CHALLENGES AND OPPORTUNITIES
IN F&B B2B E-COMMERCE
Since the pandemic outbreak, the B2B food export industry has experienced many ups and downs due to COVID-related issues.
The main uncertainties in the food industry included:
- a significant decrease in food and beverage exports in 2020 in many regions
- an unexpected increase in demand of some types of food during the pandemic, like groceries for example
- concerns on employees’ health in the food and beverage industry
- consumers spending more money on groceries than dining and food services
- troubles in keeping up with the global demand for food when people began to panic-buy
- factory shutdowns (some related to factory-wide COVID-19 outbreaks, some others mandated by local authorities) which led to supply chain shortages
- restaurant shutdowns or shift to takeout only in many parts of the world
- shipping disruptions.
While e-commerce was already evolving major industries, businesses in the Food and Beverage industry were the slowest to react. Why is that? The challenges unique to this industry created an obstacle for businesses to go digital.
Now that the world seems to be settling into a “new normal”, many new opportunities are emerging in the B2B food industry. The rapid digitalization of B2B trade has made it easier for food wholesalers to reach buyers from around the world.
According to Statista, online sales will make up 15-20% of the food and beverage industry’s overall sales by 2025, and 64% of successful companies within the F&B industry had developed an e-commerce strategy to take their businesses to the next level.
What are the main features that a B2B e-commerce strategy should have?
1 – Faster Delivery
If there’s one thing that differentiates the F&B industry most from others is the average delivery time. For this industry, in fact, having faster delivery it’s a must. Managing your logistics and improving its efficiency are critical if you’re planning to go digital.
2 – Transparency in Inventory and Logistics
Because of the need for faster delivery, your customers want complete transparency regarding inventory and logistics. All your systems need to be synced together so that there is clarity on what’s available and when it will be delivered.
What are the benefits of selling food on a B2B e-commerce platform?
Over the past years, there has been a major push towards digitalization in B2B trade, so that now online trade has become the “new normal”. When you create a storefront on a B2B e-commerce platform, you can:
- reach a much larger audience,
- save time thanks to all the existing tools for automation
- test out different markets without expending a lot of resources
- improve your online presence
The most innovative B2B e-commerce platforms are also equipped with customer relationship management tools that allow you direct access to your client’s contact information.