There are many benefits of online ordering for businesses right now, social distancing and health and safety being just two in a long list. Often providers will tout features such as preventing human error when taking orders and accessing new revenue opportunities. All of these things are correct, however online ordering offers hidden benefits that companies don’t naturally think of. Here we look at three of them.
Improve stock forecasting
The data gathered by an online ordering platform (never work with a provider that doesn’t give you full access and ownership of your customer data) can be used for so much more than informing your marketing campaigns.
If your menu changes seasonally, or you are considering the introduction of a new item, the data gathered by the platform can be used to gauge long-term popularity and identify trends. By plotting data points alongside real-world events – the weather, sporting events or national holidays for example – provides insight into how items will perform when those same events arise again.
Data aside, taking pre-orders makes it easier to predict stock requirements for the immediate future. Knowing that 50 orders for fish pie are coming in on Wednesday night, means the venue can purchase at least that amount and ensure stock doesn’t run out.
As an added bonus, if customers place orders in advance, the kitchen can be well prepped for the day’s service. Knowing what needs to be ready and for when allows the kitchen and to optimise operations and better manage real-time orders.
Find lost customers
Data is also key to this hidden benefit. A look at customer information can reveal to the operator who their customers are, what they are ordering and how frequently. Vitally, it can be used to identify regular customers that have ceased placing orders. The reason this is vital is that it opens a door to re-engaging with customers and gives a chance to bring the ‘lost’ customer back to the brand. Without that data, you might never know they’ve disappeared.
As an example, if Sarah Smith regularly orders two pizzas to take away on a Friday night, but in the past month she’s not placed a single order, you can contact her with a personalised offer – ‘241 Pizza, because we value you Sarah!’ Not only will the customer feel ‘known’ due to the personal nature of the message, but will be enticed back by the relevance of the offer to their tastes.
Since COVID-19 hit, the industry has rapidly become digitised. Thousands more brands are offering customers online ordering as a way of remaining open and respecting social distancing practices. What’s more, the technology is moving towards being expected by customers looking for a convenient, safe way of interacting with a business at this time.
Hospitality companies that introduce online ordering will find themselves building a strong and loyal following digital following. Those will soon fall behind.
Online ordering brings plenty of obvious advantages to brands – it reduces in-store queues (out of the pandemic), drives customer loyalty and attracts a modern, digital breed of customer. What we’ve shown here is that there are more benefits beyond those in plain sight. The risk for companies not making an investment in the technology is that they will end up playing catch-up, trying to meet evolved consumer expectations after the rest of the market has pulled ahead.
To discuss our online ordering solutions and what we can offer your business, get in contact here.