Taking Your Food Business Online? Check Out these Latest Food Ecommerce Trends on the Menu
Like all successful and fast-growing F&B businesses, FOGA knew its future was in responding to the trends in food eCommerce. Instead of getting in stores, the founder-couple of FOGA started selling their iconic plant-shakes through a DTC (direct-to-consumer) online store.
But having an online food & beverage store isn’t going to give you much credit these days. Your food eCommerce site should provide a user experience that makes your customers’ lives easier. It should make it more convenient for them to purchase online than through other channels.
In this post, we’ll look at the latest food eCommerce trends, which FOGA and other similar businesses are capitalizing on. These trends have already stirred up the F&B industry. If you want to gain momentum in this increasingly competitive industry, riding the wave is your best chance.
#1 – Direct-to-Consumer Food eCommerce Trends: Serve the Digital Native Customer
This is one of the most prominent food eCommerce trends that the pandemic gave birth to. In 2019, only half of all F&B businesses had an eCommerce presence. And their website looked nothing more than an afterthought, resulting in only 10% of their annual sales.
It was clear then that digital transformation in the F&B sector wasn’t easy to come by. Until the pandemic hit.
With consumers bound under state-wide lockdowns and restrictions, they had no choice but to shop for food essentials online. And guess what? They liked it! By buying directly from the manufacturer through their DTC channel, the consumer avails benefits like personalized shopping experience, exclusive discounts, and cost benefits passed on by escaping the middlemen.
But it’s not just the consumer claiming all the benefits of food and beverage eCommerce. DTC offers even greater advantage for new F&B brands to gain traction with their business.
In the old days (pre-pandemic), getting a new f&b product out to the consumer involved a long and tedious journey from setting up a stall at the farmer’s market, gathering sales data, creating a convincing brand story, getting into local groceries, and then betting one’s life on the chance that mainstream markets like Walmart would let them in.
DTC has accelerated the whole process for new F&B businesses. By launching an online store and serving consumers directly, businesses can quickly gain traction by capturing the early market for their products online.
DTC also opens up more marketing channels for them and makes it easy for businesses to gather sales data, making the ride to the mainstream market easier and quicker.
#2 –Omnichannel Shopping: Make Every Touchpoint Your Point of Sale
In 2017, this article by HBR declared omnichannel to be the future of retail. That anticipated future is already here. Today’s customers want the freedom to choose their own shopping channel – website, social channels, shoppable content, or even brick-and-mortar stores.
Recent advancements in technology have facilitated brands to serve their omnichannel customers. Facebook rolled out its ‘Shop’ features that allow you to integrate payment methods right on the platform. If you’ve engaged a customer on Facebook, you can easily make it your Point of Sale as well. There is even news of TikTok rolling out features that allow consumers to shop directly via shoppable videos. In the F&B context, how about creating shoppable recipe videos?
While all of this can be easily implemented thanks to recent eCommerce technologies, getting into mainstream grocery stores continues to be a challenge for new brands.
It’s estimated that online grocery shopping will comprise only 21% of total grocery sales by 2025, the lion’s share still from physical stores.
Brick-and-mortar isn’t going anywhere and the only way a brand can truly implement its omnichannel strategy is by entering mainstream grocery stores and establishing relationships with distributors.
Fortunately, a DTC channel helps F&B businesses ease into mainstream stores as they can gather sales data and can present a good pitch to stores.
#3 – Convenience: Make Food and Beverage eCommerce Easier and More Convenient
Creating an online store won’t get you much far in food eCommerce. To see good results, you need to give your eCommerce channel an edge against your competitors.
And that’s exactly where the problem is. As an F&B business, your competitors are large convenience stores, which still claim the larger share in F&B sales. To increase your eCommerce sales, you should focus on the whole convenience concept and dial it into your eCommerce operations.
Here are some food and beverage eCommerce features that are trending right now and would make it more convenient for customers to buy from you:
Subscription Bundle Boxes
Subscriptions are very common in the F&B sector. Due to the perishable nature of food items, customers tend to place repeat and recurring orders more frequently. If a customer likes the product you sell, you can make it easy for them by adding a subscription option on your website.
This is how FOGA delivered convenience to its customers. They hired Codup to develop a custom plugin for their eCommerce site, which allowed their customers to create their own product bundles and then subscribe to them.
They took subscriptions to another level by adding an element of personalization to them. Their customers could choose how many products and which products to buy, and how often to subscribe to those products.
One-Page Shopping Experience
A beverage company takes its customers to a single shop page where all products are listed in a table view. Product description, quantity counter, price, size options, and an add-to-cart button are all displayed side by side, enabling a one-page shopping experience. This experience can be achieved by using a plugin like Product Table for WooCommerce.
Every click you add to your customer journey increases friction. The less work the customer has to do to place an order, the more convenient it will be.
People consider several different factors when buying food – nut-free, dairy-free, gluten-free, sugar-free, low calorie, keto-friendly, high protein, and so on.
To make it convenient for people to find their best-match product, your online store should have a faceted search feature that allows customers to apply different filters and run searches.
F&B customers today have become less brand conscious and more cost-conscious. By creating product bundles, you can increase the average order value per customer and also provide them with considerable price savings. Product bundles also offer a convenient buying experience as customers don’t have to choose individual products.
The best type of product bundle that works in an F&B online store is bulk bundles. If you sell granola bars, for example, create multiple bulk bundles instead of selling individual bars. A bundle of 6, 12, 18, etc. The bigger the bundle, the more the customer saves. However, make sure cost savings are prominently highlighted on each bundle. You can even offer free shipping on bigger order values.
Quick, Instant Delivery
With many online grocery stores providing instant deliveries, consumers now expect the same from every F&B business. Companies can partner with delivery services like Uber to provide instant and same-day delivery. This ensures you don’t lag behind in this food eCommerce trend.
#4 – Having a Purpose: Stand for Something Your Customers Believe In!
A Forbes article points out that retailers who stand for something and have a clearly defined purpose will continue to dominate.
The F&B industry is getting highly competitive. It’s very hard to find a category that’s not dominated by big players. In this competitive landscape, creating a deep connection will give you an instant advantage. An easy way to create that connection is by standing for something your customers believe in.
An example is “sustainability”. You can enforce sustainable practices and highlight what steps have been taken in your workplace to reduce wastage during production. This can instantly help you stand out. Consumers who share this passion for sustainability will instinctively prefer your brand over others.
It also gives you an opportunity to build a community, an initiative that can have immense benefits. Community building is something that OLIPOP capitalized on. On the launch of a new flavor, they sent an SMS to all of their community members, resulting in $30,000 of sales in 30 minutes!
#5 – Demand for Healthier Food Alternatives – a Post-Pandemic Food eCommerce Trend
Health and Fitness was already a huge industry on its own. Categories like granola bars, energy drinks, protein shakes, etc were saturated with brands trying to compete against each other.
But in 2021 as the world is reeling back from the pandemic, we see a bizarre trend. The Food and Beverage industry has somehow merged with Health and Fitness.
Consumers who had spent the lockdown days binging on junk food and takeaways are now reeling from the aftereffects.
Instead of looking for high-protein snacks, they now look for healthier options for everything they eat – from their morning cereal to the sauce they use to slather on their beef steak.
And hence, it offers the perfect opportunity for F&B businesses to target those health-conscious consumers and stand out. No matter which category you’re in, create a premium, better-for-you product and highlight it everywhere in your messaging.
Some examples are products with organic ingredients, sugar-free, 100% natural, low-carb, low-calorie, low-sugar, etc.
Wrapping Up Food eCommerce Trends
Food eCommerce is definitely on the rise. This Statista report estimates the food and beverage eCommerce will reach $35.7 billion by 2025.
If you’re in F&B or planning to start a business in the sector, it’s the perfect time to get a strong foothold.
Ecommerce and digital channels have opened more opportunities for businesses to market their brands and reach their audiences. With the right strategy, you can get ahead in your category and become a leading brand.
Join FOGA and other F&B businesses that Codup helped with eCommerce Development Services. Get in touch with us