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Removing friction in digital ordering, delivery discovery

| by Jackie Berg
Removing friction in digital ordering, delivery discovery

A perfectly blended vanilla coffee lands on the counter at my local coffee shop and suddenly my attention is diverted to the person standing next to me. 

"That looks delicious," I tell her. "Can I ask what you ordered?"

"It does look good! But it's not for me," she says as she collects a straw and heads swiftly to her car and eventually the customer her ordering the beverage. "I'm delivering for Postmates." 

Seeing this process in motion for a single coffee worth no more than $5 stopped me in my tracks yet again, as the restaurant industry has done countless times in recent memory. The expectations for on-demand ordering and delivery have grown considerably, forcing restaurant marketers to rethink the concept of brand-building for digital hospitality on their websites and apps, where they too can offer pickup and delivery without paying a hefty commission.

A recent eMarketer study captured the situation that restaurants face today by revealing that 53 percent of consumers they surveyed prefer to order directly from the restaurant.

So what's stopping them? And perhaps, more importantly, how can brands "own" their e-commerce customers more often? Here are some ideas to consider.  

Fight friction along the path to purchase

The path to purchase has never been more complex for restaurant brands since customers are now interacting with brands through dozens of new and emerging indirect channels. These include everything from review apps to third-party ordering marketplaces and everything in between.

For teams tasked with building e-commerce sales, the process of enhancing digital "discover-ability" begins with two fundamental questions: Can guests find the brand and is the brand really persuading customers to order directly from it? 

The answers begin to come when teams take one of the most essential steps to winning e-commerce is assessing by getting a good picture of what the brand's digital path to purchase looks like for both ordering and delivery. Once that's understood, brands can get started on removing those barriers to conversion.

If, for instance, you offer direct delivery on your site, you should also get a good idea about how easy it is for customers to find it. If it's buried four clicks down on your site or app, conversion will most certainly suffer.

At Olo, we recommend all brands perform a regular audit of all the entry points into their digital path to purchase and then actively work to optimize them. Then, once that path is clear, consider including incentives to boost conversion along the way. These promotions can range from delivery subsidies to online-only menu items.

Build your brand's calendar around e-commerce

Launch promotions are a great way to drive trial orders, but they are only the starting point in owning your brand's share of voice. The inclusion of touchpoints to drive digital engagement should also be a foundation of your brand's marketing calendar.

Seek ways to organically integrate calls to action into the calendar, while continually driving awareness for new menu items, collaborations, events, holidays and other occasions with big sales potential. In fact, if you're looking for ideas and inspiration around these areas, review your brand's ordering trends and data by day-part and time to identify hidden opportunities. 

Tap into search 

In 2015, Olo's founder and CEO Noah Glass said the smartphone was the remote control for our lives. Now in 2019, Google has become the modern-day "TV Guide" for that remote control.

Search has become the dominant acquisition channel, but there's strong evidence that many brands are missing out. For instance, Olo recently conducted a study of the top 300 restaurant brands to determine how restaurant brand partners performed in searches that included each chain's own keywords, like "kfc delivery" or "corner bistro online ordering." 
The results show that third-party marketplaces are outmaneuvering operators. That means that the groundwork is being laid now to shift consumers — and the millions of dollars they'll spend — away from brands in the next five to 10 years.

Brands need to be found at the top of search results, rather than in the fifth position, because owning search is the future of owning the consumer. Unfortunately, fifth place is where restaurant brands actually fall in searches that include "brand name + delivery" keywords. 

Olo recently completed a guide around this subject and the actions brands need to take now to be on top of the customer's digital paths to dining out in the future. But the bottom line is that brands need to do the work now to claim a stake in the digital future of dining because if your brand doesn't, someone else will.  

Topics: Business Strategy and Profitability, Customer Service / Experience, Delivery, Marketing / Branding / Promotion, Mobile Payments / Commerce, Online Ordering, PCI Compliance, POS

Jackie Berg

Jackie Berg is the Vice President of Marketing of Olo. Since 2005, Olo has helped restaurant brands increase revenue per square foot through faster, more accurate, and more personal service with digital ordering.

wwwView Jackie Berg's profile on LinkedIn

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