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Restaurants and retailers have a lot in common when it comes to service and selling to people, and both industries are offering online ordering to customers to keep up with consumer demand and the ever increasing amount of time people are spending online.

Hospitality businesses were pioneers of the online ordering model. Hell Pizza was the first pizza company in New Zealand to offer online ordering in 1996 (back when fax machines were in vogue). Retailers followed suit about seven years later.

An increasing number of small to medium sized retailers are now also seeing the benefits from entering the online click and collect space too.

If you’re a retailer new to online ordering, here’s some friendly advice on how to set it up and use it effectively.

1) Start in house: service with a smile

Make your online ordering system user friendly and easy to use as possible. Tarik Mallett, Mobi2Go CEO and founder, says It’s important to keep the design clean, concise and simple to maximise order efficiency. If a customer visits your online store, finds what they want and makes a purchase quickly, you’ve delivered them online service with a smile.

This online ordering layout by Habitual Fix is a great example. The product categories are easy to identify and add, customers can see where they are in the order process and they have the option to load previously saved orders to recognise their preferences and maximise efficiency.

2) Measurement  

Keep an eye on how your online shoppers are behaving by measuring their actions when they browse your store. The extent of data availability will depend on what system you are using, so make sure you pick on online point of sale ordering system that provides enough data to give you useful insights, like Vend, an excellent POS software and online ordering system.

Next, ask yourself these questions. What products they’re looking at? How long are they taking to make a purchase? How much are they spending? How often are they coming back? Your customers’ actions will reflect how good your user design is, so make sure you keep an eye on these and make adjustments if your online sales aren’t quite where you want them to be.

You can also use tools like Google Analytics to look at the types of people who are viewing your website, where they’re coming from and what they’re doing on your site. The more information you have about your customers, the better.

3) Marketing initiatives to keep them coming back  

What can you do to encourage customers to keep visiting your store? Set up an online loyalty scheme where they gain a reward for spending a set amount of money, or send them a gift voucher via email on their birthday.

4) Engage online with social media

2.8 million people accessed a social media site in NZ in Nov 2013, reaching 94.6% of the total Kiwi internet audience. Take advantage of this high audience reach by setting up a profile for your store on social media sites like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. You can post content on new products, discounts, promotions -­ basically any cool stuff your customers might like. view our articles on how to get set up Facebook Instagram and Twitter for more info.

5) Brand consistency

Make sure the design of your online store is consistent with your in-store branding and marketing. Does your online store look like your physical store? Does it follow the same brand guidelines, colours and fonts? Also include taglines and images you’ve used in recent advertising campaigns so a customer recognises your brand online immediately.

So retailers, are you ready to start selling online now? Of course you are! Give our friends at Vend a buzz today and tell them we sent you.