One of the biggest outcomes from the yearlong pandemic: the rise of e-commerce shopping. Companies must adapt and continue to evolve to meet the demands of the current on-demand culture. This is especially true for the food industry. Restaurants have been severely impacted by the pandemic since everything shifted to contactless online ordering. While this may be challenging, there is abundant opportunity to keep brands top-of-mind with customers by designing an intuitive e-commerce focused platform. To ensure your brand is future proofed for 2021 and beyond, here are seven areas of opportunity to give people an easy, stress-free user experience. 

  1. Brand Personality 

Now more than ever, brand personality can strengthen voice and improve customer and brand loyalty. It is what makes brands relatable and will help set up and maintain the brand vision, mission and values and keep your brand top-of-mind among hungry people. Conveying values through a strong brand personality is an opportunity to deepen relationships, meet people’s needs, and exceed their expectations.

Brand personality goes beyond representation and valuing customers’ needs. It signals active listening. This signaling can be done through having a recognizable tone of voice across the entire website. Every piece of text, iconography, and imagery is an opportunity to shine as well as through copy that’s high-energy, bold and playful.

  1. Homepage Experience

More often than not in 2021, the website’s homepage is a customer’s first and main entry point. This is an opportunity to make customers feel seen and reflect an e-commerce-first approach. Rather than having the same homepage template appear for everyone, tailor the content to the customer. Offering personalized interactions for returning users can increase brand loyalty and decrease drop-off rates. 

An e-commerce focused homepage should allow people to purchase the product or service on first glance, “above the fold” on both desktop and mobile devices. 

  1. First-Time Visits/ Order

Speaking of first impressions, give people a reason to come back. People like to be spoken to as individuals, not as a mass audience. Personalization adds that extra layer of “I hear you.” Whether that’s by automatically filling in predetermined information or adjusting offers based on region, it hints that a brand knows and values its customers. When adjusting based on region, use location data wisely, only show menus specific to the local time, and alert customers that some coupons need to be used at a set time. This will reduce friction in the buying process by automatically serving appropriate menus and deals. 

  1. Visual Order Customization

The ordering process is necessary, so why not make it interactive and fun? Leverage aesthetically pleasing visuals and an on-point tone to showcase brand personality while keeping people engaged and entertained. Showing visuals of the food makes it easier for people to get a better idea of what they want. 

People like to customize and the easier you make it, the more likely they will follow through ordering. In the pandemic era, customers expect convenience and are also changing the way that they eat. Think of prioritizing ordering vegan or vegetarian. Not many fast-food chains are doing it and it is an area to stand out in. Introducing a symbol system also makes these items easier to find and order.

  1. Group Ordering 

Ordering for a group can be a tedious process. Reduce the stress and complications of placing large group orders and accommodate for larger group settings. Make it known your brand wants to help. On the homepage, give an option for group ordering that is clear, convenient, and allows simple group payment. Or add an option for people to share a link with their friends so everyone can put in their own order. The goal is to make it easy and flexible for family or friend groups to order. 

  1. Checkout & Delivery

Checkout and delivery are the last digital obstacle between a person and their food. Make it speedy and make it available. Seamlessly transition the customer from the cart to submitting their order. Often, delivery services have a cart minimum. This presents an opportunity to include a “You May Also Like” section in the checkout step. This helps meet the cart minimum and showcase personalized items per a customer’s order. However, keep in mind, the fewer steps a customer must take to check out and receive their food, the better.

  1. Mobile vs. Desktop Screen

While the web design is responsive across different devices, it’s not exactly optimized for them. What works for a desktop screen may feel draining and tedious for a mobile screen. It is important to differentiate the experience between the two devices. More than likely, customers will be on their phones and expect the same ease they would find using a desktop. Eliminate the task of lengthy vertical scrolling on a mobile.  

The pandemic is a tipping point for e-commerce. These seven areas of opportunity can help brands bring food to the table by making the user experience stress-free. A playful brand personality, along with a modern, customized e-commerce checkout, can help companies adapt to our current on-demand culture more fluidly. 

Holly Lipkin is a Product Manager at RPA Advertising. She is a passionate and seasoned leader who specializes in developing cross-channel strategies and deploying successful people-first experiences. With a personal ethos centered on simplicity and intuitive design, she has a true instinct and talent for facilitating collaboration between customer and company to deliver key results in whatever she does––from writing product specifications and guiding product designs to performing market research and finding revenue-driving solutions.

Outside Insights, Story, Technology