When you think about selling a meal or meal component, have you continued to say no way, not at all, or I tried it and it did not work for me? Steven Johnson Grocerant Guru® at Tacoma, WA based Foodservice Solutions® wants you to rethink your position. Ask yourself why us and why now?
Here are some insights and research excerpts from our friends at Paytronix. That will help you understand why many restaurants, c-stores, and delis utilize online ordering, and why it might be time for you to test the waters.
“While restaurants, namely quick service (QSRs), have embraced digital ordering, not all convenience stores have taken the leap. Early adopters, such as United Dairy Farmers (UDF), are discovering that adding order and delivery to their digital guest engagement platform is a great way to increase sales on high-margin in-store merchandise, such as fresh-baked items and signature ice cream treats.
But adding digital ordering doesn’t stand alone. It must be considered as part of a much larger digital guest engagement ecosystem.
During the pandemic, digital orders emerged as a key part of the mix and are now expected by most customers. The nature of digital orders has changed as well. While delivery was king before and during the height of the pandemic, more recent data indicates that takeout orders now dominate this digital channel, with numbers even higher than they were pre-pandemic. Takeout jumped from approximately 35 percent of orders in January 2020 to nearly 64 percent now.
What’s more, to meet customers where they are, brands must have a mobile app, and that app must work perfectly with loyalty rewards, your messaging platform and your CRM (customer relationship management).
Sticking a Toe in the Water
As more and more c-stores expand their physical footprint to accommodate bakery and hot grill items, moving these fresh food items has become a big priority. Like QSRs, c-stores are gravitating toward a takeout model.
C-stores that facilitate this upswing in takeout orders through third-party services are finding a new, receptive client base waiting for them. Google Ordering is one example, with merchants who implement Google Ordering achieving a 0.08 percent lift in orders.
For UDF, which has 170 retail locations throughout the greater Cincinnati area as well as Dayton and Columbus, Ohio, online ordering was a natural extension of its existing U-Drive Plus loyalty program. With loyalty members driving 37 percent of overall sales, UDF welcomed online orders via its website or mobile app. Customers can now order ahead for a coffee and freshly baked doughnuts, and then pick up their breakfast on the way to work.
Digital ordering also makes it easier for fuel buyers to get in and out of UDF stores and enjoy the brand’s growing assortment of “Oven Side” bakery products, hot food and ice cream treats. Customers are encouraged to shop in whatever way best meets their needs. Whether it’s supporting an in-store visit, an at-home delivery or a curbside pickup, the UDF guest engagement platform captures each transaction and builds a comprehensive view of guest preferences.
This further allows UDF to segment guests by fuel buyers vs. merchandise buyers, or even lapsed fuel buyers vs. those with high fuel buying frequency. Once UDF knows how frequently a guest visits and what they are purchasing, the retailer can create a personalized cadence.
UDF can generate a 1-to-1 win back campaign or a 1-to-1 visit challenge for individuals. It can experiment with incentives — will a guest respond to Red Bull or Monster? — and continually finetune its loyalty campaigns so that they are always delivering value to customers.
Smart brands are aligning their guest engagement platform to bring online ordering together with loyalty, mobile apps, CRM and messaging. Many will face the temptation to go with a best-of-breed approach and find just the right point solution for each component. The challenge with that approach is that if the pieces aren’t perfectly aligned, it can create operational inefficiencies that will act as a barrier to achieving the most out of the solution. With today’s demanding guests, it is best to create the easiest path to the strongest level of guest engagement. “
Are you looking for a new partnership to drive sales? Are you ready for some fresh ideations? Do your food marketing tactics look more like yesterday than tomorrow? Visit GrocerantGuru.com for more information or contact: Steve@FoodserviceSolutions.us Remember success does leave clues and we just may have the clue you need to propel your continued success.