E-Commerce Times Talkback
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When it comes to the Web, groceries are one thing, and not a very
promising one at that. But what about prepared foods?
It's possible that your corner pizza store could be quietly
writing an e-commerce success story.
In fact, hundreds of pizza shops are using the Web effectively. Some
are going it alone, but many are using a Chicago, Illinois-based firm called
QuikOrder.com. QuikOrder says it is on target to handle US$10 million worth of
online pizza sales this year. That's up from a few thousand dollars
worth in 1999.
Online pizza sounds great. If you already live online at the office, on the phone and with laptops, and the coming of always-on wireless hotspots it makes sense. Listen to the scenario:
A mom on the way home calls the kids. Mom says, "what do you want for dinner". Kids say, "Pizza, Pizza, Pizza!" The kids get online and order dinner and she picks it up without skipping a beat. It would be even better if Mom could actually order through a cell phone ordering system.
In visiting QuickOrder.com it would appear to be operated strictly by/for Domino's. The login asks for ZIP code, then informs me the service is not available in my area. Is this any way to encourage sales? There is a Domino's within 1/2 mile of me, I would think they would if nothing else forward the order by fax or automated voice dial-up. Also, if this is suppose to be a site that represents other pizza shops, why only Domino's information?
I think it's a great idea. Actually, I am in the process of setting up a site for the Hungry Howie's that I work at. It frees up the phone lines and cuts down on the amount of time that people are put on hold. You also don't have to put up with those annoying "What kind of pizza do you guys have?" calls.
I think that this idea is great! If you look at the demo format for this site, you can see that they require the customer to fill out all the information before you order the pizza. In addition, you get an email response back from the Dominoe's Pizza place that your order was sent to. You can't go wrong filling out this order, and there should not be any questions to ask later either. You can see any specials that are currently going on and choose exactly how and when you want your pizza delivered.
As an owner of a busy pizza restaurant, I can't imagine anything worse than orders coming in on line. When we answer the phone, we can make sure we have every bit of information we need. When customers fax in orders they are almost always incomplete or have requests that we cannot always
fill. My opinion - it could be my worst nightmare because there is a limit to what you can do with fresh food. Conveyor belt, poor quality pizza might work, but it's not for me !
Seems like a good idea to me, but it could be even more functionally applied for other types of food-delivery providers. For instance, many Chinese carry-outs also deliver, and often telephone communication of the order falls short of its goal. An online menu could solve that problem. Also, menues could be provided online (for any type of food) in the user's choice of languages, with specific information about each dish. It's an idea whose time has (almost) come.