The sixth task was to make gourmet food and sell it on the streets of Edinburgh.
Jenna Whittingham led Team Sterling who came up with the concept aptly named ‘scot pot’
which consisted of expensive ingredients cooked in the fashion of a luxury hot pot. This I initially thought to be a risky strategy as they needed to sell a lot of portions to make enough profit to win. However they positioned themselves well in the centre of the cold, drizzly city of Edinburough where their hot gourmet food was well received.
Adam Corbally led Team Phoenix and totally lost sight of the brief. He mistook the instruction to make gourmet food for an instruction to make cheap, unappetising meatballs, and wouldn’t be told otherwise. Katie Wright made the mistake of campaigning that the team set up stall outside a Hearts football game. The price was a steep £5.99 a portion and they were unable to sell anything near enough. Also they neglected to forecast that footfall would be extremely limited ie only before in the middle and after the match!
Watching the teams desperate to sell their food items in the drizzle got me thinking that is must be a damn site easier to sell food online – or is it?
Can you trade food online?
Anyone can sell food online (providing you follow legal guidelines) so even if you have no catering qualifications or experience of creating food professionally you can sell your recipes to the world. To be able to get the appropriate permit from the Department of Health, you just need a record of all of the ingredients in your food items.
How do you sell to online customers?
The key thing is obviously to position yourselves correctly and make your products desirable but these are staple items to any website diet. With food which is always a multi-sensory experience you need to compensate for taste and smell by whetting users appetites in other ways. Consider quality imagery, reviews that tell people what the product tastes like, etc.
Whilst we have been planning our wedding we have been looking at venues online, trying to see if we can get a feel for the place and quality of food through looking at the their online picture galleries, the website for Whitley Hall
is quite tantalising, as so is the chosen venue's website; Sandburn Hall.
What can I use to sell my products?
The key thing in terms of selling online is choosing a platform that gives you the capability to show your products off, offer discounts across ranges and most importantly a reporting system that lets you know how quickly stock is shifting.
A popular tool and one we use regularly when building our clients’ ecommerce sites is Magento. Magento is a powerful ecommerce platform for store owners. It offers great reporting features, handles complex discounting and vouchers and can be integrated into other systems such as stock control and accounting. In fact based on our experience of using the system it covers all of the bases any serious store owner would insist on.
Beyond that it is extremely customisable. Much of this customisation can be done via the admin interface which is generally easy to use.
How do you compensate for the lack of taste and smell senses?
Marketing your food as online can be tricky as you are trying to sell something that appeals to your customers’ sense of touch, smell and taste in a medium that won’t allow them to taste, smell or touch. Here are 4 solutions to this obstacle:
Samples are by far the best way to get people interested in any product you sell online. Sell sample sized versions of your products and sell sample packs so people can try more than one thing. If you can allow your customers to build their own sample pack, this would be even better. Graze
are a good aficionado in this respect. Graze is service whereby you can order and schedule delivery of boxes containing a selection of snacks, tailored by you, that can provide you with up to three portions of your five-a-day. The box will be delivered to you at the click of a button. Foods to choose from include fresh fruit such as cherries and pineapple chunks; nuts; seeds; dried fruit mixtures; and marinated olives. Graze offer a discount on your first box and have regular offers whereby you can add a promotional code and receive your first box for free. 2. Tasty-monials
If your food product is incredible, let your customers tell the world. Inviting customers to leave testimonials for new customers to read is a great way to drum up business.
Customers trust objective 3rd party reviews so invite your existing satisfied customers to give them.
3. Give them Cues
Make sure your product descriptions and product photography do your product justice. Take the the launch of Katy Perry’s fragrance
delivered in the US and UK . Quba created a website that would support the official launch, acting as a destination to find out more about the product, make a purchase and interact with social media. The product photos here are are bright, sharp, well lit and positioned. The product copy is evocative as well reflecting the personality of the brand and celebrity figure. These details help the customer imagine using a tangible item that they can’t smell or touch before ordering.
4. A Return Policy
You are in ultimate B2C land here so a generous return policy will help put your customers at ease. Offer to take back an item even if it’s been opened and tried, and the customer was unhappy with the product. While this might result in a few more returns, the boost in sales should far outweigh the cost of providing customer confidence.
Talking of senses and smells, episode seven this week saw the teams doing the “smell what sells”
task where they were instructed to buy items from a warehouse and sell them in a market style fashion. They then had to work out what deemed popular and the go and get more from the warehouse and make a profit.
Lord Sugar made it quite clear at the start of this task that certain people hadn’t been Project Managers before so they’d be wise to put themselves forward. And by people he meant Jade as she is the only one who hasn’t been PM. She indeed did put herself forward while Nick was unanimously voted as Project Manager of the other team.
While Jade’s team argued over where to set up shop, Nick’s team swung into action making snappy decisions to buy fake tan, fake nails and fake eyelashes. Nick’s team picked up extendable mops, beard trimmers and electronic bug toy things.
A great deal of cringe worthy selling ensued and it became apparent that Nick’s team’s most popular product was the fake tan, which they cottoned on to and sent out for more. Jade’s team failed to see that there most popular product was the electronic bug toy which also afforded a very healthy margin, bought at just 0.60p a unit and sold at £3.00 per unit.
Nicks team won as they made the most money despite botching up fetching more tan which accost the team 2 hours worth of selling time.
Going back to our guide to how to sell food online we would again suggest that this kind of operation would be made easier with quality reporting software which is a key feature of any good Ecommerce system. A key issue in this task was the time taken to re-order stock and the lag of sending a team to a warehouse to pick it up. With the right Ecommerce dashboard the project managers would have been able to see exactly how each item was shifting and make judgements very quickly. What is more if there was an integration with the supplier the replacement products could have been ordered directly- saving even more additional time.
Back in the boardroom, Jade pointed the finger of blame at Captain Strategy Azah for having a bad attitude and interfering. Tom as her second choice for no reason other than she was taking forever to make a decision. Azah was fired but I think Jade should have been fired here. She was a bad Project Manager and she hasn’t shown much else in the other weeks.
Next week the teams are tasked with selling graffiti, cant wait! Will keep you posted!