Having an eCommerce platform to sell your catering is one thing, but optimizing your catering website to ensure a smooth purchase experience for your end customer is how you can drive meaningful growth to your revenue. With the variety of eCommerce platforms available today, it can be difficult choosing not just which one to host your website on, but which features can make the biggest impact to growing and sustaining your business.
Considering the type of catering or prepared foods you offer and who you’re offering your services to can help decide which ecommerce feature will best suit your operations. For example, if you’re an independent caterer serving events exclusively, you may prioritise an Online Quote Request form on your main landing page. Alternatively, if you are a food wholesaler, you may wish to have customer account self service available for quick reordering of recurring orders to the same customers.
Knowing your own operations and market will ultimately determine what eCommerce features are best for you, but we’ve put together a high level list of 4 key features any caterer should implement.
A Content Management System (CMS) is a software application that allows users to build and host a website with limited coding or design knowledge. Many eCommerce platforms include CMS or Website Builder features that allow you to add content pages and blocks, such as an About Us page or a blog. The CMS features will be easy to use, as they are built to be intuitive. Within these platforms, it is important you take the time understanding the information your customers are looking for and how they search for your services. Knowing these will help you create meaningful content on your eCommerce website that helps drive SEO.
(If you’re new to catering website SEO, check out our blog for beginners)
Once you know what information your customers are looking for and how they search for you, you can publish your content. For example, you may want to capture anyone searching for “corporate catering new york.” Within your CMS, you could add a section to your eCommerce homepage with an H1 heading reading “New York’s Favorite Corporate Caterer” and some body copy detailing the boroughs you serve, operating hours and brief descriptions of the foods you make. The upside to having CMS features is you can keep developing SEO keywords and phrases to help drive more traffic to your catering website as updates can be made instantly and at any time.
Did you know that in 2020 41% of online shoppers said that coupons and discounts were a leading reason to purchase a product? That’s huge! By offering simple discounts or promotions you could be tipping the purchase scales massively in your favor.
Ensuring your catering website platform has the ability to generate and process discount codes is vital. There are so many ideas available to run promotions, either for an abandoned cart or new registered users or even rewarding repeat purchases. Having an integrated online shopping system set up to handle this can help set you apart from competitors.
Everyone has experienced this: you’re shopping online and have landed on a website that looks to have been designed in the year 2000 with buttons and links in inconvenient places and a shopping cart process that makes you feel like your sensitive information may be stolen. So you abandon your purchase and look for a more updated, user-friendly website to buy from if you haven’t been lost to going into a retail store.
To best prepare against this, you’ll want your catering website to have a smooth, user-focused, purchase-centric navigation and checkout process. Think of what you like best when shopping online: an easily accessible menu and groups of items, photos of the products and prices available, and a simple click-through experience to complete a purchase. Make sure you test your website by moving through the steps a potential customer would take to find any frictional areas to rectify.
Never underestimate the power of choice and convenience. Offering your customers various ways to pay for their purchase can increase the chances of conversion. Conversely, not offering enough or the right payment options can actually cause would-be purchasers to abandon their items.
Buy Now, Pay Later (BNPL) companies such as AfterPay and Klarna have become almost ubiquitous with online shopping, but these payment options may not be the right fit for the catering industry. Providing your customers the ability to pay by credit card, by account if they want to set one up with you and also by deferred payment, such as for event catering, can help capture more purchases. Ensure your payment process is simple and mobile-friendly for maximum customer satisfaction.
Catering and prepared foods is a demanding and highly skilful industry. Having to focus too much on your catering website and sales can impact your ability to deliver your best products to customers. Luckily, FoodStorm understands these nuances.
We’re built for caterers, by caterers with the world’s leading catering software. Get in touch today to speak to a software specialist and find out how FoodStorm can take your catering website and business to the next level.