The delivery model around the world is becoming more inclusive and has, therefore, come to contain pretty much everything; from medicines to heavy appliances. So, it was only a matter of time that food, too was admitted into this group. In 2019 Grocery e-commerce will grow 18% in the U.S. alone.
Sure, the buyer won’t have to stand in queues, run around the aisle to locate their favorite item, deal with lazy store attendants, POS issues, push a cart, deal with OOS on arrival and other problems but that advantage can’t be taken for granted by online food delivery stores.
As, there are some rough edges still, that need to be polished when it comes to handling the logistics of food to make this model full proof. Online grocery sales in the U.S. are projected to grow to $29.7 billion by 2021
Food delivery is not as simple as it seems, being a consumable, it will have to be preserved during transportation and be delivered within a specific time-frame, to prevent it from decaying. Else the consumer would instead purchase it offline.
Organic food will show the above limitations; however, other forms of snacks with a more extended expiry date can overcome this and allow for later delivery. What’s interesting is the B2C F&B revenue has grown by 14.3% from $16.05 Billion in 2018 to $18.34 Billion in 2019. Impressive, isn't it?
But with the urgency setting in and consumers wanting their orders ASAP, being able to deliver is no longer enough, yet, 55% of consumers are willing to buy grocery products online again in the future. Fresh produce, grains, dairy, confectionery to salty snacks all are expected to arrive at the latest.
All packaged food and groceries on your online marketplace must now comply with these desires; besides clearing the regulatory guidelines laid by the governments. Ecommerce for food has now taken a new meaning as more brands and investors start invading this space.
So, undertake retail trading in food products and do so in a manner where you reinvent your strategy and work out how you can streamline the delivery process to the end customer.
Why is it so?
The average buyer has been spoiled by 1-2-day delivery on most items, which may be the reason why they expect the same on eatables as well; besides the fact that some of these food items are wanted at the earliest.
Sure, some items can arrive later, but the impatient buyer isn’t acceptive of such trivial excuses. They don’t wish to adjust – for them it's sooner the better.
Get it immediately & begin preparation; a delay could mean the customer would be tempted to try nearby hypermarkets, supermarkets, and grocery stores for fulfilling their requirements. As such food retail ventures must step up their game to serve their customers better.
Whether you employ drones or jumbo jets, it’s entirely up to you. Find economical yet steady and fast routes to complete orders and please your customers. The more you do so, the more moolah you generate for your brand in this sector. Once the word gets out, your reputation will gain some creds on its own.
A Plethora of delivery options sit on an average US food eCommerce site, yet only a few of them are in sync with the F&B model, which mandates an immediate delivery on most items; making some of the other options useless.
So, to stay connected with their audience, the eCommerce food industry will have to expand the scope of delivery and go beyond the usual practices. It’s time to take on the online food business with more innovative solutions.
Let’s look at some of how the delivery side of F&B can be reformed moving ahead:
Click and Collect – A delivery method that combines online shopping with real-life transactions. Let’s eliminate unprofessional delivery services, and you get zero to minimal added delivery costs. A scenario that also works well if a buyer is unable to accept the parcel at their address.
Let’s say a customer is aiming for an item that can’t be procured nearby at better rates, and they discover a deal on a pantry website and wish to have it at the earliest, then the click & collect omnichannel approach works best. If possible, filter the search results online that are eligible for this service.
Having customers come into the store would help to manage customer experience better, cross-sell, upsell, and handle returns or any other grievances with ease. Apart from cutting down on delivery charges, this method triggers an increase in footfall, where customers are tempted to conduct additional purchases.
Collaborate with local stores and give your customers the security, flexibility, and confidence they desire during their shopping journey. Besides, getting them to do some impulsive shopping.
But of course, you will retain the traditional delivery service, something that a brand like Schuh does well. Offering in-home services and letting you collect the package from any of their outlets.
Express Shipping – The same day, overnight, and next day shipping helps to satisfy all the edible orders that are to be consumed immediately. Adding this to your list of delivery methods will help to expand your SKU’s to include items that must be sold within a specific timeframe.
As such, your brand will hold a more diverse inventory, making the buyer rush to your eCommerce store for every pretty much every next purchase.
A slight delay can upset an eager buyer; therefore, you need to target every delivery “pain point” of visitors consistently. Even in the form of a premium service, this service would work, since, customers are now willing to spend extra, to have the item delivered sooner.
Capitalize on the above mindset and tie-up, synchronize, integrate various shipping modules on your Food & Beverage eCommerce website to provide rapid, reliable, time-definite delivery.
Automatic Subscription - Subscription services are flooding the market day by day; it’ll not be long before consumers switch to this plan entirely to order/restock their daily essentials. The various packages with the ability to customize each item have made this grow in popularity; whatever be your diet.
There is a plan for everyone, be it Gluten, Vegan enthusiasts, calorie counters, bodybuilders or our regular specimens who feast on the generic food items; all will find a suitable meal for their nutrition.
Besides, buyers get to set a weekly, monthly, quarterly, or even an annual plan that will see food getting delivered on a timely basis, without any intervention from your end. Just sit back and have any favorite snack brought to you. Different preferences, tastes, and needs are met.
Even get an array of meals from doctors and nutritionists, making this the most popular way to order your food. In a way, automate and timetable food delivery to your lifestyle. Set a package that renews automatically or give the option to cancel & edit the meals at any time.
Tracking + Confirmation
It's equally vital to keep the customer up to date with the delivery progress. Knowing where the order is at, will help the buyer adjust their schedule as per it or make other arrangements to receive the orders.
This ensures no order is returned or incorrectly delivered, the re-runs to your buyer's house will cost you more. Thus, find a way to establish proper back & forth communication with all the concerned parties.
A failed/deviated delivery will also set a negative impression in the minds of your consumers, leading to no further or reduced activity from the same hungry buyer. Keep them updated and in case of an issue, be forthcoming an inform them well in advance.
Try SMS's, notifications, and calls; so that your customer receives an apt reminder about when and how to accept the order. If the order was left elsewhere and the consumer wasn't at all present, then send an immediate confirmation of the same. Let them know, make sure they are always aware.
Nowadays, abandoning your customers after purchases could hurt your goal of retaining customers. To target them better, it's vital that you consider their advice/criticism; then try to reach out to them periodically.
Deserting your buyers could see you lose prospects that may have otherwise been "repeat" customers. A such, find out more about their delivery experiences. Whether it was delayed, on time, all intact, broken, and so on.
Valuable feedback like this collected via surveys will help to improve your engagement and interactions with your customer base, if you intend to stay in the F&B eCommerce game then acknowledging your customers will be the greatest advantage you want to have on your side.
See to it that you have gathered enough data from your customers, on ways in which you can improve the delivery services. To tempt them, may even throw some discounts on completion of the surveys.
Unaware brands often end up committing the same mistakes, not realizing that their ways of serving customers have become outdated, and the buyers are already seeking newer ways to receive their food orders.
ERP and other systems
Modern back-end systems are becoming more rampant these days, as a great time and information management tool. Not only will it help you run the business processes more smoothly, but also ultimately help you to get more focused on the marketing and lead acquisition side of things.
Streamline activities in the backend; whether its management of raw materials, POS for orders, customers, 3PL for logistics and ERP to automate all your demands with ease. These cutting-edge backend resources will help to simplify all the work which’d otherwise be accomplished manually.
Monitor the inventory levels 24/7 to better meet your buyers demands. Complex processes don’t have to bring down your productivity; relive your heavy tasks to intelligent solutions. Automate tasks to increase customer lifetime value, reduce customer acquisition costs, and improve conversion rates.
Being able to deliver effectively starts with better management with organization of data and other activities in your workplace / warehouse. Keep track of the stock of grocery products and other items, before you set out to refine your Food & Beverage eCommerce delivery chain.
Delivery has become such a vital part of the food eCommerce that it can no longer be put aside and ignored. A hungry customer is desperately waiting for your order; therefore, you need to show the utmost urgency in your order processing ways.
Either automate everything from the time you receive the order till you process and send the order for delivery, or in case of manual handling show a little more quickness in dispatching the order. To serve your customers better, every F&B company will have to solve delivery at one point or another.
Have you come across any flaws within your Food & Beverage eCommerce website and wish to finetune it or are due for an audit to interconnect all the physical as well as online outlets? Then, you’d need an immediate consultation with the brilliant minds at Virtina.
Over the years, Virtina has handled various projects for several food companies around the world, making us the most competent choice for either setting up or expanding your F&B brand. Transform the crux of your food company & give it the prime position it deserves. Tap your growth potential with us.
Planning to setup/upgrade store for selling food online? Our experts can help you!