Online grocery sales are expected to grow by 40% in 2020. Recently, Google reported that the search query ‘food delivery’ spiked over 100%.
In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, consumers suddenly found themselves relying on ecommerce businesses to get food and drinks delivered. It’s not surprising that direct-to-consumer (DTC) brands that sell food and beverages are seeing a rapid increase in demand.
Since so many foods and beverages are perishable, it can be a challenge to fulfill and ship them safely. Fortunately, fulfillment solutions like ShipBob are here to help.
The rise of food and beverage fulfillment
It’s become increasingly common for food and beverage businesses to move online and supply their customers via deliveries and subscription box services instead of traditional brick-and-mortar stores.
It’s hard to say if these new trends in online food and beverage sales will continue after COVID-19, but as long as ecommerce brands find their niche and focus on building a strong fulfillment logistics strategy, there’s a lot of opportunity for food and beverage brands to be successful online.
Because of food and beverages are high-demand products in ecommerce, shipping food and beverages has become a more straightforward process for ecommerce companies, thanks to the technology, fulfillment infrastructure, and temp-controlled warehousing available for growing DTC brands. However, there are still challenges to account for when shipping food and beverages.
Non-alcoholic beverage fulfillment
Non-alcoholic beverage brands are making a splash in the ecommerce industry, from refreshing beverages like iced matcha to non-alcoholic spirits. ShipBob offers experience partnering with a variety of non-alcoholic beverage brands to pick and pack orders quickly and deliver them to your customers safely.
How food and beverage fulfillment can go wrong: 4 challenges
Food and beverage businesses have to account for a lot when fulfilling orders. Due to the expiration dates of these products, timely shipping is important. Additionally, FDA involvement means you have to follow regulations or risk heavy fines and recalls.
If you don’t have proper inventory management, your perishable products can go bad quickly. Unless you can offer same-day or 2-day shipping, you probably shouldn’t sell food products like bananas.
You have to account for expiration dates when shipping food. For example, if a customer orders a 30-day supply of meal replacement powder, but it’s delivered two weeks before the expiration date, they won’t be happy.
Online shoppers are always looking for the fastest speeds to the point that 2-day shipping is the new normal. Only a few customers are now willing to wait more than a few days for their food and beverages orders to be shipped. Customers expect for any type of product, so it’s 100% a necessity for food and beverage orders.
Food and beverage products are delicate. Food can be easily crushed, while fragile beverage items that come in cans or glass bottles can break easily. Whether you’re selling a bag of chips or canned drinks, they must be packed right with the right amount of dunnage, so they don’t break, dent, or explode in transit.
“Our old 3PL didn’t file claims for damaged shipments for us like ShipBob. When shipping glass bottles, especially in the winter, the longer the transit time, the more likely it is to break. With ShipBob, we see that our customers are getting their packages safer, with fewer frozen bottles exploding.”
Lindsay Louise, Fulfillment & Retail Manager at Synchro
When shipping food and beverage products, your fulfillment centers are subject to inspections by the FDA. If you fail an inspection, you’ll have to work with the FDA to let them know how you’re going to correct errors.
In extreme cases, the FDA can issue a recall on your products, which will cost you a hefty fine and harm your brand. Make sure to store your food and beverage inventory with an FDA-certified warehouse.
Upgrade your food and beverage fulfillment with ShipBob
Food and beverage fulfillment comes with an extra layer of complexity. That’s why so many ecommerce businesses turn to trustworthy tech-enabled 3PL like ShipBob to help with fulfillment and logistics.
Here’s how ShipBob improves order fulfillment for your food and beverage ecommerce businesses.
Top of the line inventory management
Stay on top of expirations dates with lot management and know precisely how much stock you have on hand at any location. You can manage all your inventory from one location and set automatic reorder points to avoid stockouts.
A benefit of outsourcing fulfillment is working with a third-party logistics (3PL) company that already holds a Certificate of FDA Registration. ShipBob has a network of FDA-certified warehouses, and you can utilize several of our FDA-registered fulfillment centers to reduce shipping costs and transit times.
Fulfillment closer to customers
If you’re only shipping from one location, you’re limiting your business’s reach in key markets where your customers reside — and probably paying too much for shipping. Working with a 3PL that has multiple fulfillment centers lets you split inventory across locations, meaning packages travel through less shipping zones and therefore cost less for you and your customers.
“We are focusing solely on the US market for now and are selling in all 50 states. We’re already in two of ShipBob’s fulfillment centers on both coasts to reduce zones and keep our products closer to our customers. Moving into more fulfillment centers over time will help us further optimize costs.”
Vincent Bradley, CEO & Co-Founder of Proper Wild energy shots
ShipBob helps grow food and beverage businesses
Ecommerce businesses don’t work with ShipBob just for fulfillment. Unlike most 3PLs, ShipBob is a growth partner. You get industry-leading fulfillment by working with ShipBob, but your business also gets access to fulfillment experts, fulfillment technology, a network of ecommerce solution partners, and advanced data and analytics.
Ample Foods: meal replacement brand
Ample Foods provides meal replacement and nutrition products. With ShipBob, they’ve been able to introduce and expand 2-day shipping to 100% of their customers to help better compete with Amazon. They also saved 13% in fulfillment costs from the switch to ShipBob from another 3PL.
“Some of the reports that ShipBob provides show their dedication to transparency — things like actual transit times and whether they’re hitting their service-level agreements. They are really committed to their customers and keeping themselves accountable.”
Pablo Gabatto, Business Operations Manager at Ample Foods
Prymal: sugar-free and dairy-free coffee creamer
Prymal founder Courtney Lee started with a fulfillment company close to home. She soon realized that not all 3PLs are created equals. So she switched to ShipBob and never looked back. Now, she’s able to save on fulfillment costs while growing her business.
“Last July, Prymal reached $40,000 in revenue. After switching to ShipBob just four months later in November, we are reaching $160,000 a month in revenue — that’s 300% growth. We’re also saving $8,000 per month in fulfillment costs.”
Courtney Lee, founder of Prymal
I Heart Keenwah: Organic quinoa-based snacks
As a small team of 3, the I Heart Keenwah team struggled to focus on other parts of their business because so much of their time was spent on fulfilling orders. By switching to ShipBob, they no longer have to worry about fulfillment because ShipBob handles everything. They can view all their data in one location, and a dedicated account manager is always there to support them.
“ShipBob can process things more quickly than we could in-house and at scale. These time savings translate into cost savings as well.”
Sarah Chalos, Co-Founder and President, I Heart Keenwah
Food and beverage ecommerce businesses continue to be on the rise. As more customers begin relying on ecommerce food and drink deliveries, the importance of optimizing your supply chain becomes more important than ever before.
To learn how ShipBob can help with food and beverage fulfillment while growing your business, click the button below to request a quote.
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