Hi! So I'm working on setting up my bakery, but I will not have an actual store front. I am renting space at a commercial kitchen and was going to have online ordering, with a policy they must place their orders at least 24 hours in advance and they can only pick things up during certain hours. Does anyone do anything like this? Also, if you do any online ordering, what company/software do you use? Thank you!
My e-commerce site was very involved. I had my web designer set it up after I designed it on paper. I wanted to learn how to create it and change it. It was not cheap and was professionally done so that there were no glitches.
If your primary business will be custom cakes, full-fledged online ordering (where users select a product, add it to a cart, and check out) is probably overkill, a simple contact form allowing customers to describe what they want would be a good starting point for putting together the order manually -- creating the invoice in QuickBooks, scheduling pickup and delivery times in Outlook, etc.
On the other hand, if you are shooting for a higher volume of sales and are selling prepackaged, discrete products with limited customization options, an e-commerce solution would fit better. If you have some technical knowledge there are a number of free shopping cart packages (osCommerce is one) -- most ISPs usually offer them as options, and some will even help you set them up.
Exactly what Jason said. If you are custom cakes only, then online ordering may be too much. PLUS, 24 hours for online ordering would be a really short turnaround. What if they order something, but you need to clarify what they mean, or have a question and you can't get ahold of them right away? Customers are customers, and they won't care if you don't understand their request, and may wait to return calls or emails until last minute, and then where would you be? Give yourself enough lead time to fill an order with all questions answered.
Now, like Jason said, if you are selling items that require no customization, then great, by all means do it, but 24hr lead time for custom orders will drive you to the vino very quickly.
I just wanted to add that if you are aiming for high volume with little customization options, then I would definitely get an online ordering option. Because if you think about the customer that wants to order that kind of a cake, then they're not going to want to spend a lot of time with the ordering process either. So it would be a win win situation.
Otherwise if you want something a little more in between, not online ordering but not totally custom either, then I would think about posting a pdf of your order form on your website so customers can print it out and have it filled out before they drop it off with payment/deposit.
PLUS, 24 hours for online ordering would be a really short turnaround. What if they order something, but you need to clarify what they mean, or have a question and you can't get ahold of them right away?
Agreed...for our custom cakes we typically require 2-3 weeks notice. Occasionally we will be able to accommodate an order with 1 week lead time, but we are usually booked up at least 2 weeks in advance.
Thanks guys! I'm looking into doing more just basic cupcake orders, not so much customization. If they want a custom cake or such, then they would need to contact me to work out the details, but if they want a dozen cupcakes for Friday, they could go to the site, choose from several cake options and come pick them up a day or two later. I'm using Weebly for my site and they partner with Google Checkout, but I was wondering if there was a better way to do it. Thanks for the input!
I have an orderform on my website. I use yahoo site builder and accept Paypal payments. I love it.
I would make sure that you are CRYSTAL CLEAR on what can be ordered with 24 hours notice. People just don't read. It's inevitable that someone will think that they can place an order for a custom cake and them pick it up the next day. Imagine when they show up and their cake isn't ready.
Also, you might want to clarify what exactly 24 hours means. Is it 24 hours from when they hit the submit button? Is it after they receive confirmation of their order? Is it I place an order Tuesday evening at 11pm and it will be ready Wed at 11pm (and yep, some people will think they can pick it up then).
Just things to think about so that there's as little confusion as possible