Disconnect between recognition of need and e-commerce action – report

A collaboration made up of FWD, Foodservice Online and Mirakl have published results from an industry-wide survey into the e-commerce presence of 34 of the UK’s leading foodservice wholesale businesses.

The survey, aimed at assessing these organisations’ appetite for digital transformation, shows an overwhelming recognition among foodservice wholesalers of the importance of developing a strong digital e-commerce presence, with 100% of respondents viewed e-commerce as important to the future of their business.

However, less than half of those surveyed had set aside a dedicated budget for e-commerce development. While foodservice wholesalers understand and recognise the strategic priority of e-commerce – and more particularly of operating their own marketplace – there still remains a very real disconnect between what these wholesalers recognise as necessary and the action they take or investment they make to implement e-commerce and their own marketplace.

Other key findings from the survey include, among others, that:

  • More than 82% of foodservice wholesalers felt that demand from foodservice buyers for online services is increasing.
  • More than 85% of foodservice wholesalers felt their business was disadvantaged if their competitors had a strong online presence.
  • More than 65% of those foodservice wholesalers surveyed wanted to operate their own marketplace.

Full survey results are published in the white paper called Mind The Gap: Why Digital is the Future for Foodservice Wholesale.

What the industry is saying

“Online marketplaces are by now essential for any organisation looking to meet its customers’ ever-evolving needs. Wholesalers must accept that launching an online marketplace is simply the beginning of a new way of doing business – an opportunity to transform their business so it can both survive and thrive in the new digital-first world of e-commerce.”

Marc Teulières, Executive Vice President, Customer Success B2B, Mirakl

“The marketplace model was a no-brainer in order for us to deliver the very best service to our customers. Like many sectors, catering experiences fast-moving trends and customers want to tap into these while also having a broader choice of products. By launching our marketplace, we are able to meet every new demand that comes along, quickly, cost efficiently and without risk. Our marketplace, powered by Mirakl’s leading technology and expertise, is unlocking greater revenue, better customer relationships and pushing our business ahead of the competition.

Julian Owen, Director of Sales Marketing, Turner Price

“During the pandemic, the foodservice wholesale sector had to evolve at a rapid pace and those wholesalers unable to deliver digitally faced the very real threat of being left behind when a limited supplier network led to frustrating demand and supply balance issues. Those online retailers who were already equipped with an online marketplace of their own at the height of the pandemic were able to leverage the scale and flexibility of their platform to bring together more sellers with more buyers, faster and easier than a traditional linear value chain model ever could.”

James Bielby, Chief Executive, FWD

e-commerce FWD James Bielby Julian Owen Marc Teulieres Mirakl Turner & Price