Shoppers’ journeys are more complex than ever. Technology has changed the way we do almost everything, and it has impacted shoppers by empowering them with information and access essentially anywhere and anytime. Digital technology influences decision-making, inspires and motivates sales and speaks to consumers by connecting them to each other, to retailers and to near-infinite options of goods and services. The buying revolution is spilling over into the fresh food market too.
In fact, as Chinese consumers gain purchasing power, it turns out they have a pretty voracious appetite for American-made goods: cherries. Tmall.com, an e-commerce company owned by Chinese internet company Alibaba, formed a partnership with the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Agricultural Trade Office in Shanghai, and sold 110 tons of cherries in less than a month this summer — about the weight of a Boeing 757. A second sale, which sold out in three days, had a limit set to 60 tons. Chinese consumers were able to get the product “faster than the majority of U.S. customers,” a representative said. The cherries take 48 to 72 hours to arrive from the Western U.S. – they’re grown in Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Montana, and Utah — juicy and ripe, into Chinese kitchens.
Digital technology can also allow you to sell directly to consumers. This strategy has some advantages over a straightforward distribution process. Here are the top four, according to AZ Central:
The primary motive to eliminate your traditional buyer and sell further up the food chain is to save money. Manufacturers today sell directly to consumers thanks to Internet expansion. Rather than paying sales representatives to promote products to resellers, companies can promote products on their own websites, take orders and send goods directly to the final customer.
Eliminating the middleman usually creates a win-win for the seller and buyer from a monetary perspective. Each step in a traditional distribution process involves a trade buyer adding a markup to his costs. This ultimately makes the final customer’s price higher because he is paying for the original product costs, the costs of each buyer’s acquisition as well as the profit expected by the retailer. By getting rid of the middleman’s markups, you can offer the customer a lower price while getting higher gross profits for yourself.
Skipping steps in the distribution channel reduces the amount of logistics and transportation required in the movement of goods from manufacturer to consumer. This increases efficiency significantly. Manufacturers, for instance, can skip wholesalers and more quickly replenish retailers with stock. Additionally, companies can offer fresh produce, products and websites and quickly ship them to consumers following the purchase using software solutions. Response time on customized orders also has become more efficient over time as companies have eliminated steps in the distribution process. This increases customer satisfaction and revenue.
An indirect benefit of eliminating the middleman, which some companies promote actively, is better environmental preservation. By minimizing the number of trucks and travel time moving products from one step to the next, you reduce the pollutants in the air. Additionally, local farmers have taken opportunities to market fresh produce to local buyers to improve freshness and minimize waste from delays in moving perishable foods.
Taking Advantage of New Consumer Opportunities
If you’re considering switching to an Internet-based direct-to-consumer sales model, or selling your fresh produce abroad, you need a strong software technology platform to stay on top of inventory management, order fulfillment, and a streamlined sales process.
Velosio’s experienced industry team helps organizations transform their business solution environment delivering business optimization and transparency. From automating routine tasks such as invoicing, order processing, and inventory management to helping businesses streamline operations.
The end result? Employee’s time can be repurposed from manual business processes to business transactions with suppliers and customers.
Cloud-based Software for Fresh Produce Fast
Velosio delivers a robust business solutions platform, designed for agriculture-based businesses, powered by Microsoft Dynamics with LINKFRESH. With all the data employees need housed in one cloud-based system rather than on multiple hard drives and servers, no matter where users are, they have full access to everything they need. Users can create, edit, and file documents and orders from anywhere, all in the same system. With cloud-based software solutions, internet orders are processed efficiently, and your produce arrives on time and in its freshest condition.
Forecast to Plan for Long Term Success
With data and insights, organizations can plan for their future with the powerful Forecast to Plan process. This allows users to forecast demand, volume, price, cost, yields and more across spheres as varied as producers, customers, order processing, and supply planning. Companies can build long-term success while still tracking day-to-day operations.
Opportunities abound for fresh food growers and distributors. Take advantage of new business opportunities today and build on a strong technology foundation. Learn more about how Velosio can help your business. Download our feature sheet.
Industry Manager, Agribusiness, Velosio
Todd Waterman has spent over 17 years in IT for Agribusiness, including at his own consulting firm, and as Chief Administration Officer for EuroAmerican Propogators in California. From start-ups to enterprise-class organizations, his knowledge of the agribusiness ecosystem and products helps Velosio customers maximize ROI on technology investments.
Today, Todd serves Velosio customers in his role as Industry Manager for Agribusiness. Todd is based in sunny California, and received his BA from San Diego State University in San Diego, California.