The eCommerce specialty food and beverage market is exploding, with online shoppers from all over the world adopting new, healthier diets and lifestyles. From vegan hamburgers, to artisanal chocolate, to organic fruits and vegetables, a rapidly growing number of consumers are going online to purchase specialty food products, rather than driving to their nearest grocery store.
In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, many food and beverage companies digitally transformed their customer experience via eCommerce websites, digital marketplaces, and social media to continue selling products and maintain a competitive edge. And every day, new companies emerge in the space offering unique products, slick online storefronts, and low prices.
The point is this: The specialty food and beverage market has become incredibly competitive, and it can be difficult to convert browsing online shoppers into loyal customers. Luckily, there are tools and strategies you can use to promote user engagement, improve conversion rates, and generate more revenue for your business. In this article, we discuss key conversion rate optimization (CRO) tips and tricks for specialty food brands in 2022.
Build a responsive, user-friendly website
Today’s consumers expect a fast and easy online shopping experience, accessible via their desktop, laptop, or mobile device. If your site has slow loading times, complex navigation, cluttered pages, and other usability issues, customers won’t think twice before migrating to another specialty foods site—and, as we’ve established, there are many to choose from.
To ensure a user-friendly customer experience across all devices, take a good look at the tools and strategies powering your website. Are you using a templated design with limited UX and UI capabilities? Can your eCommerce platform integrate with advanced content management systems (CMS), product information management solutions (PIM), and other critical software? Are you collecting data and running usability tests to refine the customer journey?
With a modern eCommerce infrastructure, you can leverage user data and innovative third-party applications that enable your front-end development team to create the best shopping experience possible for new and existing customers.
Develop advanced product search and filtering functionality
For brands that sell a wide range of food and beverage items, product search and filtering functionality plays a key role in CRO. Simply put, if a customer can’t easily find what they’re looking for, they’ll leave your site and continue shopping elsewhere.
Your brand’s products should be categorized and displayed in a convenient way, so that the customer doesn’t have to do too much searching on their end. Successful eCommerce stores establish filters with simple keywords like “organic,” “fat free,” and “vegan” to help users zero in on what they’re looking for. They also provide high-quality product images and descriptions so that customers always know exactly what to expect.
Start a membership or subscription program
Like specialty food and beverage brands, subscription services are blowing up in the eCommerce space. For customers, they offer reliability and convenience—and for businesses, they offer predictable weekly, monthly, or yearly revenue. Some of today’s most successful specialty food subscription boxes include Butcher Box, Cocoa Runners, and Moustache Coffee Club.
If your business isn’t the right fit for a subscription service, at least consider setting up a membership program where customers can receive exclusive offers and discounts. Providing convenient and cost-saving perks via your eCommerce website will not only improve CRO, but also help promote customer loyalty in the long run.
Add a product finder quiz
To help new customers find what they’re looking for faster, many specialty food brands are now putting product finder quizzes on their website’s homepage. The purpose of these quizzes is to understand the user’s food preferences, dietary restrictions, and so on, then automatically direct them toward the best food plans and options.
Your quiz may include questions—with multiple choice answers—like “What kind of food products are you looking for?” “What are your current dietary goals?“ and “How much do you spend on groceries per week?” Then, using AI-technology, your site will direct the user to specific products based on their answers. This level of personalization makes for a better customer experience, leading to higher conversions and sales.
Provide social proof
By posting customer reviews on your website, you can improve brand credibility and convert more customers. In today’s eCommerce environment, consumers trust other consumers more than they do brands—so it’s important to always promote positive reviews, as well as respond to the negative ones.
Due to the influence of Amazon, Walmart, Target, and other eCommerce giants, users expect the ability to read customer reviews by simply scrolling down the product page. And if there are no reviews to be found, then customers are more likely to bounce.
In addition to positive reviews, don’t be shy when it comes to sharing how long you’ve been around, how many products you’ve sold, the size of your membership base, charitable work you’re involved in, and any other accomplishments that will increase brand credibility.
While they may be annoying sometimes, popups can be extremely helpful in optimizing conversion rates—particularly for brands in competitive niches like specialty foods. There are many different types of popups that marketers use, but one of the most popular right now is the exit-intent popup.
This popup appears when a user brings their mouse toward the upper boundary of the page, suggesting to the site that they’re about to bounce. The exit-intent popup will say something like, “Before you go… Here’s a 50% off coupon!” These types of promotions have proven to be very effective, and are also relatively easy to set up.
Offer free delivery
Offering free delivery may be easier said than done, but the statistics don’t lie: 66% of online shoppers expect free shipping, regardless of the product being sold. With a solid, highly-automated order fulfillment strategy, you can streamline internal workflows and ultimately bring down the cost of shipping.
Shoppers often bounce when an online store presents unexpected delivery fees on the last page of the checkout process. So if you can’t provide free shipping on every order, make sure to at least prioritize pricing transparency for your customers.
Get started with eCommerce conversion rate optimization for your speciality foods brand
Here at Codal, we help businesses across all industries increase their eCommerce conversion rate, and that includes specialty food and beverage brands. For example, our team launched a new online store for a historic popcorn retailer in Chicago, resulting in increased customer engagement, conversions, and sales for the business.
Codal uses cutting-edge technology and data-driven design strategies to build fast, user-friendly, and meaningful eCommerce experiences. Whether your brand is looking to redesign its website, launch a mobile app, start a subscription program, improve product search functionality, add a product finder quiz, or revamp its entire eCommerce presence, Codal will provide the technical insight and experience your team needs to succeed.
Interested in learning more about CRO and how to succeed in the highly competitive eCommerce speciality foods market? Get in touch with a member of our team today!