Innovation in Online Ordering

Innovation in Online Ordering

With the advent of the Internet, it’s now possible to put your company on the computer screen and smartphones of people all over the globe, instantly.

Once upon a time, coffee roasting was a very localised service, similar to a butcher or baker; customers could walk to where the beans were roasted. If a roasting business grew large enough, they could aim to hit the grocery shelves and then use the supermarkets’ marketing and infrastructure to help widen the reach and the customer base.
With the advent of the Internet, it’s now possible to put your company on the computer screen and smartphones of people all over the globe, instantly.

CoffeeSnobs has been around for nearly a dozen years. We intentionally exist only as an online business and have always viewed ourselves as local to everywhere in the country. In the early days we found ourselves having to constantly explain that we don’t have a retail presence, we can’t do counter sales, and we don’t have any roasted stock on hand, as we fresh roast to order and freight it out the same day. It was an alien concept to most people, but as time has gone on it’s become a far more accepted and understood business model.
Getting a web presence for your business is easy; getting people to use it can be a bit trickier.
Some simple Dos and Dont's

Do - Get online; you need to be there.
Customers will reach for their phone and search for your company to find your address, find your products, or even just to read some reviews. If they don't find your business, they will surely find your opposition with just a couple of clicks.

Don't - Spend a fortune on website animations and marketing fluff.
Expensive and flashy webpages are nice to look at for a minute, then they blur into noise and quickly become similar to TV ads or worse; they don't even display properly on a mobile phone. Most people searching for you just need the short, concise facts. A friend of theirs has already recommended your products, and they need to know which days you are open or where you are located.

Do - Sell from your website.
It's become quite normal for people to shop from their couch, desk, bed or while on public transport. Your customers can't always find the time to get to your business, but they have no trouble shopping while filling some spare minutes. You can buy anything you can imagine online, and plenty of people do so every day.

Don't - Sell from your website.
A contradiction to the above, but if you can't handle online orders fast and efficiently, then you will frustrate customers and potentially lose them forever. In our business, freight and logistics are the key. We ship everything the same day it's been paid for, without exception. Welcome to generation "now, now, right now"; sitting on an order for a day or two is unacceptable to most. Customers have ordered, paid, and then expect it to magically appear in front of them as soon as the hit the "buy now" button. Build a great relationship with your freight companies and give your customers accurate tracking information, so they know you shipped it the same day and they can follow the product moving.

Do - Offer a warranty.
We have had parcels arrive to a customer that looked like they were dropped from the Space Shuttle. It's rare, but it does happen, and I can recommend that the best thing you can do is to deal with it instantly and once. Trying to claim transit insurance through your carrier is a long-winded and often a painful and fruitless process. If a customer has gone to the trouble of reporting an issue with an order, then instantly offer to resend the order, no questions asked. You won't need to do this very often but when you do, the loyalty and goodwill you get in return is extremely valuable.

Don't - Cut corners.
Ship the very best product, packaged perfectly and robust enough to handle the roughest treatment in transit. A little extra margin spent in packaging will result in more happy customers, more repeat business and far fewer problems. If all your online orders are from first time customers, then you need to determine why your previous customers didn't come back.

Do - Go the extra mile.
An online presence is rarely a 9 to 5 proposition. You will need to consider replying to email and questions outside of "normal" business hours. For example, 5pm Friday ‘til 9am Monday is an eternity to a customer and is nearly half a week in actual time. A quick reply out of hours can really put a customer at ease and show how much you care.

Although we have been online for a long time, we are far from perfect; there is always room for improvement, and having a critical eye and taking feedback onboard from your customer base is important in the successful evolution of your internet presence. Most of all, embrace the technology and allow your happy customers to become your roaming sales force in this online world.

About the Author
Andy is the owner/operator of CoffeeSnobs.com.au, the biggest and busiest coffee website in the Southern Hemisphere. Under the Coffee Snobs banner, Andy roasts coffee and is a previous overall winner of the Golden Bean roasting competition. This decade in the industry has been an amazing learning and sharing experience, and he’s looking forward to enjoying more of the journey ahead.