By: Bobby Marhamat, COO of Revel Systems
Innovations in online ordering have only become more efficient over the years. In 2004 GrubHub was founded, allowing users to find and order food from restaurants in their vicinity via an app and a website. The company has a customer service team operating 24/7, and there's always someone watching every online order that goes through to make sure people get exactly what they ordered. By 2009, major pizza chains were doing 20% to 30% of their business online, and now you can even order pizza by tweeting the pizza emoji to @Dominos. Online and mobile platforms are an effective way for companies to utilize a cross-channel business model, which has come to be known as omnichannel retailing. Omnichannel retailing is a great way to improve the customer experience by allowing customers to interact with their favorite brands on multiple channels, in a cohesive and seamless fashion. The increased customer engagement and sales touch points ultimately drive sales and increases brand recognition.
Omnichannel retailing is becoming increasingly important, especially since mobile app usage is on the rise. According to Apigee Institue, “A survey of 1,000 U.S. smartphone users, found that 74% of respondents would be more likely to shop at a store that offers key functions and services via an app.” Businesses must leverage their web and mobile presence to drive awareness of offerings and promotions, lead customers to make better use of deals, and ultimately purchase more goods. And when TechCrunch reports that US users spend up to five hours a day on mobile devices, with time spent on apps increasing 69% year over year – mobile is more important than ever. With more people spending time on their mobile apps, more people making mobile purchases, and more merchants deploying mobile ordering apps, the mobile ordering industry is positioned to overtake orders over the phone for food delivery.
59% of hospitality facilities fail within a period of 3 years, thus utilizing the latest in technology is a necessity if a business wants to be successful. Nowadays, consumers expect a platform that is efficient, quick, and easy-to-use. And at the same time, businesses expect solutions that can process a high volume of requests without slowing down. This article will detail the technology that is necessary to be successful, as well as take a look at emerging technologies that are likely to become essential in the future.
The Essentials: Mobile Ordering
More than half of all eCommerce traffic now comes from mobile; and brick and mortars are taking a page from this trend. In fact, according to this survey, 87% of restaurateurs believe incorporating new technology to their restaurants would help attract more customers. By seeing the positive impact it’s had on eCommerce, restaurateurs know they need to make ordering and picking up food easy and efficient for the customer.
As opposed to ordering over the phone or waiting in line, mobile ordering offers several crucial benefits that traditional methods can’t compete with.
There are few things more frustrating to customers than getting put on hold. Mobile ordering is a great way to avoid upsetting your customers. No longer do they need to wait in line, or wait ten minutes for someone to answer the phone. David Yeun, Branded Events Manager at Chobani, recalls, “Our busiest summer day, we’ll have around 600 to 700 people come through our doors. Average wait times tend to be about 2 to 3 minutes.” David attributes Revel mobile ordering on “pushing those numbers down and helping us move lines.” Mobile ordering allows anyone to order their food by a touch of a button. By diversifying sales channels, the wait times for customers in-store will be shorter, and for those choosing to do take-out, they will be assured that they can get in, out, and on with their day.
Not only is mobile ordering appealing for customers on the go, it also helps businesses achieve their goals. Allowing people to order on mobile means restaurants can process more orders. In fact, an infographic by Revel Systems states that compared to phone the average online order is 18% higher. By giving customers access to the entire menu with just a touch of a button, business can drive interest to new products and leverage upselling opportunities. In fact, according to Business Insider and a study by GrubHub, restaurants grow profits by 30% with online ordering. Additionally, mobile ordering improves order accuracy and reduces miscommunication between customer, and the front of house and back of house. With mobile ordering everything is laid for the customer who can then pick and choose what they like.
There is no doubt that the food/retail industry is becoming more automated. Advances in technology will only make that more prominent. For example, Starbuck’s recently announced a new feature called My Starbucks Barista, allowing customers to place an order using voice command. The great thing about voice is that it allows you to place an order in mere seconds. According to this article from Payment Week, “Starbucks’ quarterly earnings report showed...mobile order and pay services better than doubling in the time between 2015 and 2016”.
IoT has seen major use cases in areas like manufacturing, transportation, warehousing and agriculture, to name a few, however retailers have been slow to adopt the technology. IoT sensors can be used to monitor a whole network of equipment, instantly alerting the store owner when something isn’t working right. Whether a printer is running low on paper, a freezer isn't at the required temperature, or a local network has gone down, IoT devices can send instant alerts so that the issue gets resolved quickly. From a retail perspective, heat mapping is an effective way to gather data on areas of the store that sees the most foot traffic. You can easily imagine the benefits of knowing exactly which products are attracting the most people, and where you need to strategically place items in order to get the most eyes on them.
Surprise and Delight:
Once you’ve met the industry standard in terms of of new technology, you can think beyond just meeting expectations by using customer analytics that reward your customers and your business. Loyalty reward points are easy to track directly through the app and lead to big savings if you order frequently. This positive feedback keeps customers happy and keeps them coming back. In fact, according to this article from Chief Marketer, “87% of consumers say that, where a company has a good loyalty program, they have continued purchasing from that brand over the last few years”. LoyalTree, Spendgo, Como Sense are among a few loyalty rewards programs doing a great job. They are available at a number of SMB locations and can integrate within iPad and digital POS platforms.
Mobile apps are an integral part of the shopping experience. It’s essential to digitize the physical store and place your brand in the palm of your customers’ hands. Business must utilize the latest technology to give customers the options to order online, pick it up in the store, or have it delivered via a cohesive, fully customized app. In the end you’ll expand revenue opportunities and empower your customers with the choice of when and where to buy.
About the Author:
Bobby Marhamat is the Chief Operating Officer of Revel Systems, where he specializes in developing and implementing accurate business models and achieving goals through solid leadership and communication. Bobby previously served as the Chief Revenue Officer and VP of Sales at Revel, where he was responsible for the revenue generation processes which includes overseeing business development, marketing, sales, support, operations and fulfillment teams. Bobby also served as the VP of Sales and Marketing at Verizon, as well as the VP of Sales at Limos and the Senior Director of Sales and Advertising Solutions at LookSmart. Bobby holds both a B.S. in Marketing and an M.B.A. in Business Administration from San Jose State University. Bobby also holds a Negotiation Series Certification from Stanford University.
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