How to start an online bakery business

/ 14 min read
Paperform

This blog post guides you through creating a successful online bakery. From finding your niche and managing legalities to branding and logistics, it covers essential steps for a thriving digital presence. It highlights Paperform's easy-to-use, customizable order form templates, perfect for bakeries of all sizes. Whether you're selling cookies, cupcakes, or custom cakes, these templates streamline your ordering process, making it a delightful experience for both you and your customers. Dive into the world of online baking and discover how to sweeten your business with Paperform. 🍰✨

Imagine turning your kitchen into a buzzing online bakery. Sounds like a dream, right? Well, it's more achievable than you might think.

You don't need a trophy from the Great British Bakeoff to make it happen. All you need is a love for baking, a smidge of planning, and a pinch of entrepreneurial spirit.

To whip up this recipe for success, we chatted with the sibling duo behind Kerbside Creamery. They transformed their lockdown baking adventures into a thriving online sensation.

1. Define your bakery's niche

Starting an online bakery is an exciting venture, but it's important to remember that resources are often limited in the beginning. You might not be able to bake everything, and that's perfectly fine. Focus on what sets you apart.

Consider:

  • Your baking strengths: Identify what you're best at. Are you a connoisseur of cookies, a cake artist, or a pastry specialist? It's better to excel in a few items than to overextend with too many.
  • Understanding market needs: What does your local community crave? Maybe there's a niche for vegan pastries or a demand for artisan breads that's not being met.

Just like Jonathan from Kerbside Creamery, who focused on a unique product— cheesecake on a stick—you can find your sweet spot by concentrating on a few standout items that showcase your skills.

"I had the idea for cheesecake on a stick a long, long time ago," says Jonathan from Kerbside Creamery. "It was a natural progression when we thought about starting our business, and I think that's where the best ideas come from."

It was a natural progression when we thought about starting our business, and I think that's where the best ideas come from.

By honing in on a specific niche, you can efficiently utilize your resources and build a memorable brand. This focused approach is key to setting up a successful online bakery.

2. Make your online bakery business official

It's not all cupcakes and mille-feuilles. There are plenty of legalities to cover when setting up an online bakery business, just as with any other business.

Dealing with these legalities upfront can save you from potential headaches down the road and sets a professional tone for your business operations.

Key legal considerations include:

  • Understand the specific food business laws and regulations in your area to operate legally.
  • Decide on the legal structure of your bakery, such as a sole proprietorship, partnership, or LLC, which affects your taxes and liability.
  • Register your business name to protect your brand and prevent others from using it.
  • Obtain the necessary licenses and permits, like food handling certifications and a business license, depending on your location and product range.
  • Stay informed about tax obligations, especially for online sales, to ensure compliance and avoid penalties.
  • Consider getting liability insurance, particularly if you are operating from home, to protect against potential business-related claims.

Follow all data privacy laws that apply to your bakery website, especially if your site uses cookies — and in this case, we’re not talking about the baked goods! Add a privacy policy to your site and use a reputable consent management tool to help you meet legal requirements easily and affordably.

Addressing these areas ensures your bakery is legally sound and ready for the excitement of serving customers online.

3. Build your bakery's brand

Your brand is more than just your logo or color scheme; it's the story, values, and experiences you share with your customers. A unique brand is vital in setting your online bakery apart. A few tips for building a brand that resonates:

Create a visual identity

Your logo, colors, and website design are the first things customers notice. They should reflect the personality and style of your bakery. Whether it's whimsical, elegant, or rustic, ensure your visual identity is consistent across all platforms.

Craft your bakery's story

People connect with stories. Share the journey of how your bakery came to be, the inspiration behind your recipes, and what baking means to you. This personal touch can create a deeper connection with your audience.

Understand who you're serving

Know who you are selling to. Is your target market health-conscious parents, indulgent dessert lovers, or gourmet food enthusiasts? Tailor your branding and messaging to appeal to your specific audience.

Provide a consistent customer experience

From browsing your website to unboxing their order, ensure every customer interaction reflects your brand's values and promises. A consistent, positive experience can turn first-time buyers into loyal customers.

4. Iron out the logistics

Getting the logistics right is just as crucial as your recipes in the online bakery business. This step is all about setting up a smooth operation that can adapt and grow with your business.

Kitchen and equipment

Start with what you have. A reliable oven, efficient mixers, and adequate storage space are the backbone of your bakery. It's better to begin with essentials and scale up as your business grows.

Baking process and time management

Baking is the art of timing. Develop a routine that aligns with your order flow. This could mean early mornings or late nights, but a well-structured schedule ensures quality and efficiency.

Consistency and quality control

Your customers expect the same delicious taste every time they order. Implement standards for your recipes and processes to ensure this consistency. Regular taste tests and batch checks can be your quality control allies.

Understanding shelf life

Different treats, different timelines. Plan your baking around the shelf life of your products to ensure they reach your customers as fresh as possible. This is crucial for maintaining the reputation of your bakery.

"Know your product," says Jonathan. "How does it travel? How should it be consumed? Consider these factors in your delivery planning to ensure the product reaches the customer just as it should.

Know your product. How does it travel? How should it be consumed? Ensure the product reaches the customer just as it should.

Sourcing ingredients and managing inventory

Your relationship with suppliers is key. Find reliable sources for high-quality ingredients and consider bulk purchases for better pricing. Keep a vigilant eye on your stock—too much, and you risk waste; too little, and you might miss orders.

Delivery and packing

The last leg of your product’s journey is crucial. Figure out the best packaging to keep your goodies intact and choose delivery methods that ensure timely and safe arrival.

Tackling these logistical aspects sets a strong foundation for your online bakery, ensuring that each delightful treat reaches your customers in perfect condition.

5. Find the pricing sweet spot

Pricing your bakery treats is a bit like baking—you need just the right ingredients to get it perfect. First, know your costs inside out. Yes, there are ingredients like flour and sugar, but don't forget things like packaging, your tech stack, and even the time you pour into each product. They're worth something too.

You'll want to do a bit of detective work and see what others are charging. But don't just mimic what they're doing. Your bakery has its own magic. If you're whipping up something extra special, don't be shy to reflect that in your price.

Think about what makes someone choose your chocolate chip cookie over any other. Maybe it's those organic ingredients or that secret family recipe. These special touches can make your treats feel more valuable to your customers.

Play around with your prices a bit. Roll out a special offer, bundle a few goodies together, or set up a 'baker's choice' surprise box. See what makes your customers click 'add to cart' and what has them coming back for seconds.

Important: Remember to revisit your prices now and then. Costs change, your bakery grows, and what works today might need tweaking tomorrow. Keeping that pricing sweet spot is all about staying connected to your business and your customers.

6. Build your ordering system

The digital leap for your bakery involves creating a seamless online ordering experience for your customers.

Whether you're crafting a website from scratch, enhancing an existing one, or setting up a dedicated order page, the right tools make all the difference.

“Your online platform should be as straightforward as possible," says Jonathan. "An easy browsing and ordering process keeps customers coming back.”

Simplify the experience for your customer as much as possible. When it comes to setting up a site, less is more. I can't reiterate that enough.  Keep things simple and approachable. Buying should be effortless.

Why Paperform is the go-to solution for your online bakery’s ordering needs:

Paperform cookie order form on yellow background
  • Ease of setup: Paperform allows you to effortlessly create an order form that’s not only functional but also aesthetically pleasing. Even if you're not tech-savvy, its user-friendly interface lets you set up everything you need to start taking orders online.
  • Versatility in embedding: You can use it to host a standalone order page or embed the order form directly into your current website, keeping a consistent brand look and feel.
  • Simple order management: Beyond just taking orders, Paperform enables you to manage them effectively. Track orders, update inventory, and handle customer queries all from one platform. It’s about making the business side of your bakery as smooth as the baking itself.
  • Streamlined payment processing: Paperform supports major payment gateways like PayPal, Stripe, and Braintree, offering a hassle-free payment experience for your customers. This feature simplifies the transaction process, ensuring security and convenience for both you and your customers.
  • Customization for brand consistency: Your order form can be customized to reflect your bakery’s unique brand identity. From colors and fonts to layout design, Paperform offers the flexibility to ensure your online presence resonates with your bakery’s style and ethos.
  • Marketing and CRM Integration: Paperform allows you to connect with CRM and email marketing tools. This capability means you can automate some of your marketing processes, making customer engagement and retention more efficient.

Ready to Elevate Your Online Bakery?

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7. Invest in marketing

Marketing your online bakery is like choosing the perfect combination of flavors for a cake – it needs variety and balance. There's a world of channels out there, each with its unique strengths.

SEO

Start with SEO (Search Engine Optimization). It's like the yeast in your dough – it helps your website rise in search engine rankings. Use the right keywords, optimize your website’s speed, and ensure it’s mobile-friendly. This way, when someone searches for the best chocolate cake or artisan bread, your bakery pops up.

Social media

Social media is your window display. Platforms like Instagram and Facebook are perfect for showing off your creations. Post drool-worthy photos, share customer testimonials, and engage with your followers. It's not just about selling; it's about building a community that loves your brand.

Email newsletter

A newsletter is an extension of your bakery's story and a direct line to customers. Share the stories behind your recipes, offer sneak peeks of upcoming products, or sprinkle in some exclusive discounts for your email list. It’s a space to get personal – maybe share a baking tip or two, or talk about what inspired your latest creation.

Every newsletter is a chance to deepen the bond with your audience. Through engaging content, your newsletter can become a key ingredient in fostering customer loyalty and growing your community.

Events and community

Don't just stick to the digital world. Real-life events can add a personal touch that's hard to replicate online. Attend local food markets, offer baking workshops, or collaborate with other local businesses. These events give people a taste of your products and the story behind them.

Tips for moving an existing bakery online

Transitioning an established brick-and-mortar bakery to an online platform presents unique challenges, distinct from starting a digital bakery from scratch. Here are specific tips to navigate this shift.

Leverage your existing reputation

Here you have an advantage over new businesses! Use the goodwill and customer base you've already built. Highlight your bakery's history and popular items in your online messaging to provide a sense of continuity and trust.

Adapt your existing products and services

This might include offering online baking classes, virtual bakery tours, or interactive sessions where customers can learn about your baking processes.

Evaluate your menu for items that can be easily shipped without compromising quality. You might need to modify recipes or presentation for safe and appealing delivery.

Update Your POS System for Seamless Integration

Make sure your Point of Sale (POS) system can handle both in-store and online orders. This step is crucial for keeping track of inventory, managing orders efficiently, and providing a smooth customer experience regardless of how they choose to shop.

Develop an online marketing strategy

Your marketing should now cater to both physical and online audiences. Develop campaigns that encourage your existing customers to try your online services. This could include email marketing campaigns highlighting the convenience of online ordering or social media promotions showcasing your online-exclusive products.

5. Implement a reliable delivery system

Figure out the logistics of getting your baked goods to customers’ doorsteps. This could mean partnering with a trusted delivery service or setting up your own system. Ensure that the delivery process maintains the quality and freshness of your products.

6. Actively seek online customer feedback

Online customer feedback can be different from in-store. Encourage online reviews and actively seek out comments and suggestions. This information is valuable for tweaking your online services and offerings to better suit your customers' preferences.

Offer online-only specials and promotions

Create online-only offers to attract your regular customers to your new platform. This could be a discount on their first online order, a special bundle of products available exclusively online, or a limited-time online bakery event.

By implementing these steps, you'll not only bring your existing bakery successfully online but also open up new opportunities for growth and customer engagement.

Five bakery order form templates to get you started

Order form templates designed specifically for bakeries can simplify the transition to online sales. They're your digital storefront, where customers can easily browse your offerings, make selections, and place orders.

Think of these templates as customizable recipes; you can tweak them to fit your bakery's unique style and needs.

Whether it’s adding your branding, customizing fields for specific cake orders, or setting up payment options, these templates offer the flexibility to create an order process that's as unique as your baked goods.

Bakery order form template

Bakery order form template

Crafted with the specific needs of bakeries in mind, this template covers all the essentials. It allows customers to select from your range of baked goods, specify quantities, and choose sizes or flavors. There’s also room for custom requests, ensuring you cater to those unique orders that make your bakery stand out.

Use the bakery order form template

Cookie order form template

Cookie order form template

Our cookie order form is ideal for bakeries looking to simplify their order process. It's designed to be user-friendly, ensuring your customers can easily select their favorite treats. The template allows for personalization to reflect your bakery's character. It includes convenient payment integrations like PayPal and Stripe, making transactions smooth. It comes with automatic email confirmations for orders and robust data tracking features to help you stay organized and informed about your sales and customer preferences.

Use the cookie order form template

Cupcake order form template

cupcake order form template

Next up is our cupcake order form template, a delightful tool for any bakery focusing on cupcakes. It's thoughtfully designed to make selecting and ordering cupcakes a joy for your customers. Beyond its user-friendly interface, you can tailor the look and feel to mirror your bakery's unique charm.

Use the cupcake order form template

Cake order form template

Cake order form template

The second last template on our menu is our custom cake order form template. This template blends simplicity and elegance, making it a breeze for customers to order their dream cakes. With practical features like integrated payment options and automatic confirmation emails, it ensures a smooth and efficient ordering process. The template also offers detailed order tracking, providing valuable insights for managing your bakery's orders and customer preferences with ease.

Use the cake order form template

Pasteleria order form template

Pasteleria order form template

Our PastelerĂ­a Order Form Template uses Guided Mode, offering an extra touch of simplicity. It's designed to guide customers through the order process effortlessly, ensuring they find exactly what they're looking for in your pastry selection. Customizable to your shop's vibe, it includes straightforward payment options and prompt receipts. Plus, it's packed with features to help you track what's hot and what's not on your menu. Ideal for keeping things smooth and inspiring for everyone involved.

Use the pasteleria order form template

Final thoughts

From defining your niche to crafting a memorable brand and ironing out logistics, each step is crucial in creating a sweet online presence.

And when it comes to taking orders, our range of bakery-specific form templates are here to simplify the process for you. They're easy to use, customizable, and designed to make your and your customers' experiences as delightful as your baked goods.

Dive in and discover how our templates can elevate your baking business with a free Paperform trial.


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