3 things you NEED to do if you are a start-up who sell food & beverages online

1. Focus on the right metrics

“We don’t do things in the easiest way, we do things in the way that’s best for the customer.” Brie Read, Snag Tights

2. Use your e-commerce channel as a learning lab

  • Repeat customer rate: the percentage of your customers who have placed more than one order. As always with % be careful about looking at this metric in context (especially at an early stage where orders from friends and family might skew your numbers)
  • Customer Lifetime Value: the average revenue that you generate from a single customer during their ‘lifetime’ with you
  • Average days between repurchase: this gives you an insight on the frequency of purchase of your repeat customers and might uncover patterns

3. Do less, but do it better

  • Have a website: you need a place where you can showcase your brand and where people can buy your products. For certain brands there could be an argument for not selling their products there directly but generally I would recommend doing it. Your domain name is your own property (vs. Amazon or Instagram) and a place where you can learn a great deal from your customers with no intermediary.
  • Sell on Amazon: the e-commerce’s giant has became simply unavoidable (for the better or the worst). Two data points to support this argument: 33% of UK households are Prime subsribers (Amazon’s loyalty program) and 52% of customers start their search for a product online on Amazon (vs. only 28% on Google). Amazon also recently acquired Wholefood and launched Amazon Fresh, both moves show the sort of ambitions the giant has for Grocery. Therefore your brand should be on Amazon. I would argue that Ocado is also a key online retailer, especially if you sell premium / organic products.
  • Be Google optimised: It is great to have a website but better if people can find it. Making sure your website is optimised to be properly indexed by Google is a absolute essential. In order to do this focus on building a website which is 1) mobile firendly, 2) which loads fast and 3) which is SEO optimised. You should also have a monthly budget for Google Adwords: spending even a small budget on brand related terms to make sure you show up on top of results when people search for your brand is a great investment.
  • Nail your social proof: you need to make sure you have social proof so customers can easily check what other people think about your brand and products. Social media is great for this as are review websites like Truspilot or Reviews.co.uk

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Florent Hacq

Florent Hacq

I write about entrepreneurship, e-commerce, music and creativity. Find me on www.florenthacq.com or @florenthacq on twitter.