A Freshly Baked Shopify Success Story: How Dohful Built an Online Store to Sell Handcrafted Cookies Across India

Life is better with freshly baked cookies and you can’t have just one. 

If the cookie monster was on our team, it’d be sitting right here nodding its head while taking a bite from our box of assorted cookies from Dohful as we share their story. 

And what if we said that it all did start with a soft-baked cookie? 

Introducing Dohful 

Dohful is a brand that sells handcrafted and assorted cookies online, that are baked fresh on order. They have been delivering melt-in-the-mouth cookies across the country through their website on Shopify since October 2018, and have now become a household name for being the cookie monster’s best friend. 

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A cookie is all it takes: The beginning of Dohful 

The founders of Dohful, Arushi Sachdeva and Chaman Raj, have been in the food business for over nine years. 

They started experimenting with running their own business while at IMT Ghaziabad, pursuing their MBA. Their first venture was that of a brick and mortar takeaway called Sandwedges that was aimed at catering to students and professionals with sandwiches that they could consume on the fly. 

It was in 2016, when the two of them went to Europe, that their journey in the cookie world began at the local BnB they stayed at.  

Once Arushi and Chaman came back to India, they started to seek cookies with the same texture and taste at various bakeries. With none matching what they experienced in Europe, Arushi, with a love for baking, decided to take things into her own hands. 

“India is a biscuit-eating nation, but we don’t necessarily know the difference between biscuits and cookies. That’s exactly why we never found the same kind of cookies we ate in Europe; the texture itself was missing,” Arushi claimed.

Following their experience with cookies in India, the two split the task of doing market research on a few aspects - consumer demand, taste preferences and how easy or not it would be to sell online.  

During their research, they found an increasing demand for home-baked cookies, and also came across various brands in the food industry that were successfully running online businesses on Shopify. 

With real stories at hand, Arushi and Chaman decided it was time to bake and sell their own cookies in India, and introduce the nation to a different recipe.  

While Chaman took over the part of researching ways to sell cookies easily, exploring Shopify as a sales channel, Arushi took on the role of perfecting the recipe for baking them. 

As they had a restaurant running, they confidently started to explore different permutations and combinations for baking the perfect cookie. They wanted to bake cookies that were eggless, could maintain texture and also be easy to deliver across India without spoilage. It took them 300+ trials and 70 days to get the first recipe right! 

Having found the perfect match of recipe for the cookies and an online store in Shopify, they took their business online with a soft launch in September 2018 . 

While Arushi and Chaman initially thought of selling cookies in Delhi only, with Shopify they realized that they could ship across India, reaching new markets with ease. 

After working on their online storefront themselves with the help of community members on Shopify and platforms like Quora, they were able to share their cookies with everyone in India in October 2018. 

As of today, the Dohful cookies are exclusively available only on their website. The founders are focused on delivering the highest quality of assorted and handcrafted cookies by staying away from spreading themselves too thin across other sales channels

Surviving the pandemic with Shopify 

Just like other businesses, Dohful too was hit by the pandemic owing to the change in government rules and regulations, and consumer demand. During this period, Dohful took some time off to learn more about their consumers and their preferences and update their offerings. 

Using insights from the market and competitive analysis, they made a number of tweaks to their Shopify store. They updated product pictures, the way they presented them and plugged the communication gap to be able to address consumer concerns or needs in a better way. 

“We started treating our Shopify store like our store-front or like we would treat our cafe.” 

Dohful also changed their packaging to ensure they were meeting and exceeding the hygiene expectations of their consumers. 

They also ran influencer collaborations, leveraged newsletters and tweaked their ad campaign set up on Facebook to market their cookie boxes after reopening their online store in May 2020. 

Dohful experienced a 13x growth in sales from June 2020 to July 2022 itself, and the numbers have been increasing ever since. 

“We have had to scale up our staffing post-pandemic. We went from thousands of orders a day to almost ten thousands of orders per day almost overnight after July 8, 2020, and our only sales channel was our online store!” 

Let’s dig a little deeper into what exactly the brand did to market their cookies and sell online. 

Baking their way through success: Growing Dohful on Shopify 

Since its launch in 2018, Dohful has built an engaged customer base through collaborations with social influencers, creating a lot of authentic content on YouTube, sharing behind the scenes and their learnings on the blog and running advertising campaigns on social media to reach their audience. 

During and post-pandemic, Dohful became even more strategic about their marketing efforts. 

Let’s look at each of the strategies that Dohful makes use of and how they got it right: 

1. Content marketing 

Arushi and Chaman realized they weren’t the only ones with a passion for baking. A lot of their target audience was actively searching for recipes to bake cookies at home - especially during the pandemic. To capitalize on their intent, they set up a blog section on their Shopify store to share seasonal recipes, tips and experiences. 

2. Influencer collaborations 

The other tactic that Dohful leveraged to drive more traffic to their Shopify store, is influencer marketing and collaborations. From day one, they decided to work only with influencers who came with an experience of collaborations with product brands before, and those that they personally liked consuming content of. This resulted in creating collaborative content that was truly unique to the brand and resonated with their target audience. 

“Keep an eye on what is trending and who is gaining popularity. Reach out to influencers in that niche if you like consuming their content too.” 

3. Video marketing 

Dohful understood their consumer’s need to know what goes on behind the scenes. They saw an increasing interest in their customer base wanting to see the ‘baking’ of their favorite cookies. So the brand took to video marketing to give their audience an idea of what their cookies are like in a more realistic way. 

Today, they have an active YouTube channel with over 3K followers. They also often publish their influencer collaborations on the channel, helping them not just drive more interest and new customers, but also repeat buyers. 

“Longer content formats are able to capture the mood of the product better. 60 secs feels too rushed. We have seen more success through our videos on YouTube vs those on Instagram.” 

Apart from YouTube, they also actively post short clips as Reels and videos on Instagram to keep their ever-increasing followers engaged. They use these clips as teasers to lead consumers to their YouTube channel for the complete experience. 

4. Social media ads

Having experience in the industry, Dohful was aware of the increasing competition and noise on social platforms. They knew the struggle of getting their brand noticed and then staying on top of a consumer’s mind.

To actively tackle the same, they have been running advertisements on social media to reach their audience. Their campaigns leverage carousels, videos and other formats to promote the best of what their cookies offer - a yummy experience. 

Here’s a glimpse of some of their ad campaigns: 

5. Integrating social and commerce 

Dohful has been very active on social media, sharing content around their cookies, baking style and recipes. While ads could always contain links to specific landing pages, their organic traffic needed more direction. 

They have been using Linkpop by Shopify to integrate social efforts with commerce. With the help of one link, they’re able to promote multiple product pages, sale pages and content, all at the same time, leading consumers to their store and nudging them towards making a purchase. This tactic has helped them reduce the friction in getting social media followers to complete a purchase. 

“We were surprised to see how creating one link could help us turn organic traffic into actual orders. Linkpop makes it really easy for us to track what our audience is interested in and the orders we generate through our organic efforts.”  

 

6. Social proof 

While the taste of the cookies speak for themselves, Dohful knew it was important to get actual customer experiences across to reach more consumers. They started to focus on collecting customer reviews, ratings and testimonials to display as social proof on their Shopify store. 

With the help of Judge.me, they have been able to collect over 3500 reviews since 2020. 

Managing the growth of Dohful with Shopify

Once the brand started to run their marketing and advertising campaigns, their online store saw an influx of traffic. This made it even more important for the founders to stay on top of their numbers - especially consumer demand. 

Dohful makes use of the Shopify mobile app to manage their online store on-the-go. They use the app to stay on top of their real-time and recent store activity to gain insights into visitors, track sales and analyze business performance. 

“I’d say we check the Shopify mobile app about 15 times a day at least, to stay up-to-date with the sales made through our campaigns, and be able to easily track and share order updates with customers.” 

When the brand is looking for more insights on their store performance, marketing and advertising campaigns, ROI, audience and customers, they leverage the Shopify analytics and reports dashboard on the desktop. This has helped them make data-driven decisions around products and promotional campaigns, optimizing them for maximum impact. 

“The rent we pay (platform fees on Shopify) feels like nothing. In the 4 years we’ve been with Shopify, we’ve never had any problems with our store being inaccessible.

We constantly keep a tab on the updates shared with merchants and always try to make the most of the new features.”

The way forward for Dohful 

Dohful is focused on keeping its efforts streamlined by making their cookies available only on their online store. 

But at the same time, they are now exploring physical kiosks as well to get their brand noticed by those who have taken to offline shopping as the pandemic settles. 

We’re excited to see where the Dohful cookies reach next and are sure their journey is going to be full of as happy experiences as they deliver to customers across India. 

Ready to start your own food business like Dohful? Register for Shopify’s 14-day free trial to get started.

People also asked

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The pandemic accelerated the growth of ecommerce as consumers started to make their day-to-day purchases online. So no matter what you sell or which industry you are in, you can set up a profitable DTC business on Shopify. Many big and small businesses have taken to Shopify already to make it easier for consumers to reach them. 

How do I successfully sell on Shopify? 

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