Ken Bott, Head of Digital, PDQ (People Dedicated to Quality) Restaurants
1. In your opinion, how has the eCommerce landscape evolved over the years? What are some of the advantages of the current technological evolution?
The eCommerce landscape was moving along at a reasonable innovation and adoption pace. The pandemic disruption over the last 18 months has accelerated everything to meet the changing landscape. We addressed this head-on by launching digital ordering and delivery capability, integrating a loyalty platform, and pivoting our team member training to adapt. In a macro sense, consumers and operators have had to become more savvy and comfortable with pivoting to meet what is now the new normal.
One advantage related to tech evolution is customer-driven personalization and comfort with adopting our new technologically driven service solutions. Technology is helping us gather these insights to help us successfully satisfy the cravings of our guests with our quality food.
And we’re able to provide it the way they want it, where they want it, at the exact time they want it.
Another advantage of technology evolution for a brand like ours dovetails nicely with our brand ethos – providing quality food and service – technology enables us to more efficiently deliver great convenient service, and do it in a frictionless way, across all channels.
2. What according to you are some of the challenges plaguing the eCommerce landscape and how can they be effectively mitigated?
Security of customer data is a major challenge in the current landscape. Be diligent and make sure you ask your tech partners the hard questions to ensure they are keeping up with industry security standards.
“Technology is helping us gather these insights to help us successfully satisfy the cravings of our guests with our quality food”
The other challenge for brands is embarking on using new technology for the sake of looking innovative. Make sure you’ve asked yourself “how will this make my guests’ and team members’ life better.” And then evaluate how it will positively impact the bottom line if it's a win for your guests and team members.
3. Which are a few technological trends influencing eCommerce today? What are some of the best practices businesses should adopt today to steer ahead of competitors?
Channel focus and modeling success – address “what’s the best way to engage with my customer.”
There is a definite trend towards companies being more thoughtful by channeling how they are leveraging eCommerce and/or simply engaging with their customers. Great examples are Best Buy and Walmart, just look at how they pivoted successfully to the digital ecosystem.
Artificial intelligence – leveraging platforms that are constantly learning from customers' interactions and improving on their product, service or value proposition is going to quickly become a must-have for brands.
Real-time Responsiveness – customer engagement with service delivery failures and fast-fix follow-ups in whichever platform guests are reaching out to you on.
4. Do you have any advice for industry veterans or budding entrepreneurs from the eCommerce space?
Remain flexible in how you deliver the ordering and service experience – convenience, value, and efficiency are key to delivering on our brand promise. Enabling personalization of what your Guests order, while not sacrificing quality is going to keep them coming back.
Scoping out the right partner that’s a fit for your organization is key. Finding a partner that has many of the same organizational values, can deliver added value to your guests and team, and makes for a more beneficial outcome.