18 Essential Features Every Food and Beverage eCommerce Site Needs

September 11, 2023
16-minute read
ERP-integrated eCommerce, Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central, Sage
Taylor Medina
18 Essential Features Every Food and Beverage eCommerce Site Needs

In today’s fast-paced digital landscape, online shopping has become an integral part of our lives, and the food and beverage industry is no exception. The rise of eCommerce has revolutionized the way we buy groceries, order meals, and the ease with which culinary businesses operate. As consumers increasingly turn to online platforms to fulfill their food and beverage needs, businesses in this sector must adapt and embrace the ever-evolving digital marketplace.

Creating a successful food and beverage eCommerce site requires more than just a stunning design and an extensive product catalog. To thrive in this competitive domain, website owners must carefully craft a seamless and user-friendly experience that caters to the unique demands of food enthusiasts and culinary businesses. Whether you are a seasoned eCommerce veteran or a newcomer to the digital food world, this article aims to guide you through the essential features that every food and beverage eCommerce site must have.

From intuitive navigation and robust search capabilities to secure payment options and personalized recommendations, each aspect of your website plays a pivotal role in attracting, engaging, and retaining customers. We will delve into the critical elements that promote customer loyalty, encourage repeat purchases, and foster an unforgettable shopping journey.

Must-Have Food and Beverage eCommerce Solutions

commercebuild is an eCommerce platform that integrates with Sage X3, Sage 300, and Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central ERP systems to create food and beverage e-commerce sites that run seamlessly. If you want your food and beverage eCommerce site to be a success, these are essential features to improve customer experience and website success.

  1. Pantry Lists 

A set pantry list allows chefs, cooks, and bakers to create a personalized list of regularly purchased or favorite items. This feature saves them time during subsequent visits as they don’t have to search for individual products each time they want to reorder. 

commerceBuild allows customers browsing your food and beverage eCommerce website to easily create pantry lists so they can return to them again and again. With just a few clicks, they can quickly access their preferred items, making the shopping process more efficient.

  1. Quick Order Screen 

A quick order screen is crucial for food and beverage eCommerce stores, especially for busy chefs and culinary professionals who prioritize efficiency and speed in their ordering process. commercebuild’s quick order screen allows them to swiftly access their favorite or frequently purchased items without the need to browse through the entire product catalog. By minimizing the time spent on ordering, chefs can focus more on their culinary creations and other essential tasks.

  1. Advanced Categorization and Product Filtering 

In the food and beverage eCommerce industry, where product catalogs can be extensive and diverse, advanced categorization and product filtering are paramount to delivering a seamless shopping experience. Large catalogs necessitate efficient organization to help customers navigate through a wide range of offerings effortlessly. 

Fortunately, category sync and user-friendly interfaces have emerged as game-changers, making advanced categorization a breeze. Using commercebuild eCommerce platform can ensure products are intelligently grouped based on various criteria such as cuisine type, dietary preferences, ingredient attributes, and more. This strategic categorization enables customers to quickly find what they are looking for and discover new items relevant to their preferences

Additionally, intuitive product filtering options empower users to refine their searches and explore specific subsets of products, leading to increased customer satisfaction, reduced bounce rates, and ultimately, higher conversion rates. By harnessing the power of advanced categorization and product filtering, food and beverage eCommerce platforms can ensure a delightful and efficient shopping journey, fostering brand loyalty and continued growth in this competitive market.

Integrating search features such as ElasticSearch can satisfy customer wants and needs even further, winning over lifetime buyers. 

  1. Edit Orders with Customizable Cut Off Times 

In the dynamic world of food and beverage eCommerce, accommodating last-minute changes and ensuring customer satisfaction are critical elements. Offering the flexibility to edit orders before the order is posted is a powerful feature that empowers both customers and businesses alike. 

By allowing customers to modify their orders before the order is posted, food and beverage eCommerce sites can cater to shifting preferences, unforeseen circumstances, and changes in inventory availability. Whether it’s adding an extra ingredient, adjusting quantities, or even swapping items, this capability provides peace of mind and fosters a positive shopping experience. 

On the business side, customizable cut-off times allow efficient order fulfillment while ensuring sufficient time for the picking team to process any edits seamlessly. The result is increased customer loyalty, reduced order errors, and enhanced operational efficiency, making this feature a valuable asset in the ever-evolving landscape of online food and beverage retailing. *Available for Microsoft Business Central and Sage X3 only.

  1. Standing / Recurring Orders 

By offering users the option to create standing orders for daily or weekly deliveries of their favorite products, eCommerce platforms cater to the convenience and time-saving needs of busy customers. This will also set you up as a strong competitor in the B2B marketplace, with restaurants and other food and beverage outlets often preferring to set up recurring orders with their suppliers. 

Whether it’s daily supplies of fresh produce, weekly restocking of pantry essentials, or monthly deliveries of specialty items, this feature simplifies the ordering process, reduces the need for repetitive manual tasks, and ensures customers never run out of their preferred products

Moreover, standing orders foster customer loyalty, as users can rely on the seamless and reliable delivery service provided by the eCommerce platform. For businesses, this feature enhances predictability in demand, streamlines inventory management, and optimizes fulfillment operations, resulting in improved efficiency and customer satisfaction. By incorporating the standing or recurring orders feature, food and beverage eCommerce sites elevate the shopping experience, fortify customer relationships, and solidify their position in the competitive digital marketplace. The standing / recurring orders feature is available to certain commercebuild customers based on certain criteria.

  1. Fractional Quantities

Catering to diverse customer needs and preferences is essential for food and beverage eCommerce success. Allowing customers to order fractional quantities of fruits and vegetables is a forward-thinking feature that resonates with health-conscious consumers and business owners alike. commercebuild allows you to easily and seamlessly set up this functionality to add another dimension of convenience to your store.

By providing the option to purchase specific weights or portions, eCommerce sites enable customers to buy just what they need, reducing food waste and promoting sustainable consumption. This innovative approach not only aligns with the evolving dietary habits of consumers but also showcases the eCommerce site’s commitment to customer-centricity and environmental responsibility. 

  1. Variable Unit of Measures

Accommodating diverse selling requirements and catering to varying customer needs is crucial for success. By offering products with variable units of measure, eCommerce sites empower both businesses and customers to engage in seamless transactions. Whether it’s selling in cartons, boxes, or even down to a single unit, this flexibility ensures that pricing and inventory management align perfectly with market demands. 

By using commercebuild’s intuitive selling units screen, businesses can effortlessly configure and manage their product offerings, providing an exceptional level of customization. This feature not only streamlines the purchasing process for customers but also showcases the eCommerce site’s adaptability and commitment to meeting individual preferences. 

Embracing various units of measure on food and beverage eCommerce sites fosters customer satisfaction, operational efficiency, and overall growth in the competitive digital market.

  1. Product Image Support

In the visually driven world of food and beverage eCommerce, captivating product images play a pivotal role in enticing customers and driving sales. commercebuild provides the ability to easily manage product images either directly from a content management system or the dedicated eCommerce platform. So businesses in this industry can create a visually appealing and immersive shopping experience

High-quality and enticing images of food and beverage products evoke a sensory connection, stimulating customers’ appetites and enticing them to make a purchase. This feature enables eCommerce site owners to effortlessly update and optimize their product images, showcasing new offerings, seasonal specials, or limited-time promotions with ease. 

By leveraging product image support, food, and beverage eCommerce sites can elevate their online storefront, build brand credibility, and leave a lasting impression on their customers, resulting in increased engagement, higher conversion rates, and sustained growth. *Available for Microsoft Business Central and Sage 300 only.

  1. Customer-Specific Pricing Support

Customer-specific pricing and support have emerged as key differentiators that enhance the overall shopping experience. By providing customers with the ability to view their negotiated prices directly in the shopping cart, businesses foster transparency and build trust. 

Leveraging the system’s capability for invoice discounting, eCommerce sites can ensure that each customer sees personalized pricing aligned with their negotiated terms, just as they would in Business Central or other back-end systems. 

This feature acknowledges the unique relationship between businesses and their customers, catering to individual preferences and reinforcing customer loyalty. With customer-specific pricing and support, food and beverage eCommerce platforms elevate their services, strengthen relationships, and position themselves as reliable partners in meeting the diverse needs of their valued clientele.

  1. Delivery Time Setting

Efficient delivery time settings are paramount to meeting customer expectations and ensuring timely order fulfillment. By offering the flexibility for customers to choose from pre-defined delivery times, businesses can cater to varying schedules and preferences. 

This feature streamlines logistics and enhances operational efficiency, enabling businesses to optimize delivery routes and plan resource allocation effectively. In the competitive landscape of food and beverage eCommerce, providing robust delivery time settings is a valuable asset that not only sets businesses apart but also ensures a delightful and hassle-free shopping journey for customers.

  1. Customer / Product Lead Time Calculation

In the food and beverage industry, where time is of the essence, customer and product lead time calculation becomes a crucial aspect of efficient order management. By providing Cafes and Restaurateurs with the ability to see lead times on specific products, eCommerce platforms empower these businesses to plan and strategize effectively. 

The feature allows customers to make informed decisions based on the estimated time it takes for products to be delivered, ensuring smooth operations and avoiding potential delays. For instance, if a Cafe requires fresh produce with a shorter lead time, they can prioritize suppliers or products that meet their time-sensitive needs. 

This transparency not only enhances customer satisfaction but also streamlines inventory management and procurement processes. By incorporating customer and product lead time calculations, food and beverage eCommerce platforms empower businesses to stay ahead in a competitive market while offering a reliable and responsive experience to their valued customers.

  1. Re-Order Previous Orders

Convenience is king, and the ability to quickly re-order previous purchases is a game-changing feature. By offering customers the option to easily replicate past orders, eCommerce platforms streamline the shopping experience and save valuable time. 

Whether it’s a favorite meal combo, a go-to recipe’s ingredients, or a preferred selection of snacks, customers can effortlessly access their order history and replicate it with a simple click. This feature not only caters to loyal customers who frequently repurchase certain items but also encourages repeat business and fosters customer retention. 

By empowering customers to re-order previous orders with ease, food and beverage eCommerce sites enhance user satisfaction, improve efficiency, and establish a loyal customer base that keeps coming back for more.

  1. View Order Status

In the fast-paced culinary world, staying informed about the status of orders is essential for chefs and kitchen professionals to ensure efficient operations. With commercebuild’s innovative “View Order Status” feature, food and beverage eCommerce sites can offer the convenience of real-time updates directly on the chef’s mobile device. 

From the moment an order is placed to its preparation and delivery, chefs can track its progress in the customer portal, ensuring timely planning and seamless coordination in the kitchen. This mobile-friendly functionality empowers chefs to make quick decisions and adapt to changing circumstances, enhancing the overall culinary experience and customer satisfaction. 

By providing the ability to view order status on the go, food and beverage eCommerce platforms align with the dynamic needs of the industry, facilitating smooth operations and creating a positive impact on the customer journey. 

  1. View Shipment Status

In the world of food and beverage eCommerce, the ability to view shipment status in a customer portal is a game-changer for both businesses and customers. This feature provides transparency and peace of mind, as customers can easily track their orders and receive notifications when items have been shipped and see the expected arrival date. 

For businesses, the shipment status feature streamlines logistics, reduces customer inquiries, and fosters trust. By providing visibility into the shipping process and expected delivery times, food and beverage eCommerce platforms elevate the overall shopping experience, building stronger relationships with their clientele and cementing their position as reliable partners in the culinary journey.

  1. View a Statement of Your Account

The ability to view a comprehensive statement of one’s account, coupled with support for credit-friendly terms, empowers customers with valuable insights into their financial status with the platform. 

Customers can effortlessly access and review their outstanding invoices, enabling them to stay on top of their payments and manage their cash flow effectively with commercebuild’s customer portal. Additionally, the option to conveniently pay outstanding invoices within the e-commerce platform streamlines the payment process, reducing administrative burdens and ensuring smooth transactions. 

By offering customers the ability to view a statement of their account and supporting credit-friendly terms, food and beverage eCommerce sites demonstrate their commitment to customer-centricity and financial convenience, solidifying their position as preferred partners in the industry.

  1. Mobile Friendly

Mobile-friendly shopping has become a cornerstone of success in the food and beverage eCommerce landscape, as consumers increasingly turn to their smartphones for convenience and accessibility. With a focus on optimizing user experiences, mobile-friendly eCommerce platforms ensure that all screens are responsive and perfectly adapted to various mobile devices with the help of commercebuild. 

Customers can easily access the platform, browse products, and place orders seamlessly, regardless of their screen size or device type. Moreover, the added functionality of saving the eCommerce site directly to the user’s mobile device enables quick launch ordering at any time, promoting spontaneous purchases and enhancing customer engagement. 

This feature fosters brand loyalty by offering a hassle-free and intuitive shopping experience that customers can carry in their pockets, meeting their on-the-go needs and catering to their busy lifestyles. Embracing mobile-friendly shopping, food and beverage e-commerce platforms position themselves at the forefront of the digital marketplace, reaching a broader audience and unlocking new growth opportunities.

The commercebuild platform ensures that all screens are mobile-friendly, so your client base is able to easily navigate your site on mobile devices with no extra effort on your part. 

  1. Supervisor User Management

Supervisor user management is a powerful commercebuild feature that empowers chefs to take control of their restaurant’s ordering process. With this feature, chefs can create and manage user accounts for their team members, enabling them to delegate responsibilities and streamline order management. 

Not only does this enhance efficiency in the kitchen, but it also fosters a collaborative environment, allowing team members to place orders on behalf of the restaurant with ease. Additionally, the supervisor user, in this case, the chef, has the authority to approve or receive notifications of orders placed by their team members. 

This level of oversight ensures that the chef remains informed and in control, promoting timely decision-making and minimizing any potential discrepancies. By offering supervisor user management, food and beverage eCommerce platforms cater to the specific needs of restaurant operations, and bolster productivity.

  1. Manage Multiple Restaurants, Bars, and Hotel Locations at Once

Managing multiple restaurants, bars, and hotels simultaneously can be a challenging task, but with commercebuild’s user management feature, eCommerce platforms can streamline the process and provide unparalleled efficiency. 

By setting up users with the ability to manage and order for multiple locations using a single login, business owners and managers gain unprecedented control and oversight. This consolidated approach allows them to access and oversee each establishment’s operations from one central hub, simplifying inventory management, order processing, and financial tracking. 

It also fosters seamless collaboration among different locations and teams, promoting cohesive decision-making and ensuring consistency in purchasing practices. By offering this comprehensive user management capability, food and beverage eCommerce platforms empower businesses to expand and thrive, allowing them to focus on delivering exceptional dining experiences across all their establishments with ease and precision.

Wrapping Up ECommerce for Food and Beverage Features 

Building a successful food and beverage eCommerce site requires a thoughtful combination of functionality, innovation, and customer-centricity. By implementing the essential features discussed in this article, you can create a digital marketplace that not only delights food enthusiasts but also ensures seamless navigation and a delightful shopping experience.

In the rapidly evolving landscape of online food retailing, staying ahead of the competition demands constant adaptation and optimization. But using an eCommerce platform like commercebuild integrated with a top-of-the-range ERP system such as Sage X3, Sage 300, or Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central, will ensure you’re getting started on the right foot. 
Regularly analyze user feedback and data insights to fine-tune your site and respond to changing consumer needs. In the fast-paced world of food and beverage eCommerce, it’s important to stay ahead of the game with the latest features to bring your customers an efficient and seamless shopping experience. Keen to learn more about our robust eCommerce software? Schedule a demo with our commercebuild experts today!

See Our eCommerce Software for the Food and Beverage Industry in Action!

About commercebuild 

commercebuild is the missing piece in transforming your ERP data into a truly personalized eCommerce experience. Flexible and frictionless, our turnkey eCommerce solution delivers 24/7 revenue opportunities to you and your customers. Quick to deploy and easy-to-use, we eliminate the need for middleware between the storefront and ERP data to enable seamless online buying and selling. 

Our solutions can be live in 30-days and offer complete eCommerce capabilities at a price B2B and B2C businesses can afford. 

Drive revenue growth for you, and your customers, while enjoying rapid ROI for both. Go head-to-head with the online retail giants of the world, and win. Experience a solution that integrates with your ERP data and provides automagical cross-sell and upsell opportunities to every customer on your site. 

At the height of eCommerce growth, commercebuild offers scalable, reliable, and robust eCommerce solutions for everyone.

If your business is using Sage 300, Sage X3 or Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central ERPs, commercebuild can build a ERP-driven B2B and B2C eCommerce webstore or Customer Portal.