Determined to implement the latest digital trends and solutions to satisfy its most tech-savvy customers’ needs, Chef Middle East will soon bring to the market an e-commerce B2B platform, which will help hospitality operators place their orders at the click of a button and track their delivery digitally.
With the surge in B2C demand at the outset of the COVID-19 pandemic crisis, CME decided that the time was just right to simultaneously launch its speciality, premium restaurant-quality ingredients offering to consumers looking for better quality options and greater value for money.
Project planning started in 2019, with a digitalisation process and the implementation of advanced capabilities, with the COVID-19 pandemic making it more evident than ever that the e-commerce business channel is here to stay and grow.
A study has shown that a 300% increase in consumer demand for e-commerce services in the UAE was recorded in the first five months of 2020. In response to customers’ demands and market opportunities, and in line with global industry trends, CME has announced the birth of its digital portal for both the B2B and B2C segments in the UAE market as a first phase, to then follow in regional branches.. Plus, the company will soon launch its newly revamped website chefmiddleeast.com, which will reflect an e-commerce look and feel, and upgraded functionalities.
The market-centred move stems from the distributor’s ability to anticipate the foodservice industry’s upcoming path; market players and customers are prone to engage in a different way. The response arises with an efficient digital way of placing orders, coupled with worthy interactions and assistance from the CME team of experts as needed. With this new e-commerce platform, Chef Middle East will provide its B2B customers with an up-to-date experience which brings convenience to the purchasing process.
“We have been preparing to improve our digital eco-system for the last 12 months. The onset of the COVID-19 pandemic has broadened the scope of our intentions to provide a B2B platform which will support our customers, supply partners and our own team, ensuring that the experience of interfacing with Chef Middle East becomes more efficient, effective, and informative,” says Chef Middle East CEO Steve Pyle.
“Existing and potential customers will be able to access comprehensive product and recipe information which makes their buying experience swifter and simpler, as well as improving overall customer service. Customers will have the opportunity to interrogate availability data and make buying decisions 24/7, comfortably and conveniently. Our own internal efficiency will be honed, as the data we acquire will enable us to better understand how to manage our value chain and service proposition more effectively.”
The food distributor has partnered with Levtech Consulting and Yergetek Customer Engagement to create and deliver this project. “One basic advantage of B2B e-commerce is being able to automate a significant part of transactions, which leads to cost efficiencies and, ultimately, makes the seller far more competitive. However, benefits extend beyond mere cost and time savings, for both vendors and their customers; customer self-service, buyer registration, online catalogues and contractual terms can all be automated and made more seamless,” says Sajid Azmi, CEO at Yegertek.
“There’s a strong consensus in the industry that the next few years will witness a surge in B2B e-commerce volume, similar to the strong presence of B2C e-commerce platforms. The COVID-19 pandemic has introduced a certain degree of caution in business operations. However, I believe, in the mid to longer-term, businesses will adopt the practice of working with smaller inventories, and rely on rapid ongoing order fulfilment using B2B platforms,” adds Azmi.
E-commerce solutions appear to develop a new appropriate model where managing and updating information is available in real-time for customers to view, search and get informed about product availability, the latest launches, exclusive promotions and order status with up-to-date data.
Developing e-commerce capabilities is also a significant way to achieve improved customer satisfaction, allowing foodservice operators to place their orders through a straightforward, fast and simple process any day and time of the week, which enables orders to be processed more efficiently, and with greater accuracy. Additionally, customers have the option to seamlessly manage the complete ordering process for multiple branch locations from a unified customer dashboard.
“The huge promise of e-commerce, since its inception, has been the creation of a win-win for both buyers and sellers. With the advantages of the model becoming apparent to all whom are concerned in recent years, online transactions will only increase. However, we will see a shift in customer priorities, who are becoming more sophisticated in articulating their needs. Convenience is becoming a default expectation and sellers will need to develop their offerings and tertiary services in order to make their brand stand out,” highlights Azmi.
The distributor believes that their new e-commerce portal will allow a dynamic understanding of customers’ needs and requirements, and capturing data-driven insights to help drive further innovation on the market. Moreover, the figures can be used to improve pricing data tracking, which enables developing enhanced strategies throughout the supply chain.
These new digital capabilities are expected to achieve great momentum; Chef Middle East continues to use technology to create innovation, and boost accessibility, convenience and value for all its customers, old and new. “Inspiring Culinary Craftsmanship” remains the distributor’s main mission, bringing together world-class brands, quality food and beverage ingredients, and foodservice professionals who are keen on exploring new kitchen solutions to get inspired and craft memorable dining experiences.