By: Pat Ward, Vice President, Integrated Payments at North American Bancard
The restaurant world is experiencing a transformation. A transformation where a seamless and connected customer experience is required, not simply a nice-to-have. Today’s consumers want what they want, when they want it, and they don’t want to spend a ton of time figuring out how to get it.
Today, more customers are ordering online and picking up in-store or having it delivered. Customer expectations for restaurants to create omnichannel experiences have risen to 87 percent of customers thinking that brands need to work harder to give them the seamless experience that they demand, according to a report from Zendesk. As consumers expectations shift, they will continue to expect multiple ways in which to order, pay for, and get their meals while maintaining a certain consistency and quality to the experience.
The power of mobile payments today is tremendous. It is estimated that by 2020, mobile online ordering will be a $38 billion industry. With most consumers walking around with a smartphone in hand, mobile ordering is quick and easy.
Updating an app to include all menu options and the physical restaurant location are good steps towards engaging consumers through mobile. Additionally, allowing consumers to access loyalty rewards and make payments through the app will create increased brand loyalty. The Starbucks mobile app is quite possibly the best example of showing how a brand can leverage mobile solutions as it links to their loyalty program and helps drive approximately 36 percent of their sales.
Make it Personal.
Personal data is an incredible tool that helps create targeted marketing campaigns that speak to the individual customer. This information is used to deliver the right message at precisely the right time – or when a restaurant thinks the customer is ready to make a purchase. The personalized customer experience is a powerful tool that has helped many restaurant owners create a strong base of repeat customers.
When it comes to omnichannel engagement, the more personalized the message, the more powerful it becomes. A restaurant’s loyalty program that spans all channels is great for letting consumers earn and use points or rewards either in-store or through the app or website.
Restaurants can also track valuable information about how customers choose to engage with the restaurant in the most relevant way. One of the more common examples of this lately would be the incorporation of having customers pay directly through a mobile app. The restaurant is able to see what the customer orders, how frequent they order, and can use that information to offer them coupons or notifications on upcoming promotions.
Today’s diners have hectic lives, and there is a short attention span when “quick and convenient” are not available when ordering and paying for food. Being able to skip ahead in lines or make payments through a mobile wallet are all time saving experiences that consumers want.
The evolution of foodservice has made convenience a strong driver in how consumers choose where to spend their money. Incorporating solutions that give consumers the experience they want, through the ordering channel they use most often, is important when looking at solutions that will grow a restaurant
Today, approximately 50 percent of consumers expect they’ll be able to purchase items online, and then pick it up in-store or in-restaurant. The need to afford customers these types of conveniences through omnichannel engagement is a necessary step in establishing consumers as repeat customers.