The wholesale food industry is changing. Whether your business has already adopted an eCommerce solution or not, the global workforce is starting to be made up of professionals who grew up in the digital age. As a result, B2B eCommerce is dominantly positioning itself to be the main storefront rather than a nice-to-have presence. The number of 18 to 34-year-old B2B researchers increased by 70% between 2012 and 2014, and it’s only gone up since then. The food industry is not immune to this growth. In today’s post, we’re going to take a look at a few examples why the wholesale food industry should consider B2B eCommerce.
Why the Wholesale Food Industry Should Consider Online
Why should going online matter to a food wholesaler? For several reasons:
- According to research, 74% of buyers research their purchases online. Furthermore, 93% want to make the purchase online. Today, when a restaurant manager is seeking a food supplier, he/she typically goes online. A bulk food company that has already gone online automatically puts itself in a better position to gain new business. With the help of a proper eCommerce solution, a buyer can check out his/her custom price list, get quotes on interested products, and access all the product information she needs. ‘Google search’ is the new Yellow Pages and your online existence will be the pulse of your business. A user-friendly, scalable B2B eCommerce platform with out-of-the-box B2B features, is a must-have. It’s not a matter of “if” the food industry will move online, it’s a matter of “when”.
- eCommerce is the key to financial savings. It requires much less manpower and offers more scalability. It also has the capacity to fulfill orders at a faster rate than traditional offline sales.
- Automation reduces human error. When a business operates offline, it is highly susceptible to mistakes like order entry errors. This can be frustrating for both the customer and employee. Things can easily get lost in translation when a sales person takes orders over the phone. B2B eCommerce solves that problem since the customer is placing their own orders.
- eCommerce solutions allow the sales team to focus on more important things like building customer relationships. Your sales team should be interacting with prospects and customers instead of taking orders and performing manual tasks. For example, Oro has uniquely developed its eCommerce platform with an integrated CRM software, which grants the seller access to customer interactions, priorities, needs, and interests. With that kind of ability to collect data and intelligence, the sales & marketing department can take appropriate measures for personalization, promotions, recommendations, marketing strategy, and more. This feature gives the marketing team a chance to shape the customer’s journey from the very beginning.
Why It Is a Good Time for B2B eCommerce Adoption
Courtesy: Boston Consulting Group (www.bcg.com)
There are immense benefits for adopting eCommerce technology. One of the biggest shifts in today’s digital age is how mobile devices are becoming a portal for business. According to BCG’s research, about 50% of B2B queries today are made on smartphones. BCG expects that figure to grow to 70% by 2020. For the future, mCommerce (mobile eCommerce) is not an option but an essential element to business growth. Why not be proactive and catch up early by starting to build your online presence?
Let’s touch up on some other indicators that the food industry is heading towards a complete digital conversion:
- The abundance of B2C options for grocery shopping and dining (i.e. Amazon Fresh) points towards a change in buying preferences. With Amazon acquiring Whole Foods, the gap between eCommerce and the food industry is closing at a rapid pace.
- Even the most traditional food distribution channels are beginning to convert to eCommerce solutions. For example, who would have thought that good old vending machines could go extinct. Snacknation, a workplace snack distributor is making it happen through its B2B platform.
As a growing number of B2B customers expect to purchase online, it is crucial that your business responds to these changes. One of Oro’s clients, FoodMaven, a food supplier that sells millions of pounds of oversupplied and imperfect food to restaurants and institutional kitchens, makes a great example of a truly smooth B2B eCommerce experience.
Interested in a demo of OroCommerce’s B2B eCommerce platform? Simply contact us here and a representative will be in touch shortly.