Up until pretty recently, the prospect of buying butcher meat online may have seemed like a strange one. Nowadays it's par for the course for any small business, be they coffee roasters or craft beer brewers, to offer an online shopping portal for their customers. This might complement a bricks and mortar store, or the online aspect of the business may be the sole means business is conducted as is increasingly becoming the case.
Are butchers any exception to this?
The short answer is no, but let's examine three of the main reasons in more depth.
1. Competition from Supermarkets
Almost every single modern supermarket offers online shopping, so why should small independent butcher shops be left behind in this regard? Sure, supermarkets often offer their deluxe and organic ranges, but the true dyed in the wool foodie is always going to seek things like free-range meat from trusted independent traders who are closer to the source of what they want.
Butchers offering online shopping portals ensures that they keep pace with the supermarkets in this regard, and don't lose out on customers who may be swayed by the convenience of online shopping with a major supermarket. Many of these customers may have traditionally bought their meat from old-school high street butchers who have since closed shop – here the modern online butcher has the edge.
2. Subscription Services
From letterbox flowers to online wine clubs, lots of businesses have realised their customers' desire to sign up for a regular delivery of their goods. Grocery items such as fresh meat are no exception to this; Amazon Pantry is a good example of this. If butchers want to keep up with the demands and expectations of the modern consumer, offering an online outlet for their wares is pretty much essential.
Offering your customer the opportunity to sign up for regular meat deliveries, customised to their preferences in terms of content, quantity and frequency will make it easier for them to keep a freezer stocked full of fresh meat. Offering such benefits to customers is a great way of building brand loyalty and enhancing your online reputation. Courier discounts can be offered for bulk ordering which is win-win – your customer saves on shipping charges and you pass on that saving in the form of more product.
3. Wider Customer Reach
In this day and age of foodies and organic food culture, there is a wider market for better quality, ethically sourced products. Not every customer is able to reach a bricks and mortar butcher shop, nor do they necessarily expect to; especially when they can have all their shopping needs met using the Internet. In this way, with the right marketing approach, online butchers can reach a much wider range of customers than their bricks and mortar only counterparts.
There are more courier services than ever, all competing for your custom as their main client for facilitating an online delivery service for your business. In the old days of high street shopping, your customer reach was pretty much restricted to your geographical catchment area. Nowadays, the sky is the limit (or your marketing budget, but that's a topic for another article).
So there we have the three main reasons butchers should be offering an online shopping service for their customers, as we see it anyway. Did we get it right? Is there anything we omitted or anything you would disagree with? Please comment and let us know!