In the last year, thousands of restaurants, pubs, cafes and retailers have invested digital ordering to drive off-site sales and remain ‘open’. Having the right technology in place to facilitate orders and payment is, of course, vital for this approach – but just as important how the service is publicised.
If marketing and promotion is neglected, how will customers know that the option is available? It might sound like a lot of work and time investment, but it doesn’t have to be. A few small actions can make a big difference. We’re going to look at a few of them here.
The first step in successful ecommerce is to get people to your website (or app) so that they can make a purchase. Before you do anything else, list your business on Google My Business. Here you can add your street and web address, hours of operation, phone numbers, and pictures of your location. You can list your restaurant as offering delivery and/or takeaway and encourage reviews of your restaurant so as to entice customers.
Once you’re on Google My Business, it’s worth looking at local listing sites, often towns and villages will mention businesses on their community pages. Sites like Yelp can also be successful in pushing web traffic.
Optimise your web channels
Your website if your online shop window. And, just like a shop window, it’s what people see on display here that determines whether the potential customer enters, browses, and ultimately, makes a purchase.
First, make sure that your website and any accompanying ordering channel is optimised for both desktop and mobile. In January 2021, statistics showed 79% of smartphone users made a purchase online using their mobile device in the previous 6 months! If a page hasn’t been made responsive, there’s little control over how your site will appear to mobile visitors. Slow to load, poorly formatted and frustrating mobile sites are a turn-off; don’t discourage customers by neglecting a large portion of your users.
Make your message on-point
You’ve got your website working, now when a potential customer arrives at your website, they need to know, straight away what their options are for ordering. Do you have a delivery service? Is it collection only? Whatever route/s you’ve chosen it’s important to ensure all your information is accurate and up to date. If using your own app or online portal, include simple instructions guiding customers in how to order – and if you have a preference as to how orders are placed (i.e through your own platform or a third-party) make that clear.
Now it’s time to get social. Social media is a tried and tested tool for businesses wanting to drive off-site sales – and restaurants have always fared particularly well on these platforms.
Through this medium restaurants can easily relay updates about service and policy changes to customers, and prospective customers, in real-time.
There are a number of available platforms, and you may not have time to apply your best efforts to all of them. If that’s the case then think about your target audience, who is it you would typically serve? If the answer is sub-25s then you might want to consider a TikTok account, while the over 30s will be more active on Facebook and instagram. Anybody older may be on social but will likely respond better to emailing or even SMS messaging.
Make your communications regular; constantly updating followers with your offerings and repeating information about your online ordering solutions will ensure your digital services spring to mind next time they’re craving a foodie treat.
Beyond all of the above, you should be investing in traditional marketing techniques, using flyers, posters and business cards to promote yourself – but getting these fundamentals in place should be the first port of call for any company looking to drive its off-site sales.
Are you looking to drive off-site sales and ‘get digital’ in 2021? Talk to us about how we can help you achieve your goals.