|Zuppler CEO Shiva Srinivasan|
There's always something new to discuss when it comes to online ordering. The technology seems to change weekly as more companies offer services and more restaurants sign on to take advantage of the increased sales and customer management.
This week The Pizza Insider talks with Shiva Srinivasan, CEO of Conshohocken, Pennsylvania-based Zuppler, about how online ordering technology has changed to adapt to smartphone usage and how you should be promoting your offering.
The Pizza Insider: How has online ordering changed from how it looked five years ago?
Shiva Srinivasan: Five years ago, online ordering was an afterthought for restaurants. They were not sure if they really needed it and they did not realize or appreciate the value to their customers and cost savings to them. Today, online ordering is a requirement for a restaurant operator and has become the main factor in choosing a POS system or loyalty program.
How has new technology (including smartphones) helped to move online ordering in new directions?
Shiva: The advancement in mobile technology has been the key contributor for the growth of online ordering amongst patrons. There have been a lot of innovations in mobile solutions and the rapid dominance of smartphones has provided easy access to these technologies. More than 45% of our online orders comes from mobile devices. We have made significant investments in building a state-of-the-art mobile solution integrating with mobile payments, loyalty programs and more. It is imperative that all restaurant websites and portals are responsive and device agnostic.
Where is most online ordering done today?
Shiva: The industry is going through a major disruption here. Three years ago, less than 5% of all takeout orders were placed online. Phone orders were the major source. Now, that trend is shifting and people are moving online. Advancement in mobile technologies have further contributed to this transformation. As this trend continues, I would think more than 70% of all online takeout orders will be through mobile devices.
With new technologies in mind, should pizzerias be looking at different ways to promote their online ordering offering? If so, in what ways?
Shiva: Absolutely. Today, we have different ways to connect with our customers: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and other social media tools. Offering innovative discounts, coupons and deals, and directing the customers to their website and converting them is going to be critical. A responsive website, a good branded online ordering integration and social media outreach can change the way pizzerias can grow their businesses. We have examples where pizzerias started with one or two orders per night and went to 20 - 25 orders a night directly from their own website. This also gives the pizzerias full control of their customers and customer information which they don't have if they receive orders from portals.
***Interested in offering online ordering? Find out more about Zuppler here, and use promo code "PMQ" to save on website development/setup fees ($1,000 value)