As the COVID-19 crisis continues to unfold, one of the best things we can all do is stay home as much as possible. Obviously, this takes a significant toll on our economy, and small businesses are particularly at risk. The more nimble and adaptable a business is, however, the more likely it is to weather this storm. This post explores options for ramping up your online and delivery orders to help counteract the impact of significantly reduced or completely eradicated foot traffic. You may not know it, but Clover merchants have a number of resources available through their devices and the Clover App Market to accept and fulfill online orders without having to create a complete e-commerce platform.
New Business Models
Depending on the type of business you run, there are a variety of models you may already be adopting to keep things moving along. Because of the ongoing stay-at-home orders issued by various local and state authorities, there’s a surge in online ordering and an increased need for contactless payments and delivery.
For retail establishments, unless you’re also providing food, pharmaceuticals, liquor, or hardware, keeping the doors open is likely not an option for the time being. Many states have ruled that non-essential services must close their doors to foot traffic. However, that doesn’t mean that your entire business has to shutter. Mail order is an option, though the shipping systems are being heavily taxed by higher-than-usual demand. Local delivery is also an option; it serves your community and keeps your business in their top-of-mind when the time comes to re-open. For example, if you have a crafts store, your customers will still be hungry for yarn, paints, and other materials to get creative at home.
Food service has its own challenges right now. Since most areas have banned in-restaurant dining, there’s been a very quick pivot to take-out and delivery services. Many restaurants have streamlined their menus to allow for easier preparation and inventory management with smaller workforces. Even though the challenges are real and immediate, take comfort in the fact that people will always need to eat. Breakfast and lunch traffic is significantly reduced, so if your restaurant usually serves all day, it may make sense to focus your efforts on dinner. You can learn more about this and other challenges restaurants are facing in this crisis here.
You’ve got options for online delivery
If you’re not already set up for e-commerce, the process may seem daunting. The Clover App Market has a number of solutions that can get you on your feet quickly. Take a look at the options below and see which might be the best fit for your business.
- The Ordering.app
We’re hard at work on new integrated solutions for online ordering. One is The Ordering.app, now part of Google, which enables restaurants to receive and process orders through a variety of platforms—Google Search, Google Maps, and even merchants’ own websites. We’re partnering with The Ordering.app to make it easier for our merchants to be discovered in Google’s search results. This new feature is currently being enabled for a limited audience, so be on the lookout for an invite from us via email, or an alert on your device guiding you to the sign-up screen.
Menufy automatically generates a website from your Clover menu so that your customers can easily order their favorites. Orders, including integrated orders from DoorDash and Postmates, go through your Clover POS, which means they’re also included in your reports. Best of all, after a free 30-day trial, you can set it up so that the $1.50 fee per order is passed on to your customers.
- Applova Mobile Order Ahead
Applova functions on a flat monthly fee rather than a commission charge per order. In this time of high-volume online ordering, this model may be more cost effective. Applova also allows you to offer discount codes, create a loyalty program with a digital punch card, and personalize promotions through unlimited push notifications. Once orders come in, they can be set up to go straight to the kitchen printers, allowing your entire workflow to function as efficiently as possible.
Do you take orders through multiple platforms like UberEats, Postmates, and others? Chowly works as an aggregator so you can easily accept and process orders from a number of third-party apps. The subscription is a simple month-to-month fee with no contract obligation, and they are offering a 30-day free trial.
Similar to Chowly, ItsaCheckmate consolidates orders from over 60 different online ordering platforms so that your restaurant can process them swiftly. No more juggling multiple tablets and websites; orders will print out directly in the kitchen. There is a monthly fee, but if you sign up now, your first 30 days are free of charge.
OrderOut is another aggregator for third-party ordering services. It comes with its own printer that you can place wherever is most convenient for you and your team. It has a low monthly fee and integrates seamlessly with your Clover POS system for easy inventory management and accounting.
Finally, in early April we’ll begin to roll out Clover Online Ordering for web and iOS/Android. The intention of a comprehensive POS ecosystem like Clover is to make it easy to integrate with multiple online providers so you maximize your outreach and order volume.
“Business as usual” may no longer apply to many small merchants in this crisis, but you have options and support systems to help you protect your business and serve your community while supporting your staff. We’re spending our days working on more ways to support our merchants to help you weather the storm. In addition to our blog posts, check out these web pages on financial relief, business preparedness, and our general merchant resources.
To learn more about Clover, visit www.clover.com.