5 mistakes to avoid when using online ordering for your restaurant business
Are you making some of these common online ordering mistakes?
There’s a right way and a wrong way to approach the world on online ordering for restaurants, and it is important to avoid some common pitfalls that might be holding you back from executing a killer online strategy. Let’s take a look:
1. Using a portal as your main online ordering system
Popular online ordering portals are aggressive in the pursuit of your business. It may seem like a great idea to hand over the responsibility and hassle associated with the implementation and delivery of an online ordering service to a portal, however this comes at a potentially severe cost to your business. Too often, restaurants are placing a link to their listing on Just Eat or Deliveroo prominently on their websites, instead of implementing their own white-labelled solution at a fraction of the cost. Furthermore-portals will retain ownership of customer data, which is a problem when it comes to the ability to market to your customer base.
Having your own online system can work well alongside a presence on portals, however the only links from a restaurant’s own website should lead customers to the in-house system and not to a third party provider.
How to fix:
Engage the services of a provider of quality white labelled online ordering systems, have your website redesigned slightly to link to your own in-house system and see cost savings and retention of all-important customer data.
2. Not using a strong CTA
Having a great online ordering service is pointless unless customers are able to find it. A prominent, clickable call to action should adorn the landing page of your website, enabling visitors to locate and utilise your online ordering service with minimum effort. When it comes to a take out/delivery restaurant’s website, it is important to remember that most visitors are looking to either place an order (quickly!) or to find some basic information regarding opening hours or directions, etc. Whilst it is important to have secondary information about all other aspects of the business, preference should be given to a strong call to action which enables customers to get to where they want to go quickly.
Needless to say, your website should be fully mobile responsive, and should present well on all devices, as the trend towards mobile continues apace.
How to fix:
Re-evaluate your website and incorporate a design that allows for the correct action points that will enable customers to use your services effortlessly. Consider engaging the services of a good design agency who understand the customer journey and overall flow of e-commerce websites to optimise your site and drive revenues.
3. Not using your data
Gathering and more importantly using your customer’s data is really important when it comes to the success of any online strategy. Lapsed customers, frequent spenders and several other important groups should be segmented and exposed to tailored pieces of marketing content that is designed to make them engage with your brand more regularly. A combination of your POS system and your online ordering platform will provide you with a wealth of important data that can be used very effectively.
Over time, you will build up a large database of customer behaviours and contact details. This is an invaluable tool to help you retain and grow your following. Customers love being looked after by their favourite restaurants, and your database should be the main resource you use to direct your marketing efforts in a meaningful way that keeps them engaged and loyal to your brand.
How to fix:
Get to grips with your systems, learn how they can be used to harvest your customer data and then set about systematically developing a plan for how to use that data. SMS marketing, direct email marketing and retargeting can all be used as cost-effective ways to reach your audience.
4. Not promoting your online offering
Your online ordering service is one that your customers will use once they are aware that it is an option. This should be promoted in-store, on packaging and basically anywhere that is suitable for promoting your website. Remember that online ordering is a cost effective way to drive revenues and grow your business, as it does not rely exclusively on traditional marketing methods for it to grow, however every opportunity should be taken to make your customers aware of its availability. Not promoting your online offering across several areas is an opportunity missed.
Traditional methods can be used to push people to use your online service, you can use things like box-top flyers to incentivise your customers to order online instead of over the phone. Strong in-store promotional material should be used to drive awareness, and a prominent ‘order online’ call to action should be present across other printed materials such as menus and packaging.
How to fix:
Conduct a full audit of all promotional and customer facing materials, modify these to include a strong call to action and begin raising awareness of your online ordering facility. Ensure that your website includes easy to navigate CTA buttons and drive traffic by ensuring that online ordering is promoted wherever possible.
5. Not using Social Media
Social media, when used properly, can be a cost effective way to drive meaningful traffic to your website. People follow your restaurant on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and several other platforms, so it is crucial to adopt an approach that engages them and compels them to click through to your website and complete an order. Offers that are exclusive to social media followers will drive loyalty, and will eventually become an important channel through which to promote and grow online revenues.
Social media also offers an opportunity to engage customers by showing enticing visual content, which is a valuable tool when seeking to attract them to your online ordering platform.
How to fix:
Rethink your approach to social media, and adopt a more concise strategy geared towards delivering more traffic to your online ordering channel. Use good quality images, and consider offering offers and incentives that are exclusive to your social media community to drive revenues and increase loyalty.