Today it is much easier to order food and satisfy your hunger. Just swipe, click, and get it.

The ability to place orders online with just a few clicks on a smartphone is taking off. In today’s mobile-driven society, users have high expectations and low patience; they want on-demand services. That is why restaurateurs aim to drive profits by providing guests with the most convenient ways to buy their meals. According to the annual Mobile Money Report released by the trade group, Mobile Ecosystem Forum, purchasing food and drink more than doubled in 2016 (from 11 percent in 2014 to 26 percent).

When launching online ordering, restaurant owners need to decide whether to limit themselves to a mobile app or have a web-based ordering alternative.

Why mobile users are more valuable for your business than web users

Today 90 percent of the time spent on mobile is spent in apps, while only 10 percent is spent in the browser. Users prefer apps, because they represent an easier-to-use version of a full website, or because they are often the most simple method compared to difficult processes on a website. The move to mobile is why many businesses are now enhancing the customer experience with their own mobile apps.

Restaurants are now realizing that a mobile app user is much more valuable than a website user. The reason is that the efficiency of the personalized communication via a mobile app is significantly higher than the efficiency of the communication that happens between a brand and a web user. When it comes to communication via web browsers, websites usually rely on email marketing using customer purchases made on the site. According to Zipstripe, the average time for recipients to view an email message is 6.4 hours, which makes emails useless to deliver time-sensitive information.

The efficiency of communication with customers has a direct impact on their visit frequency and check size. Inefficient and poor communication between a brand and guests is costly for business. When you offer your customer an opportunity to choose between web-based and mobile app based ordering, and they decide to use the Web, it means you miss the chance to create an effective customer communication channel, the one that you can more effectively build upon with a mobile app. As a result, it may lead to revenue losses for your restaurant. Therefore, restaurants should encourage their clients to use mobile apps instead of web-based ordering.

If that isn’t reason enough to take advantage of one of the fastest-growing opportunities, here are seven strong arguments for “going mobile:”

Your customers are online all day, every day

ComScore’s 2017 Cross Platform Future in Focus report shows that in the U.S. the average adult user (18-plus) spends two hours and 51 minutes on their smartphone daily. It’s best to meet your audience where they are. By launching a mobile app, you make it much easier for your customers to submit orders from their mobile devices they use every day.

Your users receive the right message at the right time

A mobile app solution is a personalized channel of communication that allows you to deliver the right message to your audience at the right time. For example, you can send a personalized reward an hour before lunch time to your customer who usually visits your place at dinner time, reminding them about your restaurant and encouraging them to visit it. When it comes to web-based communication, emails are usually opened at the wrong time, and browser push messages are considered an interruptive element by customers, while every smartphone user understands mobile push notifications.

You can deliver hyper-local offers to your customers

Thanks to the geo targeting options provided by mobile apps, you can communicate with your customers based on their geolocation. Although websites can also detect a user’s location, it’s possible only while the webpage is currently opened. On the other hand, you can make your mobile app smarter by implementing a geofencing feature in it to target your guests within a predefined area.

In-app loyalty programs help to solve the “last mile” problem

Only a mobile app enables you to add a personalized reward system that provides your customers with the easiest possible way to purchase new items right after receiving the personalized reward. When the individual offer is delivered through a push message to your customer’s mobile app, they are always just one click away from using the offer in-store.

Mobile apps provide another channel for building your brand

Using a mobile app is a great way to boost your brand awareness. Your app logo can be a constant reminder of your brand on the customer’s’ mobile screens. To make your mobile app stand out from the crowd, you need to make sure it has a visually appealing icon, a relevant app store description, an eye-catching UI design, easy navigation, and mouth-watering visuals.

Going mobile means following the example of successful brands

The third-party services, like GrubHub and UberEATS, that were released as mobile apps developed into strong brands. Their successful strategic decision helped them occupy a large market share and reap significant financial rewards.

A mobile app creates convenience

Your customers want to be able to connect with your brand anytime and anywhere. That is why, a mobile app is a great opportunity to give your guests what they want. When a thought pops into their mind that they need to purchase from you, they can do it immediately through your mobile app right at their disposal. Also, apps can provide your customers with instant access to your business information, such as restaurant location. Convenience in communication with your brand is a fundamental factor when it comes to customer satisfaction. Emotionally satisfying customer experiences can lead to increase in revenue.

Meeting your customers’ expectations

Mobile apps make the lives of your customers much easier. A key advantage of a mobile app version of a website is that its content is tailored to your user’s preferred device. Apps can be easily used anywhere and allows you to add mobile-specific features to make the interaction of your restaurant guests with your app more engaging.

Enterprise restaurants that claim to be leaders in digital ordering, like Starbucks and Domino’s, encourage their customers to place their orders on mobile, instead of using web-based ordering, by offering a variety of features and functionality in their apps to create remarkable experiences. With more and more consumers are turning towards mobile ordering, it is becoming crucially important for restaurants to have a functioning and innovative app that meets their customers’ needs and wants and caters to the current trends.

Building effective communication with guests allows restaurants to retain them as long-term consumers and, thus, maximize revenue opportunities.

“A successful communication-based strategy is not just about talking to your customers, it’s about talking to them the right way. When offering a web-based ordering option, you are risking to waste the valuable moments of interactions with your guests,” says Vas Diachenko, founder and CEO of LoyaltyPlant, a U.S.-based mobile solutions provider.

On the other hand, a mobile app provides a convenient way to connect with your brand whenever they want and wherever they are. Creating such an effective communication channel dramatically improves customer satisfaction, which, in turn, leads to sales increase.

Galina Grigoreva, head of marketing at LoyaltyPlant, an New York City-based global provider of mobile loyalty and digital ordering solutions for restaurant brands. A customer engagement evangelist advocating highly personalized and mutually rewarding communications between brands and their customers with the help of technology.
Ordering, Outside Insights, Story, Technology