Mobile ordering apps have changed the food delivery and pickup game for the better. With more and more retailers and restaurants adopting for these kinds of apps , consumers are placing fewer delivery and pickup orders over the phone and instead are opting to use a mobile app. Why? Because these mobile ordering apps offer a number of key benefits that more traditional methods of ordering over the phone or waiting in line cannot match.
Consumer Benefits of a Mobile Ordering App
Consumers are certainly downloading mobile ordering apps at lightning speed. When Chick-fil-A released its first app, it reached No. 1 in the app store during its first three days. These apps are popular for several reasons:
- There’s no more waiting in line or getting put on hold.
- Ordering ahead provides convenience during a busy day and allows you to pick up food on the go.
- You get the whole menu right at your fingertips, including items you may not have known existed.
- Loyalty reward points are easy to track directly through the app and lead to big savings if you order frequently.
Restaurant Benefits of a Mobile Ordering App
While these apps may be created for the customer, they achieve a number of important objectives that can greatly help out the restaurant or retail store as well.
- They can handle more orders; Chipotle claims it manages six more orders an hour when placed through a mobile app, as no one has to stop what they are doing to physically take the customer’s order and engage in small talk.
- Customer’s spend more through an ordering app than in person because they have more time to make a decision, the whole menu is in front of them and they typically want to score more reward points.
- Ordering accuracy improves — it is easy to misunderstand a complex order when someone is calling or even talking to you in person, but that doesn’t happen with a mobile app order because it is printed just how the customer placed it.
- Integrated loyalty programs ensure customers keep returning.
What to Remember When Designing Your Own Mobile Ordering App
Chances are you’ve used at least a couple mobile ordering apps in your lifetime. Designing them may seem easy and a simple matter of converting your physical menu into a mobile environment that allows for ordering. In large part, it is. However, there are a number of design elements to look out for and consider when designing your own mobile ordering app.
Product Mix: Is your mobile ordering app going to include the whole menu or just part? You may jump to offering your entire menu, but that can easily make your app look cluttered and overwhelming. Sometimes too many features results in fewer users. By example, Starbucks does a good job by including most of its menu on the coffee chain’s app, but not all of it. Instead, Starbucks sticks to the most popular and frequently ordered items, which keeps the app looking clean and refined. However, including too few items can have a dramatically different effect.
Additionally, you have to consider further menu options like when and how to ask if someone wants an order of fries or how they can nix the pickles on their burger.
Loyalty: Combining your mobile ordering app with a loyalty or rewards point program makes too much sense to ignore. But, if you don’t already have some form of loyalty program, creating the foundation for one on your mobile app may take some time. You have to determine how points are earned and how quickly and then what those points can be used for. While most companies connect rewards to discounts or freebies, you can get even more creative with it.
Location: While some consumers don’t like the idea of sharing their location with apps, it is important for mobile ordering because it ensures that the customer’s order is placed at the nearest possible location. If there are multiple locations nearby, there has to be an option that allows the consumer to pick which one. Otherwise, they could go to their preferred spot without realizing their order is at the sister location.
Payment: The questions that should be on your mind, in terms of of payment, are things like whether the app is compatible with Wallet or Apple Pay? Or, will it only use credit cards? How will payments be processed? How will loyalty points factor into charges. All of these questions are going to sculpt your payment approach. Most of them will likely be answered by your company’s consumers, as you are trying to cater to their needs. If many of them prefer using a mobile payment app, then you may have to adjust your payment policies to meet that need.
Updates: Any app developer will tell you that updates are an absolutely essential part of delivering a successful mobile app. Even if your menu or offerings don’t change, the preferences of your customers might. For example, they may go from disliking Apple Pay to preferring it. Not to mention, new Apple Store guidelines dictate that apps need to be routinely updated to stay present on the market. Updating your app can also help its success. The most popular apps are updated 20 to 25 times a year, according to a report by Business Insider . And, apps with fewer than nine updates a year are rarely awarded above-average ratings.
With more and more people turning towards mobile ordering instead of picking up the phone to dial their favorite stores and restaurants, it is becoming more and more critical for these businesses to have a functioning and innovative app that caters to the current and future trends and needs of their customers. Knowing how to design and utilize such a mobile app will allow you to stand out among the competition and help achieve current and future business objectives.
Restaurant App  Photo via Shutterstock