Starting a bakery business can be an exciting and fulfilling venture. Whether you’re selling cakes, cookies, bread, or other baked goods, it’s essential to have a way to accept orders from customers. However, not everyone has the resources to build and maintain a website. So, how can you accept orders without a website for your part-time bakery business or home bakery business?
Before we dive into that, let’s look at some challenges of being into the bakery business. We went ahead & interviewed 3 bakers in Bengaluru, India, to get a first-hand account of how they work & what are their key concerns.
Female, Age 26
Female, Age 30
Male, Age 30
|Current mode of accepting orders||Whatsapp, Instagram||Whatsapp, Instagram||Whatsapp, Instagram with a menu card|
|Order Volumes (per week)||1||3 to 4||35 to 40|
|Types of products||Customized cakes, Cupcakes, Cookies||Customized cakes, Cupcakes, Cookies||Premium ingredients|
|Process of taking orders||Uses iPad to note order details, sketch cakes. Then adds a note to her calendar.||People ping her on WhatsApp or Instagram telling what type of baked goods they want. She sends them reference pictures or asks them for reference pictures; tells them what she can and cannot do; the orders take an average of 5 to 7 texts to finalize||Takes online orders via Whatsapp and Insta with a menu card, Or uses Dunzo (high delivery charges can be an issue)|
|Have a website?||No. But she does want a website in the future to make it more efficient to communicate with customers. Right now she has long conversations with customers. Delaying because she feels like it's a huge task.||Not ready to start a website until the order volume increases. She felt no website is needed for the current order volume.||No. Considered using Wix, feels no urgency to get a website. Has used home chef apps, Swiggy Genie too (doesn’t find them useful).|
|How are deliveries handled?||Uber cab||Each order is delivered via Dunzo||2 days a week and delivers them in person on one day|
|Biggest Challenges||1. She found it inconvenient to DM people for price or get DM's asking for pricing information.||1. Clients not responding on time and delivery getting delayed because of that.
2. Delivery drivers were not trained to keep the cakes from juggling.
|1. High delivery charges can be an issue.
2. Hates pitching himself for sales. Hates talking. Prefers emails and texts.
|Part-time / Full-time Baker||Part-time Baker||Part-time Baker||Full-time Baker|
|Profession (if part-time)||Hotel management||Microbiologist|
Now that you are aware of some of the challenges faced by bakers, let’s take a look at how you can start accepting orders without a website for your part-time bakery business:
1. Social Media
Social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram are excellent tools for promoting your business and accepting orders. You can create a business profile and post pictures of your baked goods, along with pricing and ordering information. Customers can contact you directly through the platform to place their orders.
2. Online marketplaces
Online marketplaces are perfect for small business owners who want to sell their products online. You can create a profile and list your baked goods, along with pricing and ordering information. Customers can place their orders through the marketplace, and you’ll receive payment through the platform.
The advantage of online marketplaces is that they have an established customer base, so you don’t have to worry about attracting customers to your website. However, you will have to pay fees to the marketplace, which can cut into your profits.
Marketplaces that sell bakery products are less as compared to those that sell products such as mobile phones, electronics, etc.
Let’s take a look at some of the marketplaces that list & sell bakery products:
- Bakers Market – Bakers Market, launched very recently in 2020, is a marketplace that allows professional bakers, patissiers, cake decorators, and
food writers to list and sell their homemade goods. It provides a platform for local independent bakeries across -Britain to sell their products online to customers around the world.
I looked around, but I was unable to find any other marketplace for bakery products.
3. Phone and Email
Another way to accept orders is through phone or email. You can advertise your phone number and email address on social media or business cards, and customers can contact you directly to place their order.
When accepting orders through phone or email, make sure to keep accurate records and have a system in place to keep track of orders. You can use a spreadsheet or a notebook to keep track of orders, delivery dates, and payment information.
It’s very unlikely that you would take orders over email if you don’t have a website. It’s faster & easier to take orders over the phone as compared to taking them over email.
When using Phone, Whatsapp has emerged as a popular medium to accept orders via phone. They also have a program called WhatsApp Business App that caters to the needs of small business owners who have a very small team or who mostly converse directly with their customers.
4. Local Ads
Lastly, you can use local ads to promote your business and accept orders. You can put up ads in local classifieds, community bulletins, or even local newspapers. Make sure to include your contact information and pricing, so customers can easily reach you.
When advertising in local ads, it’s important to target your audience. For example, if you’re selling cakes for weddings, you can advertise in bridal magazines or websites.
How to build a website for your part-time bakery business?
Once you start getting orders for your part-time bakery business via Social media, online marketplaces, phone and email, and local ads, you would need a website to streamline everything & manage your ordering & delivery process more efficiently.
However, starting an ecommerce business can be challenging, as it requires careful planning and decision-making. With the right approach and dedication to laying solid groundwork, your business can be both manageable and profitable.
We have compiled a 13-point checklist on how to start an Ecommerce business and make it successful.
I hope you find it useful as you embark on building your own online business.