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E-commerce in the Food & Beverage industry

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E-commerce is bringing the same transformation to the Food & Beverage industry that is has used to revolutionize other sectors.

The food and beverage industry just might be the ultimate example of how a free market will eventually address every customer segment, sub-segment, micro-segment and whatever comes after that with endless choice.

Everything comes in multiple flavors, low-fat versions, no-sugar versions, diet versions and various serving sizes. It would take you a lifetime to sample every product that is available on the shelves of a typical modern supermarket.

Even when you look at a general category, a long list of brands offers their own take on spaghetti sauce, orange juice, mustard, wheat bread and a million other things, allowing us to choose just which one suits our tastes. Try to think of a product that has just one brand supplying it — you can’t.

It’s hard to imagine another sector that allows us to personalize our shopping list to such a level. There is de facto infinite choice when it comes to food & beverage choices.

A lot like other industries, and unique at the same time

All of this means that this sector is great for statistical analyses and breaking down sales to look at trends that give us a clue about changing consumer preferences, what people buy and, increasingly, how they buy it.

Before we get to statistics insights from our clients, let’s make a couple of comments on the industry as a whole, especially in relation to e-commerce.

The COVID pandemic has accelerated changes here just like it has in so many aspects of our lives. In addition to dramatically boosting ready meals delivered to homes around the globe, lockdowns resulted in more shoppers choosing home delivery of groceries than ever before. This boost to an already surging online shopping trend is sure to have lasting effects, as millions of consumers get used to the convenience of having their groceries delivered.

What was at most a niche market before is now firmly in the mainstream.

This extension into home delivery has its base in an online presence – before shopping lists and menu items are delivered, they have to be ordered on a site. This has led to an explosion in aggregation sites where multiple restaurants are listed. While Uber eats has leveraged its brand awareness into a global service, the market is mostly fragmented into services that are dominant in particular countries or regions.

The competition between these food ordering & delivery sites is as intense as the struggle in other segments of the food & beverage sector like grocery stores and restaurants. It’s a tough business and solid marketing strategies like those found elsewhere in e-commerce can be the difference between success and failure.

Our clients’ experience with e-commerce

Now let’s get into specifics when it comes to the results achieved by businesses in the food & beverage industry that use edrone to support their e-commerce efforts.

As in posts dedicated to other industries, information from our clients has been aggregated and averaged for privacy reasons. The businesses operate in Brazil, Germany and Poland and work on both B2B and B2C models, selling such diverse products as general groceries, health foods, candy, premium chocolates, wine, coffee and tea, food packaging and much more — a wide enough range to give a full and balanced impression of how their e-commerce strategies have worked. All data is in US dollars and comes from the first half of 2021.

Let’s start with the Impact Rate, or the portion of revenue directly attributable to edrone functionalities. At nearly 29% it’s an outstanding result and quite a bit more than the same metric in other industries.

An increase of this size is hard to attribute to one factor, especially during COVID, but it definitely shows that e-commerce brings another dimension of sales opportunities when applied to online retailers in food & beverage.

Another positive indicator is the Repeat Rate, or the portion of customers who return to make another purchase. A good result here indicates that the online sales process is easy to navigate and a high degree of overall satisfaction. Here’s what edrone clients in the food & beverage industry got:

The increase is in line with what other industries have experienced. In this regard, the food & beverage business is not an outlier when it comes to marketing automation’s ability to generate return business. Of course, the potential to boost the return rate is theoretically huge — we all have to eat, right? — but the competition and choices are such that customers can find what they want anywhere at any time.

Moving on the growth in the size of their subscriber database, we find a pleasant surprise:

A jump of more than 35% is a fantastic result, especially with an average subscriber list size of north of fifty thousand. This is a significantly higher jump than other industries and have seen and is likely the result of so few consumers already engaging with businesses in this sector. Ironically, one advantage of being a relative latecomer to the online space is low statistical baselines that can show rapid growth.

This brings us to automated scenarios, which in many ways form the backbone of the entire marketing automation process. Here are the results from our clients for the first half of 2021:

Both the figure for the return on emails and for revenue per scenario per month are quite impressive compared to other sectors we work with. One huge advantage of the food & beverage industry that certainly has a role in explaining these numbers is how open customers are to impulse buys and willingness to try something new. As opposed to, for example, the healthcare industry, where most customers are buying to address a specific need when it arises, here customers are more open to simply trying something new as a treat for themselves.

The power of suggestion can be strong indeed when selling food & beverages online.

On to newsletters, another fundamental component of marketing automation. Again, our partners in the food & beverage industry achieved impressive results here as well:

In fact, these numbers are among the highest we’ve seen in any sector. The figure for revenue from 1,000 emails is five times higher than that of the healthcare sector and the revenue per campaign is nearly double.

Again, a newly engaged customer base exploring new options accounts for much of this and is more proof of the potential of digital sales channels for food & drink.

That brings us to the number that sums up everything, the overall return on investment (ROI):

Trading one dollar for almost a hundred sounds like a good deal, wouldn’t you agree? This is a fantastic result and, once again, proof of the enormous potential for online sales in this business sector (as well as the effectiveness of edrone!).

The food & beverage industry is among the most dynamic, with constant growth and a never-ending supply of new items — it’s the perfect match for marketing automation tools and the numbers here prove it. This is an industry that is quick to adapt to changes and is now as digital-friendly as any other. The time to invest in upgrading your e-commerce operation is now.

Want to learn more about how edrone can transform your online operations in food & beverage or anywhere else? Drop us a line at hello@edrone.me

edrone Marketing

Do you want to increase sales and build even better relationships with your customers?

Book a free demo

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