Everybody's got to eat, right?
So you'd think food service companies would have an easy go of it. After all, someone has to provide the produce that fills supermarket aisles and the wine glasses, plates and cutlery that fill restaurant shelves.
But any B2B wholesalers will quickly tell you, it's never as simple as you might think.
When you're dealing with vast inventories, sometimes the greatest challenges seem the smallest, like ensuring easy search in catalogs or managing and optimizing different sales channels.
So today, we'll be going over how a few B2B Food Service businesses sell with eCommerce catalogs to organically grow their businesses (organic food pun intended).
#1 They Integrate Their Web Shop With Their Catalogs
Take a look at H.W. Larsen, a Danish B2B business that sells kitchen supplies to the restaurant industry.
This kind of friction-less shopping that doesn't require email or phone calls and lets shoppers buy directly from the marketing material means you can capitalize on their inspiration in the moment and remove unnecessary steps to purchase.
Of course, this kind of set up requires some work, but much less than marketers expect. Some online catalog makers (like us!) are used to doing this kind of web shop integration quickly which makes eCommerce catalogs an easy and straightforward reality for B2B businesses.
#2 They Optimize Search
One of the most common challenges for B2B businesses is the sheer number of products listed in every catalog. In the print version there's an index, but the upside to an online eCommerce catalog is that search is so easy.
Check out Dagsrofa En Gros's drinks catalog. When the catalog was converted from PDF, the document was scanned meaning the reader need only click the search field to track down the product most relevant to them.
Some B2B businesses take things a step further and automate their catalogs.
That's to say, when they upload their catalogs they include an excel file that matches specific product numbers with URL links. That way, while the PDF is converted into an online catalog, the software automatically overlays the correct web shop links over the matching product numbers.
This is mostly to save time and prevent the mistakes that are commonly a result of manually adding links to exhaustive product catalogs.
#3 They Tell A Compelling Story
B2B wholesalers have the undeserved reputation of being all business and no fun. While it's true that practical needs are of a higher priority when marketing B2B goods, the fact is B2B buyers are still people! What's to stop a B2B buyer from loving stories and jokes? Nothing I say!
Danish Food Service company, AB Catering is especially good at this kind of storytelling.
Their "Food Service Magazine" Blus, is not just beautiful to look at but does more for AB Catering's marketing than just highlight what's on offer.
They understand that their customers, restaurateurs and kitchen managers are interested in more than just the products they buy for their businesses. They want to create delicious food, so AB Catering's magazine provides recipes, interviews with leading chefs and information about understanding the difference between different breeds of cow and the qualities of their meat.
By doing this they appeal to their customer's core principles, their true passion, and by providing value and information, they give the readers a reason to come back and read the next magazine and catalog, and the next and the next.
Giving AB Catering time to move them along the buyer's journey and time to build an interest around what they sell.
#4 They Track Their Readers' Behavior
The most common challenge that B2B marketers tell us about isn't distribution costs related to print catalogs (though updated pricing and general printing costs can be a nuisance).
Rather the main issue is that there's no insight into the way readers interact with the catalogs themselves.
But online catalogs allow B2B marketers to see how many people read each page and which links they clicked on within the catalog.
This information allows for a deeper understanding of which products most interest the target audience and how the design or layout of the catalog influences the way readers interact with it.
For example, if you notice that many people purchase a particular product after you include a video of someone using it in your online catalog, you may want to consider investing more in product videos to drive future sales and lead generation.
For more information on B2B catalog marketing, check out some of our other blogs such as: