E-Commerce Provides Growth Opportunities for the Frozen Food and Beverage Industry

The pandemic altered how consumers shop, resulting in significant increases in e-commerce. Moreover, data suggests that online shopping will continue to flourish. According to the US Census Bureau’s Annual Retail Trade Survey (ARTS), e-commerce sales increased by $244.2 billion, or 43%, in 2020, the first year of the pandemic, rising from $571.2 billion to $815.4 billion. 

AFFI’s 2022 Leadership Conference included a special look at e-commerce growth opportunities for the frozen food and beverage industry. At the conference, the experts discussed various insights for both retailers and manufacturers, including online shopper profits and trends, ways to optimize frozen foods online, and the path forward for frozen category success in e-commerce.

Presenters Mike Black, CMO of Profitero, and Anne-Marie Roerink, principal & founder of 210 Analytics shared valuable data and guidance into the flourishing digital shopping experience and ways for the frozen food industry to capitalize on the burgeoning online retail trends.

The presentation, Frozen Food E-Commerce: Optimizing Visibility, Conversion and Purchases Online, examined the online trends in the industry and best practices for profiting from the expanding digital shopping experience. Continue reading to see the key components of the presentation.

The e-Commerce Shopper Profile

To optimize e-commerce opportunities, it’s critical to understand the demographics of those who grocery shop online. More than half of frozen food shoppers have purchased groceries online. Research shows that several factors identify online grocery shoppers. Those most likely to buy frozen foods and beverages online include:

  • Households with children, particularly young children
  • Consumers with higher educational levels
  • Shoppers who emphasize health & well-being, convenience, and premiumization
  • Individuals with an above-average income who are less price-sensitive
  • Consumers 35-45, older Millennials, younger Gen X
  • Shoppers in urban areas and coasts
  • People who shop at specialty stores & supercenters

Studies show that there are hesitations surrounding ordering frozen food online, including:

  • Concerns about thawing procedures or proper handling
  • Price surcharges 
  • Bad experiences 
  • Trouble trusting others to keep food safe 
  • Preferring to pick cold/frozen items themselves 
  • Lack of impulse buying

The Online Shopping Experience

The Significance of Product Placement and Reviews

Having products at eye level on the frozen food shelves in-store can significantly increase the likelihood of consumers choosing your product. The same is true in the digital space. Product sales soar when products are found on page one of an online search. 

Accomplishing page-one placement requires an understanding of what drives retail algorithms. Search engine algorithms take several things into consideration that result in page one placement, including consumer reviews and ratings.

  • 90% of online grocery shoppers read ratings & reviews at least occasionally in 2022 (vs. 82% in 2021) 
  • 83% of online grocery purchasers are more likely to buy a product they’ve never tried before if there are reviews from other customers 
  • 58% of in-store shoppers are more likely to buy an unfamiliar grocery item if they can read reviews first.

Product Details Drive Engagement

While paid advertising can help online shoppers discover you faster, it’s expensive. Earned or organic mentions that depend on content, like product details, are the most powerful drivers that lead to purchasing.

Dramatize Claims with Images and Videos

Make product information about your brand prominent. For example, emphasize convenience and health in ways that draw attention by highlighting it or increasing the size of the image. Adding images and videos have a direct impact on sales, traffic, and conversions.

According to Profitero’s 2021 The ROI of Improving Product Content report, the addition of video increased sales by 58%, traffic by 34%, and conversions by 19%. Including images generated a 45% increase in sales, a 31% increase in traffic, and an 11% increase in conversions. 

Context Is Crucial

Robust copy that describes how your product enhances the consumer’s life is essential. For example, rather than simply listing the attributes of your product, incorporate lifestyle information that demonstrates how it improves life for the consumer.

Adding and Improving Content Is Vital

Success in online sales requires constant vigilance to ensure your content is complete and effective. In other words, it’s essential to review your content continuously and make revisions when necessary. 

Comparing the Old and New Shopping Journeys

The presentation also focused on the consumer shopping journey and how adding online shopping options includes many more variables. Although the shopping progression remains the same — awareness and discovery, consideration, purchase, service, and post-purchase loyalty — additions like social media, home delivery, and contactless pick-up make the journey more complex and fluid.

AFFI Is Committed to Helping the Frozen Food and Beverage Industry Grow

AFFI is committed to delivering resources that help the frozen food and beverage industry succeed. We do this by providing business intelligence, including data analytics, information about trends, industry innovations, forecasts, and opportunities, enabling data-driven decisions to help you plan for growth.

AFFI members have access to Retail Market Insight reports and the Power of Frozen series, providing them with business intelligence to help identify opportunities and risks using key performance metrics, such as sales trends. In addition, Business Insights opens the door to data that can help determine how to seize opportunities, mitigate risks, and gain a competitive edge in the frozen food category. AFFI will further support frozen growth in e-commerce with a special webinar series in the Spring of 2023, sponsored by Lineage Logistics.

Become a member today and enjoy AFFI’s vast member benefits.

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