Asiya Nayeem
Asiya Nayeem

Complete Guide to Selling Packaged Food Online

New packaged food brands are being introduced to the market at lightning speed. If you’re thinking of selling packaged food online or already have a Shopify store, we understand how hard it is to stand out in this crowded industry. 

However, with the right tricks and techniques, you can successfully acquire a dedicated customer base and sell more. We created this guide to help you sell your packaged food and set up a winning process to increase your profits. 

A Step-by-Step Guide to Selling Packaged Food Online

Setting Up Online Selling

1. Conduct market research to find your USP

If you’ve just started planning to launch a packaged food business, you need to understand the market first. Here are some questions to ask:

  • What is the shopping trend for packaged foods? 
  • What is the problem consumers are facing with packaged foods?
  • What is the gap in the packaged food market?
  • How are leading brands in your industry setting themselves apart?

Using these questions, you can then outline the kind of packaged foods you want to sell and what problem you want to solve with your products.

However, if you’ve figured out who your brand is and what your products are, we recommend skipping to the 3rd step!

2. Focus on a niche

Now that you know what problem you want to solve, you can figure out your niche. For instance, you could sell sauces that are famous in your culture to allow consumers to enjoy your heritage. Or, you could sell the best chocolate cookies that you’ve positioned as warm gifts for loved ones.

The different niches include novelty items, gourmet products, dietary specific products like gluten-free, nut-free, etc, certified organic or natural foods, and ethical and religious packaged foods like vegan, vegetarian, kosher, or halal.

3. Set up your store on Shopify

Now that you’ve figured out your gameplan, you can start setting up your store on Shopify. When setting up your store, ensure that you’ve added and optimized product pages, added the taxes for your orders, created important pages, and enabled multiple payment methods.

The Shopify blog has an extensive guide to help packaged food brands set up an online store. 

4. Write detailed product descriptions and enrich the page with high-quality images 

Shoppers want a detailed look into your product. Use your product description to paint a picture of how well-loved your product is and how it is enjoyed by shoppers. Include ingredients, allergy warnings, expiry information, and other details within the description to thoroughly inform your shoppers.

Besides a description, well-photographed images of your packaged products are a must! This can help you show the product’s high quality and show them how the food item looks. For instance, if you sell cookies, shoppers can use the image to understand how the item would look and even visualize themselves eating it.

5. Set up transactional messages

Transactional messages are sent to shoppers once they perform an action like placing an order.  These messages need to be optimized to sound like your brand, even including detailed information like tracking number for an order shipped messages.

When optimizing your transactional messages, don’t forget to make the copy sound like you. Think of ways you can make these messages much more exciting for your customers, whether it’s with a cheerful tone, GIFs, or emojis.

6. Provide a sampler kit 

When buying food items from an online brand for the first time, shoppers don’t know what they would like. A sampler kit can be a great way to introduce these store visitors to your best items without asking them to buy and try all your products at a full price.

A sample kit includes a small number of different products sold on your online store, specifically items that are top-rated by your customers. Such a kit can make it easier for new shoppers to build trust in your brand and find their favorite items on your store, making them come back time and again to reorder the item.

7.  Pre-launch marketing

Get ahead with marketing and building brand visibility, even while setting up your Shopify store. You can use this time to set up ads to capture new audiences, build a following on social profiles, and create a waitlist. Here are a few ways to nail your pre-launch marketing:

  • Run prospecting ads to build hype about your brand and capture an audience that is interested in the items that you sell.
  • Build your social following by setting up your social profiles ahead of time and sharing relevant posts around the kind of packaged foods you sell.
  • Capture sign-ups for launch by allowing interested shoppers to subscribe to be notified about your store launch.

After You Launch

1. Social media ads 

Who isn’t on social media these days? Many consumers are now discovering their favorite packaged foods through social media. With highly targeted ads and creative assets, running ads on social platforms, especially Facebook and Instagram, is one of the smartest ways to skyrocket your store traffic and increase sales.

Essential Reading:

2. Search ads 

Google is the first thing most people turn to when they are looking for an item. Since the shopping journey for customers begins at search, it’s important to prioritize this and focus on putting your brand first on search. Run search ads that display your Shopify store’s products at the top of the page.

You can use Google’s Shopify app to be displayed within the Shopping tab and run ads over these so that shoppers can find your products first.

3. Set up email marketing 

As a tried-and-tested method of communication, email is a staple for every Shopify store. Email marketing can be used in inventive ways, especially within the packaged food industry. You can share recipes, send upsell messages, send targeted messages to specific segments of customers, and more.

When setting up email marketing, you need the right app to help you set up powerful and targeted emails and autopilot your marketing. SmartrMail is one of the top email marketing apps for Shopify stores. You can craft compelling emails, set up automations to recover carts and upsell, as well as segment your subscribers to send highly personalized emails.

4. Set up text marketing 

SMS is a personalized communication channel that lets you directly connect with your customers and build a personal relationship with them. With a 98% open rate, SMS is a must-have channel for any business. You can send short promotions about sales and new products on your Shopify store to boost traffic and increase purchases in no time.

Using TxtCart, you can send SMS promotions about your newly launched packaged items, food kits, and even sales running on your store. The app is known for its abandoned cart recovery and using their human-powered automation, you can set up abandoned cart recovery text messages that are sure to increase conversions.

Read more about SMS marketing and how you can use it to generate revenue.

5. Facebook Messenger 

With a 1.3 billion Messenger users globally, this is a marketing channel you should not miss. With Messenger, you can reach shoppers directly through the Messenger chat, send promotions about sales and products, and even automate upsell and cart recovery.

Shopify stores can use solutions like Recart to send promotions via Facebook Messenger, set up cart recovery sequences, and set up a conversational marketing strategy

6. Retargeting and remarketing ads

With a conversion rate of 2.8%, it’s obvious that your store visitors just don’t convert on their first visit. They may have doubts about the foods you are selling or may want to research competitors before they make a decision. Whichever the case, you need to be able to bring these visitors back and convince them to buy items they had their eye on.

Set up retargeting and remarketing ads to bring back visitors who never made a purchase. These ads follow the shopper around, reminding them about the item they left behind and luring them back to checkout.

7. Monitor your customer and product analytics 

Once you’ve set up your marketing and started capturing orders, it’s time to optimize your Shopify store’s strategy. Using RevTap, you can understand the kind of customers that are visiting and shopping from your store, which channels they are coming from, and how they shop. This data can help you understand your customers better and segment your customers to send targeted campaigns. 

You can also access your product analytics on the integrated analytics dashboard, With this, you can understand how different products are selling, which items are popular, which ones are not selling at all, and which channels are buying which items the most. By analyzing trends in your product sales, you can optimize your store for demand, ensuring that items are not overstocked and lower stockouts.

product analytics segments dropshipping shopify

8. Monitor marketing performance analytics 

Some marketing channels perform better than others. For some brands, emails are a big hit while SMS has low returns. For others, organic search is the best channel. Use RevTap to monitor the performance of different marketing channels and understand which channels are bringing the most number of shoppers, which ones are bringing in shoppers that spend the most and other such metrics.

Once you’ve pinpointed the winning channels, double down on these marketing channels and focus your energy on promoting your store more frequently and with a polished strategy to amplify sales. For your low-performing channels, you can experiment with different tactics to understand what would work better and optimize them better.

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Essential Shopify Apps for Packaged Food Brands

1. RevTap for analytics

The only way you can understand and make sense of your Shopify store’s data, from inventory to marketing to checkout funnel, is by setting up an integrated analytics dashboard. RevTap allows you to put all your analytics in one place so that you can make more informed decisions. 

Using the app, you can understand which marketing channels are better, which products are selling through which channel, and the different kinds of customers you have. The app simplifies your data to help you optimize your store and increase sales.

Install RevTap now to set up a powerful analytics dashboard and improve conversions.

2. Back in Stock Alerts to capture shopper intent

Whether you’re launching a new product or facing stockouts, a subscription form on your product page can help you later target shoppers and get them to come back to buy the new item or purchase the item that was stocked out. Most stores set up back in stock alerts to avoid losing shoppers to stockouts.

Use Back in Stock app to display a subscription form so that shoppers subscribe to and be notified about the product they were interested in. This automated feature allows you to capture and understand shopper intent so that you can optimize your inventory and plan new packaged items better.

3. Nutrition Facts to add nutrition labels

One of the first things consumers look at when buying food items is the nutritional information. Displaying nutrition facts labels with your products makes it easy for customers to make informed food choices and gives your site a professional look and feel.

Use the Nutrition Facts app to add a nutrition label on your product pages, just like you see on food packaging. This label can be customized with details for each product and can be added to any page on your Shopify store.

4. ModeMagic to add product badges

One of the biggest worries that a food brand would have is about informing consumers with dietary restrictions about the inclusion of any specific ingredients in their packaged foods. Packaged food brands also have difficulty building credibility and getting new visitors to trust their brand and the quality of their products.

Using ModeMagic, you can display product badges on your product image and display crisp messages like ‘Contains Diary’, ‘Gluten-Free’, or ‘FDA Approved’. These product badges make it easier for shoppers to avoid specific items they can’t have and find their preferred items easily. Badges like ‘Award-Winning’ and ‘Organic’ also allow you to increase trust in your brand.

5. Bold Bundles for product bundling

Selling monthly bundles or sampler kits to consumers? Bundling is a common tactic used by food brands to provide discounted bundles of multiple food products. These bundles also allow merchants to create sample kits which new shoppers can buy and taste test the different products to find their favorites.

You can set up a bundle for your packaged foods using Bold Bundles. The app lets you create bundles and display them on your Shopify store as well as set up offers like BOGO and customizable bundles so that shoppers can avail an offer when they bundle multiple items. For you, this makes it easier to increase AOV on your Shopify store.

6. Cameo for shoppable Instagram feeds

Instagram is a platform loved by online consumers, especially packaged food enthusiasts who seek our recommendations for these items on the platform. Many shoppers use the platform to understand the credibility of a brand and confirm its products’ quality. But, how do you let new visitors know that you are a credible brand if they land on your Shopify storefront before visiting your social profile? 

Many online stores embed an Instagram feed to build this credibility. But, you can take it up a notch by making your feed shoppable. Once you’ve embedded your Instagram feed to your Shopify store using Instafeed, you can use Cameo to transform your feed into a shoppable gallery. Your consumers can click on an Instagram post to see all the products featured on it and even directly add the item to their cart.

7. Wiser for recommendations

Make it easier for your shoppers to find what they are looking for by adding recommendations on your Shopify store. Personalized recommendations allow you to display relevant recommendations on your store, especially product pages and cart, lowering drop-offs and increasing AOV on your store. 

Set up Wiser, a powerful recommendation engine for Shopify stores. The Shopify app lets you add recommendation widgets like ‘Trending Products’ and ‘New Arrivals’ and even personalize the process for each shopper with widgets like ‘Recently Viewed Items’ and ‘Inspired By Your Browsing History’. 

8. Matcha for blogging

Consumers want information before they buy products. Many shoppers first want proof that a brand, especially a food brand, has the expertise they need to be selling these products. Only with this confirmation will they be able to safely shop and consume their products.

Creating content that helps food brands build that trust and show shoppers how well-informed you are. Apps like Matcha allow stores to create content and add blog posts to your Shopify store to engage and convert shoppers better.

9. PageFly for custom pages

Many packaged food brands add custom pages like ‘Hygiene Standards’ and even create interactive quizzes to make the experience on their store richer. A custom page gives you the flexibility to add unique content to your Shopify store.

Creating custom pages on Shopify is easier with PageFly. The page builder Shopify app lets you create custom pages using their drag-and-drop builder, allowing you to set up pages in no time!

Ready to sell packaged food online with these proven techniques?

We hope this extensive guide helps you understand how you can market your packaged food brand and the different apps you need to elevate the experience you provide. With newer players entering the packaged food industry, it’s crucial to stay relevant and visibility among the noise. 

Ads have proven to help new and growing Shopify stores increase their conversions and grow their customer base. But, without the right ad strategy in place, you might end up with a large ad spend and a small ROAS. The ad experts at Spin can help you!

With their years of industry experience, these Shopify ad experts can help you optimize your ad strategy and run high-converting ads at a lean cost. 

Book a free consultation with the ad experts at Spin now!

Turn your Shopify store data into more revenue with RevTap. Sign up today to get started for FREE and avail pre-launch discounts.
Asiya Nayeem
Asiya Nayeem

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