5 ways for food manufacturers to succeed in etail in 2016

The food sector is lagging behind in online retail, yet growth is expected. Here we present top tips to help you embrace this growing opportunity.

Try etail on a small scale; it’s early days

By 2016 ecommerce should account for 5% of grocery sales and increase each year. Your expectations should be set accordingly: aim for a small foothold in the market to begin with.

As consumers get increasingly comfortable with ecommerce in parts of their life, the potential for food and drink sales to accelerate from a slow start is there.

Present your products correctly for etail

Your products need to be promoted with similar keyword research techniques you use for your website. Why?

A majority of online sales occur from keyword searches, particularly if your email database is in its infancy. So recognise that branding has to co-exist with keyword friendly information such as:

  • Weight
  • Portion size
  • Product contents
  • Dietary information etc.

To improve the ease of purchase and sense of value for the customer, consider making product bundles. These also handily help to boost the average purchase per customer.

Make your product information clear because if buyers have doubts about what they are buying, they are likely to abandon the sale. It will also prevent a high number of returns and the negative reviews that comes with those.

Take extra steps to ensure products arrive intact

Remember that items are prone to damage in transit, so to prevent waste and returns, assess if your packaging is up to the task.

Heavy products will be expensive to ship, and require more robust packaging to avoid damage.

Be prepared for some trial and error.

Promote your etail offering

You ought to be able to connect your customers with your brand and product online, as food etail competition is still relatively low compared to other markets.

There is a myriad of options for online advertising across the web and social media. Embrace the data that is available: set meaningful KPIs and look to build a community, or more specifically a database so you can reach buyers directly.

Competitions, vouchers and loyalty schemes are proven ways to do this..

Make sure your supply chain is fit for purpose

To operate in etail you could be shipping to the buyer’s door or to an etailer.

Be sure to revise your supply chain to support drop shipping and/or distribution without compromising on traceability . This may require close work with your etail partners and the use of supporting technology, e.g. barcodes.

Consider how you will accommodate expiry dates and a customer-friendly returns process, while keeping tasks efficient and responsive for your business. Again technology, namely your food/drink business’s ERP system, will be integral here.

Thank you for reading.