What the restaurant industry can learn from Amazon | Operations
James Shea, director of content strategy at Zuppler, explains why restaurant and food service operators should take a close look at Amazon’s model and how it has perfected a user experience around a frictionless transaction.
The restaurant industry can learn a lot from Amazon. The e-commerce platform has been processing online orders since 1994, more than a decade before the online platforms GrubHub and Seamless were established. Since then, Amazon has grown from a small online bookseller to the world’s most valuable retailer.
Amazon has created a user experience around a frictionless transaction. The company strives to move the customer forward throughout the sales journey and reduce the risk that a customer will not complete the transaction, which the restaurant industry should keep in mind. According to a survey, 55% of food and drink orders are never completed after adding an item to a cart. This can adversely affect a restaurant’s bottom line.
Keep customers at the center
When Jeff Bezos founded Amazon, he always put customers at the center of every decision. He knew that if customers had positive experiences, they would continue to order from Amazon.
Bezos has always kept an open line of communication with customers. He let customers send comments to his personal email address and spent time going through the comments. When Bezos identified an issue based on a customer complaint, he wanted it resolved quickly. He forwarded an email with the complaint and only said “?” This meant that an employee had to quickly find an answer to the problem.
Bezos believed in monitoring the data and tracking the numbers, but he also understood that people are the direct recipients of the product. He wanted to make sure that customers were always happy with the experience.
Restaurants need to put the customer experience at the center of building an online platform. A restaurant must make decisions based on what is best for the customer.
Recommendations are one of Amazon’s best features. Amazon uses a customer’s order and search history and makes recommendations. It also associates products, notifying a customer that when someone has purchased a certain item, the person has also purchased a different item. The goal is not only to help the customer with their purchases, but also to encourage the person to add more items to the cart.
This technique is rarely used in an online restaurant ordering experience, but often occurs in person. A person can order a steak and the waiter suggests a particular type of wine. With online shopping, restaurants should make suggestions for selling an order, just like Amazon has been doing for years.
Articles are easy to find
The user experience at Amazon is built around research. Amazon’s user interface isn’t cluttered with frivolous amounts of information. Amazon wants to make it easy for the customer to find and buy items. Items are organized into different categories, but users can also use a search function to find specific items.
It is the same for a restaurant. The purpose of a restaurant’s website is to sell food. This means that it is easier to find and buy items. Online menus should be searchable and menu items should be categorized in an easy-to-understand manner.
In 2005, Amazon launched Amazon Prime. For $ 79 per year, members received free two-day shipping on orders. Over the years, the benefits of Amazon Prime have increased. Members now have access to Amazon’s streaming service and Amazon’s music, but the price has only increased slightly.
Loyalty programs are a big part of the restaurant industry, but membership hasn’t historically been. Membership fees attract and reward a restaurant’s most loyal customers. A customer gains benefits by becoming a member and turns into a dedicated customer.
Amazon makes ordering simple and frictionless. The system records a person’s credit card and mailing address. A customer clicks on the item, adds it to the basket and in a few clicks the orders are processed. A regular customer does not need to enter a credit card and contact information.
Restaurants can make the payment process easier. Many restaurants do not record credit cards and customer contact information, and the customer must re-enter the information. This creates more friction and increases the chances of the customer abandoning the order.
Easy return policy
Amazon wants to make sure every customer is happy with their order. If there are any issues, the company makes returning an item effortless. Amazon works with Kohl’s and other retailers, so customers don’t have to pay for shipping costs. Amazon is not asking about the return. He finds a way to satisfy the customer.
In a restaurant, takeout and delivery orders are more often wrong than in-person orders. A restaurant has to work extremely hard to correct the problem and make the customer happy. The restaurant cannot make excuses for the problem but has to work hard to fix the problem, just like Amazon.
James Shea is Director of Content Strategy at Zuppler