How to avoid the pitfalls of online ordering
With so many options available, what is the best approach for your business to achieve the maximum return on your decision to go online? Here are a couple of key areas to consider before you take the leap into the world of online ordering:
1. Take your restaurant online
If your business offers delivery, collection or take out of any kind in addition to your dine-in service, you simply cannot afford to ignore the need for a solid, reliable online ordering solution any longer. Your competitors are there, and you need to be too. Some 65% of adults today say that they have ordered food online at least once in the last month, and this is an audience that you cannot afford to lose out on.
As more and more consumers move to ordering their food online, you need to equip yourself with the best mix of technology to stay in the race, promote your business and provide your customers with the ability to order the way they want.
2. Invest in your Online Presence.
Implementing online ordering for your restaurant is only half the battle. You need to pay attention to all aspects of how your brand is represented online, from your website, to your app, through to your advertising techniques and social media campaigns. It is possible to make a small brand punch above its weight by having a classy looking website that is well promoted and uses the best available technologies to provide a great user experience.
Improvements in modern technology mean that it is no longer prohibitively expensive to furnish your brand’s online presence with great photography, good quality graphic design and a cohesive look and feel to your brand-no matter how big or small it happens to be. It is best to partner with an agency that you can trust to reflect your brand’s message by working closely with you to give you the best online brand presence possible.
It is not enough to simply press play on an online ordering solution and hope for the best, and with virtually every delivery restaurant seeking to have an online presence of one form or another it is important to understand how to cut through the noise and ensure that your business can be found by your customers.
Good quality SEO and online advertising campaigns can dramatically improve your visibility and ensure that your online efforts are rewarded by increased sales and customer loyalty. It is also important to understand your changing audience and to incentivise them to use your online ordering platform-this has been proven to drive greater loyalty and drive repeat business for your restaurant.
Social Media is also an excellent tool to drive awareness and ultimately to grow your online business. Use clever incentives that reward your social media followers and position your restaurant at the top of people’s decision making process by showcasing your brand and offering with great images and compelling deals across all your accounts. Again, if this is too much to take on, engage the services of a qualified agency who will do it for you.
1. Leave it too late!
If you are not already online with your business, the likelihood is that your competitors are, and they are busy stealing your customers by offering them a more attractive way to engage with their brand. The potential to grow your customer base online is virtually limitless, and if you use some clever techniques then you will ensure that you are at the top of the queue when it comes to customers and their choices.
Be careful not to allow your main competitors get a head start by leaving your online strategy on the long finger. Remember-when customers become loyal to a competing brand then it is extremely difficult to re-attract them to your own. This is why it is important to give them every opportunity to engage with you both on and offline. Covering all angles ensure that you stay competitive and remain an option for your audience-being online is crucial to this.
2. Rely on Food Portals
Whilst it may be attractive to simply place your restaurant on a third party food portal, consider the costs associated with this:
Ranging from 13% at the lower end of the scale to upwards of 30% for some ‘delivery included’ portals, this is a really expensive way for your brand to make an online play. It is also one that does not allow you to retain ownership of your customer data. Customer data is essential for your continued efforts to promote your brand online, you can use this data really effectively to continue offering your customers great deals and the latest news about your restaurant by way of email, SMS marketing, etc.
At times, it is inevitable that you will have a requirement for third party portals, however it is advisable to also have a strong web presence of your own, ensuring that you can engage in your own marketing activities that will result in a more cost effective way of doing business online.
3. Be impatient!
It takes time to build a strong online following, but be patient! This is an exercise that will pay off in the end. As you grow your presence, you are also growing your marketable database-meaning that you are well positioned to drive repeat customers and engender loyalty with your existing base by continually providing them with attractive offers, news and promotions using your digital channels.
Further to growing your database, by nurturing a strong online presence you are ensuring that your brand is well positioned to stay competitive and remain relevant to a growing audience. The correct mix of technology, marketing and a clever strategic approach will see your business thrive online where others falter.
The best approach is to seek a trusted digital partner who will guide you through the sometimes daunting world of online, ensuring that you reap the maximum benefit from your efforts, and of course a healthy ROI.