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Opening an online confectionery store

It’s easy to see why so many people dream of opening a sweet shop. Sweet treats and chocolate have a magical way of brightening up and bringing joy to anyone’s day. According to the magazine The Grocer, 60% of people say that the primary reason they buy sweets is to boost their mood.

The same research found that 34% of people in the UK indulge in sweets weekly, while 19% treat themselves every couple of days. With their ability to lift spirits, widespread appeal, and consistent demand, launching an online confectionery store is an attractive proposition.

If you dream of being the next Willy Wonka, we’ve got some tips and advice to help get your sweet new business idea off the ground.

Why sell sweets and chocolate online?

If you’d like to launch a new confectionery store, selling online is a straightforward and cost-effective strategy for reaching a wide audience. While we admit that there’s something romantic about the idea of opening an old-style brick-and-mortar sweet shop, selling online has numerous advantages over selling on the high street.

For starters, opening an online store will cost you less and require less commitment. With the right support, setting up a simple eCommerce store can be quick and simple. Online confectionery stores generally have low startup costs and are easy to scale up as your business grows.

Perhaps the greatest advantage of choosing to open your new store online is the potential to reach a very wide audience. Unlike a physical store, which limits your customer base to local shoppers, an online shop is accessible to customers in any location, breaking geographical barriers and opening up national or even global markets.

Finally, online marketing opportunities are vast and varied. Plenty of tools, platforms, and strategies are available to help you grow brand awareness, engage with your target market, and drive more sales online. 

Why choose Shopify for your online confectionery store?

The platform that you set up shop on will play a crucial role in your store’s success. It’s important to choose a platform that not only meets your requirements now but also has the features and functionalities to help it grow in the future. Research how much of a learning curve each platform requires, especially if you have limited web design and development skills. Choosing a user-friendly platform will help to keep costs down and give you autonomy over managing your online store on a day-to-day basis.

For most startup online confectionery stores, Shopify offers everything required to launch an online store and start selling quickly and affordably. In the UK alone, over 200,000 eCommerce stores have been built using Shopify. It has earned itself a reputation as one of the most popular and user-friendly eCommerce platforms in the world.

Pile of gummy bearsBecause Shopify is an all-in-one solution, hosting and security are all included in your plan. Shopify’s out-of-the-box features and drag-and-drop interface are all you need to build a beautiful, user-friendly store. The platform also offers more advanced customisation options and over 8,000 apps for adding new features and functionality to your store as your business grows.

Got a question about Shopify or how to sell confectionery on Shopify? Create8 is a Shopify partner, so if you require any support or advice about launching a confectionery store on Shopify, don’t hesitate to reach out to our team of experts!

Are there any legal requirements for opening an online confectionery store?

Before you launch your online sweet shop, it’s important to understand all legal obligations that apply. Failing to research, understand, and comply with relevant regulations and industry standards could result in penalties, the closure of your store, or even legal action.

Food hygiene certificate

While confectionery stores are not required by law to have a food hygiene certificate, the Food Standards Agency (FSA) strongly recommends you get one. Doing so can help to ensure you remain up-to-date and compliant with all relevant legislation, particularly if your products are homemade. Food hygiene training is affordable and generally only takes an hour or two to complete. Displaying a food hygiene certificate can provide your new business with credibility, boost its reputation, and help to build trust among consumers.

Provide information about allergens

By law, all UK food businesses are required to provide customers with allergen information. The Food Standards Agency lists the 14 allergens that are regulated in the UK.

Comply with food labelling and packaging rules

UK food businesses are required by law to provide customers with key information on the product labels and packaging. The government website provides guidance about what information must be included on labels. 

Register your food business with your local authority

You are legally required to register a food business using a food business registration form at least 28 days before you start selling online.

Business insurance

While not a legal requirement, obtaining business insurance, such as product liability, is advisable. This insurance provides coverage in the event that someone becomes ill or injured because of a product you sold, offering significant protection and peace of mind.

Ten best practices for building a successful online confectionery store using Shopify

Once your business idea is clear in your mind, you’ve sourced your products, and you’ve ticked all the legal boxes, it’s time to get on with the fun bit—building your online confectionery store! Let’s learn 10 top tips for setting up confectionery store on Shopify.

1. Use a mobile responsive design

As a growing number of people choose to shop online using their smartphones and tablets, it’s essential that your online sweet store can adapt to fit any screen size and device to maximise its reach and create a positive user experience.

2. Apply consistent branding

Your website should use your brand’s colours and logo consistently throughout to reinforce brand identity and help build trust and brand recognition.

3. Ensure navigation is intuitive

Make sure it is easy for users to find what they’re looking for on your website by organising products into categories and using a simple and intuitive menu structure.

4. Use high-quality, professional photography

Invest in professional photography to showcase your confectionery in the best light. High-resolution images can accurately depict your products and entice customers to buy.

Chocolates in a bowl5. Write detailed product descriptions

Provide customers with detailed information about your products, including ingredients, weight, packaging, and flavour. Clear descriptions help customers make more informed purchasing decisions and reduce the likelihood of returns.

6. Optimise for search engines

Using Shopify’s built-in SEO features can help to increase your products’ visibility in search engine results pages (SERPs). Include relevant keywords in your product titles, descriptions, and blog content to attract more organic traffic.

7. Use effective calls to action

Encourage users to take the action you want them to on each page using CTAs like “Buy Now”, “Add to Cart”, and “Subscribe”. Make sure your CTA is positioned prominently above the fold so that users don’t have to scroll to see it.

8. Display prominent shipping and returns information

Clearly communicate your shipping policies, costs, and expected delivery times. Ensure that your returns policy is also straightforward and easily accessible to build customer trust.

9. Streamline the checkout process

Minimise the steps needed to complete a purchase to increase your store’s conversion rate. A simple checkout process reduces cart abandonment and enhances customer satisfaction.

10. Leverage a Shopify customer review system

Collect customer reviews and display them prominently throughout your store, including on product pages. Reviews provide valuable social proof which can build customer trust and help other customers make informed purchasing decisions.

What are the best marketing strategies for promoting confectionery on Shopify?

Once your online confectionery store is set up and ready to welcome its first customers, it’s time to launch your first marketing campaign to drum up business and build brand awareness. There are numerous different marketing platforms and tools available online, so you’ll need to work out which ones align best with your business objectives and target audience. Highly targeted and engaging marketing campaigns can help create a buzz around your new business, attract the right website traffic, and drive business growth. Let’s find out more about five popular digital marketing strategies for confectionery.

Social media marketing

Social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, and Pinterest can be used to promote your products, engage with your target audience, build brand awareness, and show your confectionery brand’s personality. It’s important to do your research and choose the platforms where your target audience is most active.

Email marketing

Encourage website visitors to sign up for your newsletter via your website by offering a discount or exclusive offer as an incentive. Once you’ve grown an email list, you can use an email marketing service like Klaviyo to manage your list and send out email marketing campaigns. Email marketing can help to encourage repeat customers and brand loyalty.

PPC ads

Pay-per-click (PPC) ads can be used to send highly targeted traffic to your website. You pay every time someone clicks your ad and visits your website. PPC ad campaigns can be particularly useful for new businesses that don’t yet have an organic presence online and want to build brand awareness. Google Ads is the most popular PPC platform.

Content marketing

Content marketing isn’t a quick win; it’s a strategic, long-term strategy that can help you gain valuable organic visibility in search engine results pages and drive customer loyalty and engagement. Content marketing involves creating and sharing unique and valuable content like blogs and videos.

Influencer marketing

Influencer marketing involves collaborating with individuals like celebrities and social media influencers who align with your brand values and have an audience that matches your target audience to promote your brand or products. 

Hand candyExamples of confectionery stores that are killing it on Shopify

At Create8, we’ve had a lot of fun partnering with confectionery businesses over the years, helping to either build online sweet shops or enhance their performance. Our portfolio includes a diverse range of confectionery businesses, selling everything from sour gummy sweets to artisan chocolates. To inspire your vision, we’ve compiled a list of five of our favourite confectionery brands on Shopify that we’ve had the pleasure of working with.

Crazy Candy Co

The Crazy Candy Co. is a family-run business offering a huge range of unusual confectionery, including a huge selection of freeze-dried candy and hard-to-find American candy favourites. They also boast the biggest Halal create-your-own pick-n-mix in the UK!

The store’s web design is as bright, colourful, and fun as the products it sells, with product imagery taking centre stage throughout the website. The homepage features a clear CTA above the fold and prominently displays its 5-star rating and customer reviews. The business has had huge success with social media marketing, showcasing its products on TikTok and Instagram in particular.

XO Chocolate

XO is a London-based artisan chocolatier that creates luxury chocolate gifts, truffles, and bonbons.

The XO website features an intuitive navigation menu with simple product categorisation, making it easy for users to find the products they’re looking for. The store’s design and colour scheme reflect the high quality and luxury nature of its products. Product collections and imagery feature prominently on the homepage with clear CTAs.

American Candy Co

The American Candy Co sells all your favourite imported big-brand American confectionery products as well as cakes and biscuits, snacks, and breakfast cereal.

The business’s huge range of products is organised into categories, which are clearly laid out in a drop-down navigation menu. The web design uses bright rainbow colours and prominent product photography. Delivery information, a clear CTA, and links to product categories, bestsellers, and new arrivals are all featured above the fold on the homepage to encourage visitors to explore further.

The Gulab Jamun Co

A gulab jamun is a popular Indian dessert. The Gulab Jamun Co. was created to share a deletable family recipe with the wider world. The company’s Shopify website sells its desserts to caterers, restaurants, events, and individual consumers.

This website features high-quality, professional product photography that highlights the luxury appeal of these desserts. The company’s brand story is strategically placed within the navigation and just below the fold on the homepage to communicate the brand’s identity and mission, engage the audience, and boost brand awareness.

The Candy King

The Candy King is a family-run business that brought to life the fictional sweet shop that daughter Caitlin designed for her GCSE Business Studies course.

When visiting The Candy Kid website, you are greeted by a pop-up encouraging visitors to sign up for the brand’s email newsletter to receive exclusive offers and discounts. A scrolling banner on the homepage promotes popular products and the business’s subscription service alongside clear CTAs. Product pages feature high-resolution product photography and clear product information to build trust and help customers make an informed purchase decision. Customer testimonials are also leveraged for social proof.

Pick 'N' Mix website bannerPartner with Create8 to launch your online confectionery store

Do you think your confectionery business idea could bring you sweet success? 

Whether you need help attracting visitors to an existing store or turning a sweet idea into reality – our team are here to help!

As a Shopify partner, our specialist Shopify web design team can help you set up an online store that not only beautifully showcases your delicious sweets, chocolates, or treats effectively but is also optimised to convert visitors into sales. 

Contact our team today for help designing an eCommerce confectionery store as irresistible as the treats you sell.