The world of food eCommerce continues to flourish, revolutionising the way we shop for and experience food. The year 2023 has emerged as a pivotal period for the industry, witnessing a remarkable surge in innovative technologies, consumer preferences, and shifting market dynamics. As we navigate this exciting culinary realm, it becomes crucial for businesses and consumers alike to stay up-to-date with the latest trends that are shaping the future of food eCommerce.

So, grab a seat at the digital dining table as we embark on a journey through the top nine food eCommerce trends of 2023. From personalised recommendations to virtual grocery stores and everything in between, we will explore the innovations that are shaping the future of how we discover, purchase, and enjoy food online. Let’s dive in and discover the mouth-watering opportunities that lie ahead in the ever-evolving world of food eCommerce.

What is food eCommerce?

Food eCommerce is where food and beverage businesses sell products via an eCommerce platform or online store. This includes fresh and non-perishable items, as well as everyday or specialty goods.

Despite being one of the biggest sources of expenditure for consumers, food eCommerce has been relatively slow to take off compared to other product categories for consumers. This has been due to the difficulty of transporting perishable products to the end customer, promptly.

But with the rise of same-day delivery and delivery apps such as Deliveroo and UberEats as well as Amazon, it’s never been easier for brands to guarantee speedy delivery and near-instant gratification. Not only this, but packaging development has meant that companies are now able to send fresh or frozen goods for over 48 hours without worry of spoiling or defrosting.

Without further ado, let’s take a look at the biggest food eCommerce trends that are influencing how brands sell food online…

Top 9 food eCommerce trends

1. Consumers expect fast shipping & delivery

Having a super-fast delivery service is a must for any online business, especially when selling food & drink. Many food and beverage products are occasion-based, such as bottles of champagne or birthday cakes. This means that timely delivery is essential to ensure a positive customer experience.

Plus, when a customer gets a craving, they want their favourite snacks right then and there. The rise of same-day delivery methods such as UberEats and Deliveroo has upped customer expectations for seamless delivery.

Studies show that 88% of consumers are willing to pay for same-day delivery, so this trend is one that all food producers should be paying attention to.

2. Ethics and transparency

Consumers are more conscious of the impact of their purchasing habits than ever before. From the environmental degradation caused by palm oil plantations to slave labour in supply chains, shoppers increasingly want to see evidence that food brands are ethical in their operations.

Transparency and ethical selling can take many forms in this industry. It requires providing a full and detailed list of ingredients and information on where they are sourced from.

It also means allowing customer reviews to be placed on your product pages so that prospective shoppers can make an informed decision about whether to purchase. 93% of consumers say that online reviews influence their purchasing decisions!

3. Subscription Products

When we think of subscriptions, it’s usually fashion, beauty, or wellness offerings that come to mind. Yet curated or replenishment subscription business models are quickly becoming one of the biggest trends in the food and beverage space. Brands like Mindful Chef, HelloFresh and Wine52 are killing in the subscription space.

Enrollment in subscription programs surged by 48% in 2020 over the previous year, with a 25% increase in the food and beverage category alone. Meal kits, which saw a big increase in popularity during the COVID-19 pandemic, are behind much of this growth.

Food subscriptions mark a significant change in consumer behaviour as shoppers look for convenient, reliable, and most importantly safe solutions to restock their pantries and experiment with new brands and products.

4. Personalisation

Personalised shopping journeys are becoming really popular in this niche. 80% of consumers are more likely to make a purchase when a brand offers personalised experiences.

Food & drink eCommerce is no exception. Personalised product recommendations and even personalised product offerings should all be on the table (pun intended) if food brands want to deliver a memorable shopping experience.

Although shopping cart abandonment rates in the food industry are lower than in other categories, they still represent a lot of lost revenue. Personalised cart abandonment emails that offer prospective customers a discount code or free shipping are an excellent way to entice customers to purchase.

5. Cross-selling

Cross-selling is where brands suggest companion products related to items that a customer has selected. It’s a widespread eCommerce trend designed to boost the value of retail sales.

Prompts such as ‘people also frequently purchased’ and ‘shoppers are also interested in’ provide eCommerce businesses with ample opportunities to maximise each transaction.

Cross-sells can be particularly lucrative in the food and beverage industries, where products span a wide price range from high-end to affordable. For example, beverage companies often present mixers alongside expensive spirits to entice shoppers to add extra products to their cart.

6. Luxury and niche products

Luxury and niche products
As competition in the food and beverage space heats up, food production has gone artisan in a big way. Thanks to nostalgia, changing eating habits, and more consumers appreciating the finer things in life, the shift towards craft ingredients and small-scale production has become a major trend.

Naturally, small-batch production and high-end ingredients mean that artisan foods go hand-in-hand with the growth of the luxury food market. But to justify high price tags, brands need to offer both a superior shopping experience and product-centred marketing that explains why they are worth the extra cost.

7. Mobile Shopping

Mobile eCommerce (or “M-commerce”) has grown rapidly thanks to increasing smartphone penetration. According to Statista, 72.9% of all retail eCommerce sales were generated from mobile commerce – up from 58.9% in 2017.

Because it enables consumers to shop on the go, it’s opened up far more opportunities for food and beverage brands to get in front of customers at key times of day – like the much-anticipated lunch break or the 3 pm craving!

With apps like UberEats and Deliveroo just a tap away, this has made mobile commerce an important industry trend.

8. Influencer marketing

It’s no secret that social media and food eCommerce are a match made in heaven. All of those beautifully-lit images and videos of desserts, cocktails, and cakes have made platforms such as Instagram and TikTok magnets for foodies everywhere.

As a result, influencer marketing has rapidly become a popular tactic by food eCommerce brands to produce user-generated content, gain glowing endorsements from key figures, or produce viral influencer campaigns that boost brand engagement and drive traffic and sales.

8. Brand collaborations

There’s a common saying that two heads are better than one, and this certainly rings true in the world of co-marketing and brand collaboration.

By pairing up with another food or beverage brand for a social media campaign or content marketing initiative, food businesses can extend their reach and increase brand awareness amongst new audience segments. This is a particularly good strategy for up-and-coming brands, who can leverage the larger followings of better-known food producers or influencers to increase their profiles.

However, it’s important to make sure that any potential partnership is a good fit for your brand and reflects a series of shared values. Otherwise, you can end up diluting your brand identity and/or confusing loyal customers.

Our favourite food (and more) eCommerce websites in 2023

Throwback to earlier this year when we went through our top 10 favourite eCommerce websites in 2023. You can read it again here!

How to utilise food eCommerce trends with digital marketing

More and more, food eCommerce merchants are pursuing omnichannel digital marketing, as it provides them with ample opportunities to boost sales. But what is omnichannel digital marketing? In a nutshell, it’s marketing via interconnected, multiple channels, such as emails, SMS and push notifications.

For example, we know that food eCommerce websites make good use of omnichannel marketing by using a combination of cart abandonment emails and SMS reminders.

With omnichannel digital marketing, businesses can create the following customer experience.After the customer receives a delivery of food, they receive a push notification asking them to share fun photos of the product across social media.

If they engage with social media, tagging the business in their pictures or posting them on the business’s own social media, they’ll receive a discount on the platform, see a social media ad, or receive an email with the discount for their next purchase.

They receive an SMS notifying them of new flavours, new products and personalised offers along with discounts.

This integrated experience is the heart of omnichannel marketing, providing your customers with a more engaging experience that’s beneficial to them and your business. To understand how to use omnichannel marketing with food eCommerce,we’re the champions at omnichannel digital marketing for food eCommerce companies so drop us a line here!

What will the rest of 2023 bring us?

Food eCommerce is a dynamic and rapidly growing category of the eCommerce marketplace, and there are no signs of consumer interest slowing down in the near future.

As competition in the sector heats up thanks to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, as well as an increasingly unstable financial climate, food and beverage brands will need to pull out all the stops to impress customers and boost retail sales.

From super-fast delivery to personalised food production and curated subscriptions, the trends described above hold the key to boosting conversion rates and brand engagement in 2023 and beyond.

The food eCommerce industry is on the rise, with few signs of slowing down. Pair that with its unique challenges, such as selling perishable products, and food eCommerce needs to employ unique marketing opportunities to stand out..

The recipe to thrive? Well – you’ve just read about it. Food eCommerce trends combined with omnichannel marketing.

Ever eager to improve engagement, increase conversions, and boost sales, KW Marketing is the perfect digital marketing agency for food eCommerce. We know, because our clients have seen incredible results. Get in touch today to find out more about how we can help your food eCommerce website to thrive!