E-commerce as a business model and channel is continuing to accelerate, especially in food. Technology is disrupting the way people shop and eat.
In particular, the number of people buying their groceries online is growing tremendously. Data from Statista, the online market research and business intelligence portal, forecasts that online grocery market will grow from 3% in 2013 to 14% in 2023. Nielsen and Food Marketing Institute launched The Digitally Engaged Food Shopper report, in which they concluded that, by 2025, 40% of central store volume would migrate to an online shopping experience.
Recently, e-commerce took over the headlines again. After Walmart acquired the rising web retailer Jet.com for $3.3 billion, e-commerce giant Amazon bought Wholefoods for $10 billion. The giants are moving, and small brands need to be agile and stay with them.
B-2-B or B-2-C?
For a growing food company, if you are setting up an e-commerce platform for the first time, you are probably thinking your e-commerce site should be targeting B2C (business-to-consumer). However, assuming your primary business is selling to businesses, you may want to prioritize a B2B (business-to-business) e-commerce platform. Individual consumers and businesses have very different purchase mindset and behavior, and if you're just setting things up, focus on the larger part of your business. While B2C consumers probably visit your site to learn about your brand, B2B consumers are looking to transact. TED Magazine offers more insights on their difference.
Of course, you can always do both. For food manufacturers who want to do both wholesale and retail, you can have both B2B and B2C platforms as you see fit. Read here to understand more about how a B2B eCommerce portal can help your business. If you want to start a B2C platform, there are several ways to achieve it: you can use any number of e-commerce website platforms, e.g., Shopify, or hire a developer to build a custom website. An alternative to selling on your own website is joining online marketplaces. Marketplaces are easier to join because you're not responsible for building them, and they often have a larger audience. For example, bakeries can use specific platforms like food delivery sites such as Seamless, Doordash or specialized sweets marketplace Sweetist. However, if you want to have more personalized content and page design, and avoid the profit-sharing nature of these marketplaces, it could be better to focus on your own website.
How to optimize for more traffic?
Once you have your own site, the question then becomes how to attract traffic. As you are launching and running your e-commerce platform, it is critical to understand the behavior of your site visitors. Web analytics is the tool to measures the traffic, page views, clicks on your site. To choose the right one for your business, take a look at those well-reputed web analytics tools. Once you get some insights of your customer behavior, you should maximize the conversion rate by iterating some of your site content or features to make sure they are most attractive to your audience. A/B testing is a good way to achieve that. It is a method of comparing two versions of one web page against each other to decide which one performs better. Those are some A/B testings tools you can try.
Some of the terms might sound too technical or hard to implement at first glance, but the first step is always the most challenging. Good luck!