Hospitalit-e-commerce is the future – and here’s how to nail it.

Published 23 November 2020

Ignite is a global marketing agency working with some of the leading brands in hospitality for 20 years.

Rapid Innovation

2020 has undoubtedly been the year of the meal kit. With fast-thinking operators developing at home food and drink concepts at lighting speed, the industry has never seen more rapid innovation. And consumers have happily embraced making restaurant-food in their homes. Getting hands floury kneading pizza dough and smoking out kitchens searing 35-day dry-aged rib-eye steaks is all part of the fun!

Product Diversification

Of course meal kits aren’t the only retail products restaurants can offer. And great e-commerce isn’t just about putting things in a box. For a hospitality brand to build a successful, long-term retail proposition you have to think properly about product diversification.

First off are line extensions; new products within the same category – food and drink. Click and collect, delivered food, meal kits and hampers; this sort of product diversification can help you reach new customers as you expand your geography. You could also consider creating products to appeal to specific target segments – kids meals, for example or a low calorie or vegan range. Create products for different day-parts and consider price points and positioning products for different budgets.

When two brands come together to create a new co-branded product there are benefits to both parties. Each brings their own brand equity, you double your target market size and it’s a good PR story too. You can share distribution channels, and offer exclusive perks or discounts for each other’s audiences. Consider looking beyond the hospitality sector for collaborators. Cinemas, fashion brands, homewares and even beauty could have more in common with your brand than you think.  As long as there are brand synergies with your positioning and target audience, then there’s potential for a valuable co-brand.

Brand extensions leverage your brand equity – the awareness and associations of your brand – to create new products outside of your original category. Look at your brand principles and translate these into new products. All about little luxuries and ‘me time’ – what about scented candles and blankets? Precision and authenticity – a quality kitchen knife range. Excitement and discovery – online speed cocktail-making classes. This is a longer-term play for sure – and you need to be really sure-footed with your brand for it to make sense to consumers – but proper consideration of brand will separate the great from the mediocre.

The Experience

Think about how you retain the guest experience and wow your customers outside of your bricks and mortar store. Your packaging, your product design and features should all be on-point and consideration given to the great ‘unboxing moment’. From ordering and support, to delivery and after-care, how do you imbue your brand across all of those customer touch points? How can you make it better, or easier for consumers to buy from you? What little touches can you add to elevate the experience and insert your brand positioning? The very best brands interrogate the customer journey and understand what’s important to their customers – for example, having somebody available on the phone for support with orders might be just as important as the food for your customers. Ask them what’s important and monitor satisfaction at every step.

An Integrated Digital Ecosystem

The ability to sell online – through your own platform and not an aggregator – is fundamental. By using your own e-commerce tools, via your own website, you will retain crucial control over the customer experience and be able to understand more about their buying behaviours. Essentially, you will be able to provide a hugely superior service, and they will remain your customer, not somebody else’s, enabling you to build your audience and brand advocacy.

Fuse is Ignite’s all-in-one e-commerce platform for restaurants. It allows you to sell anything for your restaurant, pub or bar directly to consumers via modules on your own website. Including modules for at-home meal kits, gift vouchers, hampers, delivered food, click & collect, and event tickets, Fuse puts everything in one place – and you in control. With one central e-commerce hub for everything you sell, you can cross-sell, up-sell and run promotions across your entire product range.

Effective digital marketing is a brilliant way to drive traffic and sales through your shop. Tactics like abandoned basket follow-up, dynamic ads and remarketing audiences will transform your shop into an e-commerce success story, with incredible returns.

And the best bit? It’s trackable end to end, so you can measure everything and calculate a precise return on ad spend. This means your e-commerce marketing becomes a self-funded model.

Building National Brands

Creating exciting new products and an experience you can be proud of, whilst extending your geographical reach and penetrating new market segments, is the dream. Restaurant e-commerce done well isn’t just an extra revenue stream on the side – it’s a brilliant recipe for brand building that should benefit your entire business, building audiences, creating brand advocacy and solidifying your brand positioning.

The restaurant experience will never be replaced – and long-live traditional hospitality – but a shift in perspective for the industry, embracing e-commerce and thinking long-term will create the hospitality success stories of the future.

This is an edited extract from the Ignite blog. Read the full article here: https://ignitecreates.com/blog/hospitalit-e-commerce-is-the-future-and-heres-how-to-nail-it/

Find out more about Fuse: https://fusebyignite.com/

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