Box of online choclatesWhat is your specialty?  Gourmet cookies?  Truffles?  Spaghetti sauce?  Cheese?  Whatever it is, there a HUGE online demand for gourmet delicacies.  Honest.

For decades I lived in California.  Even in rural California I could find all manner of gourmet delights.  It was just part of the culture.  Then I moved to rural Oregon.  Now I understand how online gourmet businesses can do so well.  I love where I live — truly.  But the boundless variety of delights that I grew up on, and came to take for granted, just isn’t here.

So I go online.  And so do millions of other buyers.

I just took a quick inventory too of all the holidays that need something special.  In the U.S., there’s Valentine’s Day, Mother’s Day, Easter, Father’s Day, Thanksgiving, Christmas, weddings, birthdays, special picnics and outdoor outings, anniversaries, and truly celebrations of all kinds.  And that’s just the beginning.  No matter where you are in the world, odds are that there are just as many celebrations, if not more, in your region.

Those are the occasions we celebrate with something special, perhaps a gourmet delight from an online store.

And you only need two skills to make this business a huge success!

Skill No. 1:  Creating Your Gourmet Delight

It is not good enough if you can create a candy bar like Hersey, or even like Ghiradelli.  These are pretty readily available, even in rural area.

No, your gourmet delight needs to be an online treat unlike others.

  • Give unique decoration to your cookies.
  • Add regional flavor to your cheeses.
  • Look for unique labels and bottles for your homemade chutney.
  • Wrap your salt water taffy in very unique packaging.
  • Package your walnuts from Maine in a wood box.
  • “Organic” and “non-GMO” are important marketing terms.

Really make this your own.  And make it special.

Do be a bit careful about alcoholic beverages (ales and wines, for example).  These may need special shipping, and special disclaimers on your website.  But even these are very do-able, and very profitable.  The local southern Oregon wineries ship all over the world, and you can too!

Skill No. 2:  Online Marketing

Really study how to promote your gourmet goodies online.  Learn about FaceBook ads and placing ads on others’ websites in particular.  Ads in Instagram or Pinterest may work for you too.

This is a short section, but trust me, it is a huge topic.  And a very important topic.  More than creating your gourmet delight, more than packaging it, more than even creating a website, learn how to market.  You’ve got a beautiful product/label/packaging/etc., so use the visuals you’ve got and turn them into captivating promotionals.

And learn to connect with other merchants online.  Your organic “steak sauce” could well become an organic “veggie sauce”, and you could market it in conjunction with organic vegetables.

In addition to reaching out to individual shoppers, market too to small gourmet specialty shops.  A shop in Beverly Hills might be delighted to feature honey from India.  You won’t know if you don’t ask.  The very worst they can do is say, No.  And they just might say YES!

Plan on doing most of your marketing online, especially if you are reaching across international borders.  It will be a lot cheaper, reach a lot more potential buyers, and be a lot faster than hard copy advertising.

And, yes, be sure to figure shipping costs into your plans.  Most buyers know they need to pay for shipping, so choose a way that will ensure that your gourmet creations arrive tasting fresh.  As your venture grows, you may consider setting up a distribution center in the destination country — that will cut down on shipping time considerably.

Are you good to go?  I do hope so.  Do jot your ideas and your questions below!