EBLEX survey examines online opportunity for butchers

EBLEX survey examines online opportunity for butchers

Turnover from online ordering is expected to rise by 175% in five years, according to new research into the independent retail sector in England commissioned by EBLEX.

The survey – understood to be the first to examine online sales in the sector – revealed that total butcher’s shop sales are estimated to be worth £2.24 billion annually, with just over £4 million (0.2%) being accounted for by online sales.

The research found that one in three butcher’s shops has a company website; and a quarter of those with websites have an online ordering facility.


“This survey provides revealing insight into the butcher’s shop sector and, in particular, the online marketing opportunity,” said Matthew Southam, EBLEX multiple retailer account manager.

“When compared to other food businesses the proportion of turnover accounted for by online sales is quite low for butchers. While that’s to be expected in a sector which prides itself on personal service and where customers want to see and learn about the product they are buying, there is untapped potential for progressive butchers.”

Fewer than one in ten (8%) of butchers currently offer their customers an online shopping facility. The average number of online orders for those shops stands at three per week, with an average sales value of £61 per week. The lion’s share of orders placed online are dispatched from the butcher’s own premises. Of those offering a delivery service, 35% of butchers use their own van and 26% use a courier. The remainder, 39%, use a combination of both.

The research highlighted a general lack of online presence within the sector, with 67% of the butchers surveyed not having a company website. In fact, around half indicated they had no intention of developing a website. Reasons given included “it would be too difficult”, “no time to deal with a website” and “don’t have a need for one”.

Matthew added: “There is perhaps a perception that setting up and maintaining a website needs to be a time-consuming and expensive undertaking. That doesn’t always have to be the case. At EBLEX, we are increasingly developing online tools and resources which are designed to help butchers to build their business and make the most of marketing opportunities.

“We recently launched an online image library (www.eblextrade.co.uk), providing retailers with access to a wide variety of beef and lamb-related images, which they can use when developing and updating their websites. Given the anticipated increase in online sales over the next few years we are now exploring the possibility of offering website templates to butchers who are members of the EBLEX Quality Standard Mark Scheme.”

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