COVID-19 is forcing F&B businesses to build a strong online presence much quicker than before. But what role does eCommerce play in our current socio-economic context?
F&B business owners, here’s today’s food for thought:
- Why eCommerce keeps growing in 2021 (and will continue doing so) 🌐
- Three core reasons why being online matters in our current economy 📈
- What food businesses can do to boost their digital presence 🚀
The Much-Anticipated F&B eCommerce Growth of 2021
Are you wondering why studies are rolling in? We can no longer ignore the importance of e-commerce for the survival of the foodservice industry during the COVID-19 crisis.
Mastercard reported that U.S. e-commerce sales grew 8.3% year over year in June 2021 and, more importantly, jumped 95% from two years ago (yo2y/pre-pandemic). Furthermore, food and beverage will lead online sales growth through 2024, says Forrester Research. Let’s talk more numbers. Statista tells us that revenue from the e-commerce Food & Beverage industry in the U.S. stood at 18.7 billion USD in 2020, estimating that this figure will rise to 25.7 billion USD by 2025.
In short, the trend is here to stay, and business owners are quickly catching on. Is your own F&B business keeping up?
Why a Strong Online Presence Means More in 2021
1. More People Purchase Online Using Mobile Devices
When you’re in Food and Beverage (F&B) industry, building a solid online ultimately translates to selling better. And to do that, a business needs a powerful, mobile-friendly eCommerce platform.
Why is that? For one, the number of smartphone users continues to increase worldwide. We’re talking about 3.8 billion people as of 2021, almost half of the world’s population! So naturally, more and more businesses are eager to explore the quite obvious potential implied by these numbers. As a result, over 1.3 million companies use e-commerce in the U.S. alone, and more F&B businesses are joining the bandwagon.
And as we’ve pointed out, the world’s most successful eCommerce websites are mobile-optimized, ready to meet the market demand and growing preference for mobile purchases. After all, consumer habits are changing due to COVID-19, and businesses must catch on fast.
2. #StayinTouch with Social Media Marketing
Whether a startup or a well-established F&B business, building a strong online presence shapes brand awareness, enables increased visibility and creates a path between brands and their target audiences. And what’s one great way to achieve all that and more? Social Media Marketing, or SMM for short.
After all, it’s 2021, and the global pandemic continues to sway the manners in which individuals and institutions engage with one another. From July 2019 to July 2020 alone, statistics quote a notable increase of 10.5% in active social media use.
To be truly visible online, your brand needs a unique social media voice. Platforms like Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, and Pinterest enable businesses to connect and learn about their target audiences.
To be more precise, you can quickly learn about your public and its preference, receive valuable feedback, build trust, and boost fidelity among your existing clientele. Posing frequently also ensures your clients don’t forget about your brand. You may also run paid campaigns to expand your clientele and advertise for your eCommerce website.
3. The Ongoing Shift to Online Orders & Home Delivery
You must have heard about NYC’s mandated vaccine requirement starting this September 13. A study conducted in July concluded that if a restaurant required guests to show proof of vaccination to dine in, 19% would choose a meal to go or have it delivered home. In short, a fifth of a restaurant’s potential customers may opt for online home deliveries instead of eating out.
And this is not limited to restaurants. Coresight‘s U.S. Online Grocery Survey 2021 tells us that, out of 1,652 U.S. adults polled in April this year, 59% have purchased groceries online in the past 12 months (up from 52% from the previous year).
What’s more, we have observed this tendency outside the B2C (business-to-customer) market. In fact, more and more B2B (business-to-business) sales happen entirely online, as more and more F&B businesses race to build functional, fully-tailored platforms for their B2B and B2C needs.
Lastly, keep in mind that customer habits are shifting worldwide. So we’re linking the B2B Millennial Buyer Survey Report for those curious to know more about how younger buyers are already holding influential buying roles.
Wrapping Up – How to Boost Your Brand Amidst Fierce Competition
Online sales will make up 15-20% of the F&B industry’s overall sales by 2025. That’s ten times more than in 2016, making one realize there is no time to be wasted. In reality, however, it’s pretty hard to get started with building a strong online presence. It takes thorough research, viable strategies, as well as continuous trial and error. All in all, a tremendous amount of professional effort is required to build an eCommerce platform and implement workable digital marketing plans.
Previously, we’ve spoken about why Digital Marketing Agencies beat hiring an in-house marketing team, particularly in the current F&B industry. Digital agencies are cost-effective, complex in their expertise, and have already retained broad knowledge of your market segment.
Just putting it out there: Dine Agency has been helping wholesale suppliers in the Tri-State Area reach larger digital audiences and boost their online sales. Be sure to check out our case studies if you’re curious about the exact results and what it takes to yield them!