3 Benefits of Omnichannel Ordering Platforms
Within the food and beverage industry, particularly in quick-service restaurants (QSR), the expectations of customers are changing. Customer behaviour, and what customers want from an experience within a venue are evolving.
Thanks to the influence of changes in technology, and the ever-increasing ease of access to information, there is a need to provide customers with more control than ever before. This is underpinned by themes of convenience – how easily can a customer find what they want and place their order? How seamlessly can they order, collect loyalty points, and get access to promotional items for next time?
This is where omnichannel ordering platforms come into play. With the growing importance of digital technology in the QSR industry, omnichannel ordering platforms are the perfect way to meet evolving customer expectations.
Throughout this article we’re going to deep-dive into the world of omnichannel, taking you through what you need to know to establish a smooth omnichannel ordering experience for customers. We’ll highlight the three key benefits of adoption, sharing a customer example to showcase the impact it can have.
So, let’s start by exploring what we mean by omnichannel!
What is omnichannel ordering?
Omnichannel ordering is the process of managing all elements of the ordering process through seamless integration. As a QSR brand, you’re able to manage customer orders across all relevant touchpoints using one system. This may include controlling inventory, point of sale, collating data, running promotions – across the whole organisation rather than just on one site.
Google recently surveyed to understand more about the customer journey, finding that consumers use multiple online and offline sources when choosing where to buy, including searching online and then browsing in-venue (which was concluded as the most useful touchpoint by consumers in the survey).
With multiple touchpoints being used to help customers make their buying decisions, having the ability to manage and control touchpoints in one simple channel is becoming increasingly valuable.
From our research with clients, we have found three main benefits of embedding omnichannel ordering platforms:
– Enhanced customer convenience
– Increased operational efficiency
– Personalisation and data-driven insights
Understanding these benefits enables venues to leverage new technologies when embedding them on-site to provide the best possible customer experience.
Enhanced Customer Convenience
Within the last five years, the quick-service industry has seen a huge shift in customer demand for a frictionless and fast experience when it comes to ordering food and drink. Convenience is king.
Customers are also more knowledgeable about technology than ever before, preferring contactless ordering channels like kiosks and QR codes to interact with staff. Omni-channel ordering platforms give customers the flexibility to order from anywhere, at any time, empowering them to place orders themselves through their preferred channels.
Through tools like mobile apps, customers can get instant information about ingredients within products, giving them the chance to make an informed decision about what to order based on their preferences or dietary requirements, instead of relying on a server to remember to check allergy forms (something which as a customer can feel embarrassing in a busy coffee shop).
Moreover, omnichannel ordering platforms allow you to consider how you’re creating the whole customer journey as part of their experience, in the most convenient way for guests.
A key touchpoint which is often overlooked in quick-service restaurants is encouraging repeat custom. Embedding loyalty schemes to encourage customers to return to your venue is often a secondary consideration when embedding technology into a brand – you’re naturally focused on getting the customers through the door when you open.
An omnichannel approach to ordering embeds gathering data (more on this later) and launching loyalty schemes from the beginning, meaning you’re able to learn from customers and craft promotional campaigns tailored to them. This is all done in a way which means your customer doesn’t need to download various apps or sign up for multiple lists to receive the benefits.
Increased Operational Efficiency
QSRs are built to be fast-paced environments, meaning that operational efficiency is paramount to being successful. Implementing an omnichannel ordering approach allows QSRs to increase this efficiency within the customer journey.
Omnichannel ordering platforms are designed to streamline tasks, due to the pressures which come with ensuring that no matter how an order is placed, it should be fulfilled quickly and accurately.
To reduce this potential strain, an omnichannel ordering system allows teams to manage all orders efficiently using streamlined communication channels, automated menu updates and centralised order management processes.
Moreover, the structure provided by streamlined is shown to increase productivity in venues, allowing teams to prioritise improving other areas of customer experience within the venue such as tidying outdoor seating, or restocking utensils and napkins.
Personalisation and data-driven insights
Whenever a customer places an order through your omnichannel ordering system, you can collate data and understand more about them. This data reveals customer behaviour (how are they interacting with your menu), preferences (are more people choosing soya milk over oat), and values (which seasonal campaigns do your audience demographic best respond to).
Instead of assessing this data at each touchpoint via each piece of technology, an omnichannel approach gives you the ability to see all data and understand more about the full customer experience, holistically.
When you have access to this data, you’re then able to analyse it to understand more about what your customers need, providing you with an opportunity to personalise:
– You could learn more about customer preferences to make tailored recommendations and run promotions which you know are going to be well received
– You can amend and test the menu layout to drive traffic to specific product ranges (a useful feature when you have products with limited shelf-life)
– You can combine messaging within your ordering kiosk or app with content you’re sharing via social media or advertising to increase interest in your brand among potential new customers
Bonus benefit – increased competitive advantage
Alongside the three aforementioned benefits of embedding an omnichannel ordering system within your quick-service restaurant, there’s a major opportunity within the market.
As a response to the increased expectation for technology within the customer experience, many brands have reacted by leaping into embedding flashy innovations and systems into venues.
However, by taking a technology-led approach to installing kiosks and apps into your customer journey, you are at risk of forgetting the key factor – creating a valuable, memorable experience for your customers.
Taking extra time and care to learn from data and therefore your customers when installing omnichannel ordering platforms ensures that you are making decisions which will ultimately increase customer order value, the productivity of your team, and improve the overall customer experience.
That’s why whenever we launch Arch systems with a new client we take a gradual approach to implementation. We test kiosks and app ordering within a small number of flagship venues, before then expanding the technology brand-wide.