B2B eCommerce For The Food and Beverage Industry
Even with all the success we’ve discussed taking place in the F&B industry, there are still business owners, both big and small, who are facing problems staying afloat during these trying times.
At the start of 2020 only half the companies operating in the F&B sector had a digital presence. While those companies improved and capitalized on eCommerce, there’s still room for more players to come in and start selling.
But bear in mind, it’s not easy to get in to the digital industry. Being prepared is the most important factor here.
If you don’t have an idea of the challenges involved in operating an eCommerce store, then let us run you down the major challenges eCommerce business face when going digital.
Supply Chain Volatility
There are certain issues that have been present within the F&B industry long before the COVID-19 pandemic hit.
- Inadequate supply chain management
- Lack of trust
- Food regulations (for the better, to be honest, but a challenge nonetheless)
- Price fluctuations
Among others, these are the prime challenges faced by the F&B industry. With the coronavirus pandemic, the regulations have only increased. From truck drivers to food facility owners, all of them are now being asked to keep the workplace sanitized to be free from the coronavirus.
Changes in Consumption Behavior
As reiterated before, the demand for food products has only increased during the crisis. The primary reason behind this is that before, if people felt hungry, they would go out and eat.
Now confined to their homes, the level of food consumption only increased with the only difference being that the sales being made are online.
While work has been tough for many involved in the industry: from farmers, to cooks, and online representatives, it has proven to be quite beneficial to the bottom lines of most businesses.
Direct to Consumer (D2C) Selling
With the growing demand, and the already prevalent supply and logistics problem present in the F&B industry, big companies are now looking to cut out the middleman entirely.
Yes, while delivery services and 3PL are an important aspect of the F&B industry, there is a need to diversify.
To that end, companies are now moving towards setting up a Direct-to-Consumer brand that, as the name suggests, reaches out and delivers the product to the consumer directly for consumption or wholesale.
It’s like setting up your own in-house operating system, so they don’t have to rely on third-party services.
From Pepsi, to Heinz, and Ugly Drinks, both the EU and the US have implemented these strategies to their advantage during the pandemic.
Increased Health Concerns
Food safety had been a concern long before COVID-19 started to wreak havoc in the world. From the treatment of animals, to how the food is prepared, there has been a long-standing activism against exploitative food practices.
With COVID-19, all these issues have now come into prominence with companies now focusing on health and safety measures now more than ever.
As the World Health Organization (WHO) guides us through the pandemic with their insights and research, the food industry is also seeing significant changes in terms of health safety. Washing of production plants, equipment cleaning, sanitization of kitchens, and ensuring social distancing practices in the industry shows a sign of things improving.
Yes, production has slowed down a bit due to these restrictions, but the better part is that companies can now use this to their advantage, stating that they offer a clean and sanitized workplace.
F&B Industry Success Best Practices
Before the pandemic locked everything down, the Asia-Pacific region was bustling with commerce. In the F&B sector especially, it was booming significantly.
Even though trade activities have slowed down, it’s expected in the coming years that it’ll return to its original position and grow even further.
ECommerce is the ultimate solution here. There are plenty of ways F&B brands can take advantage of eCommerce:
Nowadays, having a single marketing channel is counterintuitive. Say, you have a single channel for example, a website. Now, you may gain some level of success from that single channel, but you’d be tying your hands and restricting yourself.
The best course of strategy for most marketers is to diversity their marketing efforts through multiple channels. Social media is the best medium in this regard since it allows you to reach out to your intended target audience in a personal manner.
Besides social media, you should also keep in mind other channels in your multi-channel marketing strategy. From social media, to email, search engine, and mobile – there are plenty of methods you can use to your advantage.
Create a Compelling Online Presence
At this point, you should have no doubts about the potential of having multiple marketing channels.
Regardless, you need to provide a consistent experience throughout each channel. This includes using content not in the form of writing, but also infographics, video content, and other forms of content marketing.
But here’s the thing: not every channel is suited to you. Because of this, you need to select few channels through which you’ll market your products. For example, if you’re getting engagement on Facebook or Instagram, use those.
The Importance of an F&B Website for Businesses
Now having a multi-channel presence is effective, but you shouldn’t disregard your most traditional web presence: your website.
Ideally, you should have a professional website developed for yourself. This means creating a dynamic, and aesthetically designed eCommerce store that’s optimized for conversions.
The reason we mentioned having a website presence is because, even if the trend is moving towards paid marketing, organic marketing is still the major force.
With a store optimized for search engines, you can get serious sales from web searches as well.
It’s because of this very fact that investing in a website is crucial.
Optimize Your Sales Funnels
Now, you could have the most well-designed website out there, but it won’t matter unless it can successfully navigate your customer from product discovery to checkout.
The more red tape, and unnecessary pages you add to your customer journey, the more you incur the risk of customers bouncing off of your website.
An optimized sales funnel is the way to go.
A Unique Customer Experience
If you’re looking to get success in eCommerce, then value addition is the key. Research shows that buyers are willing to pay more for a better customer experience.
We always love to give the example of subway in this regard. Providing customers with the ability to customize their food in a way that best suits them.
Regardless of whether you’re facing B2C or B2B in the F&B industry, value addition is an important aspect either way.
Utilize Content Marketing
As we already discussed, having a content marketing strategy can make or break your multichannel marketing strategy. With the right content: one that’s informative and solves the problem of the individual, you can gain a substantial amount of business for your brand.
It is one of the most efficient methods of lead generation and conversion rate marketing. In the F&B industry, the content is generally geared towards having entertainment value.
So, what you should be doing is creating content that keeps readers engaged since an engaged viewership builds trust in your brand and improves your conversion rates significantly.
We’ve been talking a lot about digital marketing, but the F&B industry benefits just as much from offline marketing as it does online.
Besides the obvious social media campaigns, you can go beyond the digital world by using promotional posters, banners, and distributing it all across relevant locations. How can you get those locations? Well, there is a hunch where you’ll product will sell most. However, you can also use business analytics and consumer research to see which places are the most relevant to your business.
If you’re working in a very saturated industry, then it’s best to invest in PPC to gain quick leads and sales for your business. PPC overhauls the original search engines results for particular keywords by showcasing your website’s advertisement at the very top.
For businesses who don’t have the time to invest in organic search engine marketing, PPC is the best way to go.
Don’t Forget About eCommerce
Now, most of what we discussed in the preceding sections details all the aspects of a b2c facing business in the F&B industry.
But besides D2C and B2C, you should never disregard the impact of B2B commerce. It’s a $1 trillion market with serious potential for your business.
Investing in B2B eCommerce can help you learn the ins and outs of the entire F&B supply chain.
Revisiting the Marketing Mix
ECommerce, whether it’s B2B or B2C, is considered by some as an extension of their traditional store. While that is true to a certain extent, it should be considered as a special branch rather than simply an extension.
ECommerce, when done right, is a giant, in and of itself. When you embark on your journey, you should adjust your marketing strategies to facilitate eCommerce as much as you can since it’s the new avenue through which you can gain more sales for your business.
The F&B industry is a rising force in both the local and international trade. Both small to big businesses operating in the sector have gained success in the industry.
If you’re looking to set up a digital storefront for your business, then you need something professional. Contact Codup’s eCommerce development services to get your eCommerce store designed professionally.
We hope you enjoyed reading our article!
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