Fuelled by rapid digitization and growth in both online buyer base and spending patterns, India’s online food delivery market is estimated to touch $12.53 billion by 2023 according to a report by DataLabs by Inc42. If anything, the Covid-19 pandemic has increased the rate of organic adoption. If one was to look at the eGrocery market in particular, which saw a big surge during the pandemic, it is slated to become $18 billion industry in India by 2024, as per a report by RedSeer and BigBasket .
Leveraging artificial intelligence and machine learning is further revolutionizing the industry. If you run a food and beverage business that focuses on online delivery, you can tap into some highly effective digital trends and marketing strategies to attract more customers and increase revenues. Here is some food for thought:
1. Leverage the power of social media
Whether it is Facebook, Twitter or Instagram, users simply love food! All you need to do is to type #food or #foodie in one of the search bars and see millions of posts pop up. From crunchy avocado toasts to mouth-watering smoothies, food is clearly one of the most popular topics on social media as sharing meals with others comes naturally to people. Add to this the visual appeal of food and you know why so many post and stories center around it.
There is a lot you can do on social media to popularize your brand. From owned and paid media strategies to leveraging earned media, there are a wide range of possibilities:
- Create posts and campaigns around sustainable food trends
- Encourage user-generated content
- Use the power of targeted social media ads
- Partner with influencers
2. Tap into the power of Food Blogs
Food blogs are a rage, with food bloggers commanding a lot of trust online. With food bloggers having a large number of followers, it is worthwhile to partner with them to:
- Help your products reach out to large audiences
- Inspire trust in your product
- Educate them about the values that your brand upholds in terms of sustainable food trends.
3. The strength of YouTube marketing
With over 2 billion monthly users, YouTube’s following among food and beverage customers is sizeable. With interest in cooking videos skyrocketing, food channel subscriptions are on the rise. In such a milieu, there is a definite opportunity for your online food delivery business to use:
- Owned YouTube channels to serve culinary tips, reinforce your brand identity and more
- Use YouTube advertising for reaching out to a large targeted base
- Enter into YouTube partnerships
4. Focus on reviews and reputation management
Positive reviews and social proof plays a large role in the success of products. In fact, a research by Bright Local went on to show that as many as 82% of users feel that positive reviews make them more likely to use the business. The importance of reviews in the food business, particularly cannot be overstated. After all, who wouldn’t be tempted to try that Pindi Chana or those delicious Appams when someone is waxing eloquent about them.
Some of the areas to focus on, when it comes to setting up an online review system, include:
- Encouraging users to review the product as well as the experience.
- Engaging with reviewers by responding to them, validating their feelings, solving their issues, and more. Remember that data points out that as many as 20% of customers expect a response to their review within a day.
- Monitoring of platforms where consumers are leaving reviews, as a part of your reputation management strategy.
In fact, encouraging customer advocacy needs to be a robust aspect of your marketing plan. From identifying consumer advocates and rewarding their passion to building a structured advocacy marketing program using exciting content, contests and more, there is a lot that you can do.
5. Optimize Google My Business Profile
A GMB profile can go a long way in grabbing the attention of users who are looking for food delivery options, locally. Not only improve business visibility through local SEO, it also helps you engage with audiences. Some of the ways to make the most of your GMB profile, include:
- Having high-quality photographs. Especially in the food business, their importance cannot be overstated; what with a picture that gets your mouth to water leading you to that “order now” button.
- Using features such as review management, Q&A, creating offer posts and more
6. Personalization tools
As your business grows, personalization at scale becomes an important aspect. This involves behavioral targeting to be able to upsell your products as also make the right recommendations. Your food delivery business will also benefit from the use of promo codes to encourage people to make that purchase. Ensure, therefore, that you either include them in your social media pages or create email campaigns whereby you can share these codes with targeted audiences. It will be a good idea to track these carefully to check efficacy as also help in decision-making.
Going forward, some of the trends to watch out for, when it comes to online delivery of food, include:
1. Millennials are the most active users online
Time starved, convenience-seeking, tech-savvy and the ones with disposable income, this is clearly the segment to focus on. A report titled “Is the Kitchen Dead?” by investment bank UBS pointed out that “there could be a scenario where by 2030 most meals currently cooked at home are instead ordered online and delivered from either restaurants or central kitchens.” Whether or not this happens in entirety, millennials are going to be at the center of this movement.
2. Newer delivery channels will come up
Ease of ordering is likely to fuel the online food delivery ecosystem. Newer methods could include:
- Ordering by tweeting
- Use of virtual assistants
- Use of smart TVs
In terms of last-mile delivery also there are likely to be new delivery channels such as robots and drones.
3. New niches
There is also likely to be the rise of new niches such as pet food apps or apps for virtual kitchens. With food waste being a grim issue, there is also likely to be a rise in apps that pick up excess food and deliver it to the needy.
As a food delivery service or app, it will be helpful to stay at the top of these emerging trends to offer improved customer satisfaction as well as improve your bottom lines.