So you have a food brand, huh? You might have tried your luck selling your products on stalls in local markets, or perhaps you’ve even gone as far to approach your local or national supermarkets to see if they’ll stock your product.
Although the general rules of marketing apply when trying to sell food, drinks and groceries, you should also pay attention to some of the special tactics you can use to help your profits skyrocket.
In this post, we’re going to look at why you should consider eCommerce for your food or beverage business, and present you with 5 actionable steps you can take to increase your profits and build a brand through effective e-commerce food marketing.
Let’s jump in,
Why you should consider eCommerce food marketing?
By 2021, The retail e-commerce revenue from food and beverage sales is expected to reach 15.25 billion. That’s a lot of money left on the table if you don’t get on board now.
And when you think about what products you want to sell on your eCommerce store, food does seem like a viable option. In simple terms, everyone eats food and many people are pretty passionate about the food they eat and where they get it from.
Although selling food presents limitations and things you should prepare yourself for, like potential licences, and making sure all your food is prepared in a sanitary environment, getting a slice of this market can prove really lucrative.
Even Amazon has tapped into the food industry with their brand “Amazon Fresh” that brings groceries you might need straight to your door.
But let’s talk about the actual marketing tactics you can employ first.
Is your product unique?
“I want to sell cupcakes.” You might have considered this based on the low barrier to entry and the fact you don’t need to spend too much initial spend buying too many ingredients.
But the truth is unless you have a huge marketing budget (and I’m assuming you don’t if you’re just starting out), how do you expect to compete with all this content on the web.
And let’s just look at all the options on the first page of Google!
So many other businesses promising exactly what you hope to do. It’s the core reason why you need to stand out.
There are a number of different ways you can stand out, you might choose to do this through the items you sell.
Or perhaps you use your branding to sell your product like Ugly Drinks.
At first, if someone told you they were going to start a drinks company and call it “ugly”, what would your first thoughts be?
Probably not something positive. And after all, what product are ugly drinks selling? Flavoured sparkling water?
You can get that anywhere else, right? Yes, but despite this, they’re getting a lot of press attention. Largely this boils down to their story and their marketing.
You see, Ugly drinks offer a healthier version of the carbonated drinks we all know and love. They also offer a subscription service to ensure your fridge is consistently stocked up with your favourite flavours.
Fast Shipping and safety is everything
One of the core reasons people don’t buy food online is because they have concerns about the safety of the items. Will it be made in an environmentally friendly location? Will it perish on its journey to me? Will it arrive battered or broken?
Selling food online involves plenty of trust. Trust that the item will get to the customer in a suitable time, just as described.
To help improve this frustration, you could try offering free shipping.
Pipcorn, a popcorn company offers their customers free shipping for any orders over $35.
When offering free shipping as a pricing marketing tactic, remember to think about your overhead costs. You don’t want to offer free shipping and not think about how that cost will affect your bottom line. For lighter food items, like loose tea or popcorn, free shipping could be an easy option to take.
Imagery is everything in ecommerce food marketing
Would you buy a cake without seeing a picture of it? Probably not. As the saying goes, a picture is a thousand words. Product descriptions are important in eCommerce food marketing for the following reasons:
- They help you describe your product
- Can be a real added boost for SEO
- Gives you a chance to talk about any potential dietary requirements your customers might have such as “suitable for vegans” “may contain nuts”.
But when it comes to selling your product, written descriptions only go so far. You need images too. If you’re going to outsource any of the ecommerce food marketing you do, then the images should be just that. Good images making you hungry (literally) for more.
Let’s look at an example.
Suzy Q doughnut store uses really captivating images to showcase their products. Note they don’t make sure all the icing is perfect. In fact, the fact it’s not perfect shows how realistic the images are to the product you receive at your door.
We all know the images of the burgers at Mcdonalds, don’t look anything like the burger you receive, but you don’t mind paying for it because it’s a cheap commodity food item.
Whereas, for a product like doughnuts, you want to let your customers know exactly what their product will look like when they hit buy.
If you sell a novelty item, you’re likely to get spikes of custom around specific holiday periods where people are more likely to buy presents for others. However, if you want all year-round custom, then see if your product lends itself to a subscription model.
Graze are a great example of a subscription-based business.
Healthy snacks sent right to your letterbox. You can choose the frequency and update your preferences based on whether or not you liked the items you received.
Benefits of Graze:
- They promote healthy eating. Their portion sizes are small, but it means you don’t sit down and eat a whole share bag of snacks in one sitting.
- The box fits through your letterbox. Nothing worse than not being in to receive a parcel and having to go and collect it from the local sorting house. Because their parcel fits right into your letterbox, you just pick it up whenever you get home.
- They play on the element of surprise. There’s a great feeling about opening your Graze box, to find out what treats you’ve been offered this week.
So why not see if your product lends itself to the subscription model. Keep in mind, if your product is something people only buy once or twice a year, it might not work but for products like:
It could be a really viable option to try out.
The issue many have with buying food online is the only way you can tell what it tastes like is based on the product description. Only the product description is biased because of course, they’re going to say it tastes great.
That’s why you should seriously think about using your customer reviews as a viable marketing option. Reviews are an unbiased view of how real people sending real money felt about your product.
Tessemae understands that buying something like a sauce is a big commitment. Sauces usually last a long time so buying one that isn’t to your taste is a big waste of time.
They carefully include dated reviews so future customers can see what previous customers thought about the sauce and what sorts of foods they partnered it with.
How are you handling e-commerce food marketing?
We’ve spent some time in this article talking about the food industry and how you start thinking about creating your own eCommerce store.
Perhaps you already have an eCommerce store but haven’t figured out how to properly market it yet.
If that’s the position you’re in, then this post is for you.
Hopefully, these tactics have given you some food for thought (pardon the pun) and will help you boost your eCommerce revenue.
Leave a comment below if you have any other tactics related to eCommerce marketing.e-commerce marketing
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It's great that you talked about the importance of safety in food shipping. One of my cousins is thinking about investing in an online-food supplier business. He isn't familiar with how the shipping process would work, so I think this article could help him out. I appreciate your tips about how you must ensure to your customer that their goods would arrive in the best conditions.
Thank you, Eli!
Thanks for the info about the food industry. My neighbor is interested in finding a new food supplier. I'll share this info about the food industry with my friend.