The outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic turned the brick-and-mortar way of business in the high-growth food and beverage (F&B) industry upside down overnight. In-home consumption from online marketplaces increased while out-of-home consumption halted. This change led to a massive business downfall, crippling the F&B sector.
Businesses moved to various online channels to keep up with shifting consumer demands and expectations. Such a phenomenon transformed the face of shopping, with online buying and selling becoming a common practice among today’s generation.
5 eCommerce Trends Worth Trying for F&B Businesses
The pandemic increased the digitization of the F&B industry. And to keep pace with the constant market changes and growing consumer demands, here are five eCommerce trends worth trying for F&B businesses.
1. More businesses adapting to the DTC (direct-to-consumer) Retail Model
Food and beverage businesses are now the fastest-growing category in online retail.
What’s behind the growth?
During the pandemic, roughly ten years’ worth of eCommerce growth happened in only 90 days. Eighty-four percent of consumers opted to shop online to avoid the virus, and 150 million shopped virtually for the first time.
The DTC (direct-to-consumer) food sector is among the fastest-growing industries in this space. Although a bolder channel choice for F&B manufacturers, it also offers the most upside, retaining the value acquired by intermediaries in other segments.
Since DTC controls the customer relationship, F&B companies need to provide a top-quality experience throughout their consumer’s customer journey. With this, companies can test new products and make adjustments on the fly that they deem worthy and beneficial to their brand and customers’ experiences.
2. Personalization will be a priority
Experts deem today’s market more challenging because of the disruption of various online business players with their diverse online media presence.
So, how should you stand out? By personalizing your consumer’s buying experience.
McKinsey & Company showed that about 80% of consumers want a more personalized experience from businesses. Given such expectations, companies must respond to the demand for customized experiences to stand out and survive.
Businesses can achieve better engagements with their clients across all stages of their buyer’s journey when they tailor it to the customer’s wants and needs. When done right, personalization allows companies to do more than merely survive—it will enable them to thrive.
3. Establishing sustainability and advocacies
As consumers are now more environmentally conscious and purpose-driven, sustainability becomes a significant factor when choosing which brand to buy from. Studies even show how consumers are willing to spend money on sustainable products and to buy from brands they know to have advocacies.
In today’s age, companies can’t expect customers to return to their business automatically. Sustainable products and business practices can help you stand out, build customer loyalty, and appeal to conscious consumers. Sustainable efforts like making material product changes or donating to charitable groups can also put your business at leverage.
4. Social commerce is on the rise
uses social media platforms to market and sells products or services.
With major social media channels like Facebook, Instagram, and Tiktok hosting the entire shopping experience, there is no doubt why social commerce is becoming popular. This process also allows users to complete their purchases without leaving such apps. Experts forecast the global value of the social commerce industry to reach around $2.9 trillion by 2026.
So, maximizing and even doubling down on social commerce can benefit brands, especially those running their businesses in media-savvy social countries like the Philippines. With over 82.4% of the country’s population reportedly using social media, entrepreneurs have various opportunities to seize.
Brands can quickly sell and promote their products through posting on social media. On the other hand, while scrolling through their preferred app, users can quickly tap the Buy Now or Shop Now button, add the item/s to their cart and check them out within the app. It’s a more convenient way of shopping for your customers.
5. More businesses will adopt Chatbots
How often have you encountered buyers leaving your page after not receiving replies within a minute or less? Does it occur frequently?
That is because shoppers value convenience and prefer quick responses to their queries.
Chatbots serve as assistants for online stores, similar to customer support representatives. A chatbot can immediately address the shoppers’ concerns without you needing to be there, increasing the chances of transactions.
Sixty-nine percent of consumers prefer chatbots for quicker communication instead of calling or emailing. This number is growing in line with the rise of instant messaging apps and the need for automating customer care services. Following Juniper Research, there are over $8 billion in cost savings that chatbots are responsible for.
Stay Ahead of the Competition
The F&B industry has been highly affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. Despite the challenges, the F&B sector only evolved during unprecedented times. Digitization helped the industry transform into a highly modernized sector and continuously meet the demands of its consumers.
The eCommerce trends above show how the market is only set to grow in the following years. And as more eCommerce market trends rise, businesses are expected to adapt and release new marketing strategies to match them. By staying on top of such trends, F&B industries and other companies can also stay ahead of the competition.