Landing on the best strategy for building customer loyalty and repeat sales is challenging enough when it comes to reaching in-person diners, but what about digital-only customers? With online ordering on the rise everywhere and a customer base that has latched on to the concept across most demographics, restaurant owners must consider new strategies.
Working through these three questions will help you develop a plan to not only increase online sales but to foster new, lasting customer relationships, even with those customers you may never see.
1. Do customers know about your online ordering options?
Whether customers are already familiar with your brand or brand new, it’s important that your online ordering messaging is front and center — online and off. There are many ways to ensure online ordering customers find you:
Revamp your website. Consider tools like pop-ups and make sure there’s a link to your online ordering platform (or third party delivery partner) on every page.
Utilize an omnichannel approach. Provide multiple ways for guests to order, pay for, and get, their meals while ensuring a consistent experience - whether it be through online ordering, third-party ordering, or over the phone.
Utilize social media. Create posts specifically related to online ordering, and mention it even in unrelated posts — consider adding a line that says “Click here to place an online order right now!”or similar.
Increase in-store messaging. Include a note at the bottom of receipts and invest in signage and other in-store messaging to encourage guests to order from home, too.
2. Are you building customer loyalty through online orders?
Even if you never see or interact with online customers, you still have an opportunity to deliver a personalized, welcoming experience. And of course, loyal customers are repeat customers. Here are a few ideas:
Personalize receipts. Add a handwritten “thank you” addressed to the customer by first name.
Promote quality and accuracy. Make it a point to show customers you care about their orders by including an itemized receipt with each item checked off by hand, and seal each bag or box with a sticker that says “checked for accuracy” or similar.
Invite online customers to your loyalty program. Even if you use only third party delivery partners, include a card or flier with a QR code that invites customers to sign up for your loyalty program on your website.
Entice customers to order again. Include a coupon for a discount on a future meal.
3. Is your online presence accurate?
Potential customers are sure to choose another restaurant if they find inconsistent, inaccurate, and outdated information online. Customers will think of you as a reliable option if the order goes as expected, but may choose a competitor next time if surprises crop up. Stay on top of details like:
Menu items and prices.Supply chain challenges can make it difficult to keep up with pricing, but make it a habit to update this information. You may even need to update your online menu throughout the day to avoid disappointing online delivery and take out customers.
Store hours. Do your hours change throughout the year depending on the season or holiday? Update your hours on your website and anywhere your restaurant is listed (Yelp and Google My Business, for example).
Clarify your menu choices. Be sure customers have all the details they need to understand exactly what to expect from their order. Are sauces included? Sides?
You’re sure to increase direct online ordering sales by addressing these three areas, from both new and returning customers.
One way to gain more control over your delivery and take out program is use an in-house ordering platform like Onosys instead of sharing commissions with third parties. You’ll have better control over branding, customer relations, and gain helpful data insights you can apply to building customer loyalty across the board.