Digital technologies are transforming almost every industry and impacting the way many businesses operate. The foodservice sector is not immune. Driven primarily by millennials, guests want to interact with restaurants in increasingly virtual ways, but still expect excellent customer service. They’re more willing to turn away from long lines or slow checkouts, which means lost business that ultimately affects the bottom line.
In response to these changing consumer behaviours, the onset of the digital economy and the ubiquity of the mobile device, restaurateurs are increasingly focussing on making customer experiences faster, more intuitive and more convenient.
Foodservice businesses are adopting a wide variety of technological innovations in an effort to adapt, with eateries going cashless, self-serve kiosks enabling personalized orders, an increasing number of quick-service restaurants offering online and mobile ordering, and a growing number of meal delivery services cropping up across the country.
How can restaurateurs ensure that the dining experiences they provide will continue to meet evolving consumer expectations? One way is to create an e-commerce strategy to serve customers online and on their phones.
The practice of making purchases online or with smartphones — also known as e-commerce (as in electronic commerce) or m-commerce (as in mobile commerce) — continues to grow in Canada with no signs of slowing down. Three quarters (76 per cent) of Canadians own a smartphone. We love and are reliant on our devices. They’ve changed the way we interact with each other and the companies whose products and services we buy.
The Growth of E-Commerce and M-Commerce in Canada
- By the end of 2018, e-commerce purchases are projected to make up 9 per cent of all retail sales. That’s $56.96 billion in value.
- eMarketer predicts that mobile transactions will make up 30 per cent of all e-commerce transactions by end of 2018.
- Restaurants Canada reports that 40 per cent of Canadians were ordering take-out and delivery online through a restaurant’s website in 2018 — an increase of 9 per cent over 2017.
These numbers highlight the changing relationship between consumers and the foodservice industry. Canadian consumers spend a lot of time on their mobile phones doing everything from connecting on social networks, ordering their coffees and lunch, and shopping for groceries. This behaviour isn’t likely to die down, but rather increase. If your customers are online and on their phones, they should be able to find your restaurant there too.
Three Things to Consider When Building Your E-Commerce Strategy
What motivates Canadians to shop with their phones?
Understanding why Canadians make purchases online and with their smartphones will help you develop your e-commerce strategy. According to the Canadian Internet Registration Authority (CIRA), Canadians prefer to make purchases online because it’s easier, more convenient and saves them time. Ease and convenience will differ depending on the type of customer you serve and how you want to make the experience easier for them.
Ask yourself: How will your e-commerce strategy streamline the customer experience? How will it help them save time, save energy and simplify their lives? How simple is it to pay for your product online?
How do Canadians want to pay online?
Accepting payments is a key part of your e-commerce strategy. It’s imperative that you understand how Canadians want to pay and ensure that they have that option online (because what they want is ease and convenience!).
Research shows that Canadians pay in-store the way they want to pay online. This becomes even more important for places where the in-store and online experiences are blended. As more restaurants create online experiences where customers can order ahead in a mobile app and then pick up in-store, you will want to ensure you provide customers with the payment options they would use when dining in your physical location.
What we’re also seeing is that millennials are heavy debit users and are more likely to use debit over credit cards. They tend to use debit cards since they are accepted everywhere they shop. They are also more open to non-traditional payment methods. Interac research shows that a fair proportion are more likely than the average Canadian to prefer businesses which offer digital payment methods.
Who should you collaborate with?
Many businesses and restaurateurs choose to partner with other experts in the industry to implement their e-commerce strategies. Understandably, they want to collaborate not only with partners they trust, but partners whom their customers will trust as well. Security is also inherently tied to trust, and security and customer experience go hand in hand. Security is non-negotiable, but it has to be balanced with a great customer experience.
For mobile and e-commerce transactions, Interac offers security and a smooth customer experience through solutions that leverage the Interac Token Service Provider (TSP). Tokenization protects each customer’s sensitive financial information by replacing it with a randomly generated sequence of numbers that is unique to the customer, their account and device. This removes any worry that businesses might have around PCI compliance while providing their customers with a secure, seamless payment option. With Interac Debit, restaurateurs benefit from real-time transactions processing, and chargebacks never occur. It’s also one of the lowest-cost payment acceptance options.
Restaurant owners and operators want to ensure their businesses are successful and growing. With the right collaboration and e-commerce strategies, they can focus on building a great brand, serving superb food and drink, and attracting loyal customers.
In an increasingly digital economy, restaurateurs must embrace change to make it as easy and convenient as possible for their customers to spend money dining at their establishments, picking up take-out or ordering delivery. A well thought-out e-commerce strategy is key to offering customers a seamless experience, earning their trust, and meeting them where they are today — online and on their mobile phones.
Interac was RC Show 2019 partner – Canada’s largest foodservice & hospitality event.
Thanks to everyone who came out and attended!