This guide is aimed at Australian food wholesalers and distributors who either have been, or likely will be, impacted by the current Coronavirus epidemic.
It’s intended to arm you with an effective solution that will help address the very real problems of your business staying afloat, generating revenue, and securing the future of your staff – all while simultaneously helping everyday Australians who are struggling to get groceries delivered without running the risk of exposure to COVID-19 and delaying the “flattening of the curve” outcome that this country desperately needs.
We cover exactly what this solution entails and how you can get it implemented quickly and efficiently. Let’s get into it.
Table of Contents
The impact that the Coronavirus, or COVID-19, pandemic is having on individuals and businesses globally is unprecedented. In mere weeks, entire industries have been forced to close their doors, with millions of Australians losing their jobs overnight. This, in conjunction with increasingly strict policies forcing individuals to remain at home, has resulted in a massive change of consumer behaviour sweeping through society almost immediately.
In particular, nearly every Australian is struggling with obtaining food and essential groceries. While there is little else for many businesses to do but wait out the epidemic, for food and grocery wholesalers, this time of fear and uncertainty presents incredible opportunity, more so than any other time in history. But to capitalise on this opportunity, moving quickly to implement the right solution is critical.
The problems experienced by individuals and businesses alike are immense. Where access to groceries and household consumables was once taken for granted, people are now facing the following:
- Inability to buy their normal groceries and supplies due to a low stock of supplies in supermarkets.
- Inability to get groceries delivered to their homes (or businesses if they are still operating) as supermarkets place a hold on delivery services to counteract overwhelming demand.
- With increasing fear of contracting the virus, those highest at risk (the elderly and those with suppressed immune systems) are too scared to brave crowded supermarkets for their essentials; even normal healthy individuals are worried about leaving their home and heading into public buildings.
- If they are in government-decreed self-isolation (e.g. as a result of returning from overseas or interstate after the travel restrictions were put in place), they are legally unable to leave their house, meaning no way to obtain groceries without inconveniencing friends and family to go on their behalf.
- Due to family and work constraints, many are unable to visit stores without putting themselves or their family at risk.
And while people are still able to get takeaway food (pick-up and delivered) despite the high cost of doing this regularly, they are struggling to find a way to source supplies of food staples and basic household items.
As an individual, you are likely facing these issues, but as a food wholesaler and/or distributor, there are a host of other specific problems heavily impacting you:
- You’ve lost, or are losing, large volumes of income through loss of distribution to restaurants, hotels, cruise ships, airlines, event caterers, and other businesses.
- This loss of revenue is resulting in financial hardship for you, impacting your financial viability and ability to retain your staff.
- Those wholesalers and distributors who do have the ability to deliver to residential areas aren’t successfully getting in front of the people who would most likely benefit from their services
This matters because it directly impacts your staff – who rely on their wages to support themselves and their families, your company – which relies on business revenue to be able to continue functioning, and the wider community – who is suffering as they are unable to get essentials they need without risking their lives and increasing the chance of contracting Coronavirus, contributing to the rising number of COVID-19 cases and deaths in Australia.
There’s No Better time
A perfect storm is brewing for companies like yours to not only survive but also ethically profit during the Coronavirus pandemic:
- Existing food delivery services are already struggling to cope with the increased demand and are limited in restricting throughput in their delivery logistics supply chains.
- Meanwhile, takeaway food outlets are struggling under the weight of amplified demand, with Domino’s Australia announcing on March 25 that they would be hiring an additional 2,000 new delivery drivers to help keep up with the large number of orders.
- Other logistic supply companies are also buckling under the pressure; Amazon is unable to fulfill any orders that aren’t listed as “essential products” for at least a month and is looking to hire 100,000 new staff to try and satisfy logistic requirements.
- Pre-planned meal solution delivery companies like Hello Fresh, Dinner Twist and Marley Spoon are no different, experiencing delays in deliveries and focusing on recruitment, while companies like Lite n’ Easy are off the table for many, no longer able to accept new customers at all due to demand.
- Smaller, local food delivery companies are at capacity, and are limited in scalability.
- Federal and State Governments in Australia are creating entire task forces to address the issues of supply chain issues, including a major focus on food supply.
Opportunities exist for wholesale food distributors to set up direct-to-consumer food home delivery services.
Understanding the considerable issues Australians are facing getting basic food and essential items and the problems companies like yours are facing both immediately and over the coming months, Living Online has moved fast to develop a solution to this crisis.
Our solution will:
- Allow everyday Australians, including those deemed high-risk, to get the grocery and household staples they desperately need, without having to leave the safety of their own home;
- Allow wholesale food distributors to generate revenue, retain staff, and ensure business continuity through this crisis; and
- Allow hundreds, if not thousands, of individuals who have lost their jobs due to the Coronavirus closures gain employment and support their families by signing up as delivery drivers.
But, with the situation changing daily, it’s important to get moving FAST.
So what are we proposing? An ‘Ecommerce Direct To Consumer Website & Delivery Technology’ solution.
This encompasses the following three rapidly deployed components:
1. A personalised eCommerce website designed to acquire customers
While many food wholesalers and distributors have their own websites, after an analysis of these, they often do not meet the minimum requirements for successful and scalable sales and delivery:
- Many do not have a functional eCommerce component that allows residential customers to order direct.
- Nearly all existing websites do not have a clear user experience and conversion path.
- It is difficult to find the products, and then order the products, without having to sign up for an account first, hunt for the products, or understand exactly when and what will be delivered.
- Functionality around specified delivery times is often limited.
Having a highly functioning, efficient website with optimal user experience is very important at the best of times, but more so now. If even one of your competitors has a better, easier-to-use website than yours, then they’re in an advantageous position to make the sale, both now and in the form of ongoing orders.
Speed is also vital. You need to have this website up and functioning correctly in days, not weeks or months. Our experienced web development team will create and deliver a branded, secure, eCommerce website quickly and efficiently, integrated with your existing inventory management systems where possible, and preparing you for the next stage of the plan.
2. The setup and integration of delivery technology
With a correctly set up eCommerce website setting a solid foundation for your COVID-19 wholesale food distribution strategy, the next imperative step is integrating with a delivery dispatch program to enable cost-effective, crowd-sourced delivery fulfillment.
We’ve partnered with leading delivery dispatch software company VROMO who work with some of the largest food delivery companies across the globe. We will help to get you set up and integrated with the VROMO platform as part of the process. By doing this, we will enable:
- The smooth path from customers ordering online to successfully getting their delivery;
- The onboarding of dozens or even hundreds of delivery drivers;
- Complete transparency and control over your delivery process, from seeing real-time routes your drivers are taking, through to the timeliness of your order deliveries; and
- Intense scalability – the ease of managing new drivers allows you to grow your dispatch ability when you need it most, reducing any limitations in the amount of revenue your business can receive during this time.
It is imperative that you are able to meet online order commitments, which is why we’ve chosen our delivery technology provider VROMO carefully. If you don’t choose the right technology when it comes to managing the delivery of your orders, not only will the reputation of your business be at stake, but you will also severely impede your scalability.
3. Using digital marketing to spread the word, drive demand, and increase your revenue
Once you have the means to take online orders and successfully deliver them, the next step involves gaining new customers.
This is the third component of our Ecommerce Direct To Consumer Website & Delivery Technology solution, and will:
- Attract new customers for you through targeted and cost-effective digital marketing that is geared towards maximum return on investment (ROI) and return on ad spend (ROAS);
- Attract repeat customers, encouraging a loyal customer base that will continue to use your services as more competitors enter the marketplace.
Our team understands the urgency of this situation, and how critical speed is to business success and the improvement of individuals’ lives during this scary time. We will get your campaign up and running fast, adapting in an agile way to the economic developments as they unfold.
It’s the companies who think their ‘normal’ activities will see them through times of turmoil like this that will not survive. Those that will endure are the ones that adapt quickly to embrace each new challenge that arises.
Each day, existing companies are developing intelligent solutions to solve these monumental problems – so we recommend getting in first to secure your customer base and defend market share.
By implementing Living Online’s Ecommerce Direct To Consumer Website & Delivery Technology solution, you will be helping local Australians benefit greatly.
- With it becoming increasingly riskier for individuals to leave their homes and current food delivery solutions caving under the high demand, you’ll enable consumers to buy food and other necessities via otherwise unavailable home delivery services.
- By creating a flexible pool of delivery drivers, or adding to your existing driver-base, you’ll be giving much-needed income to many individuals who have lost employment due to the Coronavirus, allowing them to continue supporting themselves and their families during this uncertain time.
- The contact-less delivery solution reduces the need for individuals to enter public spaces to purchase their groceries, minimising the risk of COVID-19 transmission, helping to control the spread and reducing the death rate.
- By crowd-sourcing your delivery services, pressure will be reduced on the logistics fulfillment supply chains, meaning that customers will be able to purchase other goods from third-parties, improving their quarantine and new living and working conditions.
- Your wholesale food distribution business can generate revenue, retain staff, and ensure business continuity through this crisis.
This is a perfect example of how, by implementing this business strategy, not only can your staff and your company benefit, but so can your wider local community, and Australia as a whole.
The only question now is, will you act first or will you watch your competitors outdo you?
As the Coronavirus epidemic in Australia worsens, it is growing increasingly difficult for everyday Australians to obtain the essential groceries they need as supermarkets and current delivery solutions struggle to meet demand.
Companies like yours in the food wholesaler and distributor industry are losing business daily as restaurants, hotels, transport, and event catering companies close, resulting in millions in lost revenue.
Understanding consumer behaviour, the current economic market, and the strategies needed by companies like yours, this service offering has been designed to get you in a position where you can:
- Develop an efficient online marketplace to sell your products;
- Build integrations with a leading delivery technology provider to ensure successful management and delivery of your orders; and
- Implement an agile digital marketing campaign that directly targets your ideal customers.
To get started
Our solution has been created to successfully deliver you the resources and the customers you need in the minimum amount of time.
Our expert team is standing by ready to work with you on implementing your Ecommerce Direct To Consumer Website & Delivery Technology solution. Contact us here and we’ll be in touch to discuss you getting you up and running in quickly and easily.
Learn more about how to grow your business with Ecommerce by partnering with an experienced WooCommerce agency that understands what it takes to achieve success.