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Streamlining the cake ordering process?

post #1 of 36
Thread Starter 
Is there a way to streamline the cake ordering process? I'm starting to get really frustrated with the back and forth and back and forth email thing. And then sometimes after putting in that time, the customer decides its above their budget, and all that time is wasted.

Does anyone have a good system for taking orders with a minimal amount of time spent playing virtual ping pong?
post #2 of 36
You have posted the prices clearly enough on the new website.

When you get the first email from a new inquiry, add the link to your FAQ and prices page at the top of your response. That might increase the number of customers who do their own due diligence.

But I have to warn you that you will need to budget some of your work time (like 2 man-hours a day) for this kind of email. It's not a waste--you sometimes get really good orders by answering the first email as well as possible. And there are always people who WANT to play email ping pong...
post #3 of 36
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by BakingIrene

You have posted the prices clearly enough on the new website.

When you get the first email from a new inquiry, add the link to your FAQ and prices page at the top of your response. That might increase the number of customers who do their own due diligence.

But I have to warn you that you will need to budget some of your work time (like 2 man-hours a day) for this kind of email. It's not a waste--you sometimes get really good orders by answering the first email as well as possible. And there are always people who WANT to play email ping pong...



Well everything is custom...we have starting prices but everybody's cake is going to cost something different depending on what all they want on it.

How do you handle those who like playing ping pong?
post #4 of 36
I spend the time. In the long run it pays.

It helps to ask people to email you a picture right off the bat.

I work for somebody who has provided professional software--CorelDraw and Adobe Acrobat. OK he got them as old versions on bootlegged disks, don't ask me where...

Sometimes I have to change a design so I send a picture for approval created with CorelDraw. I send it as a pdf file so that the customer can't mess with it any further...and I keep cdr templates and add to them for my convenience.
Without this, you need to invest in a scanner and scan your sketches in pdf format to email. The picture with notes really helps to make some orders.

The other thing you can do is post concrete examples of what the fancy work will cost. Make a table with pictures of actual cakes, cost of servings, and cost of decorations.
post #5 of 36
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by BakingIrene



The other thing you can do is post concrete examples of what the fancy work will cost. Make a table with pictures of actual cakes, cost of servings, and cost of decorations.



This actually seems like it might be a really good idea.
post #6 of 36
Can you ask them for a contact phone number and just have a conversation? Possibly after they've emailed you a picture, so you both have an idea what sort of thing you're talking about.
post #7 of 36
great question Kitagrl.. another suggestion my hubby had for me was to add at the bottom of the email, 'our quote and availability is good for 24hrs'

as i have found alot of time after giving a quote over email after the back and forth messaging, that you dont hear from them for a week or two then they come back and say they want to order. They have obviously been price checking else where. and then its like a week away for the order they want.
post #8 of 36
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by mcaulir

Can you ask them for a contact phone number and just have a conversation? Possibly after they've emailed you a picture, so you both have an idea what sort of thing you're talking about.



The thing I don't like about phone conversations is:

#1: They expect an immediate quote...and sometimes that's not possible until you have time to look it over and research the ideas. Also ideas cannot be pictured over the phone.

#2: Nothing is in writing, thus it cannot be referred to by either myself or the client
post #9 of 36
Kita, my cakes are not as nice as yours. Decorating has been more forced on me by clients rather than being a passion. But I do have the size, number of servings, price per serving, and total cost on each picture. It just gives an overall price that can be a starting point.

People are going to shop anyway. Even if your prices jolt them in the beginning, after a few calls and emails, they will see that you have a proper place in the market on pricing.

I just get to the price right away in all of my products. My buffets are as high as a wedding cake. I still make sure the budget and my pricing for the guest count are in line before I get too deep. Sometimes they feel they are above budget with the buffets, and then a month later, after shopping and adjusting the budget, they come back to book.
post #10 of 36
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by scp1127

Kita, my cakes are not as nice as yours. Decorating has been more forced on me by clients rather than being a passion. But I do have the size, number of servings, price per serving, and total cost on each picture. It just gives an overall price that can be a starting point.

People are going to shop anyway. Even if your prices jolt them in the beginning, after a few calls and emails, they will see that you have a proper place in the market on pricing.

I just get to the price right away in all of my products. My buffets are as high as a wedding cake. I still make sure the budget and my pricing for the guest count are in line before I get too deep. Sometimes they feel they are above budget with the buffets, and then a month later, after shopping and adjusting the budget, they come back to book.



Yeah...I'm not sure I like prices on my cakes just because it loses that "boutique" feel, plus, then it also loses the feel of "custom". I don't want them ordering cakes off the website, I want them to order something new.... *Shrug* Guess there's no great answer.
post #11 of 36
Maybe posting just three examples of base, medium and high cost cakes to give people an idea of you prices attached to real cakes. You wouldn't have to do it for all of them.

It's been said before that "a simple' cake in the eyes of a customer isn't simple at all.
I think a visual might clear things up or at least give them an idea of real costs meaning they need to break out the check book or re-evaluate their idea of what they can afford.

mommachris

wife to David for 25 years
mom to 13 blessings
Nine who are still living at home that range from 22 to 4 years old.
Holly, Amy, Aaron, Evelyn, Zebedee, Melody, William, Melissa and little Tobin
and four more sweet babies in heaven.

Reply

wife to David for 25 years
mom to 13 blessings
Nine who are still living at home that range from 22 to 4 years old.
Holly, Amy, Aaron, Evelyn, Zebedee, Melody, William, Melissa and little Tobin
and four more sweet babies in heaven.

Reply
post #12 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kitagrl


Yeah...I'm not sure I like prices on my cakes just because it loses that "boutique" feel, plus, then it also loses the feel of "custom". I don't want them ordering cakes off the website, I want them to order something new.... *Shrug* Guess there's no great answer.



For "custom only" you need to plan to those two hours a day that I mentioned. That kind of interaction is part of the custom-only market.

In the long run your diligence will pay off in repeat orders and referrals. But there isn't any polite or effective way I know to streamline "custom only" business.
post #13 of 36
Hi Kit...

Like you, some people would like me to sit at my laptop all day - just so as i can answer them straight away..... sigh
I mean how hard is it to whisk eggs - line cake tins - type an email and answer questions over the phone ...........piece of cake

I book them in asap for a consultation....
Either my next available Wednesday evening or sunday afternoon.

That way - it eliminates alot of the ping pong as they are happy to know that they have a booking were they can discuss all the things that they are awfully excited about - i ask them to bring colour swatches - photos etc with them.... that way - i am not answering 3 different emails a day regarding the same cake...

says she sitting here typing a quote at 11.58pm - lolllllllllllllllllll

Bluehue
post #14 of 36
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bluehue

Hi Kit...

Like you, some people would like me to sit at my laptop all day - just so as i can answer them straight away..... sigh
I mean how hard is it to whisk eggs - line cake tins - type an email and answer questions over the phone ...........piece of cake

I book them in asap for a consultation....
Either my next available Wednesday evening or sunday afternoon.

That way - it eliminates alot of the ping pong as they are happy to know that they have a booking were they can discuss all the things that they are awfully excited about - i ask them to bring colour swatches - photos etc with them.... that way - i am not answering 3 different emails a day regarding the same cake...

says she sitting here typing a quote at 11.58pm - lolllllllllllllllllll

Bluehue



Yeah, but how do you have time for all those personal consults? Especially if they may not even buy?
post #15 of 36
Oh - that bit i left out - sorry

If the initial contact is by phone i spend the time asking as many questions as is relevant.... that way i can determine if its worth booking them in...

If the intial contact is by email - then i sit (at night) and answer all that they have asked EXCEPT for a written quote.
I inform them that until they have had a taste test of my cakes its impossible to give a fully informed written quote because style - size - flavour - fillings can't be discussed until they have tasted my wares.

Most Wednesday evenings are set aside for Tastings - if that is impossible then i make it a Sunday Afternoons.
Thats the way i have had to structure my business..... as then i know that i have Mon Tues Thurs Fri and Sat nights free for other things.

If we have private plans for a certain sunday - then i make the tasting for either am or pm... which ever suits me.


I guess its like buying shoes - until i have tried them on - i don't know if i really want to wear them - let alone pay for them.
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