Ecommerce for Restaurants: 4 Ways to Drive Repeat Business

  • Advanced Ecommerce
Example of online ordering and ecommerce website for restaurants

Surveys show that 77 percent of customers check a restaurant’s website before they visit the establishment. Restaurants of all sizes are investing in their online websites to attract diners and expand their business during these unusual times. Chain restaurant giants like Buffalo Wild Wings, Panera Bread, and Chipotle are attracting customers to their websites with websites that feature online ordering options, digital loyalty programs, subscriptions, and virtual marketplace experiences. Smaller businesses like Pat’s Rib Place are meeting customer demand in new ways by selling their signature sauces online.

Many establishments have discovered during this last year that engaging ecommerce website for restaurants have been key to getting businesses found, staying competitive, and delighting customers. In this article, we’ll discuss how restaurants can drive repeat business and drive revenue with an ecommerce website.

1. Offer Local Pickup for Customers

During a time when restaurants are dealing with shifting dining regulations, local pickup allows establishments to continue to stay in business and to serve their customers with value and convenience. Restaurants can use their website to offer online ordering and local pickup or delivery options.  

To provide an effective online ordering system, you’ll want to make sure you promote the service on your website, provide an accessible, mobile-optimized menu, and include any customizations and additions that customers can make in a restaurant setting. 

Further reading: Local pickup has its opportunities and challenges—here’s what sellers need to know to make online ordering work for their business. 

2. Sell Food and Merchandise Online

One way restaurants can navigate the current turbulent economic climate is by selling signature foods, merchandise, digital gift cards, and any virtual offers on their website. If your restaurant has a famous sauce, for example, consider packaging the item and letting customers buy it online. You could also put your branding on merchandise like t-shirts, shoes, accessories, and kitchen supplies and sell these products to enthusiastic customers.

These items are all additional commodities that restaurants can offer through ecommerce, turning their website from a static placeholder into a money-making sales driver.

Further reading: Before selling any food online, you’ll want to keep in mind logistical, safety, and fulfillment considerations. Register any food products with the appropriate agencies, apply for business permits, plan your shipping process, and find the right ecommerce solutions. 

3. Attract (and Retain) Your Best Patrons

With more people going online to browse and shop, ecommerce provides a valuable opportunity for traditionally offline restaurants to attract and connect with customers and drive customer loyalty like never before.

To engage customers, restaurants can leverage powerful digital tools and channels like social media, email marketing, and loyalty programs. These can help improve visibility and keep customers updated about specials, menu changes, and other important news.

Further reading: Discover how loyalty programs can elevate your customer loyalty.

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4. Produce Winning Content

One of the biggest challenges for restaurant owners right now is to drive revenue with reduced traffic into their main source of income (the restaurant itself).

Ecommerce provides the space for restaurants to create high-quality, unique content that gets the attention of diners, builds credibility, and gives customers and restaurant guests a reason to visit. Having effective content on your site like recipe ideas, blog posts, featured stories, eye-catching videos, and food photography helps you rank on search engines and gets more eyes to your business in ways a simple, cookie-cutter website cannot.

Further reading: Discover the best marketing strategies to attract visitors to your website.

How to Find the Best Ecommerce Platform for Restaurants  

Dining out has changed drastically over the past year and will continue to change for the foreseeable future. To adapt to these changes and succeed using ecommerce, your business needs the right platform. Restaurant owners will need a platform that offers reliability, flexibility, and built-in tools to create an effective and memorable online experience.

Interested in learning more about how to engage customers and keep them coming back for more? Check out our infographic on how to increase customer loyalty and encourage repeat business.

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