How can a SWOT Analysis be used in determining the decision to start a hot sauce store?

Purchasing a website and setting up an online store can be done through a web site host in an afternoon and making hot sauce is as easy as mixing two ingredients together. So how easy is it to create on online store and sell your own hot sauce? I have done the research on the hot sauce business both globally and domestically and it is booming. However, all businesses can be risky, so I wrote a SWOT Analysis on starting an online hot sauce business.

SWOT is acronym for Strength, Weakness, Opportunity and Threat and is used as a tool to list some quick factors regarding a business decision. In this case I used it to determine how some factors may deter someone from starting an online hot sauce store or allow them to see the prospects.  

STRENGTH

Growth

The hot sauce market is growing and there will continue to be a demand for hot sauces both domestically and globally through 2026. There is and will be an increasing demand for ethnic hot sauces and gourmet hot sauces and the marketing demographics are increasing as well. Sauces can be marketed to a broad group or a specific niche.

Low start up costs

See my blog “How Much Does It Cost To Make Hot Sauce?” for a complete breakdown of product costs. Compared to other food-based products on the market the costs of the products needed for producing, manufacturing and selling hot sauce online can be very low. In addition the means for selling, a website, can also be very inexpensive also.

Popular products

Hot sauces are available at fast food restaurants, chain stores and just about every store across the country. Festivals across the globe are centered around hot sauces and it is continued to be referenced in pop culture. Even non consumers of hot sauces are familiar with name brands like Franks and Tabasco.

User experience

Selling online offers the unique experience that typical stores cannot, and this is an opportunity to market to Millennial’s and Generation Z. The millennial generation is huge and they love their hot sauces so creating the experience to market to this generation could be achieved by setting up an online store.

WEAKNESS

Market saturation

Many products are on the market right now making the hot sauce industry very competitive. There are hundreds of brands of hot sauce for sale through out the United States alone and this is only growing. The top selling products like Franks, Tabasco and Cholula are huge competitors and are available in just about every store throughout the U.S. as well as online.

Converting shopper to a paying customer

This is largely due to an unknown food product being sold without being able to sample. Therefore you often see sample cart set up in grocery stores offering samples with new products for sale. Unless someone has had your product before or someone has told them about it, there would need to be a great marketing strategy.

What is the value in your product?

It is difficult to market a sauce that will numb your tongue, make you sweat and cause severe pain as you are eating it, although this sometimes used as a novelty approach. Many products use a strategy of marketing the value that is offered in using the product. However, there are some health benefits to eating hot sauce but consumers are not purchasing for this reason.

OPPORTUNITY

Easy web site hosting

Starting an online store is easy through WordPress or another web hosting site and it can be very simple to maintain as well. If you have an outstanding product you want to sell to a global market, website hosting can be as little as $4.00 per month and could potentially reach a large audience.

Packaging and shipping made easy

Packaging and shipping can be outsourced to a business who specializes in distributing your product. Smaller independent locations are popping up everywhere and the services can be purchased for very little cost.

Influencers to market your product

This is a relatively new method of reaching consumers. Influencers are gaining popularity and are far more accessible than hiring a celebrity or famous athlete to be your spokesman. This is probably not going to go away with Generation Z rapidly coming up as consumers either.

Selling at artisan festivals

This is one way of avoiding the competitive pressure of large producers of hot sauce. They may not set up a booth at the smaller venues that are seen in many cities across the country. This may seem a daunting task but research a few in your area and call for the cost of setting up a physical site.

THREATS

Competition

Competition or other e commerce sites can easily be set up and in business through social media channels. Larger companies in any industry are always a threat to smaller start up companies by undercutting their prices, having a large distributor and taking advantage of their popular branding name.

Security threats

Anyone online has these similar threats but they are real and should be taken into consideration when setting up on online hot sauce store. With cyber security becoming stronger there are still criminals always trying to find new ways of getting through. Customers are not as apprehensive as they once were purchasing online but the threat is still real.

Site Traffic

You could have an outstanding product and it you don’t have enough traffic coming to your site you will not have any sales. If you are unfamiliar with how to produce heavy traffic to your site this could be a bigger threat than you think.

Large manufacturers are also selling online

The competition could be everywhere your are. The more popular, better selling hot sauces are not difficult to find. Review some of the larger online stores and you see the same popular brands being sold.

Customer do not know how to use your site

The average person online does not spend much time on a single web page, so it needs to function for the user. If you have too many ads popping up or too many broken links you will lose potential customers.

If you have considered setting up an online hot sauce store a SWOT analysis is a great way to get some quick pros and cons. Further market research indicates the hot sauce industry is on a growth curve through 2026.

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