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How local businesses are growing an online presence using online ordering systems


If you get the food industry right, it can be an extremely lucrative endeavour. Get it wrong, and it’s a tricky space to navigate in the long term. The sector is one of the largest in the 21st century, but this comes with challenges, and navigating the online world is one of them.

In business, it’s important to be constantly innovating and coming up with new ways to grow. The online world is one you need to embrace if you’re going to succeed. Even local businesses are growing their online presence by using online ordering systems, and here’s why.

What is an online ordering system?

Sometimes referred to as virtual ordering or contactless table ordering, an online ordering system is embedded into your company’s website to make it an ecommerce channel. Put simply, your food – whether that be from your sit-in restaurant, grocery shop, or takeaway – can be ordered and paid for online by customers. Hiring experienced ECommerce services can help you create a smooth and efficient online ordering system. It can even be used within your restaurant for customers to order food to their tables.

You can set up an online ordering system with a provider like Slerp, who offer a digital front-of-house service, table ordering, click and collect, pre-ordering, and even on-demand delivery. Instead of multiple systems, Slerp puts them all into one simple solution for your business.

How does an online ordering system grow your online presence?

Online ordering systems can be a great way to access cheaper marketing. We hate to break it to you: print marketing – traditional ads – are a dying art.

By contrast, an online ordering system automatically boosts your profile on the web, improves your SEO (search engine optimisation) rankings, links to your social media profiles for further promotion, and most importantly, generates more clicks to your website.

Be smart when planning your marketing strategy. For example, take delicious photos of your food and include them as part of your online ordering system, plaster them across your website, and post them on social – maximum rewards for little effort.

Some restaurants and takeaways, particularly ones well-established in the local area, are slower to go online. They may feel like they’re successful enough without an online ordering system, or that their customer may not use it. They’re wrong – but don’t tell them that!

If you have an online ordering system, you automatically get ahead of your competition. If someone Googles ‘food delivery online Sunderland’, for example, your place (if it’s in Sunderland!) will come up, but the local place that gets in-person traffic won’t.

Impress them with your food, and the customer is very likely to come back for more. Then, the more people order via your website, the more often it’ll appear in search results.

One of the hidden beauties of online ordering systems is that they can collect a lot of data for you, as long as you have a robust privacy policy and follow GDPR regulations. Your website can work to understand your customer and provide you with the essential data which will help you respond to their requirements, optimise your services, and gain an advantage against your competitors.

The more you know about your customers, the more you can tailor your content, and the more your online presence will thrive.

Are there other benefits to an online ordering system?

Of course! As well as benefitting your online reach, virtual ordering systems take a lot of the tricky work out of your hands.

Take the simplification of your ordering process as an example. What local businesses in particular need to realise is that the days of making in-person orders or (gasp!) picking up the phone to order are numbered.

Online ordering systems allow the customer to enter their order themselves. They can process their order with a few simple clicks, and the onus is on them to get it right! If they have a large and complicated order, that’s no problem. Instead of making a drawn-out and anxiety-inducing call, they simply tap away from the comfort of their own device.

You’re also financially better off implementing an online ordering system. There’s far less risk when processing orders this way as customers pay for their food digitally when they submit their order, making fake orders, abandoned orders, and no-cash-on-delivery mishaps a thing of the past.

Online ordering means faster payment. In addition, online orders have been shown to be around 20% larger than in-person orders. The customer has longer to decide what they want and they’re psychologically more likely to be drawn in by bigger and better options. What’s not to like?