My business would not be the same without my Castiron website! It is an easy setup with lots of customization and tons of support! I am so glad I set up my shop last year before the holidays — it really helped increase my sales!
The Whimsical Cookie
Castiron provides me a professional site to my customers increasing my credibility and value while giving me the tools to effectively market and manage my business in an easy, user-friendly manner.
Wesley's Treats Hallie's Sweets
Castiron has made my cottage bakery shine, and my business easy to manage. As a platform they care about my business as much as I do.
Before Castiron, I was taking orders really manually, through emails or texts or Facebook. Now I can send customers straight to my website, and I don’t have to worry about missing any details.
I couldn't run my business without the Castiron platform. It made it so easy to get my shop up and running — it truly removed a massive barrier to me getting started!
I realized that the barrier of having to DM or text me to order was holding a lot of potential customers back.
Now that I have a professional website and a simple ecommerce checkout, I'm seeing a huge increase in new customers and they appreciate how easy Castiron makes ordering.
Easy to start, created specifically for local, handmade food: Castiron’s website builder was created to help you grow. Create a website in minutes with our templates, sell where and how your customers want to buy, and look professional without being technical. Keep customers coming back with email marketing tools, customer records, and more.
Food entrepreneurs, this is your moment. Your community is more and more conscious about what they buy and where it is from. They want food made with love. With ingredients they can pronounce. And they want to support their community while doing it.
Castiron is the best fit for your food business because we're not a one-size-fits-all tool. Selling local food is different from pre-packaged warehouse products. Whether you sell cooking classes, need local pick up, utilize pre-sales to plan inventory, or need a fully custom order form — we got you.
No code required. Add pages, sell your products, build order forms, and show off your beautiful work. We'll handle the tech so you can focus on growing your food business.
Never track down a payment or oversell products again. Real-time inventory tracking and secure payment processing make life easier for you and your customers, and our order form builder makes managing custom requests a breeze.
With our marketing tools, your email marketing can go on autopilot. We make it easy to promote your latest products, announce custom order availability, and stay connected with customers.
Free and paid apps for selling homemade food enable home-based bakers and cottage food operators to grow their businesses with innovative technology. Especially since the advent of Covid-19, these software apps have exploded in popularity as more people are engaged in social distancing. Continue reading to learn about how these versatile tools can help you achieve your goals as a home-based food artisan.
Let’s begin by looking at three of the most in-demand apps for selling homemade food: Shef, Dishdivvy, and Castiron. Each has some attractive features to simplify operations while increasing efficiency.
The Shef app is a marketplace where cooks can sell their culinary creations to people searching for phrases like “homemade food near me.” The app has helped “Shefs” to sell more than a million dishes across the US, all within the past couple of years.
So, how does Shef work? There’s an application process for becoming a Shef. Once you’re accepted, you set your availability, and use the app’s tools to design your menu, determine your pricing, and get your payment account set up. Shef provides logistics assistance and marketing help to get you in touch with more potential customers in your community. The company claims that many Shefs make up to $1000 weekly.
Dishdivvy is another popular app to help food artisans sell homemade food online. However, it is still relatively small and only available in a handful of communities, primarily in California. If you choose to use this platform, you’ll be able to set up a customizable website, use the menu builder, use a smart calendar to schedule when you’ll be cooking, and chat with your customers in real time. The company takes 15% of each order’s sale price and also charges the customer a small fee.
Castiron is striking up a lot of attention as possibly the best free app for homemade food artisans. It’s a full-featured suite of tools that allows you to bring your business online quickly and impressively. Unlike Shef, there’s no formal application process. And unlike Dishdivvy, Castiron is 100% free forever.
Since COVID, the global economic landscape has shifted tremendously. Social distancing has become the norm, and people enjoy the option of not having to go out in public to get authentic food. This new demand for restaurant quality food delivery has sparked the surge of homemade food startup entities that we see today.
There are various benefits for a home-based food operator using software apps specifically designed to accommodate new trends in the food industry. The key benefits are website creation, sales support, inventory management, fulfillment services, and the seamless integration of marketing options like SEO and social media marketing.
Now, let’s take a closer look at Castiron and other key players in this exciting and surging marketplace. The best app to sell with depends on your unique needs and situation. If you are in a location that supports DIshdivvy or Shef, it certainly can’t hurt to learn more about their services and what they offer.
However, if you are not in their service areas, which is likely for most Americans, you’ll likely be better off with an app for selling home-cooked food like Castiron. It matters not where you are with this app, and it’s stuffed with features like a Thanksgiving turkey!
Castiron is a free e-commerce app stocked with tools to create your branded website, take and manage orders, communicate with customers in real time, accept payments, and much more.
So, what are the most important features that a cottage food operator should look for in an app to sell their food online? Let’s review some of the most important for home-based food entrepreneurs.
A good home food service app will accommodate custom ordering instructions. Customers have unique wants and needs and you need to be able to give them what they ask for, the way they ask for it. For instance, a customer might request a vegan version of one of your dishes, or perhaps they need to let you know that they have an allergy to dairy products. Or, maybe you sell custom sugar cookies. Your online store should allow you to collect all of the details you need to provide customers with an accurate quote. Ensuring that your customers can add details to their orders helps to build a more loyal customer base, improve your online ratings, and generally enhance your brand.
Online food service apps like Shef, Dishdivvy, and Castiron all make an entrepreneur’s life easier with their rich feature sets. They free up a lot of time that you would otherwise have to invest in inventory management, messaging with customers, marketing, and keeping track of income. The entire point of automation is to free your schedule to do what you love, preparing scrumptious food for customers!
When you’re operating a busy homemade food business, your time is limited and needs to be used as efficiently as possible. It’s never a good thing to disappoint customers by letting them order something that's already sold out.
Some of the best software apps for home-based food businesses have features that allow you to seamlessly develop long-term customer loyalty. For example, you might reward your most loyal customers with a special message giving them 15% off on their next order. Or you may develop a points system where your customers get free food after accumulating so many points. Features like this make it simple and fun to show your patrons how much you appreciate their continued business.
The most feature-loaded home bakery apps, like Castiron, eliminate the repetitive need to fill out paper invoices, chase payments down, and wonder when your money is actually going to hit the account. A good cottage food service app allows you to accept online payments, via various different payment venues, and inform you about when your money will be available. You will be able to access real-time information about sales, payments received, applicable taxes, and any other expenses associated with your operation.
Cottage food laws are the rules and regulations associated with running a home-based food business. These laws differ by state, and sometimes by counties within a given state. So, the first thing you need to do if you want to build an online homemade food delivery business is to check with your local and state authorities.
Start with the health department in your county. Learn about the cottage food laws where you live so that you'll know which foods you're allowed to prepare, where you're allowed to sell them, the maximum gross annual sales allowed, and other relevant factors that will affect your business.
Once you have dealt with the government, you'll need to give some serious consideration and planning to your business plan. Get down and dirty with it. Develop a clear understanding of precisely which foods you want to make, and then what it's going to take to make them. Think about marketing, accounting, inventory, sales venues, and all other elements needed to forge a successful homemade food business.
Unless you like doing things the hard and inefficient way, yes! A well-designed, feature-rich, and free homemade food app, like Castiron, for instance, is an invaluable tool. Professional software automates various processes that would otherwise eat your time and energy away.
There is only so much time in a day, and time is money. You want to spend your time stress-free, enjoying the art of preparing your delectable homemade foods. You don't want to run yourself in circles performing repetitive clerical tasks. It just doesn't make any sense that way anymore. Modern technology is valuable and can save you a lot of frustration, time, and money.
Now, let’s review the core features that cottage food chefs and home-based bakers should look for in a homemade app. It's good to remember these points when you're making your decision about which software to utilize. That way you won't find yourself having to troubleshoot and problem solve when you should be in your kitchen preparing your next delicious dish for your next super-satisfied customer.
Look for these features and a home bakery software app:
The software you choose should also include free homemade food website creation, an efficient and well-thought communications portal for providing excellent customer service, and ongoing support for you as your business grows and requires more marketing and online functionality.
If your goal is to sell homemade food online, then consider Castiron. Experience how simple and fast it is to create your virtual storefront and position yourself to begin making online sales. Our friendly and helpful team is always available to answer your questions and assist you however we can. We are here to grow with you through the years!
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