Optimize Online Stores That Sell Food & Drinks

Everyone must eat and drink. In many cases, however, the trusted offline supermarket is still preferred to an online store where food and/or drinks are for sale. How can such online stores best approximate the offline experience (and leverage the unique benefits online offers) to convince visitors to convert?

This article discusses the challenges an online store can face in this industry and provides practical tips on how to deal with them in the most effective way. Emphasis is placed on a specific element that is particularly relevant to this industry, and an idea is presented to improve its sustainability impact. In addition, some practical examples are discussed for illustrative purposes.


Online shops that sell food or drinks face unique challenges when it comes to converting visitors due to the products they offer.

  • Senses: One of the biggest challenges food & beverage stores face in converting visitors into paying customers is the inability to let customers taste and smell the products before purchasing them. Food and beverages are sensory products, and customers often rely on taste and smell to determine whether to purchase a product or not. Lacking this experience in an online shopping environment can lead to customer hesitation and uncertainty, which can ultimately result in lower conversion.
  • Shelf life: In addition, food and beverage products often have specific expiration dates or recommended storage conditions, which can be a challenge to communicate effectively on an online store. This can lead to customers receiving expired products or products that have been stored or transported incorrectly, resulting in negative reviews and reduced confidence in the webshop.
  • Preferences: Finally, customers may have specific dietary requirements, allergies, or preferences (such as vegetarian, vegan, or halal), which can be difficult to communicate effectively on an online store and may lead customers to abandon their purchases if they cannot find products that meet their needs.

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Below you will find tips that are relevant for web shops that offer food or drinks and can contribute to increasing conversion. It is important to realize that not all tips are suitable for every webshop. This is because web shops differ in their 'digital maturity' and their budgets and workforce can also vary. It is therefore recommended to first validate these tips before finally implementing them on the webshop. This can best be done through A/B testing. If this is not possible, user research can also be a good alternative.

  • Show clear product information: Food and beverage products have many variations, such as ingredients, nutritional values and flavor profiles. It is important to provide detailed product information so that customers can make informed decisions about what they buy. For example, someone who only eats a vegan diet must be sure that no animal ingredients have been used. Only when the full list of ingredients is shown can this information be used. It may help to work with clear icons and offer filters with which the right products can be selected in the webshop and paid for at the checkout.
  • Provide recipes and suggestions: Food and drinks are often used in recipes or combined with other items. Therefore, provide recipe ideas and suggestions for combinations on the webshop to inspire customers and encourage additional purchases. Such content will also be shared much more on social media than simply product pages, so it can generate additional visitors.
  • Offer subscriptions: Consider offering subscriptions for customers who regularly purchase the same products. This can help increase customer loyalty and provide a predictable revenue stream. It can help to offer the products in the subscription at a significant discount. For visitors who take out a subscription, you will no longer have to make an acquisition in the next month and the lower price increases the chance of a conversion.
  • Enable bulk purchases: Food and drinks are often purchased in bulk, so emphasize promotions and discounts for bulk purchases. This can increase average order value and encourage customers to purchase more products. In addition, a bulk purchase results in less transport, which in turn can contribute to sustainability goals.


Online stores in the food and beverage industry can use quality marks to improve the user experience and increase their conversion rate by instilling trust among visitors. Quality marks indicate that a product meets certain requirements, such as sustainability, organic cultivation, fair trade or healthy food. By prominently displaying these quality marks on the website, web shops can increase customer confidence and help them make an informed purchasing decision. It is important to only use quality marks that are relevant to the products being sold and to ensure that these quality marks are actually adhered to and verified by an independent third party. It is also advisable to explain the meaning of the quality marks on the website, so that customers understand what the quality mark stands for and why it is important.


The ingredients used are one of the most important aspects that determine the sustainability of food or drinks. More and more visitors are therefore interested in what exactly ingredients are used in the products. It is therefore recommended to clearly display all ingredients on the product page. If possible, a brief explanation can even be given about the origin and quality of each component. In addition, you may consider offering a filter that allows visitors to exclude products from the PLP that contain ingredients that are undesirable to them. Here you can think of options such as plant-based, vegetarian, vegan, organic, halal, gluten-free, local, etc.

Product info
Bulk purchases


  • Original Beans: In addition to ingredients, the taste of the product is also discussed in detail here. The origin of the raw materials is also discussed, which diets or allergies this product is suitable for, and which standards and values of the organization this product corresponds to. Such a complete explanation can convince visitors to choose this product over a large number of suppliers of similar foods.
  • Hodmedod's: Food or drink is often used as part of recipes. This webshop therefore shows various recipes on the product pages that can be made from the products offered. The attractive end products also often look tastier than the raw ingredients, which can contribute to a better conversion.
  • Purely Elizabeth: Most people eat the same products for breakfast every day. It is therefore logical for a provider of breakfast products to also offer a subscription for this. By offering visitors a discount on a recurring purchase, they may be tempted to choose this option. This way, the company has to invest less in acquisition and the visitor receives the breakfast products again and again without any effort.
  • Clif Bar: At this webshop it is not only possible to buy individual bars, but you can also buy whole boxes at the same time. This can be an attractive offer, especially if you eat this product regularly (or, for example, have it in the canteen of a company).

About the author

Theo van der Zee (MSc, Psychology) has been building and optimizing websites and web shops for more than 20 years. As a freelance conversion specialist, he helps companies to improve their websites based on research and experiments.

Read more about Theo

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