COVID-19 caused significant disruption across the foodservice industry. For some restaurants and convenience store s, previous investments in digital tools and mobile apps proved invaluable as consumers embraced contactless ordering and payment to buy meals and snacks, and fill up at the pump.
As external forces and their effect on people’s everyday lives continue to evolve, we wondered how impactful the shift to digital tools with restaurants and C-stores has been, and whether or not the quality of these experiences affect brand loyalty?
Earlier this year, Mobiquity explored the relationship between digital tools and customer loyalty in four industries: banking, insurance, healthcare, and restaurants/convenience stores. The survey findings confirmed a boost in digital adoption across consumer demographics and industries — including restaurants and C-stores.
Here are three key takeaways for these retailers.
Takeaway 1: Appetite for digital tools
More than half of consumers have increased use of digital tools for ordering takeout through a website (57%) or a restaurant/convenience store mobile app (51%). Nearly as many have stepped up their use of third-party delivery services like GrubHub and DoorDash (44%).
Across the other three industries, the only digital tool that comes close to this level of uptake is telemedicine appointments, which 51% of consumers said they used more during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Perhaps not surprisingly, consumers aged 18 to 55 reported a sharper increase in restaurant/C-store mobile app use than those older than 55. The younger segment was also more likely to report that digital restaurant/C-store tools fit their lifestyle (63% vs 38%).
Takeaway 2: Opportunity to juice up digital satisfaction
Consumers expressed relatively high satisfaction with mobile apps from food delivery services (71% somewhat or very satisfied), restaurants (70%), and coffee shops (67%). But when it comes to C-store mobile apps, consumers voiced the lowest level of satisfaction across all tools and industries surveyed. Just over half (53%) are somewhat or very satisfied with these tools — suggesting that C-stores have significant opportunities to invest for higher satisfaction and stronger loyalty.
Takeaway 3: Recipe for satisfaction
What keeps customers coming back to a restaurant or convenience store? Not surprisingly, both cleanliness and high-quality food were cited by 96% of respondents. Nearly as many (95%) pointed to high order accuracy as a make-or-break factor. A retailer’s website/portal and mobile app were slightly less important (cited by 82% and 76% of consumers, respectively, with this sentiment higher among consumers younger than 56).
Although customers didn’t include them among the top-five loyalty factors, digital tools are a key ingredient when bolstering customer satisfaction and loyalty. In fact, digital tools can help mitigate two of the top drivers of switching: inaccurate orders (cited as a top factor by 45% of consumers) and poor customer service/staff experience (cited by 35%).
Looking ahead, there’s clear demand for excellent digital tools that enable an accurate and efficient ordering process from restaurants and convenience stores. It’s high-quality products — combined with a great mobile app — that will keep people coming back for more.
Ready to explore digital tools for restaurants and convenience stores?