The world changed quickly with Covid. Overnight, people stayed in, and those who had never baked were watching videos and trying to bake for the first time, with varying degrees of success. This disrupted the lives and livelihoods of dessert shops, bakeries, and dessert professionals. Despite the customer demand for comforting sweet foods and most people’s inability to make them as beautifully as you can, many customers are afraid to venture out. In response, baking professionals have done something that many had hesitated to do before. They moved their business online, and now many of them are primarily doing business online and plan to continue even after the current situation has passed.
For many, this still means selling their delectable creations to the nice, older lady down the street who has been coming to the same bakery for 30 plus years. But it is also opening baking businesses up to a wider range of clients. These online shops are less hindered by geography and can branch out to reach a new set of pallets throughout the region.
How to Quickly Set Up a Virtual Bakery
Many were hesitant because they thought it would take too much time and work. But with modern technology, anyone with minimal computer skills can build a functioning online bakery and start taking orders quickly, conveniently, and cost-effectively. For your convenience, here’s our step by step guide.
Identify a Niche
Online you have the potential to reach many more customers, but that also means more competition for goods that people can get anywhere. Because of this, online businesses need a niche to set them apart. You can still sell the basics but think about creations that are special and unique to your bakery.
Sign Up for a Bakery Shop Platform
The easiest way to build a virtual bakery is to sign up for a platform that is already built for online shops like Shopify. They walk you through everything and make it easy to customize it into exactly what you need.
Create Content for Core Pages in Your Store
- A Contact
- An About
- Policy pages (Return, Privacy, Terms of Service, Shipping). You can find free templates online that make these so easy.
Choose Your Theme
Shopify has a bunch of free themes you can choose from. Some themes work better with a larger inventory, while some are intended to showcase one item. Keep in mind that you can change the colors, images, and text in the theme, and you’ll likely want to make this virtual bakery your very own.
Create Your Home Page
Shopify has an easy drop and drag functionality, so you can move images, text, menus, and tools to where you need them on the page. You can create a slideshow, featured product, featured collection, and even a newsletter signup to start collecting emails. This will allow you to send special offers and keep your foodie fans engaged.
It’s important that this page be easy for first-time visitors to understand, so they can quickly find something they love. But it should also be convenient for returning customers to buy again. You’ll find features that balance the two in Shopify’s tools.
Start Uploading Products
Start with your specialty, niche products. Write a description and upload a photo. When it comes to a virtual bakery, remember that people shop with their eyes, so the photo should have excellent lighting, and the food should be pictured from its best angle.
Customize the Checkout
You can set up checkout in a few clicks on Shopify. Choose your payment processor and how much information you need from customers. Generally, a simpler checkout with a few fields as possible works best.
Set Up Your Shipping
You may want to offer free shipping on orders over a certain amount or set different shipping prices for postal regions as they get further from your location and go up in price.
Take Your First Order
Shopify will notify you, and you’ll have everything you need to send that order out quickly and earn your first online five star review. Then just keep repeating the process. You have a virtual bakery now.
Shopify currently has a 14 day no-risk trial, so you can navigate the themes and features to see how easy it is before you pay anything. After the trial ends, Shopify is only $29 a month for the very generous starter package. It has everything you need to build and run a virtual bakery with minimal technical skills and lots of passion for the art and science of baking.