Recent advances in technology have completely changed how the restaurant industry does business. The rise of online ordering — first through a website and more recently through mobile apps — has quickly led to a revolution in how customers connect with and order from a particular establishment.
Technology moves so fast that as soon as one platform becomes well-established, there are already three more up-and-coming platforms to adopt. Not adapting to these changes can cause your business to become stagnant and lose customers. With that in mind, let’s take a look at some predictions for what’s going to be hot in online ordering systems over the next few years.
Using advertisements targeted to specific customers isn’t a new thing, but it’s certainly something you can expect to become an even bigger player in the next few years. As algorithms become more fine-tuned and exact, a quick search and click history will make it even more possible to zero in on customers’ specific preferences. Instead of wasting advertising dollars trying to reach a large segment of the population, specific targeting lets you spend money focusing on customers who are actively searching for your type of restaurant.
Another advertising model that results in fewer wasted ad dollars and more specific targeting is the PPC (pay-per-click) model. PPC works on the premise that, instead of paying for advertising up front that may or may not be effective, it makes more sense to pay for advertisements that have already worked. Advertisement space is procured on a website that potential customers might visit. However, if nothing happens and no ads are clicked, no money gets sent out. After all, why pay websites that aren’t working for you?
When an ad does gets clicked and the customer is brought to your restaurant’s landing page or website, the host site gets a little kickback. The more clickthroughs from that website, the more money they earn. This creates a mutually beneficial relationship where the host site plays an active role in displaying your ad, and where you only have to continue to do business with the sites that result in more orders.
Frequently, customers visit a website, begin the process of placing an order, and then abandon it at some point. For many sites, that’s the end of the story. However, in the coming years look for an upswing in the amount of technology available to keep track of these customers, even if they didn’t enter any contact information. This doesn’t mean you want to harass them, but sending them a gentle nudge or reminder now and then might make a difference and result in a sale down the road.