HOW THE F&B INDUSTRY CAN NAVIGATE COVID-19
As coronavirus continues to spread aggressively across the world, it continues to cause tremendous human tragedy and significant repercussions on economies everywhere. Businesses grapple to survive, but are hit with evolving, complex variables to consider, as they forge their path forward.
How has COVID-19 impacted the Food & Beverage industry?
The pandemic has impacted the F&B sector with unprecedented force. Several businesses, such as restaurants, pubs and various eateries, have been brought to their knees, due to diminished footfall and falling revenues, compounded by the struggle to maintain fixed overheads and other expenses. At the same time, the sector is also starting to explore new possibilities and has proceeded to modify its business models to ensure they’re still able to address consumer demand.
Consumer behaviour is impacted by a variety of factors, including technological, economic, environmental and sociological factors. All of these factors have come into play with the current pandemic. As it continues to spread, we’ve seen indications of changes that will soon become more pronounced.
More people are starting to self-isolate as much as possible and limiting visits to grocery stores, supermarkets and so on. This introduces incredible potential for the e-commerce industry to explode over the next few months. It’s important to also note that as consumers increasingly avoid physical shopping environments and adopt digital options in its lieu, it could also indicate longer-term changes in consumer behaviour.
Key concerns of F&B businesses
A survey conducted by Clear Seas Research, a BNP Media company, reveals that the most common concerns listed by respondents were:
- The current economy (80%)
- Achieving business goals over the next three months, six months and business stability for the next 12 months
- More than half (53%) are concerned about supply chain challenges
While the pandemic has created great uncertainty for business owners, it may also be an opportunity to renew and strengthen their approach to tackle ongoing challenges and achieve long-standing business goals.
The F&B industry has already witnessed a major upheaval in recent years with large-scale technological advancements permeating various business functions. As the sector continues to reshape itself, organizations that haven’t yet fully tapped into the potential of digital transformation and advanced analytics must consider doing so now.
Navigating forward: Delighting customers with consistency and availability
Studies show that the global food and beverage e-commerce market is expected to grow from $14.9 billion in 2019 to about $22.4 billion in 2020. With the COVID-19 outbreak forcing people to work from home and remain in isolation, it is no wonder they’re choosing to purchase food, beverages and other essential groceries online. The market is expected to stabilize and reach $34.6 billion at a CAGR of 23.4% through 2023. As the outbreak continues to progress, the trend of having fresh groceries, packaged goods and take out meals delivered to the door will continue to grow as the industry tries to stay abreast with customer needs.
The time to adopt e-commerce was yesterday – a majority of consumers (particularly, millennials) have always loved the convenience of online ordering, purchasing and doorstep delivery. The pandemic has taken this preference a step further by making it a critical need. Now more than ever, consumers demand streamlined methods of browsing, selecting and ordering their daily groceries or favourite meals. As consumers are also now pickier about their purchases and specific ingredients, leading them to do even more research, companies will have to look into how they can present important information to consumers in an efficient, easy format.
Food and beverage businesses will have to step up their game in terms of leveraging digital and social platforms. Building meaningful relationships with consumers through robust branding and social media offers potential for growth and new opportunities. Staying connected is critical in ensuring that your customers are happy and provided with all the information they need. It’s a great way for you to offer customers ongoing assurance about safety measures, provide extensive product research options, offer stories, forums, tips and assuage their myriad concerns. This also has the added benefit of offering social proof for your brand, thereby increasing sales and boosting customer delight. Social media data can also be particularly valuable in harnessing your overall marketing strategy.
Adopting an omni-channel approach
We urge F&B businesses to adopt an omnichannel approach, so consumers can enjoy seamless buying experiences with your brand, whether they are shopping in-store or making the shift to online shopping. Grocery stores that have been struggling to deal with panic buying can look to leveraging delivery apps, their websites, social networks, etc to better manage customer communications, share precautionary measures, offer product availability updates and promotions, engage with customers, and so on. Other options include offering priority shopping times to at-risk groups and communicating these via their e-commerce channels. Restaurants and eateries can leverage online ordering and delivery services- prioritizing website and mobile ordering, click & collect and drive-thru services. While F&B companies can use various delivery services to ramp up sales short-term, it’s always recommended to build your own-branded app to ensure you have complete control over managing relationships with your customers and fostering long-term trust.
Partner with i95Dev to future-proof your business
i95Dev is a next-generation e-commerce company specializing in designing, developing and maintaining B2B/B2C omnichannel e-commerce solutions powered by Magento. We enable you to fully integrate the customer experience, rather than settling for modest, ad-hoc improvements.
Our work extends beyond e-commerce development. As leading systems integrators we support complex e-commerce integrations with various ERPs, POS, CRM, Accounting, Mobile and Social Applications.
If your business is reeling under the aftermath of the impact of the COVID-19 crisis, there is no better time than now to prioritize the path to swift recovery and future-proof your business for long term growth. If you’re ready to embrace a new paradigm and look at ways you can deliver more engaging consumer experiences and invest in new technology ecosystems to be more efficient and cost-effective, get in touch with us today.