How to Increase eCommerce Sales for B2B Food And Beverages Business?

The eCommerce industry of food and beverage is doing well for past few years and if you look at the US market you will realize that it will it grow more than 20% in this year than what it was in 2020!

Why the role of eCommerce is crucial in the growth of food & beverage industry?

As per the report of Statista Research Department published in March 2021, the revenue coming from the eCommerce wing of food & beverage industry was 18.7 billion dollars in 2020 and is estimated to reach 25.7 billion dollars by 2025.

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If you look at the graph above, you will see that there had been a sudden surge in the revenue from eCommerce stores in the food & beverage industry right from the year 2019. It was all because of the quick spread of COVID-19 across the globe. With many countries in the world still under its influence, people prefer choosing eCommerce stores to buy groceries and other essentials rather than running to the nearest grocery store or supermarket all by themselves!

This means if small and medium-sized wholesalers and retailers fail to understand the opportunities hidden here, they will lose large share of their revenue to big fishes in the market. Big brands have already started to make their way into the food & beverage industry. Say, for example, Amazon back in 2017 acquired Whole Foods for $13.4 billion dollars. It is not that Amazon wanted to know how online grocery stores operate rather to know about the business more so that they can bring in more customers online. Back in 2018, Unilever made a resource investment its eCommerce business strong by adding in 800 people after it knew it was growing by 40%. Similarly, in 2019, Nestle pushed its eCommerce sales by 18.5% and this helped it reach its total retail sales by 8.5%.

The consumer demands of millennial generation

If we look into the food and beverage sector, consumers especially the ones belonging to the millennials are in the centre of everything. They are buying food items with varied flavours, interested to try out new dishes, moving towards snacking world from the traditional food, and are more interested in food items that shows authenticity and mentions about its place of origin. For millennials, company transparency and product traceability mean a lot.

With increased changes in the private labelling industry, the businesses in the food & beverage industry are trying to come up with unique products with sustainable packaging. They want such products ready at their online stores to easily and quickly respond to the challenges they face in fulfilling increasing consumer demands.

The manufacturing companies are now focusing more on mentioning the origin of the products and placing “clean labels” to detail the way the products have been produced. A product which has very few ingredients that are wholesome and easily recognizable falls under such a label.

Strategies for small and medium businesses to gain from food & beverage eCommerce

  • Maximize the functionality of your on-site search

Working on advanced search option on your website is very important to increase the efficiency of your food and beverage eCommerce business. If you have your doubts then just look at the image below:

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Today, small and large retailers of majority size believe in implementing advanced search strategy in their eCommerce food business. A large chunk of businesses has understood the benefit of implementing such a search functionality and so have moved past the traditional model already. With Google already providing its users with advanced search that offers them the most relevant results by completing what the users expected, has paved way for having better search functionality for eCommerce businesses too. Having this kind of feature in the food & beverage site will make it easy for the B2B users to find what they are looking for with ease.

It is important that the search functionality should satisfy some basic things and it is based on relevance that users expect.

  • Textual relevance
  • Textual relevance is made up of a set of attributes, as we call them, formed by the product name, keywords present in the description, and the brands. Textual relevance is all about understanding the intent of the users even when they have misspelled the word. It is also about offering synonym results for a product in the process.
  • Personalization
  • Personalized search experience is all about learning users’ signals and responding accordingly. Such signals are collected from the user interface generated through user interactions. Such signals also come from the previous search preferences of the user.
  • Business relevance
  • There may come certain situations when you wish to promote some products. It can be related to a holiday sale that you wish to influence your users buying into. You can get into your business data and use them to come up with the content just right that your users will be interested in and will act on quickly. Moreover, you can keep an eye for your conversion rates and display the products with more sales result when users are looking for them.
  • Focus more on self-service efficiency
    B2B food commerce lets the businesses to interact with each other over websites rather than having the involvement of any sales people. It just makes everything easy for everyone involved. Right from inquiring about the products, making a payment, tracking shipment, and all, it would be better to have efficient self-service available. So, all you need to do is to remove the salespeople from the equation and let them use the website to find and buy products.
  • Optimize your site for mobile

It is important that your food and beverage eCommerce has a mobile-friendly website if you wish to stay competitive in the market. Today the use of mobile phones has increased among people to look for products and buy them. However, it is important that they enjoy a seamless and intuitive user experience. As per a survey conducted by Google, 61% responded that if the website was not mobile-friendly they would leave. So, this does not come as a surprise if you find that the number of mobile users is more compared to the desktop ones.

So, work towards offering the best mobile experience to your customer if you want to maximize the sales from your eCommerce store. This becomes really important as your B2B customers expect seamless experience from your end at your food eCommerce site.

  • Make valuable recommendations

In case of B2B commerce you will be having business with clients who know what they want. However, helping them choose the best product is all about ensuring best user experience is delivered.

Being in the food industry, this will help you boost your revenue though bulk orders while helping you build loyalty and lasting relationships. This is because they believe you as their trusted advisors. As such trusted advisor it is your chance to introduce your business clients to new products by offering them decent discounts on purchases. You can offer support to the clients just like at in-stores and even go ahead with up-sells or cross-sells.

  • Publish customer reviews and ratings

You can spend all your resources to let your audience know how good your products are but, that is not completely necessary. Take a back seat and let your customers fill in the space for you! Your B2B clients are concerned about the quality and the authenticity of the products you are selling on your online food store. Such reviews and ratings help them make the right buying choice.

You will be able to get benefited by installing a rating and review system into the website of your food and beverages business. Such a thing will help you

  1. Collect feedback that will help you work on product improvisation
  2. Have transparency, build trust
  3. Decrease return rates by providing all information on products.

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  • Come up with a multichannel marketing program

Different marketing channels are followed by the customers throughout their buying journey. Your customers can read product reviews on Yelp, check out the home delivery options on your Facebook page, buy products online from your store and then collect them in-store. So, for the same reason, it is crucial that you come up with a cross-channel marketing strategy for your food & beverages business and implement it properly. Make the best use of email, social media, search engines and mobile for your business benefits when dealing with your B2B clients.

  • Build your strong online presence

Today hundreds of online channels are available for eCommerce businesses to connect with their audience. Such channels can be anything like the company website, blogs, social media channels, mobile, emails, and much more. Based on the way you plan to reach your customers; you get to choose the channels your way. Being in a food & beverages industry, you will be able to make the best use of such channels for your benefit and attract more B2B customers in the process.

  • Optimize your sales funnel

You may have come up with the best eCommerce website and even have built other attractive digital assets, however, all these things won’t mean anything unless you have them come together and help you design and have a smooth sales funnel.  Ensure that your website, social media pages, sales pages, and Google ads help and assist your potential B2B customers move ahead with their buying journey. You need to be sure that sales funnel you create for your food & beverages business is simple and easy to follow and persuasive enough to take them to the product page and complete the buying process.

  • Focus more on direct-to-consumer

The current scenario has made it impossible for the businesses to sell food and beverages using the traditional options like choosing retailers and wholesale lines. So, put your focus more on direct-to-consumer option. You will be able to target more audience and drive more sales when you have online stores helping you reach different B2B client base with ease. When you choose to go for direct-to-consumer, it lets the brand to build lasting relationships. Create exceptional brand experience and help enhance brand loyalty. All these things together can help the business remain afloat especially in situations like of todays!

  • Optimize inventory and keep a check on supply chain

It is important that you minimize the risks associated with the disruption of the supply chain. You can do this by sourcing raw materials and components locally and taking full responsibility of the supply. Your priority should be to manage the inventory of your business just through a single view. In the current scenario, majority of the physical locations and warehouses are not completely functioning and so it would be nice to get easy access to your products quickly and that needs greater level of transparency. Learning the locations where certain products are more in demand will help you stock up products there beforehand and thereby ensure deliveries are made on time.

In case of food and beverage business, you will need to maintain the inventory wisely as you will be also dealing with perishable goods. When in B2B line, you will be needing to deliver products in bulk while maintaining the product standards, proper packaging and delivery slots.

  • Let your distribution network has a B2B customer portal

Apart from choosing to establish a direct line to consumers, your food & beverages company should look for other ways where you can improve your relationship with B2B consumers, retail partners and distribution networks. Offering flexible buying options and experiences that generally B2C customers get to enjoy is one of the ways of doing it. When you come up with a B2B customer portal you work towards simplifying the B2B buying processes and have a customer-centric approach established across marketing, service, and commerce. Such an approach will let you widen your market reach, have strong relationship with your distributors, and ensure smooth process of your orders and deliveries.

Being in B2B food commerce business the main concern is to boost revenue through increased conversion rate. For this you will need to have some strategies in place. To implement them you will need right eCommerce development partner and this is what we can help you with. So, if you wish to go ahead with it, just give us a call today!

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