10 ways to increase your online orders in the year ahead

Claire Sweeney
Author Claire Sweeney
10 ways to increase your online orders in the year ahead

Online ordering is no longer just an optional extra for a hospitality business - it's an essential part of the operation these days and a key source of revenue.

Events of the past year, with lockdowns curtailing dine-in trade for long periods, have of course accelerated the move towards digital ordering. This trend looks set to continue at a rapid pace in 2021, as restaurants and takeaway businesses invest in growing their online ordering capabilities.

Having your own branded website and app, where customers can order quickly and conveniently for click and collect, or delivery, gives you a solid base to work from, and the right tools to succeed online. Your next big goal then, obviously enough, is to increase your online sales over time. Enhancing your digital presence and improving the customer experience are key to this.

So let's look at 10 proven methods to increase online orders in your business.

1. Give your customers exclusive offers

Customers love a bargain - that's something that never really changes! So attracting them with exclusive offers is always a good strategy. You want to incentivize them to order directly through your own website or app for delivery or click and collect, rather than through third-party aggregators where you lose a big chunk of the order value in their high fees (along with other negative consequences for your business).

One simple but highly effective way to promote your delivery and click & collect services - on both your website and app - is by giving your customers offers that are exclusive to those channels.

Flipdish even lets you send push notifications to your customers via mobile, informing them about any offers you want to promote. This helps maintain a strong engagement with customers, enticing them to order from you again and again.

2. Optimise your menu

Your online menu should impress and appeal to your customer right away. So we always recommend refining and optimizing your menu to showcase attractive meal deals and best-selling items. And make your menu visually appealing by adding high-quality images of dishes where possible.

Also it pays to watch out for new food trends. You can consider modifying your menu to make it more enticing to customers, maybe adding an exciting new dish or two, based on current and emerging trends (Flipdish can update any menu changes that you wish to add or remove items).

3. Provide an efficient service

The operation of online ordering really needs to be efficient at every stage of the process. You want to avoid any negative issues or experiences with packaging or food delivery. So your packaging must provide quality, good presentation, and temperature control. Packaging should also be distinctive, showing off your brand positively.

Keeping your customers informed of the estimated food delivery or collection time is also a good idea, avoiding any frustration or confusion on their part. Customers like to know how long they will be waiting, and this is one key part of providing an excellent customer experience, helping drive repeat ordering.

With Flipdish, you can also integrate your online orders directly with our top-class delivery partners.

4. Promote your online services offline

Never miss an opportunity to promote your online ordering platform, and in-person communication with dine-in customers is one real, golden opportunity. Get your staff to routinely tell your dine-in customers about the ordering options through your website and app and maybe next time they can click and collect.

Likewise, you can use your premises to promote your online ordering services through signage outside and posters indoors. Your premises itself is a big marketing asset and opportunity - so make use of it. Show the website address/URL and other key information clearly on any signage you display. This uses very traditional marketing tactics to promote modern digital ordering channels.

5. Link all social media channels to your online menu

Your target customer most likely scrolls through social media in their spare time on a daily basis - providing you another great opportunity to promote your online ordering.

You can bridge the gap between your website and social media by including a link to your online menu on your social media channels. This provides a smooth user experience, giving customers a direct route from browsing on Facebook or Instagram to placing online orders with you.

6. Encourage customers to download your app

It's one thing having a great app, but you also need to make sure people download it. Sounds obvious, but you do need to constantly promote your app and encourage downloads. This gives your business prime real estate on the customer's phone, putting you top-of-mind when they go to order food.

Therefore, app downloads are a huge driver of long-term customer loyalty. Make promoting your app on all available channels a key part of your marketing strategy in the year ahead.

7. Allow regular customers to reorder quickly

Online ordering needs to be fast and convenient in today's world. Providing a positive user experience and simplifying the process benefits your customer - and ultimately you.

For example, on the Flipdish system you can set up a ‘Favorites’ section of your menu, which is based on a customer's previous ordering habits. They can reorder their favorite items in seconds, with just a couple of taps. It’s a useful shortcut, one that lets customers get what they want very quickly, helping drive more orders.

8. Take advantage of digital advertising

Sophisticated online marketing tools, like Google Ads and social media advertising, can successfully target your customers at the right time and in the right place. Often giving great value for money and a handsome return on investment thru increased sales. For instance, Google Ads uses location targeting, ensuring that potential customers in your area find your business quickly through the search engine.

9. Use Google My Business to enhance your online presence

A GMB account gives customers simple ways to find you and connect. This free service from Google is a great way to enhance your online presence as it's designed to help promote local businesses.

With it, restaurant and takeaway owners manage how they appear across Google platforms and make their business stand out. Given consumer habits these days, with huge volumes of local searches happening via smartphone every day, this is a very important area to concentrate on.

Being set up on GMB means you appear in Google Maps and Local Pack listings, which show the local businesses related to someone’s query. That means huge visibility to people searching in your local area, giving them the key information at a glance – including your location, contact number, and a link to your website. So it helps bring more visitors to your site, ultimately driving more orders.

Convenient ‘Takeaway’ and ‘Delivery’ buttons within the Google Maps interface even allow users to go straight to food businesses offering those services, in just one click.

To get started on GMB click here

10. Gather data with customer feedback forms

With strict data protection laws implemented over the past couple years, gathering customer contact details has become a major challenge for businesses. You need to be careful to follow the rules. One smart solution to this challenge is to provide customer feedback forms, both in-store and online.

Not only do you get free objective feedback, you can also ask customers for permission to acquire their contact details. This data can be immensely valuable to future marketing and promotional activities.

Increase your sales in 2022 with Flipdish online ordering