In the past months, businesses are making salient efforts to go digital while those that are already digital are re-accessing their digital strategy. This would be a deciding factor whether businesses would make it through the tough times ahead.
The unprecedented, almost total disappearance of all channels related to face-to-face meetings or interactions, live events, and conferences, poses an enormous challenge.
Businesses in different sectors are taking drastic measures to keep their business afloat while providing excellent customer experience for their customer base.
Can this also be said for the food & beverage industry?
The food and beverage industry is a big industry and the industry segments served include;
- Alcoholic beverages
- Convenience stores
- Fast food & casual restaurants
- Food manufacturing
- Food packaging
- Food processing
- Grocery and specialty food retailers
- Nonalcoholic beverages
- Soft drink producers
For the purpose of this post, more attention would be paid to the fast-food & casual restaurant, grocery and specialty food retailers, convenience stores, and why they need to embrace online marketing as part of their operation process.
With the prevalence of the coronavirus pandemic and as stricter social distancing measures for public venues and social activities are introduced by governments around the world to reduce the risk of further local transmission of the coronavirus, restaurants are forced to reduce their in-dining areas or stop operations altogether. Long queues are seen in grocery and convenience stores. And what does it mean for businesses operating in this segment of the food industry?
They can employ online marketing/digitalization to streamline business processes. Turning to home and food delivery as a way to sustain the businesses and keep serving customers who have been advised to stay at home. This will lead to an increased demand for takeout and deliveries which will ultimately lead to businesses operating in this segment to either setting up delivery systems (e.g delivery app or a food booking website), building a website, becoming active on social media to answer customers questions and queries.
In as much there are individuals that enjoy the comfort of either having their meal at a restaurant, going out to a grocery store to make some purchase, there are other sets of individuals that would love their items delivered to their doorsteps, a business should be available to serve all of their customer base and this can only be possible with online marketing.
Possibility for growth.
Incorporating online marketing into the food industry opens the door for growth in the industry. With 80% of food consumed in Nigeria produced by smallholder farmers with some percentage of the farm produce lost to wastage before it gets to the final consumer. By incorporating online marketing, farmers can post their produce on various online media assets seeking for individuals to purchase the produce when the harvest is due thereby reducing wastage.
Opportunity to reach a wider market.
Employing online marketing, most especially social media marketing or PPC allows players operating in the food industry to reach a wider market which wouldn’t have been possible without online marketing.
Players in this industry could use user-generated content, Reviews and positive comments from people to build their brand perception.
Develop an identity for the food business.
People develop an affinity for a business that they can identify with. When players in the food industry post pictures, create content or engage in PR on activities with the industry using various online media assets, it gives existing and prospective customers an idea of what’s happening within the industry. Digital marketing is effective to maintain the identity and credibility of the business which will definitely attract customers
To sum it up, the majority of people are spending most of their time online more than ever. Key players in the food industry need to seize this opportunity and look for various ways to position their business in the eyes of their existing and prospective customers where they spend most of their time. And one cost-effective way to do that is by embracing online marketing. The benefits of embracing online far outweigh the demerits. And it would be unwise for any business at this point in time to continue going about their marketing the traditional way.