Store owners can take steps to mitigate the challenges present in the third party delivery model and still retain the advantages.
Allow orders through your website
“Be sure to drive orders through your brand. Ensure your agreement with your platform allows you to drive orders through your website,” Bryant said.
This allows convenience retailers to retain brand loyalty and leverage data about customer buying habits.
National Restaurant Association data suggests 64 percent of customers prefer to order directly from brands, compared to just 18 percent who specifically prefer to order through third parties.
Driving orders through an owned channel like a website or app also allows store owners to offer different deals and alternate price structures for their customers based on those habits, Bryant explained.
Make sure your point-of-sale system allows you a real-time view of inventory
A sophisticated inventory management system is critical for a successful online ordering channel.
“You don’t want your shelves to run dry online or for your traditional customer base in-store either,“ Mascarenhas said. “People are also expecting fast delivery — if you don’t properly scale, people can be waiting two weeks. That won’t work in a market where Amazon is offering same day delivery.”
Store owners must invest in a system that lets them know where products are along the supply chain and when they are expected to ship and be received. A sophisticated point-of-sale system will help store owners understand what is available now and what will be available next week, a month, or even a quarter from now.
“If you don’t spend the time and money to get your supply chain in order, you can have the best, coolest website and all that, but you won’t have the experience customers are looking for because you’ll be out of stock of everything,” Shipley said.
Tailor online inventory to meet digital demands
“Offering online ordering is no longer a differentiator. Most retailers can do that now the cost of entry is not as prohibitive as before, so now you have to compete on price, assortment, quality, and delivery times,” Mascarenhas said.
Mascarenhas recommended curating what’s available by delivery slots. Store owners can tailor available items based on demand, inventory availability, and what travels well.
What people order online may be different than what the typical customer visiting the convenience store is looking for. Mascarenhas suggested digging into the data to see how purchase habits and patterns differ. Then, store owners may consider different prices and offer different deals for online customers.