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How To Sell Food & Beverages Online

Estimated reading time: 6 minutes

More and more consumers want to be able to purchase all of their groceries online and in one place. Convenience is king and Amazon is his loyal servant, offering everything shoppers need under one roof. Lockdowns and isolation have only made this more apparent and Amazon has seen a massive opportunity in the market. That’s why, over the next five years, Amazon is planning on doubling its grocery sector with sales projected to climb to $26.7 billion worldwide.

Amazon isn’t the only e-commerce marketplace pushing its grocery sector this year, with Ocado planning to build nine new warehouses. As well as £30 million to be invested in its International Solutions technology business.

Supermarkets around the UK have also seen growth in their delivery and click-and-collect services. A survey run by Econsultancy in August found that 63% of consumers have bought products online before collecting them in-store at least once in the past 12 months, while 16% use reserve-and-collect at least once a month.

The question is, what can you do to make sure your brand stands out on the digital shelf? 

1. Choose your marketplace

Competition is fierce everywhere online but there are certain things you can do to boost your visibility, no matter the size of your brand! The first thing you need to do is choose which marketplaces you want to sell your FMCG products. If you only have a small budget, choose just one or two marketplaces to focus your attention (and ad spend), instead of an omni-channel experience. 

Amazon has the biggest customer base but can be the most expensive for brands. Ocado is an excellent option for food products, especially frozen or chilled products. eBay is a cheap option but find out if shoppers are looking for your products there before signing up. The list goes on!

It’s important to do your research before signing up to make sure you’re not wasting your time. Creating a robust marketplace strategy can stop you from experiencing problems later on down the line. 

2. Set up your listing

Amazon calls this getting “retail-ready” but no matter the marketplace, you need to ensure your listings are set up correctly. If the information isn’t filled out correctly or attributes are missing, your listings won’t appear in the search results. 

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Amazon has a lot of attributes that are mandatory with even more that are recommended. All of these can help Amazon categorise your products and for the algorithm to rank them. eBay’s attributes help shoppers to narrow down their search results manually, by selecting their wants and needs in the filtered search. Make sure to include important information first, such as ingredients, nutritional information, pack size and dimensions, allergen information etc.

Once this is complete, fill in all the recommended attributes too, not just the mandatory fields, such as bullet points and product descriptions. This means that it may take a while to get your listings live but this will save you time in the long run.

3. Gather reviews

Social proof is one of the best ways to sell your products, especially if your brand isn’t as well known. In fact, 91% of people read reviews and 84% trust them as much as they would a personal recommendation. This means a fresh, new listing with no reviews isn’t going to convert as well as one with lots! Amazon understands this, which is why they have made gathering reviews easy with Amazon Vine

Amazon Vine is a review programme that sends products out to trusted shoppers for free. They will then try your food or drink product and leave an honest review on your listing. This is a great way to get reviews fast.

Collecting reviews for eBay and Ocado, unfortunately, isn’t quite as easy. The best way to get good reviews is to ensure you have a great product, that arrives on time, without any damage and has a use-by date that is as long as possible! You can encourage more reviews by including a note with your delivery or by emailing the buyer shortly after it has arrived.

4. Advertise, advertise, advertise

It’s so important, it’s worth mentioning three times! Advertisements are designed to improve visibility and drive demand. It’s the most effective method of getting your products noticed and is especially important for new listings that may not reach the algorithm requirements to rank high organically. Once your advertisements start to create a buzz, you’ll increase impressions and conversions which will help create more reviews. All of this will then help you to improve your organic ranking.

It’s important to have a strong keyword strategy in place ready for your advertising campaigns. Make sure to include negative keywords and to continue to check how they are performing to add or remove relevant keywords as you go.

Advertising on different marketplaces can differ, for example, it’s cheaper to advertise on eBay than on Amazon but Amazon offers its demand-side platform to retarget shoppers off of the marketplace. We’ve created the Ultimate Guide to Amazon Advertising to help you understand the different options available.

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5. Continue to optimise

Once your FMCG listings are live and starting to gain some traction, it’s important to continue to edit and optimise. Keep an eye on your analytics to see what’s working and what’s not. If you’re not getting any impressions, work on your ads and SEO. If you’ve got good impressions but no conversions, try updating your images and product descriptions. You get the idea.

And don’t forget to update your listings for different times of the year. Change your content to meet the seasons and events such as Veganuary, Christmas, Easter etc. Check out our seasonal calendars to keep up with your industry events.

E-commerce marketing isn’t just about uploading it and letting it do its job. It takes constant monitoring and strategising. If you need help selling your food or drink products online, contact us today to find out more about our services. We have a team of performance marketing experts and designers ready to help you boost your marketplace sales today!

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