Have you always wanted to sell cupcakes on the Internet? Lots of people are making at least a part-time income doing just that. The Internet has opened up an entirely new venue for selling items of all kinds, including food. Cupcakes, chocolate, cakes, and other specialty food items are available on both private websites and online stores like Etsy, Amazon, and Foodoro.
First Things First – State Regulations
Before you tie on your apron and kick your mixer into high gear check with your state to find out what the regulations and requirements are for you to sell food from your home. Generally these business fall under “cottage food laws” and have few requirements. For example, in Texas you are not required to have your kitchen inspected but you do have to take a short, online course and get a food handler’s license. Each state is different so be sure to check the laws in your own state to ensure you are complying.
Finding a Venue to Sell Cupcakes on the Internet
You’ll need to find a way to get your cupcakes together with the people who want them. You can certainly start your own website but it can take months or even years to get your site in a good position on the search engines. If you already have a blog that has a decent amount of page views monthly creating a website to sell baked goods in conjunction with that could work. Otherwise you are going to need to find a site that allows you to open a virtual storefront.
Etsy is an online mall that features all kinds of handcrafted items, including baked goods. It isn’t difficult to open a store there and you’ll have some search engine love because you’re affiliated with the Etsy shops. There is an excellent post about selling food on the Etsy blog. Be sure to read it before you get started. Etsy charges a percentage of each sale.
You can find anything on Amazon — even cupcakes! Amazon Seller’s Program allows you to add your baked goods to the Amazon Marketplace. When customers visit the site and type in your item into the search box your item will be shown along with other items that match those keywords. Like Etsy, Amazon has millions of page views every month and your item has a better chance of being noticed than if you tried to sell it from your own website. Amazon charges a cost per sale for individual sellers and a monthly rate for businesses. Be sure to read the information carefully so you know what all of the fees actually are.
Foodoro is the only one of the three sites that only carries food items. It isn’t as large as the other two and for that reason your food items might stand out a bit more than with the bigger sites. There are no setup fees and they don’t have any charges other than a small percentage of each sale.
Have a Plan
Don’t just decide to sell cupcakes on the Internet one day and open a store front. Do some research and see how much other people are charging, how they are packaging and what the are selling. Do all of your background work with your state to make sure that you are in compliance with state law. Finally, make sure you have a plan for your business, goals for growth, and a budget to work from.
Doing this will help to ensure your Internet success.