With Amazon Business rapidly expanding into B2B distribution, food
service distribution stands out as a likely target. Amazon has already
invested heavily in the food and grocery category in B2C, and success
in B2B food distribution is an equally large opportunity.
The B2B food industry is facing a new staging point of digitalization and more consumer-oriented approach. B2B customers expect to get a smooth user experience, personalization, and support at each stage of the customer journey.
Manufacturers and distributors should seriously review their strategy and think about more modern ways to attract buyers and enter new markets. In this article, we dwell upon 6 major food industry trends that will help you to satisfy B2B buyer needs.
B2B food industry trends for manufacturers and suppliers
Shift to online marketplaces
According to the Next Generation of B2B Purchases Report, over one-quarter of B2B buyers identify marketplaces as their most preferred purchasing channel. 87% of respondents with 97% millennials among them buy through marketplaces more than through other channels.
Building your own B2B marketplace will give you a chance to broaden your assortment, break into new markets, and have a full control over the customer journey. Here are some other benefits of an online marketplace for B2B distributors and manufacturers:
- Сonnecting suppliers and customers, so they don’t have to visit several websites, which gives you an opportunity to convert directly on your platform
- Price transparency and bigger product choice
- Multi-channel sales strategy
- Opening new product categories and test them without investing in warehousing
Let's get back to the statistics from the B2B report and outline the advantages of using online marketplace for B2B buyers.
Bonus: Check out our infographics about how wholesalers can increase sales with their own marketplace platform
Personalization and segmentation
As the “typical” B2B buyer changes, a business’ sales process should too.
One of the major differences of B2B purchases from B2C ones, is that first ones are rarely spontaneous and impulsive. B2B purchase decisions involve a long research before the final decision. Moreover, this research is made by multiple people with different job roles.
Your task is to adjust your website or app content to both users and decision makers. Users are mostly concerned about the product or service specifications, advantages, details, and characteristics. Decision makers are interested in price options, contract details, guarantee, etc.
B2B buyers need a personalized approach, where payment, contract, and product details will be tailored to their company needs. Here are some examples of personalization you can enrich your online business with:
- Multiple catalog views for different customer segments
- Role segmentation (content for both users and approvers)
- Personalized and transparent prices (price calculators, sample prices, and quantity discounts)
Here are some statistics for your information.
- 50% of B2B queries today are made on smartphones. BCG expects that figure to grow to 70% by 2020.
- Mobile drives, or influences, an average of over 40% of revenue in leading B2B organizations.
BCG’s report also says that those B2B sellers that have adopted mobile, see a significant growth of queries, traffic, leads, and transactions compared to those who lag behind.
Amazing motivation to catch up!
Multiple payment options
Big Commerce conducted a survey of more than 500 international merchants, where they asked about the preferable payment methods.
According to this report, credit cards still remain the most popular for the online channels, when сhecks, terms, and purchase orders are vital for B2B buyers. In addition, Amazon Pay and Apple Pay (26%) are escalating.
When it comes to the features that are important to B2B buyers, product information ranks high enough (37%)
Source: B2B E-Commerce Report
Detailed product information not only helps to get more organic traffic and search engine visibility, but also educates your users, answers their questions, and removes obstacles in the decision-making process.
If you include clear, specific, and realistic details in the product or service description, your users will faster find out whether what you offer aligns with their business needs.
Here are some of the product characteristics that are common to the food industry:
- Product certification
- Delivery details
- Bulk pricing and discounts
- Supplier location
- Business type
- Ordering details
Flexible B2B ordering
As B2B buying processes are complex and involve a large number of orders, ensure that your platform offers a lot of flexible ordering options. Here is what B2B buyers expect to be the part of the buying experience according to the B2B Online Custom Report
- Ability to pre-order and back-order
- Ability to schedule orders
- Ability to re-order products
- Bulk and split orders
- Quantity breaks
B2B merchants should make every effort to catch up with the latest trends and B2B customer demands. Otherwise, they risk to be beaten by the competition. By making changes and optimizing the online experience of your users, you will get more loyal customers and regular revenue.