Digitalization has completely changed how businesses operate, impacting everything from record-keeping and communication to business transactions. Industries have experienced significant change, reaping plenty of benefits for growth, and the B2B food market makes no exception. Although businesses in the food industry have been slow to embrace eCommerce’s opportunities, things have changed along with the pandemic, when consumers were dragged online and had no choice but to purchase groceries from their homes. As a result, B2B food market giants such as Coca-Cola or Pepsi have moved online to stay relevant and thrive in the ever-changing business landscape.
As the ecommerce landscape keeps expanding, more businesses are likely to take advantage of the convenience and profitability of selling their products or services online. As for the B2B food industry (which is a very profitable one), it only makes sense for ventures to embrace digital transformation – otherwise, they may fall behind.
What does digitalization look like in the food industry?
Digitalization is relevant for any business, no matter the sector they operate in, allowing them to improve their work speed, value, and efficiency, thus creating new growth opportunities. In the food industry, this process can take different forms, such as the use of AI, cloud, and online channels. Technologies like artificial intelligence enable food businesses to respond as quickly as possible to trends in the market, which helps them manage food waste much better while also fueling growth.
Embracing digitalization in the food sector aims to enable greater transparency in the supply chain process, making it more efficient and reducing costs. This will likely boost customer experience, which is something all businesses should aim for. Besides supply chain transparency, digital transformation in the food sector also impacts customer engagement through chatbots, mobile apps, and other digital tools that allow businesses to understand consumer behavior and preferences better. Moreover, it improves delivery through mobile apps that can be used to order food and make payments online. Now, customers can instantly buy any product they want: if they want almonds, they will look for a reliable nuts supplier online and order. “But why would customers ever buy almonds online?” you may ask. It’s simple: it enables them to ensure good quality of the seeds while also getting them at a reasonable price. Purchasing online isn’t only convenient but also allows customers to get the best bang for their buck.
Exploring the impact of digital transformation on B2B food businesses
Digital transformation enables B2B food enterprises to seize great opportunities. We will discuss these opportunities below to help you understand what you can leverage technology to take your business to new heights.
Enhanced customer service
By staying on top of the latest tech trends and moving online, businesses operating in the B2B food market can improve customer service, by responding to inquiries more effectively. In the business world, customers are at the core of your operations – losing them means losing everything. Therefore, it is essential to meet their needs; for this to be possible, it’s vital to adapt to their changing behaviors (no, your customers will not stay the same).
As for today’s B2B buyers, more than half of them are part of the Gen Z or Millennial generations – digital natives who enjoy the convenience of buying products online rather than in person. In fact, research shows that 44% of millennials would rather not interact with a sales representative while purchasing a product. Instead, they seek straightforward self-service options that enable them to log into a website and buy whenever they want. An essential part of offering better customer service involves analyzing their changing behavior. For example, modern B2B consumers are more eco-friendly and expect companies to be socially responsible and practice sustainability. If they had to choose between a sustainable cocoa supplier and one that doesn’t embrace green practices, they would likely choose the former without giving it a second thought. Consumers always have a choice, so make sure they choose you over your competitors.
The digital landscape increases business productivity significantly, which is imperative in the competitive B2B food space. For example, businesses in the sector can join an ecommerce channel and benefit from many efficiencies, such as a faster order process and a lower risk of manual errors (which can negatively impact customer relationships).
Moreover, automation reduces processing costs, helping improve admin tasks and thus allowing B2B ventures to take on a bigger market share. Moving your B2B food business online enables customers to self-serve, which translates into free time for your sales team, allowing them to concentrate their efforts on other important aspects that will fuel business growth, such as managing buyer relationships, for example. By embracing digital transformation, your team would be more productive, offering a competitive advantage and positively impacting your growth trajectory.
Expansion into new markets
The digital landscape has opened the door to endless possibilities for B2B food businesses. If you’re looking to scale internationally, now it’s easier than ever to do so, and attract customers from other countries and regions. All it takes to localize the buying experience is a few clicks – and consumers worldwide will recognize your business.
Naturally, expanding into new markets will result in increased sales, thus improving the overall profitability of your business. But it’s worth mentioning that tapping into new markets provides advantages that go beyond boosting profit – they offer incredible ways to foster innovation. In other words, they will require you to adapt your services and products based on new customers’ needs, providing valuable insights you can take advantage of. When it comes to achieving sustainable growth in your B2B food business, scaling internationally is incredibly powerful, so you should leverage this strategy.
Will you embrace digitalization in your B2B food business?
There’s no doubt that B2B food businesses willing to adapt to the changing times and embrace technology will thrive in the market. As highlighted in this blog, moving your B2B food business online will pay off, allowing you to improve your key performance metrics and benefiting your team and buyers alike.
So, will you take advantage of all these opportunities and see your business flourishing?