Revel CSO Chris Lybeer continues his guest series with a closer look at how businesses are maintaining control of the off premises customer experience today. In an age where online engagements are the norm, Chris shares why it’s more important than ever before to tie your brand to each purchase.
Picture this: it’s Friday evening after a long week of work. You pick up your cell phone and click on your favorite third-party ordering app. You’re in the mood for tacos and willing to try something new as long as it has good reviews. Behold, a taco place with 4.7 stars appears in your search and you place your order.
How many times have you encountered that scenario and afterwards thought, “what was the name of that place again?” The ordering experience didn’t take you to their website, so you likely didn’t get prompted to sign up for their loyalty program and probably never will. Outside of a few pictures of dishes, you may have never even seen their logo or brand colors during the ordering process.
The rise of off-premises dining through third-party apps has made it extremely difficult for businesses to build brand recognition and loyalty. Sure, they made the sale, but at what cost? Will that customer consider the same restaurant during their next quest for tacos?
Ultimately, the more entities that are involved in an off premises order, the more risk there is of a breakdown in the branded customer experience. Third parties often complicate the process by confusing who truly owns the customer experience and how merchants close the feedback loop when applicable. For example, if you head to your favorite restaurant’s website and click “order online,” you’re often redirected to a third-party site for order fulfillment.
In order to take back control of the customer experience and achieve a healthier economic model (I haven’t even gotten into third-party fees yet!), restaurants should consider limiting their reliance on third parties and own their off-premises ordering data whenever possible.
To do this, simplify your ordering channel(s) and avoid a breakdown in the ordering process for customers by implementing native solutions. We’ve spent the past few years making that process as easy as possible with Revel’s suite of native solutions for off-premises dining management.
Online Ordering XT offers complete control of the off-premises ordering experience and helps maximize profits. And when paired with native delivery management—like Delivery XT—you can maintain control of the entire off-premises customer experience from start to finish.
Here are some of my favorite ways that you can prioritize a positive, branded digital experience for customers, all while benefiting your bottom line.
With Revel’s branding tool, you can customize your user interface to create a fully-branded customer experience. Incorporate visuals, brand colors, and custom fonts to offer an online experience that still feels like your business.
Unlike many third-party aggregators, user account data for online ordering stays with your business with native solutions. Use customer profile information for personalized messaging, promotional materials, and to access a customer's favorite items with ease.
We’ve seen countless operators get burnt by the fees and commission costs that grow pretty quickly with every third-party order. Native solutions like Online Ordering XT can help keep more profits in your pockets that can be reallocated for creative branding initiatives. Use these savings to reward your loyal customers or to reward yourself—third party fees actually add up to a few vacations a year!
I can’t predict the future, but I do know one thing for sure—the pandemic will eventually be in our collective rear view mirrors. The effects of COVID-19 will, however, leave lasting effects on consumer preferences and trends.
I think the proliferation of third-party delivery apps is here to stay. And in some cases it works well. For example, say you’re a traveler in another city, or a teenager playing video games who just wants a quick option for sweet and sour chicken and doesn’t care about the brand. It’s okay to have a small percentage of your business go through a third-party channel for those types of orders.
However, more than 90 percent of your business should ideally pass through your owned channels, and we’ve seen most restaurants and retailers seek more control over the off-premises experience through native online ordering and delivery solutions. Businesses like yours will need to continue prioritizing native solutions in order to maintain brand recognition, loyalty and profitability.
Our team at Revel is ready to help you implement a flexible, cloud-based platform to help your brand stand out in an increasingly digital world. Get started today!