Sky-high inflation causes 2023 hangover, stifling tech advances for one in six food and drink companies
With recession concerns front of mind and inflation still tipping ten per cent, a new study has found that one in six (16 per cent) food and drink businesses say it is a key factor preventing them from implementing digitisation projects for their sales and marketing functions, stifling their business growth and keeping them behind tech-savvy competitors.
The research showed that one in five food and drink firms (20 per cent) have not yet been able to adopt digitisation, with inflation stated as one the main barriers these firms are facing when looking to adopt new technology, setting them off into 2023 behind their competitors.
One in four of those being left behind cited lack of funding (25 per cent) and one in three faced a lack of time (33 per cent) to progress any digitisation projects. This highlights the stark recruitment challenges companies are facing currently as the number of vacant jobs in the UK reached a record high in 2022 of 1.3 million3. When combined with the boom of ‘quiet quitting’, firms are struggling to work at full capacity and this is impacting their uptake of new developments, and projects are being restricted.
One in six food and drink firms said rising energy costs (16 per cent) were hindering their progress towards digitisation – a key issue facing many as the UK economy struggles with the cost-of-doing business – meaning revenue is being diverted away from vital sales and marketing projects.
Existing sales processes within the food and drink sector can often be outdated, with lots of manual administrative processes and laborious exercises increasing the time taken and risk of human error. Digitisation takes these physical, outdated processes and converts them into efficient and effective digital systems. It is proven to support business growth and positive change, with adopters benefiting from improved productivity and efficiency, as well as increased sales and customer engagement.
70 per cent of B2B organisations have invested in digital commerce channels this year, with 73 per cent investing in websites, 49 per cent in sales representatives and 37 per cent in mobile apps4.
The independent research, with a nationally representative sample of 500 business leaders, was conducted by Censuswide on behalf of Software as a Service (SaaS) firm, Adventoris.
CEO of Adventoris, James Clarkson, said: “As 2023 gets underway, these findings lay bare the impact the current economic climate is having on firms in the food and drink industry and it is disheartening to see the toll inflation and rising energy costs are taking. So many businesses are being held back from reaching their true potential through being unable to progress with plans to adopt digital processes.
“Food and drink firms are vital to the UK economy and the nation as a whole, and supply a number of other industries, such as hospitality, retail and care. Digital processes are having an incredibly positive impact on improving efficiency, productivity and results, but it is obvious from our findings that firms need support to be able to access these benefits.
“Quarter one is going to be tough for many, but digitising sales and marketing functions can bring great advantages. For example, our clients have experienced basket sales increasing by 15 per cent when using our digital sales app technology with their customers.”
Ivan Humm, online projects manager from Hills Prospect, a firm which has recently adopted digitisation in the form of a sales app, said: “I am pleased that we took the leap and invested in digitising our sales process. It has been a fantastic move for us and allowed us to open so many doors in terms of increasing our productivity, developing customer relations and safeguarding our operations for the future.
“Our sector is still dealing with the fallout from Covid-19 and other economic challenges so I am really glad we invested when we did so that we could manage these disruptions with strong, efficient processes in place.”
Adventoris is the creator of SwiftCloud, a leading B2B mobile app for distributors and wholesalers that provides businesses with a platform that enables their customers to see products, communicate with the company and make orders 24/7. SwiftCloud can save customers over 50 per cent in ordering time.
The firm has a current turnover of £2m, with an annual cumulative growth rate of 81 per cent over the last five years. To find out more about SwiftCloud visit: www.swiftcloud.co.uk.