it’s also a solid business opportunity for entrepreneurs minds.
Keep in mind that an online grocery store comes with a host of different issues when starting out and various situations you’ll encounter along the way. The most obvious one, of course, being the order management.
However, with good management, you’ll be able to maintain a high quality of service and product, driving your online grocery business to success.
Here are some useful tips that’ll help you in starting an online grocery store:
Identify the target audience
Before you start doing anything, you have to consider whom do you want to sell your groceries – Your Target Market. Because of individual choices, different groups of people require different products and a unique approach. Health-conscious people will likely look for organic products, mainly fruits and vegetables as well as numerous superfoods. The younger audience is varied as some prefer healthy food, and some want quick and easy ones. You might want to opt for several different categories to cover a wider area – after all, everyone needs groceries.
You can also base your target audience on a general area. For example, your city with some small towns around it. Do a bit of research and see what people there like to buy the most, what are their eating habits and so on.
This will help you eliminate the products that are not so commonly used and amplify the products that are.
Choose your products
Once you decide on your target audience, you can pick products that are right for you. Some of your best options are shelf-stable products. However, some people will still look for fruit, vegetables, dairy, eggs, and so on. This is why you need to find suppliers for those items that are close to your customers.
Find suppliers by searching through Google, on popular trading platforms like Alibaba or Amazon, and so on. You can also find your local wholesalers who can deliver the products for you.
You need to make sure that your products come from trusted sources and that they are high in quality so that you can provide your customers with the best products.
Create your store
“Buy a domain name that suits your business. It is advisable to include keywords that relate to your business. Something that will be quick and easy to remember and contains at least something related to the grocery industry,” says Luke Dann, a web developer from Big Assignments.
Then create an online store that suits your needs. Pick a stunning eCommerce theme that will reflect your business. Here are some of the examples of PSDCenter themes that you can use:
1. Alpha Retail
2. Gift Center
4. Dream Center
Create a marketing strategy
A solid marketing strategy could mean all the difference between a failed project and a successful project.
One of the first things you should do is to create an email signup form for your newsletter. Email is still one of the best ways to market your services. Send it frequently and make sure that you do more than just selling.
Provide customer service stories as well – this reinforces the trust your customers have in you.
Consider social media as well – use the platforms that your customers frequent and share information on your latest products, offers and so on. Your content should be fun and useful as well. For example, share recipes, cookbooks, and content from experts.
A blog is another excellent addition to your marketing strategy – share interesting content and useful tips.
Here are two important points to keep in mind.
1. Optimize for search
It’s one thing when your audience loves you – but they have to find your first. For this, you have to use search engine optimization (SEO.)
Research the most common phrases and words people use for finding online grocery stores or items. Use those keywords in your content. Create blog posts which you can optimize with keywords as well. Use those keywords in the headlines – as close to the beginning of the headline as possible. Use keywords in subtitles and in the first 100 words of your blog posts.
“Optimize your images as well. Speed is also very important to make sure your page loads up in less than 4 seconds,” says Nick Lucas, a web developer from OXessays.
All of these will help you rank higher when your customers enter your chosen keywords in the search bar.
2. Identify your USP
Your Unique Selling Point (USP) is one of the things that will allow you to position yourself above your competitors. So, what will make your store stand out? What is going to set you apart from all of the other stores? Is it going to be discounts on certain products? Contests, coupons or giveaways?
All of these things will make you different. But you can do more for your customers.
For example, create several recipes that feature some of your products. Don’t forget to mention these products in the recipe. This is a nice thing that you are doing for your customers – giving them meal ideas and instructions. But it’s also a great thing for your business since checking the recipes might entice them to buy your products.
Another great thing you could do for your customers is to offer free delivery to regular customers. That could be the best USP of all time!
Choose the payment method
It’s important that you offer a variety of payment options so that you can cover a wider audience. Older people usually don’t like entering their credit card information online, and they would prefer to pay someone in person. Younger people like shopping online and have more experience with it so they will usually pay via PayPal or similar services.
This is why having several option works – you are not losing customers just based on the payment methods.
Set up a delivery system
One of the most important things you have to consider is the delivery system. In some cases, suppliers will drop ship the items for you. However, in case they don’t, you have to develop an alternative system.
You could find suppliers that are in your area or connect with multiple suppliers from areas your audience comes from. This is imperative because of the perishable items – you would always want to deliver fresh products. You can then use delivery boys to deliver the orders to the addresses.
You need to have mapped routes that will cause least costs for you, Develop a delivery system that works best for your specific area and products. Keep in mind that most people like their groceries delivered within the same day.
Starting an online grocery store definitely comes with some problems that you have to take care of and some issues that you will have to solve. Still, it’s a profitable, underdeveloped market that will help you achieve success. Keep in mind that you will have to acquire excellent managerial skills and connect with your target audience to build a strong relationship that will lead you to prevail over brick-and-mortar stores in the area.