A version of this article has been published in Food Industry Executive, contributed by Yoav Kutner, CEO and Co-Founder of Oro Inc.
Even before the pandemic, food and beverage companies made progress with eCommerce. But the pandemic eCommerce boom significantly accelerated it: by 2025, the eCommerce’s share of the food and beverage market will grow to as much as 20%, an impressive increase from 2% in 2016.
This growth poses a question that will define the future for many F&B brands: what steps do you need to make to not miss the eCommerce bandwagon?
Ecommerce isn’t a silver bullet
Of course, online selling is not the answer to every challenge your food and beverage company may face. But it can be a foundation that can future-proof your business.
Take direct-to-consumer selling. Many F&B companies are leery of this channel because they’re used to operating as wholesale suppliers, and managing consumer-facing sales may feel unfamiliar and risky.
An eCommerce platform that can handle different models (B2B, B2C, and D2C) opens the door for B2B food and beverage suppliers to DTC storefronts. It enables brands to break into new selling channels without building out major new operational capabilities.
Five ways to drive growth
So how should food and beverage brands approach their eCommerce project to make it successful?
Here are five key capabilities to bake into your online selling operations:
- Integration. Ensure connectivity between your eCommerce and your logistics, PIM, ERP, and CRM tools. The key is to use eCommerce data to enhance the value of the other business functions.
- Multichannel support. Make sure your eCommerce tool can support both enterprise buyers and consumers. This includes handling complex orders and split shipments while also being flexible enough to handle DTC storefronts.
- Personalization. Messaging, product catalogs, and price lists personalized for the buyer can go a long way in boosting brand loyalty and order volumes.
- Scalability. The food and beverage industry will continue to grow, and so will your eCommerce needs. Make sure a solution of your choice can handle the growth of your business, no matter how many SKUs or customers you have to manage.
- Easy implementation. Embracing eCommerce shouldn’t feel like heavy lifting. Choose an eCommerce vendor who can become your long-term partner. A good indication is a vendor with a sizable ecosystem of third-party developers. You can tap into this ecosystem down the road to meet new use-cases and implement new technologies.
Embracing the latest and greatest tech trend for the sake of it can only get you so far. Aim higher than simply putting your product catalog online to make meaningful progress as a business. Unlock the true value of digital commerce by integrating it into your operations. By doing so, you’ll elevate your internal operations and customer experience, securing growth well into the future.