We’re not about to stress you out with talk of ‘uncertain times’. We hear enough of that in the news. It’s completely understandable for hospitality businesses to be nervous right now, but at Slerp rather than thinking about uncertainties, we like to control the controllables.
And one of those “controllables” could be the development of a D2C, or direct-to-consumer, offering for your hospitality business.
You might think that now isn’t the best time to introduce D2C, but we would disagree. Instead, we believe that now is the time to get proactive and optimise, taking the steps to fortify your business against some of the considerable challenges your firm could face over the autumn, winter and beyond.
The term “D2C” is short for “direct to consumer”, or “direct to customer”. It’s a retail sales model whereby the given business produces, markets, and sells their product(s) direct to the consumer, without a “middleman” – such as a third-party marketplace – being involved.
But if anything, the present uncertain environment cements the importance of a hospitality business taking steps to diversify its revenue streams, by offering D2C. We believe that now is the time your restaurant, bakery, or takeaway should be taking the idea of D2C seriously, rather than waiting to see how the next few months pan out – and here are some reasons why.
The state of the economy over the coming months may end up looking worse than it presently does, or it may end up looking better. Either way, it makes sense to diversify your business to help protect against uncertainty. Your hospitality business won’t be able to dodge all the obstacles that might come its way during the surely near-certain recession, but by embracing D2C, you can help insulate your business as far as possible from the impact.
Recent years have seen sustained growth in ‘at-home’ dining. But this is not necessarily the existential risk to your hospitality business that you might think, given that a lot of people are still ordering in. 74% of respondents to recent research have said they order in to replace cooking at home, rather than as a substitute to eating out. And with 62% of respondents having said that they prefer to order direct where possible, this could be an indicator that now is the time to strengthen your hospitality business’ D2C offering. It will help ensure you can be found at every opportunity.
The run-up to Christmas could offer a huge opportunity with gifting, especially if your business offers hampers or baked goods. Although D2C is definitely not just a way for businesses to make the most of seasonal peaks, the Yuletide factor could make the current moment an even better time to launch a D2C offering for your restaurant, takeaway, or bakery.
One thing we haven’t really touched on yet in this piece, is what a D2C approach could actually look like for a hospitality business like yours. And the short answer is that it can take various forms.
Your restaurant, bakery or similar business might look to revamp its website, with improved functionality for online ordering – no third-party marketplace app needed. You might also have a slick and fully branded mobile app created, through which customers who already like your business can quickly and easily place orders using their smartphones. This could be fully integrated with a loyalty programme to give the customer even greater incentive to order from you directly.
And all of this, in turn, can be connected to a complete online ordering system, and provision to manage the deliveries of your menu items to your customer’s home or business site. It all helps provide you with the utmost control over the experience your brand gives to customers.
There is a time and a place for marketplaces, but they are not the ideal platforms for cultivating the relationships with your existing customers that will also be crucial if your business is to survive and grow.
With 41% of customers admitting to ordering from the same place again and again, and 26% stating that they “mostly” ordered from the same places, there might not be a better time to capture your own customers in your business’s own ecosystem, than right now. Contact the Slerp team now, and we would be delighted to discuss how we could work with you to make it possible.