Tips and advice from Webselect on S******g online

The Top 4.5 Focus Areas for South West Food and Drink Businesses Selling Online

August 2023

As the online marketplace continues to flourish, food and drink businesses in the South West are presented with unparalleled opportunities to thrive in the digital realm on a local, national and potentially international platform. However, success in this landscape demands strategic focus and a strong foundation. You may well be fully occupied right now with food festivals, events, demand from retailers and hospitality but don't ignore planning for a prosperous 2024, here are the top 4.5 areas that demand your attention to stay ahead:

1. Quality Products and Engaging Content:
In the online world of food and drink sales, high-quality products and engaging content are the first and most vital steps toward success, obviously. But, consumers want more than just a product; they seek an experience. So, invest in presenting your products in the most appealing way possible with professional photography, detailed descriptions, and informative blog posts. Engaging content, such as recipes, cooking tips, and food pairing suggestions, not only adds value to your offerings but also fosters customer loyalty.

Heard all that before? - of course you have, none of that is new. So what really really really matters ? Great photography - not just good photography. If you can, invest in a professional to take product shots, depth of field can really make a difference and even if at all possible use a food artist/food economist. Pictures and videos sell, they can convey texture, taste but also the back story, the heritage, the lifestyle and the effort that goes into your products and the people who make the product with passion and love. Customers put value to these emotions and can be critical to help conversion online - use it.

2. Seamless Customer Experience:
A seamless customer experience has the potential to make or break a business. Ensure your website is user-friendly, intuitive, and mobile-responsive. Easy navigation, a quick checkout process and responding to queries and concerns to build trust and credibility.

But stop - This is also something that you have heard before, so nothing new BUT, are you an online customer experience expert? Maybe, but probably not, you make food and drink. There are lots of services and technology available to help with ‘customer engagement’ but you can get this wrong, really wrong and then get frustrated that all your time and work isn't converting to sales. Invest in professionals to build you an e-commerce website that works for you and your brand. Would you plumb your own bathroom?

3. Strategic Social Media Marketing:
Harness the power of social media platforms to elevate your online food and drink business to new heights. Create a considered social media presence by identifying the platforms most relevant to your target audience. Share visually appealing content, run engaging campaigns, and collaborate with other local producers to widen your reach. Social media can not only boost brand awareness but also drive traffic to your website, ultimately converting visitors into loyal customers.

All good advice and nice and generic - But what's the key point here? - It's about having a conversation with your audience and customers. It's called social media so be social, have conversations and be real, take feedback (good and bad) as a gift, reflect and learn, apologise if you need to and thank others along the way.

4. Invest in a High-Performing E-commerce Platform:
While all the above elements are crucial, none can function optimally without a high-performing, well-supported e-commerce platform. Choosing the right platform can be a game-changer, streamlining your online business operations. A top-tier e-commerce platform offers features like secure payment gateways, inventory management, order tracking, and seamless integration with various marketing tools. Planning an investment in a reliable e-commerce platform now will set you up for substantial sales during the upcoming Christmas season and beyond into 2024.

Think of your online e-commerce site, platform, photography, technology and the support that can be provided around it as an investment. You invest in premises, machines, ovens, vans etc. Your online site is a tool and should be invested in with the same mindset with a view to a return on that investment over a period of years

It's still summer 2023 (in theory considering all the rain) but as food and drink businesses across the UK gear up for a successful 2024 with a strong focus on online sales, choosing the right support and advice becomes paramount to be confident next year.

We get what you do, it's a challenging time and competition is high. Being able to trust an agency to deliver what you need for your business is a difficult decision to make, there is jargon, there are fees, there is complexity - but talking to the right people can help navigate the journey and advise you.

Webselect Ltd. is the perfect partner for South West based food and drink businesses seeking to thrive in the competitive world of online sales. With their expertise in e-commerce platform development, user experience optimisation, and digital marketing strategies, they can help businesses navigate the digital landscape with confidence. 

Feel free to drop us a mail on [email protected] or call 0208 066 1000 to talk more about how we can help you.