How to convert third party customers
Posted on Wednesday, December 28, 2022 by Alan Pizzaiolo Tribe — No comments
I appreciate that some pizzerias will need a delivery partner and clearly the larger chains, with bigger volumes will pay a smaller commission.
But for the rest of us, especially the ones that don't have their own delivery drivers, third parties (3P) are a necessary evil and a daily cause of headaches. Not surprisingly all independents try to do is convert third party customers into their own.
If you have recently opened a pizzeria in a competitive market, you really can’t do without 3P. I’d suggest you take the view that the money spent on commission is “marketing money”. You are on these platforms to get visibility, get known and accumulate new customers. But once customers start ordering, every one that orders more than 3 times, must be converted.
Here are my suggestions on how to effectively convert customers.
Assumptions: You have your own delivery drivers, you have your own app or website. Ordering on your website is easy and customers will get cheaper prices, a better/wider offering or something else that will entice them to keep ordering direct.
- Some pizzerias use flyers with discount codes and add those to each order. If this is the way you want to go, I would rather add a business card sized card, in bright colours, saying they will get a discount when they order on your website and insert this on the edge of the pizza box, so that the customers can't open the pizza box without noticing it. As printing is expensive and we need to use pizza boxes anyway, why not print a message on the pizza box itself? Companies like brandedbox.co.uk can help with this. They are happy to do small runs and can help with design. Granted the boxes will be more expensive but you will save on printing costs and the hassle of placing fliers with each order.
- Prices on 3P must be higher than on your website, but not so high that you are no longer competitive. Check your competition.
- If you are lucky enough to have a star dish, offer it only on direct channels. Hide popular pizzas, sides or extra toppings (such as dough balls, gluten free options, vegan cheese) intermittently. If people want one of those, they may call you and ask why they have been discontinued, to which you will reply that they are of course available on your website.
- If you are busy enough you can turn off 3P at peak time. Remember their algorithm will most likely punish you for this and lower your ranking. Or you can play with delivery radius, delivery times and delivery fees. Only delivering to certain areas on your website.
- Any bit of communication, be it on socials, emails, texts or in person, must mention your website.
- My favourite option is to write a personalised card to anyone that orders more than 3 times and meets some spend and distance criteria. For argument sake, they live within 1.5 miles and spend on average £30 or more. The card must be high quality and if possible use a 1st class stamp. At least the “Dear x” part and your name must be hand written The message must be on the line of “You are important to us. To show you how much we like you, here are 3 discount codes that you can use on your next 3 orders". I would be surprised if this doesn’t achieve a 100% opening rate
- Create awareness. Post on your local Facebook community group or foodie group and explain why people should order direct instead of using 3P. For the post to have more value I would avoid using your business name. You are writing (unofficially) on behalf of all small businesses and people nowadays love to support a local, independent business. Some people don’t realise we pay commission on each order and they need not pay for those nonsensical service fees.