Ecommerce Fulfillment Solutions for the Food and Beverage Industry

 

Submitted by Distribution M… - May 09, 2022
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Who would have thought food and beverage brands would need to navigate the waters of direct-to-consumer (D2C) ecommerce fulfillment? We can thank the pandemic for so many shifts in our behavior and online grocery shopping is definitely one of them. According to a 2021 Coresight Research study, 60% of U.S. consumers were buying their groceries online with no plans to stop after COVID.

The F&B brands who’ve grown up in this all-delivery world are likely a slight step ahead of those who were built on traditional manufacturer to retailer relationships, but the challenges for these brands are still the same – inflation, freight costs, seasonal demands, etc.

A 3rd party fulfillment provider can help combat those challenges and offer a competitive advantage.

Inflation & Freight
Inflation hurts! It hurts us as consumers as well as professionals at various levels of the supply chain. Finding creative ways to minimize the impact is the name of the game. Your pricing strategy can become very complex with consumer expectations around shipping costs and the number of brands you’re competing against online. The solution might be a high-volume shipper like a 3rd party fulfillment provider with multiple locations and carrier options. They are better positioned to negotiate rates and reduce time in transit which directly impacts your bottom line and customer satisfaction.


Seasonal swings

Not all F&B brands experience seasonal swings, but maybe there’s an uptick in your sparkling water sales in the summer months while a tea brand might see a spike in fall and winter. Ramping up for these seasonal demands can drain your resources if you’re managing fulfillment in-house. Outsourcing takes that burden off your team so you can continue to focus on sales and product innovation through the peaks and valleys.

Shifting to D2C
If your business model is primarily traditional supplier to retailer, you’re likely feeling the squeeze. You’re stuck between retailers expecting you to hold your price while your manufacturing and transportation costs continue to rise exponentially. Your D2C ecommerce strategy could be a golden ticket, but the major shift in your infrastructure to breaking down pallets to ship eaches or create variety pack bundles for D2C orders is a thorn in your operation; however, it doesn’t have to be. The right fulfillment partner can do this with ease. Pallets in and pallets out or pallets in and eaches out; they are experts at this and technology has opened the door to unlimited bundle opportunities and unique SKUs to differentiate your brand.


Fulfillment marketing
Our inboxes are jam packed with marketing emails, our social feeds are stuffed, so how do you break through the clutter? One idea is to make the most of the delivery touchpoint. Use current orders as the vehicle for delivering upsell and cross-sell messages, coupons, loyalty programs, new product promotions, ect. With the help of a fulfillment partner who can automate the in-box marketing process based on order criteria, you’ll have unlimited ways to tailor your messages and build your brand.

US Food and Beverage retail ecommerce sales are expected to reach $148.73 billion by 2026. Now is the time to get your ecommerce fulfillment affairs in order. For more information on Distribution Management’s solutions for your shelf-stable F&B brand, contact David Reinkemeyer at david.reinkemeyer@distributionmgmt.com.