By Zhong Xu, CEO and Co-founder, Deliverect
If there’s anything food brands and restaurants have learned during the pandemic, it’s that building a good relationship with direct consumers is absolutely crucial to success.
That’s where the D2C (Direct-to-Consumer) business model comes into play. Online D2C channels allow restaurants to set up their own digital storefront, and manage online orders without the need for a middleman.
While the D2C channel movement is nothing new, it certainly gained a lot of traction over the past two years as restaurant operators scrambled to make up for lost revenue. Since the pandemic hit, countless restaurants and F&B companies around the world have started creating their own direct-to-consumer sales channels.
And it’s not just restaurants: FMCG brands are also jumping on board the D2C train, getting their products directly into the homes of their customers. It can be a powerful distribution channel that gives you full control over the customer and brand experience. In order to build a solid D2C model, restaurants can count on innovative digital solutions to help them.
Thousands of restaurants across the globe are using Deliverect’s Online Ordering solution to nurture a customised direct-to-consumer channel aligned with their brand. With Online Ordering, setting up your online store and managing incoming orders is quick and easy, so you can focus on your core business while answering your customer’s need for convenience.
Could – or should – your restaurant also be selling directly to consumers? Here are 3 benefits of the D2C approach for restaurants.
#1 Own the customer experience
Creating an excellent customer experience unique to your brand is an important cornerstone of any successful business. But when you partner with third-party delivery apps, you have to rely on others for your customer experience. While the partnership does give you access to a large number of partner resources, as soon as your food leaves the kitchen, what happens next is out of your hands.
Even so, 80% of end consumers blame the restaurant – not the delivery provider – when they have a bad ordering or delivery experience.
When you take the D2C route, you’re placed back in control of the customer experience. This business model enables you to customise your direct ordering channel and packaging and allows you to provide customer and after-sales service the way you like. If you use your own delivery fleet, you can select and train your own drivers and riders. When you get all these essentials right, it will work wonders for your brand’s reputation and customer loyalty.
#2 Build a direct connection with your customers
Whether you run an independent restaurant or a big chain, nurturing a relationship with the consumer of your product is key to offering the best possible service, fostering loyalty, and scaling your business.
But here’s the catch: when a customer orders a meal through a third party, there’s literally no interaction with the restaurant they order from. That makes it nearly impossible for restaurants to connect with their customers, or get direct feedback – a common concern voiced by restaurateurs around the globe. Additionally, restaurants don’t have access to the customer information collected by their delivery partners, making it even harder to establish a connection with guests.
Taking your food D2C can help you build better customer relationships. When you sell food through your direct channel, you’ll be able to use the valuable customer data that comes with each transaction, like demographics, buying habits, and even contact info. Restaurants can then leverage that information to improve their service, personalize marketing campaigns and offers, and, ultimately, increase repeat business and profits.
#3 Boost your bottom line
Offering third-party delivery and takeout doesn’t only have an impact on restaurants’ ability to connect and communicate with their customers. It also affects their profit margins, which are already lower than in most other industries.
By selling direct-to-consumer can sell through their own higher profit margin channels, and focus on their profitability while retaining customer interaction. And thanks to new fulfillment and last-mile delivery solutions, it’s easier than ever to embrace D2C sales and deliveries, and preserve profits. It also allows you to be more generous with your own special offers and pricing so you can entice more customers. Whereas a part of your revenue went towards your delivery partners, it can now be maximized in other areas. You can, for instance, allot more money to create a better customer experience or target spending.
Increasingly, both FMCG and restaurant brands across the globe are rolling out direct-to-consumer strategies to build a better relationship with end consumers, get back in charge of the delivery and customer experience, and improve profits.
There’s no better time than today to start setting up your D2C model to bring in more customers and revenue, retain customer interaction, and inspire long-term trust in your brand and customer loyalty.
Innovative restaurant and food tech solutions like Deliverect can help you explore D2C channels, create a personalised brand experience, and increase operational efficiency.