The acronym of the hour for retailers everywhere is BOPUS: buy online, pick up at the store. The trend began years before the restrictions on shopping necessitated by the COVID-19 pandemic, but it has taken off since and shows no signs of abating.
- The U.S. Census Bureau reports that retail e-commerce sales totaled $1,581.4 billion in the first quarter of 2021, an increase of 7.8% from the fourth quarter of 2020 and 16.8% greater than online retail sales in the first quarter of 2020.
- Emarketer forecasts that e-commerce sales growth driven by the pandemic will persist in 2021, leading to an increase in U.S. retail e-commerce sales of 13.7% to $908.73 billion.
- Emarketer also expects the global market for e-commerce to grow by 14.3% in 2021, compared to 27.6% growth in worldwide e-commerce in 2020, to a total value of $4.28 trillion.
Retailers of every size and description are capitalizing on the growth in e-commerce by ensuring that online ordering is now available for their stores. Modern cloud-based POS systems make it possible for any retail operation to offer a custom, branded online presence that integrates seamlessly with its business in the real world. Here’s how to add online ordering to your restaurant or retail shop.
Step One: Prepare Your Online Ordering Checklist
Creating an online presence for your retail operation begins by deciding which of your products you want to make available for purchase online. These are among the aspects to consider:
- Can the products be packaged for delivery so they’ll arrive in good shape?
- Will the cost of packaging and delivery charges make the product too expensive to profit from?
- Will your customers understand the sizes and dimensions of the product from the information available in your online catalog?
- What are the chances of the product being damaged in transit?
- When the product arrives will customers have a good feeling about your business?
- Are there any regulations that prohibit the sale of the product online?
Retailers must also prepare their staff and their processes for accepting and fulfilling online orders:
- Will the online orders overwhelm your staff or affect their ability to accommodate your store’s in-person customers?
- What training will your employees require to process online orders and prepare them for shipment?
- Is the delivery service you’ll use able to provide your customers with up-to-date information on the status of their shipped orders and expected delivery date and time?
- Is your store prepared to handle returned items?
- Will your online customers have their questions and requests adequately addressed by your staff?
Step Two: Consider Online Ordering from Your Customers’ Perspective
The same techniques your business relies on for promoting upsell and increasing revenue per customer applies to its online operations. Before you let your customers know that online ordering is now available, you need to be sure they’ll enjoy the same service and shopping experience they receive when they shop in person:
- Organize your online product catalog in a way that makes it easy for customers to find the products they’re looking for and to have access to the information they need about the products.
- Include high-quality photographs of your products, including multiple views and the ability to zoom in for a closer look.
- Combine products that complement each other and suggest other bundling possibilities when customers view your online product catalog.
- Think beyond your store’s layout by combining products that naturally go together, such as beachwear, sunblock, and ice chests.
- Make your product descriptions as complete and inviting as possible, but do so in a concise manner to avoid cluttering your site with big blocks of text.
Among the descriptive terms that enliven online product descriptions are “stylish,” “chic,”, “versatile,” “sophisticated,” “luxurious,” “sharp,” “sleek,” “classy,” “sparkling,” and “tasteful.”
Step Three: Create Your Online Ordering Website
Your online ordering website requires only three things:
- A Standard or Premium talech service tier
- Either iOS or Android as a platform
- Location in the U.S., Canada, the U.K., or Ireland
Once your account is set up to process online payments, you sign into your talech account, choose the Website option, and set the Enable Website option to On. Next, choose the categories you want to include for your online orders, and optionally, upload your logo image and a background image for the site.
You can set your site to accept and approve orders automatically, and for restaurants, whether to deliver the orders to the kitchen automatically. Other options are to process orders manually and to set a maximum prep time to prevent orders from backing up in the kitchen during peak times. You also have the option to include a “Special Instructions” text field that customers can use to specify preparation or delivery requests.
Step Four: Integrate Online Ordering to Improve Your Internal Processes
Implementing an online ordering system presents retailers and restaurants with an opportunity to consider how their other operations can be enhanced and made more efficient. For restaurants, their POS system’s ability to combine orders received online with those from in-person diners improves the kitchen’s ability to prepare orders in a timely manner.
- Orders move from the customer’s app or the business’s website directly to its POS system and on to the kitchen display system.
- Managers, staff, and customers can track the status of orders in real-time.
- Wait staff are able to spend more of their time accommodating diners rather than taking and delivering orders to the kitchen and bar.
Before you announce to your customers that online ordering is now available, you need to be certain that they will enjoy the same level of service and the same dining experience they receive when they visit the establishment in person. Getting online ordering right the first time requires working with an experienced, knowledgeable POS vendor who helps you craft the perfect online presence for your business.
Online ordering opens up new vistas and diverse possibilities for retailers, but only if they focus on delivering a shopping experience that will resonate with their customers. The stores that embrace the change will reap the benefits.
When you partner with talech for your retail technology needs, we devote our time to identifying your business challenges. We use this information to work with you to apply an innovative POS solution that levels the playing field. Reach out to us today to sign up for a demo and to learn more about how talech can be your valued POS partner.
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