Food products on display at a fair in HCM City. Domestic food and beverage businesses are urged to take advantage of e-commerce to export to global markets. — VNS Photo
HCM CITY — Using online platforms to boost exports is an inevitable trend that will help food and beverage businesses penetrate the global market, reduce costs and quickly reach consumers, especially amid the COVID-19 pandemic, business leaders and industry experts have said.
Võ Tân Thành, deputy chairman of the Việt Nam Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI), said the industry continues to have great potential and is expected to grow at 5-6 per cent a year in 2020-25.
“However, changes in consumers’ habits and the COVID-19 pandemic are reshaping it, requiring businesses to have a coping strategy.”
Since most buyers around the world search for products on search engines or e-commerce platforms, businesses need to embrace technology, he said.
Trần Phú Lữ, deputy director of the Trade and Investment Promotion Centre of HCM City, said amid the unpredictability in global trade due to the pandemic, online exports is not only one of the most effective and fastest ways for businesses to access all markets but also an inevitable trend.
Lý Kim Chi, chairwoman of the Food and Foodstuff Association of HCM City, said: “Food and foodstuffs is an industry that meets the essential needs of society, and so, despite the pandemic, demand continues to grow well in the domestic market while export prices of some items have increased, a positive sign for the future.
"Many businesses have invested in modern production technology and equipment to improve their quality and design, and Vietnamese food and foodstuff products are exported to the US, China, Southeast Asia, EU, and Japan," she said.
People are increasingly shopping online, especially in big cities, providing businesses with the opportunity to sell more on e-commerce platforms, she said.
Demand for processed foods is increasing and diversifying, especially for organic nutritional products, she added.
But Vietnamese food and beverages are also facing fierce competition from foreign firms in the domestic market in terms of quality, design and prices.
So they need to take advantage of all distribution channels, especially e-commerce, to expand their markets both at home and abroad, she told the online export forum for the food and beverage industry held in HCM City last Thursday by VCCI and Allibaba Group and OSB Investment and Technology JSC.
Vũ Thế Tùng, Government Relations and Business Development Director at Alibaba.com, said his company has witnessed a dramatic increase in online orders amid the pandemic, with a 92 per cent increase in active buyers and 177 per cent increase in number of orders in July.
The F&B industry’s traffic on Alibaba.com has increased significantly during the pandemic, he said.
Among the top 100 product categories in terms of sales growth, 48 are food and beverage-related industries, including instant foods, health foods, energy foods, seasoning, and functional foods, he said.
Online trade shows have enabled agricultural businesses to generate more traffic and business opportunities online, he said.
Trịnh Văn Hải, head of marketing at the Nam Việt Foods and Beverage Co., Ltd, a successful seller on Allibaba.com, said with the development of technology and changes in shopping habits, e-commerce is the fastest and most effective tool to reach consumers.
"To effectively exploit e-commerce platforms, businesses need to research and analyse buying trends, optimising search keywords and effectively utilising visual tools to introduce products and services in as detailed a manner as possible.
“On global e-commerce platforms, each item has many suppliers and so competitive pressure is huge, but this is the driving force for enterprises to improve the quality of products and services, thereby earning the long-term trust of customers.”
Trần Đình Toản, deputy general director of OSB, a partner of Alibaba.com in Việt Nam, said after opening an account on the platform, exporters get support for building e-commerce sites and receive guidance on how to secure deals and trade internationally.
Alibaba.com is the world's largest B2B e-commerce marketplace, and Vietnamese exporters with a page on it could reach over 190 countries where it operates, he added. — VNS