Global payments news resource PaymentsSource has reported on the exponential worldwide growth in digital dining, highlighting Alibaba’s multi-billion-dollar investment in mobile ordering technology in China.
The article by John Adams, Executive Editor of PaymentsSource explores the rapidly growing shift towards digital dining technology, where Alibaba's decision to take ownership of Ele.me, or "Hungry," in China, follows a similar trend in the US, following successful mobile ordering launches by companies including Starbucks and Square.
The key, says Adams, is not just in the convenience of being able to shop and dine with one’s own device. For retailers and venues, it is about harnessing technology to deliver that all-important customer engagement and the associated boost in revenue. As wi-Q predicted back in 2014, it’s a market that is estimated to be worth $150 billion by 2019.
Since the foundation of wi-Q, we’ve predicted the same trends. There is no doubt that the customer experience is key, with an expectation of instant access to menus and services and a user-centric mobile experience, but it goes much deeper than that.
The winners in the mobile ordering revolution will be those who consider the whole journey, from the instant access required by guests (and we don’t believe that should include downloading an app), to a fluid user journey, language recognition, filtering by user preference or individual requirements (such as food allergies) and the ability to choose from a multitude of payment methods. In short, the more personal and intuitive the user journey, the more engaged the user will be, resulting in that all-important mobile ordering revenue boost.
Adams’ focus on payment providers raises an interesting point. A rush for every payment provider to develop their own mobile ordering technology could very well result in a plethora of sub-standard solutions dependent on one payment provision. This may be designed to push venues towards those payment providers who can deliver mobile ordering, but we don’t see this working. Customers are looking for choice. Delivering a ubiquitous solution with the choice to pay by cash, credit card, PayPal, loyalty, charge to room and more is the future of digital guest engagement.
It’s not just about the end user – it has to work for the operator. wi-Q Technologies’ solutions were developed ahead of the mobile ordering revolution to consider the whole product. We believe this should include:
- Integration to POS and PMS
- API interaction capability
- Multi-site scalability
- Unrestricted payment provision
- Intensive reporting and KPIs
- Low cap-ex with fast ROI
- Any device access
- HTML solution with no app download
- Easy to use back-end management system
For more information on wi-Q for F&B, visit www.wi-q.com
For more information on Mi-Room for hotel guest services, visit www.mi-room.com