Southampton: Design Haus UK Limited, suppliers of creative web solutions, recently undertook a market research survey into the adoption of the internet with exhibitors at the BBC Food & Drink Show at the N.E.C 30 November 2001.

Steve Bieniek, Sales Manager, Design Haus UK Limited, said: “We conducted this survey to better our understanding of this market and also for the benefit of some of our clients in the Food & Drink industry. It has become clear that this is a big growth area, as e-shoppers already regularly buy food and drink online via the supermarket chains like Tesco, Asda etc.”

83% of businesses surveyed had sites currently, with the other 17% having one currently in development. Out of the companies with an online presence, an amazing 73% had an e-commerce facility, where goods can be ordered online.
When questioned if the site was working for the businesses in regards to placing orders or strong business leads, the amounts were surprisingly low – only 10% on businesses with sites said that 25%+ of their business revenues were through the site.

Steve Bieniek said: “The signs that the Food & Drink market is embracing e-commerce are very good, but the sites do not seem to be effective in bringing business. The sites are mostly aimed at the consumer market, pushing the brand and selling goods direct to the end user. More success would be achieved concentrating on business-to-business relationships with wholesalers, importers, exporters and retailers.” 

When it came to marketing, brochures were the favorite medium with 86%, followed by web sites coming a close second with 83%. Nearly a quarter of companies surveyed used e-mail shots as a marketing medium. This has advantages in being very cost effective to implement and manage, and tends to get much better responses than traditional postal mail shots.

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Thomas Frame, Managing Director, Design Haus UK Limited said:” Email campaigns are an excellent way to communicate with your customers. E-marketing is definitely proving to be the way forward. Companies are commissioning more creative use of email by embedding movement, colour and graphical content to enhance their brands.”
Design Haus UK Limited has had good successes with corporate e-mail campaigns and continues to provide creative marketing strategies using e-marketing as a primary avenue.

So it seems that the Food & Drink industry is rapidly embracing the new economy, but manufacturers need to improve their online relationships with traders and distributors by focusing more on business to business as well as business to consumers.