B2B marketplace - food industry

The B2B e-commerce market is growing by leaps and bounds. Forrester predicts that, by 2023, it will hit $1.8 trillion and account for 17% of all B2B sales in the United States.

While e-commerce has started to catch on in several sectors of manufacturing, OEMs in the food industry have been slow to jump on the bandwagon. This is because much of the equipment used in the industry is customized for each application — and expensive. No one’s going to buy a $500,000 industrial oven online using a credit card (at least not right now — who knows what will happen when the digital natives of Gen Z start making up the majority of buyers!).

But not all equipment falls into this category. And even for equipment that does, an e-commerce approach can provide myriad benefits, like increased brand awareness and access to new markets.

That’s why we built the Food Industry Executive Supplier Catalog, a website where food industry suppliers can list their products and generate leads. Let’s look at seven advantages of this type of marketplace for the food industry.

1. Selling the way your customers want to buy

The people who are fueling the retail online shopping boom are the same people who make up your target B2B audience. 96% of Americans shop online, and they don’t become technophobes the moment they walk into work.

Amazon became a giant by providing a fast, easy shopping experience for everything from books and housewares to groceries and hot meals. An online marketplace allows you to provide that same type of convenience to your customers.

2. Providing multiple options for communication and purchasing

Some people prefer to correspond with companies via email. Others opt for text, chat, or social media. There are even a few out there who still like phone calls (but not Millennials — 81% of this generation feels anxious about talking on the phone).

The point is that in today’s multichannel world, everyone has a different way they want to interact with companies. An online marketplace can help you reach a wider audience by providing an additional way for customers to communicate with you.

3. Promoting brand awareness

Are you having trouble reaching new customers? Brand awareness is a perpetual struggle for many food industry suppliers, especially those who haven’t adopted modern digital marketing practices.

A marketplace provides your target audience with one more way to discover your brand online. Think of it like having a booth at a tradeshow that’s open all day, every day.

4. Accessing new markets

Does your bakery equipment have useful crossovers for pet food processing? Would any of your equipment be valuable in the budding cannabis industry? If your salespeople aren’t actively pursuing new markets, you might be missing out on some major opportunities.

An online storefront makes it easy for prospects in new markets to find you. You might even discover a product-market fit you would never have imagined.

5. Selling standard products and parts directly

A lot of food processing equipment is highly engineered and customized. But not all of it is. And even customized machines often use standard parts.

E-commerce is perfect for selling standard products and replacement parts that don’t necessarily require a salesperson. As an added advantage, offering these sales online will free up your sales force’s time for higher-value orders.

6. Facilitating re-orders

E-commerce also facilitates re-orders. For example, if a customer bought a hand wash sink for one facility and wants an identical sink for another facility, there’s no reason to make them jump through any hoops.

7. Staying ahead of the competition

Finally, while the progress may be slow, there’s no denying that B2B purchasing is steadily moving online. Food industry suppliers that take action now can get ahead of the competition and claim first-mover advantage. Those that wait might, in a few years’ time, find themselves irreparably behind.

Want to start realizing these benefits for your business? List your products on the Food Industry Executive Supplier Catalog.

Supplier Catalog - SafetyChain