How to Start an Online Grocery Store?
In this article, you will learn about the key rules and features you need to know to open your online store. We will tell you about the laws and the choice of a niche, list wholesale suppliers, help you determine the corporate identity of the company and the best place for your storefront.
Therefore, when choosing a niche, you have two options:
It will also be helpful to conduct a survey with local residents to find out their preferences for what products they would buy from a local online store. Perhaps this is how you can detect unfulfilled demand for some product groups. This often happens in small provincial towns, where people see something tasty on TV screens, but cannot find this product in their store. As a rule, these are foreign spices, sauces, fruits and vegetables.
If you focus on products with a long shelf life, your online grocery store's reach will increase, so you have the opportunity to find a narrower niche. Like did JK Gourmet, that only sells grain-free foods for people with ulcerative colitis.
There are several ways to find such a niche. For example, using Google Trends, which tracks the dynamics of Google searches by region. In addition, you can also search for products on SaleHoo Market Research Labs, Sell The Trend, Jungle Scout - sites that track the price, demand and competitiveness of individual products. And there also is the Amazon Best Sellers listing, which will tell you what foods are most often ordered on this online marketplace.
When analyzing a specific supplier, pay attention to its specialization, location, delivery time, product labeling and, most importantly, the presence of certificates, licenses and permits that confirm the quality, ethics and environmental friendliness of the goods (in the USA and EU, this is more important than low prices and delivery speed).
A good example of a supplier that fits all the requirements is Hudson Valley Harvest. They used to supply food to highly rated restaurants in New York, but now they also work with shops and delivers groceries to your home (minimum order - $ 750).
Here are 10 more wholesale food suppliers that might suit your online store:
Surely, when you were reading these adjectives, you already imagined what colors would correspond to them. For example, red is passion, green is nature, yellow is fun, white is calm. Associations of adjectives with flowers arise on a subconscious level, and these associations are transferred to the product and to the brand, so all large companies spend millions of dollars on their selection.
Packaging and Description. Most stores send goods to customers in packaging from a supplier or manufacturer, or in ordinary cardboard boxes - this is a big mistake, since for 70% of consumers, product presentation is one of the most important factors when making a purchase decision. If the packaging is beautiful, environmentally friendly and relevant to the content, then such a product will be bought more often, and its seller will enjoy a greater loyalty.
Here are some good examples of food packaging:
Vegancuts: vegan snacks and eco-friendly cosmetics.
Mantry: handmade products for men.
HelloFresh: healthy recipes with pre-measured ingredients.
Candy Club: sets of sweets - from marmalade to sour straws and chocolate.
Packing rules. Food packaging must contain the following information under the laws of the United States of America:
E-Commerce-platforms. Cloud services like Shopify and BigCommerce allow you to start your online store site without any technical skills - you just select a website template, customize it, and start selling. The service provider is responsible for maintaining the site and developing the template, while you will only deal with sales and marketing.
Development from scratch. The best option in the long term, since only the development of an online store from scratch allows you to create a unique design, implement any marketing ideas and leaves the copyright for all this to you. Suitable for large platforms and those who are ready to spend more time and money now, so that later they do not pay for subscriptions and commissions.
Staff. In order to properly organize the workflow, you need people who will be engaged in specific activities: receiving orders, collecting goods in boxes (delivery boxes), delivering goods to the postal service and / or home, management and finance (you can give them to outsourcing).
Receiving orders. Ideally, you should have a system for managing and tracking business processes, which, among other things, will automatically accept requests from customers and send them to sorters and further along the chain. There are a huge number of such programs, and many of them are created specifically for online grocery stores and are available for small and medium-sized businesses. The price is usually not very high - from 5 to 1000 dollars per month.
Packaging of goods. A program that will help you with business processes can also analyze orders and stocks, and then give the sorters a sorting plan (what to collect in which packaging).
Delivery of goods. If you will only deliver products in your city, then it is better to organize your own delivery service. It is enough to hire several people and connect to a common system that will form a route, tell you when to pick up the goods, and track the location of couriers.
Payment. Couriers should be able to accept payment on the spot in cash (that is, they need a supply of small bills for change) or using online payments, for example, via Apple Pay, Google Pay or their local equivalent.