Would you like to offer your customers online ordering? If you already offer online ordering, is your ordering experience customer-friendly? Customers today expect a smooth and fast online ordering process. Thankfully, that’s easy to achieve with the right software.
If you’re already making the switch to online ordering, you might be considering using generic shopping cart software. While generic software is usually cheap, it’s not going to support your restaurant. You need software for online ordering build specifically for restaurants. If you’re not using industry-specific software to facilitate online purchases, you’re losing money and customers.
Why you need industry-specific software
Food service businesses have special requirements for online orders. For example:
- General food service restaurants. Restaurants often order a curbside pickup option for customers and this is actually a separate service from walking inside. Restaurant chains like the Outback Steakhouse, for example, have a team dedicated to curbside pickup and they need to be alerted of all orders automatically. A general shopping cart system won’t work.
- Pizza. Customers need the ability to customize their pizza before placing their order. The best you’ll get from a general shopping cart system is an option for customers to add comments. That’s not an efficient way to customize a pizza.
- Grocery stores. Grocery stores have multiple specific needs. A grocery store with a deli and/or hot food bar requires customization options. Grocery stores with club cards need customer purchases to connect to the store’s database and allow customers to redeem points and discounts online. Generic shopping cart software won’t make the cut.
Why generic shopping cart software isn’t suitable for a restaurant
When using generic shopping cart software, you’ll need to use the built-in features as-is, which often means repurposing categories and tags for other purposes. It may look decent on the front-end, but your URLs will always reflect any patch jobs you’ve done. It’s just not a professional way to provide online ordering for your customers.
What are the benefits of using online ordering software for restaurants?
Using online ordering software specifically designed for restaurants is beneficial to you and your customers. While your customers will get a seamless, smooth shopping experience, you’ll get:
- Software that supports PCI-compliance. While PCI compliance is dependent on your payment processor and/or merchant account, professional restaurant online ordering software integrates easily with merchants and payment processors that are already PCI-compliant.
- Software that is easily customizable for the food industry. If your customers want to customize a deli sandwich or pizza, they should be able to select their options from a drop-down menu. The comment section on an order form should be reserved for genuine comments in order to prevent miscommunications.
- Software that will support delivery services. Delivery services often require a different type of system. You’ll need to program available delivery times and calculate availability. This can only be done with specialized software specifically programmed to account for delivery services.
- Software that can increase sales. When customers browse your website and notice you offer online ordering, they’ll be more likely to place an order. Online ordering software has been shown to increase sales by up to 35%.
Ecommerce is a growing industry; choose the right software for success
Experts have predicted that ecommerce will make up 22% of all retail sales by the year 2023. Although restaurants aren’t retail, we’re going to see an even greater increase in online food sales since the coronavirus pandemic is changing the entire restaurant industry.
Even after the pandemic is over, restaurants will have invested money into online ordering systems and will keep those options intact. Plus, many customers will prefer online ordering even in a post-pandemic world.
Give your customers the best experience possible. While free or cheap shopping cart systems might seem like an easy solution, they cause more problems than they solve. Chances are, once you install a cheap or free shopping cart system, it won’t work as planned, and you’ll have to start over with new software.
Save yourself time, energy, and money. Get an online ordering system specifically designed for the restaurant industry. It’s a worthwhile investment that will pay for itself in a short period of time. And, in a post-COVID-19 world, it just might get you the lion’s share of sales in your area.