In an increasingly data-driven, trust-focused and visually-obsessed consumer world, Food and Beverage brands are leveraging these attributes to curate engaging digital customer experiences. Read on to find out more!
The global food and beverage market was $258.8B in 2020 and is projected to grow from $281.14B in 2021 to $529.66B in 2028 at a CAGR of 9.5%. This evergreen space is also a competitive one, with more brands and segments emerging every day due to the evolving needs and demands of consumers.
From organic and vegan products to food commerce and meal-kit platforms, this sector is continuously brewing with innovative food and beverages business Ideas.
An AI-enabled approach is enabling brands to create immersive and enhanced digital customer experiences, opening up a new world of possibilities for consumers and brands.
While consumers seek a personalized shopping experience, food and beverage companies have merely scratched the surface of this massive opportunity.
Shift to a Data-Centric Approach
According to DOMO, the human race generated 2.5 quintillion data bytes per day in 2020. Data is like waste. If not utilized resourcefully, it can end up in the landfills of the metaverse.
But like waste, when turned into wealth, it can act as a goldmine of actionable insights for businesses. Data needs to be captured at every customer touchpoint - from social media and messaging apps to online chatbots, customer services calls, and emails.
This raw data can then be turned into valuable data points that can help brands understand consumers, their motivations, aspirations, and needs better.
Brands that adopt a data-centric approach early on can incorporate valuable data into their marketing, sales, customer experience, and operational strategies.
Enhanced Customer Segmentation
A by-product of data-centricity is the ability to segment consumer data effectively.
Earlier, consumers would be segmented based on basic factors like location and age. But today, brands have access to so much more information on consumer behaviour, and this can be sliced and diced to segment consumers to a whole other level.
This can translate to superior targeting at the point of sale, relevant advertising campaigns, and hyper-personalized communication and marketing strategies.
While technology has put more valuable data and tools in the hands of brands, they still need to be extremely creative in leveraging these to build a heightened consumer experience. Our food and beverages brands guide tracks key shifts in this space.
1. Curating Visually Engaging Experiences
Food and beverage companies are rethinking their strategies for appealing to consumers. On the one hand, they are spoilt for choice with so many product and service options. But on the other hand, consumers are experiencing cognitive overload due to higher app and smartphone usage.
Earlier, companies could entice consumers with a few television ads, newsletters, social media updates, and visually appealing displays at offline locations like cafes, bars, and pubs.
But the digital world is constantly evolving, and consumers are looking for visually appealing experiences that delight multiple senses. A beautifully crafted, Instagrammable video or image is more likely to capture a user's attention than an informative email with product information.
Brands that invest in building visual experiences can instantly connect with consumers. These can include food and beverage creation videos, reviews, and aesthetically-clicked images of the product or service you're trying to sell.
2. Harnessing the Power of Influencers
While users might skip reading an email with product information, they are also becoming more interested in the details of what they consume.
Aspects like quality and source of ingredients, presentation, serving options, and entertainment ideas also find a space for conversations around food and beverages.
This is where influencers are playing a key role in evangelizing new concepts, trends, products, and services and doing it with flair through social channels and beyond. Besides the fact that influencers create engaging content, they are also the ambassadors of trust, and consumers are looking to buy products from brands they trust.
Influencers include a wide spectrum of personas - from amateurs like the self-proclaimed foodies, moms, and home chefs with a massive following, to the pros like mixologists, nutritionists, and Michelin chefs.
By partnering with the right influencers, brands can build an intimate connection with their consumers, tell stories, and plug their products and services in an appealing, engaging way.
Sales is definitely an outcome, but the route to it is by building meaningful engagement and trust.
3. Boosting Hyper-Relevance
Consumers are looking to find what they are seeking in the shortest amount of time.
For instance, if they want to order sushi on a food delivery app, they want to be able to do it in the minimum number of clicks. On the other hand, if they are unsure what to order, they expect the app to still highlight relevant options.
This is where hyper-personalization enables digital platforms to support consumers in finding what they need in the fastest, most relevant way. It is a key part of customer retention strategies.
Zomato is a great example of this shift. While search and discovery helped Zomato establish themselves as a key player in food delivery, they also worked at "listening" more to their consumers. This shift enabled them to make personalization a top priority for their product and engineering teams.
Zomato algorithms, today, enable the customization of a user's app experience based on attributes such as their search, browsing, and order history. For instance, it can predict a user's cuisine preferences and display their favourite restaurants as soon as they are logged in.
4. Tackling Cart Abandonment
Even though the fulfilment of F&B retail products is relatively higher than other categories, cart abandonment does happen. It may seem like a transactional problem, but consumers abandon carts for a host of emotional, psychological, and financial reasons. For instance, they might find that the shipping cost is too high or that they want to continue researching similar items from other bands that offer higher nutritional value. They may also have their payment mode declined or not wish to complete the user login.
All of these problems have practical solutions. But the key is to tackle cart abandonment as a separate issue and find solutions that serve the consumer's specific needs.
Cart recovery emails are a popular strategy leveraged by brands like Tacobell, as well as D2C brands, vying for a higher market share.
Using a mix of humour, empathy, and conversational emails, they are able to nudge consumers to buy that slightly more expensive bottle of wine or try vegan chocolate. If they are looking for alternative products, algorithms are programmed to display these.
An intuitive platform inspires trust in the consumer, especially when delivering value by solving their challenges. This is an effective way to increase sales revenue, and a good customer retention rate is usually a by-product.
5. Building a Loyalty Program
As more and more platforms and brands enter the food and beverages space, loyalty programs are emerging as a key differentiator. Consumers want to feel special by being part of an exclusive club. They also want to avail special discounts, offers, and opportunities from their favourite brands.
In fact, some of the best loyalty programs belong to the F&B sector. Starbucks Rewards, for instance, has a pyramid-style rewards program, offering everything from gift cards and baked goodies to a signature Starbucks cup.
Several D2C brands are also curating loyalty clubs with their own unique identity. The program reflects the brand's vibe end-to-end through the verbiage and style of communication, look and feel, and the offering itself.
Consumers, on the other hand, are getting more discerning with their choices, and loyalty programs give them exclusive access to new products, trends, and offers. These programs also entice customers to shop directly from the brand's website or app.
6. Celebrating Consumers
A loyal customer is sometimes the best brand ambassador, as their experience and content are authentic and highly credible. It reflects brand love and credibility, and brands are curating more opportunities to celebrate consumers.
For instance, food brands often host social media challenges on signature days like Mother's Day, which targets the brand's target audience in an engaging way. Consumers share their life experiences, and brands spotlight them in the run-up to the activity.
Delighted consumers also tend to instantly post their experiences with attractive images or videos across their social pages. But not all brands respond to this show of love because it is not a part of their consumer engagement strategy.
By doing so, they lose out on important earned media. On the other hand, brands that reshare consumer love posts, actively do shout-outs to consumers, and spotlight them in their communications are able to capitalize on this organic content and amplify brand trust and love.
Today, brands can personalize experiences for their consumers with ease due to the advances in technology and AI-enabled platforms.
By partnering with a savvy, robust, AI-driven partner platform, brands can turn their digital spaces into vibrant hubs where consumers will keep wanting to come back.
Start a conversation on how we can help your company transform digital experiences for consumers, increase customer retention, and boost conversions for your food and beverage brand.