Online Ordering Implementations Continue to Evolve

Merchants are optimizing processes—and profits—from their new online ordering channels.

Online Ordering

Consumers have discovered the convenience of placing restaurant orders for pickup or delivery or ordering items from retail stores for curbside or in-store pickup. However, in some cases, solutions that merchants deployed early in the pandemic to keep up with consumer demand aren’t the best choice for engaging customers digitally in the long term.

Justin Zeigler, Director of Product Strategy for Datacap Systems, shares his view of the online ordering space and what independent software vendors (ISVs) and value-added resellers (VARs) can do to optimize online ordering and payment solutions for their customers.

How is online ordering trending now that brick-and-mortar locations have reopened?

Zeigler: The convenience of ordering and paying online is here to stay. The lockdown simply accelerated the movement to frictionless ordering and payment—too many benefits to both the consumer and the merchant to go back. Consumers appreciate the convenience of ordering and paying online, and merchants are growing more and more interested in engaging with their customer base via evolving loyalty and marketing programs predicated by the data set they’re building through online orders from repeat users.

Additionally, online ordering is known to reduce order input errors and almost universally leads to higher average tickets over traditional anonymous call-in orders. So, once a restaurant has a program in place, they’ll often provide incentives to drive their customers to their online ordering platform.

How has online ordering evolved since the beginning of the pandemic?

Zeigler: We are seeing a migration away from the usual-suspect delivery services to web-based online ordering through the website, web app or dedicated mobile app associated with the merchant. Merchants are realizing that they need online ordering to maintain and grow their base of customers, but are growing tired of the exorbitant fees levied by the delivery apps. We see merchants leveraging the delivery apps to gain first-time customers that they then work to transition to a direct web-based option to save on fees, integrate loyalty programs and acquire their own consumer data.

What kind of mistakes do ISVs and VARs make when integrating payments with online ordering systems? How can they avoid them?

Zeigler: Merchants are expecting a comprehensive, but simple payments solution. Too often, we see VARs or ISVs offer a payments solution that separates in-store and online payments into silos such that the merchant has to manage unique processing relationships, billing statements and reports for their in-store and online orders. Payments, regardless of channel, should route through the same processing relationship—allowing for shared tokens across in-store and online payments and a simplified billing and reporting process. Ensure you’re working with a technology provider that can provide a robust and flexible omnichannel payments ecosystem.

Are most online payments credit and debit card transactions, or is there a demand for a variety of payment types online?

Zeigler: Credit and debit card payment support is the minimum requirement for online ordering, but in-app one-click payments integrations that allow for Apple Pay and Google Pay support create a faster and more frictionless checkout experience for the cardholder. For retail locations with larger average tickets, BNPL (buy now pay later) services are gaining traction with younger consumers and can help drive sales where cost is a concern. Also, expect to see more “Pay with Crypto” options become available in 2022.

What do you see on the horizon for the future of online ordering?

Zeigler: Online ordering will continue to gain traction. As merchant-driven online ordering services continue to displace the third-party delivery apps, merchants will leverage data-driven marketing programs (made easy through merchant-facing systems) to expand their average ticket, increase repeat orders and gain new customers. Merchants that adapt will grow at the expense of those that wait for the phone to ring.