Hello, with my family we can produce a little amount of olive oil. I was thinking to sell it online using a e-commerce. Now, my question is this.. do you have any suggestions on how I could run this business the better way? In your opinion, should I find contacts all over the world in order to find someone who manage a restaurant or something else.. ? I mean, I'm in Italy and our oil could be sold everywhere.. but, where to start? Suggestions?
Personally, I don't think it's worth your while to try to sell this online. I would first go to restaurants and/or food stores etc. in your region and strike up a relationship with them.
I suspect that international food sales have lots of issues and restrictions, and people will probably be reluctant to order something they haven't tasted first. Just my opinion, though.
I don't know much about the olive oil business, but I would guess that there are thousands of small growers like yourself throughout Italy, France, Greece, etc. What have you got to make your product stand out from the competition?
I just did a quick search for "olive oil" and I found a dozen on-line suppliers. I also know that every grocery shop, delicatessen and supermarket in my town sells a range of olive oils, ranging from basic low-cost products to extra-virgin to "value added" oils (such as garlic-infused).
I'm not saying you shouldn't go ahead with this. But you do need to be able to offer some reason for customers to buy your oil rather than anyone else's. That's what you need to think about before you start worrying about the mechanics of on-line selling.
I also think that Ralph made a good point about selling to local restaurants. If you can brand the product to make it look like a tradtional product of your region, that might help with that.
I agree with what others have said: it is probably best to build your business locally first. This will help you build up a loyal client base that you could use as references as your business grows and will give you an idea of how to forecast potential online sales volumes.
It would be also wise to check with a lawyer to find out if there are any restrictions on exporting your product, or other countries importing (usually food containers have to be labeled in a very specific way).
Definitely setup a website for your product, but at this point you could have it marketing content with a "contact us" link where potential future online purchasers can email you for more information.
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