"The sudden outbreak of Covid-19, has severely impacted the F&B players. F&B owners struggle with a sharp fall in revenue and customers flow amid the COVID-19 outbreak, especially with stricter rules banning dine-in customers during the implementation of the movement control and lockdown. We witnessed a large number of restaurants chose to rather stop operations temporarily. Some restaurants might be able to sustain through this challenging period as most of these restaurants are those whom have built strong customers base. Many businesses are seeking alternative ways to survive and the demand for online food delivery among the F&B sector continue to rise amid Covid-19. However, the volume of online takeaway order has been inconsistent. We have reached out to few restaurant owners for some insight on how they adapt to online delivery food services business during the current outbreak."
Tracy has been running a Chinese cuisine restaurant in first-tier city in China for the last 2 years, and her business has been doing well. In the past, she only focus on walk in business and never thought of expanding to online takeaway business. She has to temporarily stop her restaurants operation due to lockdown amid Covid-19. Subsequently, her business revenue stream came to a complete standstill. Then she decided to transform her business to online takeaway services when she realized that more restaurants are approaching the same method to reach out to customers during the lockdown.
Q: How is your online takeaway business performing at this point?
Tracy: At this moment our business mainly relies on 3rd party online takeaway platform. Although the order volume did not reach our usual peak, but at least we still manage some revenue better than no sales at all. However, as more restaurants are also approaching the same 3rd party online takeaway platform, we are faced with fierce competition among each other and the distribution of customers traffic in the platform is very restricted.
Q: How is the traffic diversion or conversion from 3rd party online takeaway platform?
Tracy: The competition in takeaway platform is very intense, we the food service providers are literally fighting to get more customers. We have to keep spending money on digital advertising in order to promote our restaurant to gain more traffic and exposure. However, the advertisement does not necessarily reach out to our target customers. We do not have the statistic or control over the traffic on the platform. As a result, we overspent on digital advertising to maintain the traffics.
Q: How did you attract, convert and retain customers from these 3rd party online takeaway platform after spending on digital advertising?
Tracy: We are highly dependent on 3rd party platforms traffic but we failed to retain the users. So, we turn to WeChat Social E-Commerce solution in order to build up our own private traffic pool. First, we obtain customers from 3rd party platforms and convert them to our WeChat Social E-Commerce gradually accumulating our private traffic. Flyers and QR code of our WeChat Social E-Commerce were then placed on the takeaway food packages to get their attentions and encourage them to scan the QR code. This not only enable us to acquire our own customer at a lower cost, but also able to reduce the operating cost and improves our productivity. We have been able to fully optimize on the converted traffic, with better customers engagement we managed to increase our revenue income.
Q: What's the difference between 3rd party platforms traffic and your own private traffic?
Tracy: In my opinion, private traffic has higher conversion rate comparing to 3rd party platforms traffic. We have no control over 3rd party platforms traffic but with our own private traffic we could effectively build a strong relationship with of our customers, and from thereon they will refer to their friends and relatives to our restaurants. For example, Merchant open 2 stores in 3rd party platform and the daily average order volume for Store A and Store B is 50 each. Store A mainly relying on 3rd party platform's traffic only manages around 15 return customers per day. And Store B has about 30 return customers per day and at the same time accumulating private customer traffic based on platform's traffic. A year later, even though Store A has 5,400 cumulative returning customers, there is almost no engagement with the customers, thus not able to retain customers. While Store B who has been gathering private traffic of 10,950 loyal customers, therefore it can potentially reach out to its loyal customers at no extra cost. Most of all it enables us to understand what customer’s wants and we are able to tend to their needs more effectively and efficiently.
Q：What is your advice in regards to building your own private traffic pool?
Tracy: The consumer habits will certainly change after this pandemic, besides focusing on dine-in business, takeaway or 3rd party platforms, business operators are advisable to build your own private traffic to have better engagement and retention of your own customers and this is achievable through implementing WeChat Social E-Commerce Solutions. In time where lockdown has affected many businesses, businesses can still reach out to customers through WeChat Social E-Commerce. WeChat Social E-Commerce is also an influential channel that enable you to have direct interaction with customers through its social media features, enhancing customer's loyalty and etc. Eventually, the business operators will be able to operate more effectively and efficiently.
Michel is operating a bakery store, which solely rely on walk-in customers. 2 years ago, he begins to grow his own traffic through WeChat social E-Commerce through friends in WeChat and WeChat group. During the outbreak period, WeChat Social E-Commerce solutions had proven to successfully convert thousands of customers traffic accumulated over the years on its social media networks. Generally, the order rate through WeChat is around 30%, however during this lockdown period the order volume placed through WeChat Social E-Commerce Store has increased by nearly 50%.
Q: How private traffic was able to convert to sales during the coronavirus outbreak?
Michel: Although my shop was closed to walk-in customers, but thousands of my customers manage to place order via WeChat messenger and WeChat group during the early days of the outbreak. The sudden spike in inquiries and orders really caught me unprepared. So, for the first few days I overlooked and lost a lot of orders due to wrong delivery and missing orders. A friend of mine recommended me to WeChat Social E-Commerce Solution. The quick approval for WeChat Social E-Commerce leads me to kick-start my online business store almost immediately. During my operating hours, I shared my WeChat Social E-Commerce store with my circle of friends, WeChat Moments and WeChat group. My customers can now view my products easily, place order and make payment through my online store, they can even refer their favorite products to their friends. WeChat Social E-Commerce Solution had played a big role in the traffic conversion; furthermore, its automated features of product inventory and payment settlement could save me a lot of time for future reconciliation and it’s also an important interaction channel for new and existing customers too. I have more flexibility to handle my current business.
Q: Besides achieving traffic and conversion, what are the other benefits of WeChat Social E-Commerce?
Michel: WeChat Social E-Commerce solutions enable a closed-loop business within its own ecosystem and with better engagement and retention with customers, I can handle my customers and business more effectively and efficiently. I was able to lower my operating cost and improve my profit margin.
In the midst of difficulty lies opportunities. The Covid-19 outbreak have changed our spending habits. Many consumers have turned to online to purchase almost everything. Business owners should look into multi online channels to reach out to the online customers through 3rd party platforms and social media platforms such as WeChat Social E-Commerce. It is no longer Big Fish Eat Small Fish; it is now Fast Fish Eat Slow Fish. XPLORA WeChat Social E-Commerce Solutions, is a powerful and useful tool and is proven to have higher successful % converting private traffic into sales.
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