How Online Ordering Platforms Hijack Your Customers, Then Charge You to Reach Them...11 Sep 2018, by Kamron Karington in Online ordering software, Restaurant Marketing
Unlike Google and Facebook that simply take your privacy in exchange for services, many OLO providers take your money, steal your customers, and bury you under your competitors... if you don't pay up even more.
Here's how it works: GrubHub, Uber Eats, etc. have snazzy apps that make it easy for people to order from restaurants.
Just slap their link on your website... and BAM!... you'll be flooded with new business.
That's all cool... except for one thing. Your customers become their customers. And soon, you'll be forced to outbid your competitors just to reach them.
These platforms don't just sit around waiting for your customers to order from you again... they actively promote other restaurants to them (remember, they make money every time an order is placed).
So they want your customers placing as many orders as possible. And they don't care if it's with you, or any other restaurant in their network.
But paying to lose control of your own customers is just the beginning...
Now the cage-fight really begins...
As thousands of restaurants transfer their customer lists – the providers grow powerful. They control access to the customers.
And to compete for traffic merchants must…
- Pay more for higher ranking
- Pay more for banner ads
- Pay more to appear is search results
Let's get this straight... you pay up to 30% so your own customers can place online orders. The provider begins suggesting other restaurants to them.
Simply open your wallet even more... and they'll suggest you too.
This becomes a full-throttle race to see who will pay the most, and discount the deepest to get hammered the hardest…
How you can turn the tables:
Understand… by putting a third-party ordering link on your own website you’re paying to upload your customers to a platform where your competitors can begin poaching them.
The smart move is to attract your competitor's customers (the provider's audience), and not surrender your own.
How do you do that?
Use all the third-party OLO providers you want... just don't put their link on your website. Let them send you traffic. Not the other way around.
- You must have your own online ordering platform
- The only OLO link on your website, FB page, etc. goes to your platform
- Use third-party providers as long as you have a conversion path
Conversion path: If you do your own delivery… you can easily include a box-topper aimed at moving your Grub-hubber to your own online ordering site.
But if you’re using third-party delivery as well… it’s a bit more challenging. The third-party wants to own the relationship and may discard materials that invite customers to order directly through you.
Print specific boxes/packaging for OLO orders: These guys can throw away a box-topper – but they’re not going to repackage your food.
A loyalty program (here's how to not screw that up) is the perfect hook to get a new customer's contact info.
- Include a juicy offer to join your loyalty program on food packaging
- Then, the "Welcome" email makes it clear – to earn points and redeem offers for online orders – you must order from our website.
Is it a pickup? Then that’s easy. Get them to join your loyalty program… or at least stuff something in their hand that gives them a reason to order directly through you next time.
Educate your customers: Do you have your own online ordering platform but customers still order from GrubHub or whatever? Most people have no idea of the ridiculous fees restaurants pay to use these third-party platforms.
Let customers know that they can help you keep prices reasonable by ordering directly from you instead of the other platforms.
REMEMBER: Without a conversion path you are sharing customers with competitors…