The food and beverage industry deals with perishable goods that must be sold as quickly as possible to ensure quality and to comply with regulations. While the food industry involves complex logistic processes and demanding customers, e-commerce, driven by enterprise resource planning (ERP) integration, helps companies accomplish their tasks easily.
The quick flow of products within the food industry makes it particularly unique, setting it apart from other e-commerce industries. Because consumers certainly do not want to pay for food or beverages that have passed their expiration date, keeping consumers happy is even more critical in this industry.
Since an unhappy consumer is rarely a repeat customer, internal processes must be aligned in order to properly meet buyer demand. Further, because consumers rarely purchase food items directly from the manufacturer, there are complex internal logistics associated with the food and beverage chain. Adobe reported that grocery e-commerce in the US increased by 26.7% in February 2023. In 2022, online spending on groceries amounted to US$86.8 billion.
There are three primary industry trends associated with the e-commerce food industry:
Regulatory constraints: These constraints in the food supply chain dictate that all those involved adhere to strict practices to ensure safety and quality. This is one trend that is unlikely to change in the future. These regulations involve cooling temperatures and times, transportation logistics, the identification of fish and meat, proper labeling, quality of the food, and safety of the food.
An increased need for efficiency: Accuracy of information in every stage of the supply chain is imperative. Inventory is the most crucial aspect to consider when creating a pricing strategy for foods and beverages — your inventory directly affects sales because it’s all about time and management of information.
The rise of e-commerce in the food and beverage industry: It is essential to implement time and information management in order to reduce waste and improve the quality of perishable foods upon delivery. This is where e-commerce in the food and beverage industry really shines — and why just “any old website” will not accomplish these goals. If you are in the food and beverage industry, your e-commerce requires an online sales portal that is fully integrated with all your business’s vital data — your ERP system.
How consumer behavior in the food industry is transforming
E-commerce has significantly changed consumer behavior as far as the food and beverage industry. Even the face of dining out has changed significantly from the traditional brick-and-mortar experience. According to Grand View Research, the global online food delivery market is expected to reach US$505.5 billion by 2030. With the prevalence of mobile apps and other digital platforms, online food ordering and delivery has become a permanent fixture in the food industry.
Let’s look at the many ways the food industry is changing:
Consumers are now taking a more organic approach to their food choices while shifting toward a digitalized dining experience.
Restaurant recommendation apps and knowledge sharing are broadening throughout the food industry.
The rise of online subscription boxes and meal kits has changed the industry, as these kits remove the need to go to a physical supermarket. Additionally, they increase the ease of meal planning for busy families. In fact, the American government has even discussed replacing food stamps with food boxes, delivered on a weekly basis.
Food ordering apps such as Ubereats and mobile reservation apps have made the experience of dining out more technologically advanced.
The food industry is constantly evolving, including voice-enabled assistants from tech giants such as Amazon and Google. In fact, 64% of surveyed consumers expressed interest in using voice AI to order food, while more than 25% of US consumers have used voice-activated devices to order food.
Food waste is also getting a makeover, thanks to e-commerce. Food waste is now being repurposed and reinvented into by-products.
ERP integration helping the food industry
While ERP integration helps business processes run smoothly, it can also improve a food business’s position in the market. When the food business’s ERP system is integrated with an e-commerce system, it can display essential product and logistics data in the web store, including current and future inventory levels. When ERP is integrated with e-commerce, ERP can help manage time and information, putting all data and processes in one central location.
Lingaro Group can help your food industry business implement an e-commerce system, even a highly advanced one with complex logistics and sales processes. Lingaro Group’s digital commerce practice works with enterprises and global brands in designing, developing, and deploying e-commerce systems and digital marketplaces enabled by data and analytics. Our end-to-end solutions cover the entire journey in digital commerce — from strategic consulting, e-commerce strategy, IT architecture design, UI/UX prototyping and e-commerce development to D2C, B2C, and B2B platforms.
Download this case study to learn how the Lingaro digital commerce practice helped food company Chocolissimo personalize their customers' buying experience with an advanced e-commerce platform.