5 Mistakes That Are Hurting Your Food Business' Sales

July 13, 2023

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September 9, 2022

When was the last time you reviewed your sales process?

If your answer is “never” — or if it’s been more than a few months — it’s time for a refresh.

The sales process is complex. There can be an overwhelming amount of steps in any sales cycle, from buying a car, to buying a house, to, yes, buying a cake. 

If someone tells you they want a cake, that’s not nearly enough information, is it? You need to know the size, flavors, colors, themes, fillings, fulfillment date, and lots of other details before you can create a cake that wows your customer. 

And that’s just one small segment of the sales process! 

These tips from Cydni N. Mitchell, CEO of Sugar Coin Academy, will help you remove barriers that could be preventing you from making sales and increase your sales conversion rate.

Sales Mistake 1: Bad Navigation

You might find that you’re getting plenty of traffic to your website thanks to social media, but you’re not making sales. What gives? One of the most common sales barriers that keeps visitors from becoming customers is poorly configured navigation. We’re not talking about maps or compasses — we’re talking about how a customer finds what they’re looking for on your website. 

As a food business owner, you need to make it easy for customers to find what they’re looking for. One way to do this? Put your most popular products near the top of your website. Optimize your website so that your website visitors don’t have to click ten times to place an order. If you serve a diverse customer base, add categories to your online store to make it easy for customers to find what they’re looking for! If you sell wedding and birthday cakes, create separate categories for each product type. 

Put yourself in your customers’ shoes: What would make it easier to find what you need on your website?

Sales Mistake 2: Low-Quality Images

Never forget that customers eat with their eyes first! Since they’re likely to interact with your business online before ordering, it’s important to showcase your products in the best light.

High-quality images on your website, social media profiles, and farmers’ market banners will help you make more sales!

If you’re not confident in your photography skills, you can hire a photographer to take photos of your products for you. You could also take a photography class to learn the basics of taking great photos of food. There are plenty of low-cost, online photo classes available. Take a cake photography class with Cyd!

Once you’ve mastered your photography skills, add them to your website! As you build your phoot gallery, keep these tips in mind: 

  • Show diversity in your work! If you make rosette cakes, you only need to show one or two styles of that cake before your customers will understand your skills. 
  • Share photos of the projects you want to do more of! If you don’t want to make cake pops, don’t add a photo of cake pops to your gallery. 
  • Limit the number of photos you add to your gallery. Choose only your best work!
  • Share seasonal product photos when it’s seasonally appropriate. Don’t add Christmas cake photos to your gallery in March!
  • Update your photo gallery often. As you do more work, swap out the images in your gallery. Your skills will get better with time, so make sure that your gallery reflects that! We recommend updating your gallery once per quarter at a minimum. 

Add a photo gallery to your Castiron shop in minutes.

Sales Mistake 3: Vague Descriptions

When it comes time to buy, your customers need to understand what they’re buying! It might be tempting to rush when getting all of your products added to your website, but taking time with your descriptions pays off. 

Unless you only want to work with customers who already know you and the work you do, you need to share appetizing descriptions of your products. 

If words aren’t your thing, you might be wondering what to include in your product descriptions. At a high level, you can add flavor descriptions, highlight key ingredients, share benefits of your products (like time savings or that your party guests will love it), and add adjectives (like “buttery” or “decadent”). Try your best to include between 3-5 sentences for each product!

Sales Mistake 4: Distractions

Think about your own experience when using the internet. How many times have you been on a website, adding something to your cart, when you get a phone call or social media notification that distracts you? 

Reminders and notifications are your friend when it comes to making sales! Your customers need an extra nudge from time to time. If you can automate your reminder notifications, that will make your life even better. 

Keep track of your customers’ important dates and send them reminders in advance of their special events or occasions. If you can be the first to remind them about an upcoming birthday or anniversary, you’ll be more likely to get the sale!

Sales Mistake 5: Lack of Trust

If you’re feeling tempted to skip writing detailed product descriptions, you might also feel tempted to gloss over your “about me.” Don’t! A detailed about me section on your website helps build trust with customers — especially new ones who don’t know you well. 

Getting support from your friends, family, and colleagues is great — but in the long run, you’ll need to build trust and start getting purchases from “strangers.” 

If you constantly show up on social media, and if you introduce yourself on your website and social profiles, you’ll start to build trust with your audience. Consistency on social media helps show that you’re serious about your business. If your last post was four years ago, your potential customers might wonder if you’re still operating! 

Watch the Cooking Up Sales Series on YouTube

Get all of Cyd's tips for making your website conversion-friendly:

Ready to Make More Sales?

Ready to evaluate your sales process with fresh eyes? Use these tips as a starting point for reviewing your website, social media, and the purchase experience for your customer. 

If you’re in need of an online shop for your food business, or if you need a new system for taking custom orders for your bakery business, try Castiron for free today

About the Author
Emily Brungard

Growth Marketing Manager, Castiron

Emily is a sister, a friend, a cook, a world traveler, an interior design lover, and Growth Marketing Manager at Castiron. A career startup marketer, Emily has firsthand experience growing small businesses with marketing.

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