Business & Technology Review

An oasis of possibilities

Igor Nikolenko

Last updated on August 30, 2021 at 03.21 pm

One of the most sizeable influences of Covid-19 is the changing consumer behaviour. And as we are slowly pivoting from managing the crisis to recovery and the reopening of economies, it is clear that the changed behaviour patterns are here to stay. Additionally, many of the longer-term changes in consumer behaviour are still being formed, giving companies an opportunity to help shape the Next Normal.

One of the changes that is inevitable is the digitalisation of B2B e-commerce. In 2020, B2B has overtaken B2C sales through online transactions, with B2B reaching a worldwide market value of $7.7 trillion, as opposed to the $2.3 trillion of B2C. The World Economic Forum has estimated the UAE’s 2020 e-commerce market to be valued at $27.2 billion. The e-grocery market grew by 300 per cent during the third quarter of 2020 in the UAE, while Saudi Arabia’s market has grown by 500 per cent.

The new consumer behaviour spans all areas of life. The decision-making process on how we work, how we entertain ourselves to how we shop in our personal lives and even while procuring elements to run our business, is also evolving. Rapid delivery, greater product choice and transparency overpricing are elements we have come to expect in both personal and professional settings.

When it comes to the B2B F&B market, the industry has stayed traditional over the years and now has a lot of space for improvement when it comes to innovation, going paperless, and overall business optimisation.

Investing in an online B2B marketplace that connects local food suppliers with restaurants, hotels, cafes, supermarkets, and other foodservice businesses of all sizes will help a business move forward. It will improve the online B2B food market to simplify and speed up the process of buying without any phone calls, a bunch of documents, and bothersome paperwork. Here are the top benefits that F&B operators get when they start purchasing online with the suppliers listed on the platform.

Instant overview of the market propositions

Being smart in the F&B industry essentially means giving the customer what they want: choice, price and service. An online marketplace is a business model that has integrated these core principles to offer increased product choice, competitive pricing and a superior customer experience, without the restraints of inventory and logistics. It also grants customers a 360-degree view of every product — including pricing, origin and availability. Customer support is an added advantage, as it helps put customers at the core of the business.

Intuitive order process

Product selection is a complex process and quite time-consuming for buyers if purchases are made without efficient systems and formal purchasing agreements from various suppliers. With the use of technology such as big data and machine learning, online marketplaces can help businesses identify their purchasing pattern and ease the process of placing repeat orders. Vendor evaluation, spend analytics, and demand forecasting are some of the most popular benefits of data analytics in the F&B sector.

Complete transparency in the supply chain

The food industry and modern-day shoppers have changed beyond recognition. One of the biggest challenges faced by F&B operators is the reliability of the supplier with regard to the quality of the product delivered and the delivery timing.

Online marketplaces need to list suppliers that can provide the best of authentic products and also provide timely delivery to ensure the customers keep coming back. To gain a competitive edge over business rivals, meet customer expectations, and keep costs to a minimum, major supermarkets, and food companies large or small are now much more conscious of the need to map out and understand their supply chains. In this day and age of the experience economy, B2B online marketplaces can enhance the customer experience by making the journey easier and seamless and provide more than just functional and rational benefits

A B2B online marketplace for the F&B business can complement it and profoundly impact the myriad of other corporate priorities. The digital transformation in the F&B industry has turned processes that were disorganised, time-consuming, and burdensome into something simple and convenient helping organisations recover the lost revenue and to save more.

Igor Nikolenko is the Co-founder and CEO of SupplyMe.

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