Food and beverage eCommerce trends in 2021

Gibson Toombs
October 20th, 2021

Grocery stores, delis, cafes, fast-food joints, caterers, breweries, and other types of food and beverage services are embracing eCommerce—discovering new ways to sell and market their products to customers via digital technologies. 

With websites like Amazon Fresh and Instacart, consumers can have groceries delivered right to their door. And as more and more people adopt this style of shopping, the idea of making a trip to the supermarket becomes less and less appealing. 

In other words, digital platforms and devices will continue to play an increasingly vital role in this space, with experts predicting that by the year 2025, the food and beverage eCommerce industry will have generated $25.7 billion in revenue. What’s more, in 2020, the food and beverage space experienced more online sales growth than any other industry—jumping from 32% to 75%.

For food and beverage companies that have not yet created an online shopping experience for their customers, the time is now. And for brands looking at ways to optimize their current website, web application, or mobile app, it’s important to recognize the various trends occurring in this rapidly changing space—both from a business and consumer perspective. 

If you’re interested in seeing real-life examples of successful online food and beverage brands, start by checking out these five websites:  

So what exactly makes these brands so successful? In addition to a smooth and engaging site design, a strong multi-channel presence, and excellent customer service, these companies use cutting-edge technologies to adapt to ever-evolving trends in the food and beverage market. 

As a food and beverage company aiming to gain a competitive advantage online, here are some important industry trends to keep in mind: 


Implementing personalization functionality gives your brand the ability to deliver unique online shopping experiences tailored to individual customers. This can come in many forms, from targeted marketing emails to pre-checkout product recommendations. By collecting basic information about your customers—such as their age, gender, and location—and tracking their browsing behavior—including what items they search for and which product pages they view—you can gain a clearer understanding of what your customers want. And with the right software tools, that customer data can be leveraged to keep users more engaged on your site. 

For example, let’s say a customer searches for ice cream on your online grocery store, but then stops engaging. You could set up an email marketing campaign where customers like this receive email notifications every time there is a sale on ice cream. Or, the next time the customer visits your site, they can be presented with recommendations for various ice cream products. 

Fast delivery times and curbside pickup

Today’s consumers expect increasingly fast delivery times for products purchased online, especially when it comes to food items. Companies like Amazon and Google have already started offering same-day delivery—putting pressure on food and beverage brands to optimize their order fulfillment and shipping processes. The trick is figuring out how to offer fast delivery, without sacrificing product quality, and without making the customer pay too much for shipping. 

In many cases, rather than paying for delivery, customers are happy to place curbside pickup orders—a trend that saw tremendous growth during the COVID-19 lockdowns. At this point, if your business has physical store locations, offering curbside pickup is a no-brainer. 

Subscription services

By getting customers to sign up for a subscription, you can establish a more predictable stream of revenue for your business. This trend has become popularized by brands like Blue Apron, Yumble, and Imperfect Foods—and it’s quickly being adopted by other brands in the space. 

The idea is to send boxes of edible goods—whether it be an assortment of wine, cheeses, fruits and vegetables, or complete recipes—to your members, who will pay a monthly or annual subscription fee. This is a great way to simplify the online grocery shopping experience, as well as establish more long-term relationships with your customers.

Advanced inventory management systems

Experts agree that when it comes to creating an effective pricing strategy for food and beverage products, inventory is the most important aspect to consider. After all, food items have an expiration date—so the goal is to get them on and off the shelves as quickly as possible, without them ever going out of stock. 

By integrating advanced, scalable inventory management software, you can manage your company’s inventory levels for multiple online storefronts—all from a centralized dashboard. This will help you reduce waste, keep inventory costs low, and increase productivity as your business adds more channels, sells more products, and expands its customer base.

Getting started with food and beverage eCommerce

The food and beverage eCommerce space is growing more competitive every day. To set your company up for long-term success, you need a partner that can plan and execute effective strategies for optimizing the customer journey, streamlining internal processes, and elevating your brand’s digital presence across multiple channels. 

Here at Codal, we’ve helped many food and beverage companies deliver powerful eCommerce experiences—resulting in stronger customer engagement, increased sales, and lower operational costs. Take our client, Garrett Popcorn—the world-famous popcorn retailer—for example. On this project, our team completely redesigned the brand’s website and added functionality that enables customers to make orders online for pickup or delivery. We also implemented a headless architecture, which provided more freedom and flexibility to their marketing and development teams, allowing the brand to extend its international eCommerce capabilities. 

Interested in learning about how Codal can help your food and beverage business dominate the eCommerce landscape? Get in touch with a member of our team today!

Gibson Toombs

Gibson Toombs

Gibson Toombs is a Technical Content Writer at Codal. His writing career began in 2015 after graduating from the University of Oregon School of Journalism and Communication. Since then, he has worked on many projects, covering a wide range of technical topics, from solar energy to cybersecurity. When he’s not taking complex ideas and turning them into easily-digestible pieces of content, Gibson can be found playing guitar and writing songs at his apartment in Chicago.



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