Online ordering versus mobile apps

<strong>Online ordering versus mobile apps</strong>

Around the world, restaurants are adopting digital ordering. The COVID-19 pandemic made online ordering a must-have for restaurants that want to stay competitive. Between 2022 and 2024, digital restaurant orders are expected to triple.

The Benefits of Online Ordering

Online ordering is available through a website. Online ordering has been around for decades but has only recently gained traction as a preferred ordering channel. However, according to research, 70% of customers expect restaurants to offer online ordering on their websites. 

These days, customers may avoid restaurants outright if they don’t offer some type of online ordering solution. When you add up all the benefits of online ordering, it’s easy to see why it’s become so popular.

It’s a reliable remote ordering option for any ordering solution. Online ordering is an easy way to give customers the means to patronize a business without needing physical contact.

It’s convenient. Rather than calling a restaurant and placing an order by phone, online ordering gives customers a hands-off way to make a purchase. For many, the freedom of placing orders online (and without needing to speak to an employee) is a significant benefit.

It’s informative. Customers love looking through a restaurant’s menu at their leisure. Ordering online allows them to browse without feeling the pressure of an employee’s eyes on them or holding up a queue. Instead, they can scan their favorites or try new options, leading to a notable increase in the average order value. In a recent study, customers reported spending up to $5 extra on additional items when purchasing online.

It provides valuable data. Everything is traceable online. Restaurants that offer online ordering can leverage tools to scrape user data on purchases and preferences. From there, it’s easy to leverage that information to create effective initiatives and reinforce selling goals aligned with customers’ interests.

On many third-party apps, they control the conversation with your customers. You don’t get to interact with them except when you receive and fill their order. At the end of the transaction, they’re more likely to associate the experience with the app that they used – not with you.

But with your own restaurant mobile app, you have a direct pipeline to your customers. Change the messaging on the home screen. Send them a push notification about a special promotion. Whatever you want to tell them, you have the power and access to do it.

The Benefits of Mobile Ordering

Many of the above benefits apply to mobile ordering as well, but mobile ordering apps also have some unique advantages.

It lets them order ahead from anywhere. It is easier to reach customers through a mobile channel than traditional online ordering channels. Mobile order-ahead apps are the most compelling example, giving customers an on-the-go way to manage their entire transactions online. Whether at home, in their car, or out in public, they can browse your menu, pay for items, and even skip the line when they arrive for pickup.

It lets customers move quickly through purchasing. Mobile ordering makes it easy for customers to place orders and get on with their day. You can’t afford delays when customers stop in for a quick bite before work or while running errands. Solutions like mobile order ahead help them plan their trip, make their purchases, and make it easier for them to incorporate your services into their daily routine. For customers with limited time to waste, this ordering efficiency can be a competitive differentiator that helps them choose you over another restaurant.

It supports increased team productivity. Solutions like mobile order ahead don’t only benefit customers; they’re also a win for your teams. Mobile ordering apps give employees more information about incoming orders and help them plan accordingly. In addition, with better time management, companies can increase throughput and reduce the time each customer may need to wait.

Which Ordering Solution Is Better?

Both online ordering portals and mobile ordering apps bring significant benefits to restaurants and customers alike – but which is better?

Most companies start with an online ordering platform before progressing to a mobile ordering application, though in truth, companies need both to unlock the full potential of online ordering.

Online and mobile ordering are related, but each serves a different customer ordering function. Online portals offer the convenience of browsing/purchasing from home. In contrast, mobile ordering apps provide a way to place orders on the go and work restaurant food orders into routines more quickly. Of course, there’s some overlap between these two solutions but think of their usage as a Venn diagram. You’ll have a small subsection of customers who use both, but there will inevitably be big markets on either side who prefer one over the other. Leveraging both solutions let you capture as much market share as possible.

Of course, many companies already have an online ordering solution. So, what better way to complement it than with a branded mobile app? As detailed above, mobile ordering can benefit restaurants across marketing, promotion, and customer management. Moreover, loyalty program integration is only the beginning (though it’s an obvious benefit worth noting – according to one survey, 45% of respondents agreed that having access to mobile ordering and loyalty programs would encourage them to order more often). This way, digital ordering isn’t just a convenience; it’s an effective customer experience management tool.

The question isn’t either/or; for restaurants hoping to stay competitive against their big-name competitors, both ordering options are necessary. There’s no other way to create the convenient and efficient customer experience that modern shoppers expect.

Make Digital Ordering Easy for Customers

Traditional online and mobile ordering apps have their place in the modern customer experience. And with demand for remote ordering options higher than ever, now is the right time for restaurants to jump on board.

Solutions like the DevourNow custom mobile app give restaurants an easy way to enable end-to-end digital customer ordering. Mobile ordering is an intelligent way to prepare your company for the future. Customers crave the simplicity and ease of online ordering tools. Restaurants should take this opportunity to establish these systems and create various ordering options that suit each customer’s needs.