A well-designed eCommerce technology stack can greatly help any business trying to scale rapidly, and in the hospitality industry, rapid scaling can be a godsend.
While absolutely accurate figures on restaurant failure rates are tough to determine, the figure in the US is a sobering 30%, according to the National Restaurant Association. While scaling isn’t the only way for restaurants and other hospitality businesses to stay afloat in a competitive market, it sure doesn’t hurt.
Scaling, however, is far easier said than done in any industry, and hospitality is no exception. One area for gains that a lot of hospitality businesses fail to tap, though, is in their tech stack. Optimising that part of your business can be the perfect recipe for scaling.
It’s no secret that we believe in the power of headless technology for hospitality eCommerce, but it’s not just personalisation and adaptability that make headless a good call. In fact, one of the most-cited advantages for a business using headless eCommerce is scalability, and hospitality operations are no different.
With the backend and frontend of a headless eCommerce site decoupled your site can be optimised for scaling, as headless is able to handle large amounts of data without compromising on the speed of web page delivery. This means your website will be better equipped to handle, say, the surges in bookings a restaurant requires if scaling is on the menu.
To return to the metaphor that headlines this piece, using headless technology is the ultimate way to bake in scalability. That’s because it’s so much easier to adapt, shift and change your website with headless tech than it is with a monolithic approach. Ultimately, the idea of scaling is to do more with the resources that you already have, and a headless platform is uniquely suited to that task.
“Separating the storefront from the commerce engine allows the storefront to be optimised for content delivery/page load time, limiting the data integration to commerce to be specific to relevant product/promotion data for pages where it is relevant, often pre-cached for even greater performance – based on customer preferences, viewing habits, and other actions taken on the storefront,” says David Crow, Chief Customer Officer, Ultra Commerce.
We’ve long been big proponents of omnichannel commerce as a game-changer for businesses that do it right and hospitality is just another sector that can harness the power of omnichannel to great effect. By utilising a truly omnichannel approach and providing a seamless shopping experience across channels, hospitality businesses can see all sorts of benefits, like increased footfall, higher average spend per customer, greater customer satisfaction, and more.
You don’t have to blindly trust us when it comes to the power of omnichannel retail though, the proof is in the pudding. A Harvard Business Review study found that 73% of shoppers use multiple channels in the shopping journey, while according to Omnisend, using three or more channels in a campaign results in a staggering 494% higher order rate than when using a single channel. It should go without saying, but increasing your order rate really is a solid ingredient for scalability.
A great example of a hospitality business using an omnichannel approach to provide the latitude needed for scaling is our partner Magnolia CMS’s work with Viking Cruises. The company’s tech-savvy customers were desperate for a self-service booking portal that would allow them to book cruises on whatever device they wanted. To take it straight from the horses mouth: “Using Magnolia CMS, Viking was able to launch content-rich websites and an online booking portal in just six weeks.” This gave customers access to seamless omnichannel experiences when interacting with the Viking Cruises brand and will stand the company in good stead as it grows.
“Magnolia lets you bring together content, data, and services seamlessly in any tech stack, making it easy to orchestrate and deliver great digital experiences across channels in an agile way,” says Don Lee, Managing Director, Magnolia APAC.
“Omnichannel is a critical element of a comprehensive eCommerce strategy/environment, but it does require a commerce platform that can handle complex fulfillment/experience enablement – registration, scheduling, confirmation, ticketing, etc. – that can be connected to not only the eCommerce storefront but also to your call centre, guest services, various property physical stores and even the front desk – to provide a convenient and comprehensive experience regardless of the ‘channel’ the customer chooses to engage you through,” says David Crow of Ultra Commerce.
Is there anything worse than trying to use your Mastercard at a restaurant or hotel that doesn’t accept it? That’s a rhetorical question, there certainly are worse things to encounter, but still, being told your money’s no good is very frustrating. Of course, it’s the year 2022 and payments are no longer as simple as cash, card or cheque. Instead, there are myriad options for both consumers and businesses to consider, including buy now, pay later, cryptocurrency, and e-wallets, to name a few.
Dim sum is all about a diversity of options, and so is payment.
It’s not rocket science, making it easier for consumers to pay you makes them more likely to do so. According to checkout.com, 56% of shoppers who are unable to pay with the method they want may never return to the site. Couple that with the fact that some 1.7 billion people worldwide are unbanked per World Bank statistics and therefore lack access to many traditional forms of payment, it becomes clear to see that diversifying is key to success.
Going native is considered the absolute worst thing to do in plenty of fields, but for hospitality eCommerce on the other hand, it’s a great idea. To be more specific, going cloud-native with your technology can provide all sorts of benefits when trying to scale a hospitality business. But first things first, what does it mean to be cloud-native?
In a nutshell, being cloud-native means building and running your site with the distinct advantages of the computing power offered by the cloud in mind. Those advantages include extra flexibility, resiliency, elasticity and, crucially for our purposes, scalability.
With cloud-native development, hospitality businesses like hotels and restaurants have the flexibility to change their online offering as their needs change, for example, by offering new booking options for customers. Another reason for going cloud-native is cutting costs by reducing the need for infrastructure (both physical and human). In fact, according to Flugel.It, 47% of enterprises’ cloud migration is driven by a desire to optimize costs.
“Cloud-native is key for the hospitality industry, specifically a cloud SaaS-based solution,” says Andy Wamstad, Global Partner Manager for Ultra Commerce. “This allows the hospitality organisations, generally with smaller IT teams, to focus on solving business issues without worrying about upgrades, scaling, or other problems that come up with running an on-premise solution.”
You don’t need to tell any restaurateur how important repeat customers are. After all, some studies have found that even though repeat customers only make up 15% of a restaurant's patrons, they contribute 30% of the revenue. One way to ensure you have a solid crowd of regulars is by providing outstanding service, but what digital methods are available? The answer could lie in a solid omnichannel loyalty program.
Traditionally, loyalty programs reward customers simply for spending money. Think a cafe that gives you a punch card and after buying 10 coffees, you get one free. Omnichannel loyalty programs step things up by also rewarding customers for engaging with your brand, for example perhaps checking in at your restaurant on social media or using a hotel’s bespoke app. One key element to a good loyalty program is understanding your customers, which is where a tool like the Antsomi CDP 365 customer data platform can be invaluable.
“Rather than investing in a monolithic ‘suite DXP’ that locks you into a single vendor or technology, you can build your own — integrating the component parts that you enjoy working with. All of this can be seamlessly built around both Magnolia CMS and Magnolia’s flexible, modular, DXP infrastructure,” says Don Lee of Magnolia APAC.
Hopefully, by now you’ve got a decent recipe for some delicious scalability for your hospitality business.
For more top tips on eCommerce and hospitality, check out the first two articles in this series:
For all your eCommerce and digital business needs, get in touch with SmartOSC here.