As we have already seen on our previous article, e-commerce is becoming one of the most used channels to buy and sell products and it has proved to be a valuable tool, if used paying attention to customers’ needs. A lot of product categories can now be found online and the food industry too had to adapt to this trend.
Even organic products are now sold online, with a home-delivery option, as a result of the increasing demand that this sector is facing. This is due to main cultural shifts that we are living, not least among them, the growing demand for fresh, safe and ethically-sourced food.
But why do consumers buy online? And why an e-commerce could be an important part of an organic firm strategy?
The first, determinant element in the choice is the price: consumers decide to buy online because often is cheaper. Selling their products directly to consumers, companies can avoid two things: the use of intermediaries, that applying their margins would increase the final price, but also the price-pressure created by big distribution companies, that push producers’ margins near to zero.
But consumers can save not only money, but also time! They can order different products from different companies without leaving their living-room. This becomes even more important when they want to buy something produced in a specific area. Therefor, for a company, having an e-commerce could be a good opportunity to reach a higher number of consumers, selling outside its territory, and why not, outside its country too!
Finally, consumers buy organic products for different reasons related to health, to the willingness to avoid chemical substances, or to ethical beliefs. In this situation trust and reliability become a fundamental element in the decision making process. Having not only an ecommerce, but also a website and different social pages, a company could transmit the philosophy and the values on which their brand is based, show how products are made, but also collect consumers’ reviews, to enhance their reputation.
So, if we consider the growing willingness to buy online and the increasing attention for organic food, it’s easy to foresee that the percentage of organic producers that will decide to invest in online selling will grow in the next years.
But is ecommerce suitable for every kind of company? The answer seems to be: no.
Let me explain why: it is true that they have a lot of advantages, as we have seen, but they are not easy to be created, managed and most of all, promoted. As we know, having a shop (both online or offline) is not enough to sell: you need to promote it, to let people know that it exists and that it could satisfy their needs.
The problem is that small companies still face problems related to communication.
Should they not consider the idea of selling their products online for this reason? the answer is again no.
To respond to all those producers that would like to be online, but don’t know how, a growing number of multi-brand online shops are offering their services. These complex ecommerce sell products from different companies, managing in an efficient way consumers’ orders and delivering products in a unique shipment.
If in the past their main goal was to provide a platform where even small farms could sell their own products, today they also promote these small companies to their audience.
How? Through their website and their social media pages!
Thanks to their knowledge and their ability on the web, they are able to reach a greater number of follower than the single company could do on its own, and to let them know the different companies behind the different products!
On the one hand, this behavior increases the brand awareness related to small and unknown brands, and on the other, enhances the credibility of the multi-brand platform, creating a virtuous circle that strengthens the image of both.
Basically, this kind of (platforms?services?) help producers to be known by their target, without asking them huge efforts or technical knowledge, for this reason they could be a good starting point to build an online presence!
Seems like the future of the organic food sector will offer the greatest savings of time and money, a better accessibility and products and information availability and a stronger warranty of quality.
Who will be able to present himself in a good and coherent way will receive the best consumers’ judgments.
Forewarned is forearmed!