No matter what type of candy one prefers, odds are they can find it online. What used to be a business that only worked in a physical retail setting can now be launched virtually by opening an e-commerce store. Starting an online candy business can be a fun, lucrative venture provided you take the time to do some planning.
Decide what type of candy you want to sell, and whether you will make it yourself. This will determine your target market. Types of candy to sell online: organic candy, nostalgic and classic candies, jelly beans, taffy, hard candies, chocolate candies, fruit candies, gummies, ethnic candies (Turkish, Mexican, Chinese).
Get an assumed name certificate (DBA) from your county clerk and choose a name for your online candy business, focusing on your target market. For example, if you will only sell taffy, naming your business “World of Taffy” would be appropriate.
Obtain a food manufacturing and food handling permit from your state's health department if you will be making the candies yourself. If you are buying candies wholesale, you will not need these permits.
Find a place to store your inventory. You can either rent a food grade warehouse, or use a space free of sunlight, that is temperature controlled, free of pets,and free of odors.
Choose a selling platform for your candy store. If you make your candies, try a site such as Etsy, 1000 Markets, or Foodzie. Otherwise, look into an e-commerce solution such as Shopify, BuyItSellIt, or Core Commerce.
Alternatively, you can get website hosting, a shopping cart program, and obtain a merchant account from a processor such as Authorize--going this route is more expensive and time consuming.
Buy a domain name from a company such as Network Solutions or Go Daddy.
Purchase candies wholesale, if you will not make them yourself, from a supplier such as Candy.com, Candy Direct, Groovy Candies or Candy Favorites.
Buy packaging for your candies that is FDA-approved for food contact--do this even if you are selling wrapped candies. You can find packaging from a company such as Nashville Wraps.
Take clear photos of your candies to display on your website. Having enticing photos is important since your customers will not be able to smell the candies before buying them.