Buying food and beverage products from the supermarket is no longer the only way we can shop for groceries. Technology has made everything easier and more convenient to purchase these types of items online, from the comfort of your home or office. Food and beverage eCommerce is still a growing market and the next decade will prove that. Statistics say that by 2022 the online grocery market will reach $100 billion. According to research done by the Food Marketing Institute and Nielsen, over 70% of U.S. households will be purchasing goods online. Just to compare, in 2018 only about 30% of American households purchased groceries online.
The food and beverage eCommerce innovation started with platforms like Amazon which bought Whole Foods and became a force in the industry. Online grocery shopping developed quite a lot over the years, making it easy, appealing and faster for people to buy, as opposed to going to a brick-and-mortar shop. Consumers are looking for convenience, good prices, quality products, and fast delivery. This is what you need to offer in order to succeed in the food and beverage eCommerce environment.
Challenges in the food and beverage eCommerce world
- Managing operations
- Supply chain
- Maintaining production levels to support distribution
- Managing customer service
- Promoting the products
When you run a food and beverage eCommerce store, you are the primary contact for the consumer and this is a good thing because it increases customer engagement and brand loyalty. It does add customer service to your list of responsibilities, but you also have everything under your control. All your systems have to work in sync to provide a user-friendly shopping experience so your customers keep coming back to you. The easier you make it for them to purchase, the better it is. Also, integrating your website with social media gives your customers the ability to influence others and bring you more business.
One of the main reasons people are reluctant to purchase food and beverages online is their concern for safety and shipping. When you order a cake online, you tend to worry about how it will arrive to you. If you are considering these potential customer pain points and prepare to eliminate them before they even come up, you are doing a great job for your customers. Selling food online involves trust, and this one doesn’t come easily from online shoppers. When they pay for a product, they expect to get it in time and in good shape.
Having your own delivery system can eliminate a lot of potential problems you might encounter with a third-party delivery company. They do their part, but if there are any issues with the order fulfillment, the customers will be calling you to express their frustration and not the delivery company. A good way to improve this is to offer free shipping.
There are a lot of companies that sell online food and beverage products and offer free shipping in certain areas, using their own delivery system. If this is something you can manage on your own, you can use an extension on your website that helps you manage the orders and the delivery based on zip codes, as well as an extension that allows you to determine shipping restrictions. For a Magento 2 powered website, you can look into Amasty shipping restrictions as a solution.
Additionally, your food and beverage eCommerce store could also support online orders with in-store pick-up. A great Magento 2 extension for this is Amasty Store Pick-up with locator.
Remember, offering free shipping is a great marketing tactic, but it comes with certain costs you need to consider as they can affect your overall expenses.
Must-have features for food and beverage eCommerce
In this specific industry, images are very important. Your product images should have high-quality and be appealing to the customers. If your products don’t have good images, consider hiring a professional photographer who can bring out the best of your products. A good image speaks 1000 words – couldn’t be truer for the food and beverage eCommerce shops.
Let’s not forget about product descriptions. These help you describe your products in a unique way, they are a boost for SEO, and they can address potential questions the shoppers might have. For example, adding “may contain nuts” or “vegan” to your product descriptions is both a warning for a particular category of customers and a selling point for others. Be as specific as you can with your product descriptions and try to cover all basis.
Your business model has to focus on new products, best sellers, holiday spikes and other types of items specific to your company. However, you can also include a model that brings you revenue all year-round, such as subscription models. These are set up as regular deliveries and regular payments, depending on the option the customers choose – monthly, every 2 months, every quarter, etc. For Magento 2, Subscribe Pro is a great solution for eCommerce subscription models. Magedelight also offers some membership subscription extensions for Magento 2 stores.
As the food and beverage eCommerce industry continues to expand and evolve, more and more consumers will be choosing it as a way to shop. The general tendency is to focus on the customers’ convenience and a seamless shopping experience.
Having worked on a number of WooCommerce and Magento food and beverage eCommerce websites, Ecomitize has the expertise to help you build or improve your website and grow your revenue. Our extensive experience in eCommerce and our additional services such as eCommerce management and digital marketing make us the right partner for your new eCommerce journey.