How to increase online food sales

Food eCommerce: How to Boost Your Online Sales

You’ve got outstanding food and drink products that you know people will love, but you’re struggling to make sales.

Delicious products, a strong brand and excellent customer service to match, but you aren’t getting your product pages in front of the right people.

Sound familiar?

In this simple guide you’re going to get expert tips on how to increase your online food and drink sales, increase conversions and gain more loyal customers.

After reading this guide your product pages will be the perfect representation of your delicious merchandise.

From how to avoid users leaving your website to how gain their trust, these are tips you can’t afford to miss out on.

Here’s a brief overview of how you can quickly optimise your product page, but I’m going to go into a lot more detail so you can tailor my tips to your business…

How to sell food products online

Cover the eCommerce basics

I can sense your eagerness for tips on how to skyrocket your online food sales, but let’s just take a minute to cover the basics.

Have you ever come across a website that looks next level fancy with all the bells and whistles?

Interactive videos, cool animations, and your curser even looks like a cute little smiley face.

But when it comes down to the function of the website, it’s just not there.

Manically clicking whilst muttering “Why can’t I add the ****ing protein powder to my basket for **** sake”.

That’s why I’m making sure you have the basics covered, because I know you don’t want to agitate your customers before they’ve even purchased…

 

1. Load speed

Is it more than 3 seconds?

If it is, say goodbye to 53% of mobile users.

Research by Google showed this percentage of mobile users will leave a site if it takes longer than 3 seconds to load.

Use Googles mobile speed test to check the speed of your website.

Google mobile site speed test

Neil Patel provides simple ways to quickly improve site speed like shrinking image sizes, reducing redirects, using a cache, etc.

 

2. The product

We’re going to get into much more detail about how to improve sales with your food product page, but first, the basics…

The bare minimum is photos of your product and a description. They are the foundations of a product page, and you won’t be breaking sales records without them.

Keep reading to find out exactly how you optimise your photos and description.

 

3. Purchase button

There needs to be a clear way to purchase.

You’d be surprised how many websites I’ve seen where the ‘Add to Basket’ button is lost in a sea of text or not even there at all.

Great! You’ve qualified for product page basics 101. Let’s get to the good stuff. Here are my next level tips for increasing conversions on your food and beverage website…

 

Grab their attention with photography

This is where a lot of food brands really need to up their game.

It’s not enough to take a quick snap and hope for the best. Not if you’re looking for long term growth.

If you’re still unconvinced that photography can increase sales, this study might change your mind.

Two dishes were presented to participants. Both the exact same ingredients, but one was arranged beautifully into a Wassily Kandinsky painting.

Not only did participants vote the nicely arranged dish as tastier, but also said they’d pay more for it! This proves that the way our food is presented plays a huge role in how much we want to eat it.

Here are some tips to help you get the perfect shot of your food product…

 

Find your light

Lighting is key when it comes to making your food or drink shine. A dull overhead light will make the dish look flat and unappealing.

To bring the dish to life and accentuate the crispness of every edge and curve, try strong lighting from different angles.

Take a look at these unedited photos we took of a brownie recipe we created for a client…

Lighting food photography before and after

The left is flat and dull. The focus isn’t on the best bits of the brownie, resulting in an underwhelming photo.

The right has contrast, the focus is on the delicious gooey texture of the brownie, and all the best bits are highlighted with a stronger light from the left side.

 

Show versatility

Can your product be used more than one way? If your product is versatile, this is a unique selling point that you need to show off.

HOU (the UK’s first sweet hummus brand) does a great job of this with their mixed berry hummus product page.

HOU Sweet Hummus UK Food Brand

Chuck some fruit in the pot, spread on toast, enjoy with granola or create a smoothie bowl.

Photography is a powerful tool which you can use to show the incredible versatility of your food or beverage product.

 

Never too many

How many times have you looked at a product online and thought “Jeez, there are just too many photos of this product!”

Never? Same here.

How many times have you look at a product and thought “Hm, I really wish they would have uploaded more photos. I wonder what it looks like from this angle.”

Rachael’s Kitchen nails it when it comes to product photography for her online cupcake business. Photos of the cupcakes as a group, individual shots, in the box and even what the finished package will look like.

Rachels Kitchen Online Cupcakes

Having plenty of high quality photos builds trust with customers.

Miceli Productions tells us “A product photo is often the first thing a visitor sees, and if it’s not eye-catching, well-lit, and well-crafted, many won’t bother reading the product description.”

Speaking of product descriptions, I’ve got a few words of advice for you…

 

Write a winning product description

You only get one shot so make it count… you might never get this moment again…

Sorry, couldn’t resist the JLS quote.

But it is true, your product description is your one chance to really sell your product.

Your potential customer has looked at the product photos and they like what they see. They’ve scrolled down to the description and given you the chance to win them over.

You’re in the spotlight now, no pressure.

It’s really not as scary as it might seem. There’s a few key things to remember…

 

Pick out the key food or drink’s product benefits

Why should this person buy your product? Is the taste going to blow their mind? Are the health benefits going to give them a new lease of life? Is it the perfect accompaniment to a product they already have at home?

Take a look at this example I found online for Ribena strawberry.

Food product description

The original product description on the left… yawn.

First it includes the 6 for £1 offer that we’ve already clearly seen in huge red text above.

The benefits such as real fruit juice and vitamin C are lost amongst a confusing ingredients list.

So, I wrote a new description in literally one minute.

A quick introduction to the tantalising flavour of ripe, mouth watering strawberries. Then, the key benefits customers will get from this product. No artificial colours or flavours, just real fruit. Rich in vitamin C which is a powerful antioxidant.

I recommend you spend longer than a minute on your product description, but you understand what I’m getting at here. Don’t hide key information and selling points in a big block of waffle-y text.

 

Make it easy for the reader

Make it easy for the reader to quickly scan through your description to find the information they need.

How do you do this?

Simple language, avoid jargon, break up the text.

Big fancy words might sound, well, big and fancy, but this might cut off a huge section of your audience.

Stick to simple language that everyone understands to ensure you’re getting your message across.

Use jargon where appropriate, but try to limit it. It may be necessary when describing a very specific flavour or manufacturing process, but remember that those reading may not have the expertise that you do.

Most importantly, break up the text. You’re going to put off a lot of people with a big scary chunk of text. Break it up with space, photos and headings.

 

Use visual aids

Visual aids are ideal for online food and drink businesses that have lots of products.

Brew Dog creates these super handy beer charts which allow you to easily compare their products.

BrewDog Beer Chart

Innocent Drinks also uses visual aids in a fantastic way for their famous smoothies. It’s simple but works so well for their ingredient list.

Innocent Drinks Ingredients

 

Do the right keyword research

Why do you need to do keyword research for your food and drink products?

It’s key (pardon the pun) for getting your product in front of the right people.

For example, say you’re selling coffee beans online. When performing keyword research, you’re presented with lots of different options to target. Here’s a snippet from SEM Rush using the keyword magic tool:

Food Keyword Research

You need to put yourself in the user’s shoes and think ‘who would be searching this query?’

For example, someone searching ‘buy bulk coffee beans online’ is probably a wholesale customer perhaps with their own coffee shop. If you’re a retail business that is targeting consumers, you’d be better off targeting ‘best online coffee beans UK’ or perhaps ‘buy coffee beans online’ if you’re looking for less competition.

It’s also a simple way to get insight into exactly what your customers want to know. For this Ethiopian coffee I used Answer the Public to find out that users wanted to know what Ethiopian coffee tasted like.

So, I answered this question in the product description. Not only does this improve the user experience which makes them more likely to convert, it also gives the page the opportunity to show up for this query in Google’s search results.

keyword research product description ideas

Include your food and drink reviews and ratings

You could spend all day telling users how wonderful your product is, but I think you deserve a break.

Put your feet up and let your customers do the talking.

Installing a rating and review system for your online food products brings you so many benefits. Trusted Shops informs us of their biggest benefits to online reviews:

  • Build trust through transparency
  • Lower return rates as customers have a clearer understanding of what they are purchasing
  • Gain genuine feedback that allows you to improve your product
  • Improve your ranking in Google’s search results due to gaining more fresh content and authority.

Still don’t believe reviews are worthwhile? Take a look at this mini infographic from 3dcart:

Reviews Increase Food Sales

Build Trust

Reviews are one way to build trust with potential customers, but there are other ways to put their mind at rest when buying online.

With counterfeit goods, products never arriving and some outrageous (but also hilarious) expectation vs reality failures, it’s no wonder we’re cautious about buying online.

Re-assure visitors by implementing some user-friendly policies.

Hillshire Farm launched their ‘Love it or We’ll Eat it: 100% Money Back Guarantee’ campaign.

Hillshire Farm Money Back Guarantee

Offering free returns, having a money back guarantee and reliable customer services are all easy ways to create more trust with your online customers.

Create demand

You’ve painstakingly created the perfect product page, but there’s something missing. You’ve got stellar photos and a captivating description, but there’s just one more thing…

Demand!

Here are some easy ways to close the sale when users are browsing your online food and beverage products…

  1. Highlight your best sellers. If you’re presented with a lengthy page of food products and flavours that you haven’t tried before, where do you start? Users often look for ‘Best Seller’ or ‘Most Popular’ as we tend to trust what other people purchase.
  2. Create a sense of urgency. Show when your stock is low on product pages to gently encourage users to add to basket. Rather than putting off the purchase until later (which we’re all guilty of doing), it spurs the user on to buy now before it’s out of stock.

Low in stock food example

  1. Use call to actions (CTA). A call to action is an instruction that tells the user to perform an action. You should already have at least one of these on your product page which is probably ‘Add to Basket’ or ‘Buy Now’. You could also use CTAs for other action you want users to carry out such as ‘Use Code 2019 for 20% off’ or ‘Spend £30 for free delivery’.

Here are some of the CTAs we use for our coffee client Adams + Russell…

Call to action example

Lead them through the sales Funnel

When you try your best, but you don’t succeed (we’ve moved on to Coldplay now).

But seriously, sometimes the product just isn’t what the user is looking for, no matter how enticing your product page is.

So, now what? Lose out on the sale?

As if!

Present them with recommended products, similar items or best selling items.

Online Food Sales Funnel

This is a strategy we implement for our food and beverage clients.

Don’t fancy Colombian coffee? Ok no worries, take a look at these other origins then.

Lead users through the sales funnel and trust me, it will increase your conversions.

You want users to stay on your website as long as possible, so when they’re finished with one page, present them with another.

Speaking of, I think you’d find this post about how to use bloggers to market vegan food super useful.

Or, take a look at our food blog.

Did I miss something, or do you have a burning question? Leave it in the comments.

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