I was listening to Dan Primack’s podcast on Pro Rata and he was interviewing Senator Klobucher who is now publicly and vocally speaking out against Uber purchasing Grubhub and has tried to mobilize against this.
Her argument is that if Uber buys Grubhub (which itself once merged with Seamless) it would mean that Uber Eats / Grubhub would control half the market and that with DoorDash the two together would control 90% of the market. I think that’s a largely flawed fight to be picking and of all the uses of Senator Klobuchar’s I could think of some much more productive fights to be having.
For starters Uber itself has had to lay off 27% of its workforce due to the pandemic and has been severely impacted financially from the crisis with no immediate respite in sight. Its core business was already struggling to become profitable, so having tertiary businesses like food delivery that can deliver needed profits would be welcome to their financial stability. And the market would still have DoorDash and PostMates duking it out as well as the potential that players like Instacart broaden their business one day or Amazon gets into food delivery.
Even more likely is eventual technology disruption where drones deliver foods and make it hard for existing car delivery services to compete. It won’t happen right away but I’ve seen some innovative companies doing exactly this in places like Australia where they are taking a more liberal approach to allowing drone deliveries. Therein lies the advantages of free markets and competition and if we really believed it were that easy to buy off your largest competitor and be a monopolist we’d all be surfing on AOL TimeWarner portals.
But the broader issue that hasn’t garnered much press attention is how the restaurant industry itself is being transformed and what tools a modern restaurant will need to compete. What is the Shopify of the restaurant industry? I have some compelling data that suggests it may just become ChowNow.
We know that the restaurant business already operates on thin margins and many struggle to survive. So when delivery services came along many were willing to pay the fee to try and increase business. It was only about 10–15% of their actual total revenue per month so for many it wasn’t a battle worth fighting — they just put up with the food delivery company fees. Customers were happy and restaurants focused on their in-store business.
The problem for the restaurants is that the more successful the “aggregators” of customer demand become over time, the less power the restaurants themselves have individually. This will largely be true whether you have 2 strong competitors or 5 because unless a delivery company can make a profit it won’t continue to stay in business.
The delivery companies own the customer relationship and can drive traffic to the most profitable restaurants for them. Obviously if you have a great restaurant brand with differentiated food people search for you by name but for many people looking for pizza, sushi, Mexican food, Thai food, whatever, you might go with the choice put in front of you if it’s being recommended or delivered more quickly. The delivery companies also own many of the assets like the photography so they can make certain options look much more attractive.
So just like when Groupon came out many small merchants welcomed the uptick in traffic, without owning the customer you lose the most valuable asset — the ability to re-market to your customer base and encourage them to become more loyal and more frequent customers. You lose the ability to up-sell and cross-sell products. And just like with Groupon the small businesses ended up having many unprofitable customers.
At Upfront we always took the approach that we wanted to back startups that enabled merchants to own the customer relationship and to increase profits by becoming excellent at marketing and serving ones most loyal customers.
So several years ago we backed a company called ChowNow that enables restaurants to offer self-service ordering for pick-up or delivery and the restaurant owns all of the customer information and relationship — ChowNow is simply a SaaS enablement product.
The company has done well over the past several year but never really captured the same press mindshare as the food delivery companies because when a company shows up at your house you get to know that brand rather than the tech that enables restaurants.
Covid-19 has changed all of that. Whereas pickup & delivery may have been 10–15% of a restaurant’s business before it’s currently 100% and when it’s your entire business the thought of paying huge commissions to a third-party delivery service becomes much less attractive. So while many restaurants knew they eventually needed to invest in better order management software, many had been putting it off.
But just as many product or apparel companies were happy selling at Amazon, Walmart or Nordstrom in the past and have lately realized the importance of Shopify and serving customers directly — so, too, are restaurants. Enter ChowNow.
What data do I have to make the case?
- ChowNow now has 17,000 restaurants using its SaaS platform for take-out and delivery and is adding more than 2,000 / month right now (and trending up)
- 10 million diners now use the ChowNow ordering platform vs. 24 million for GrubHub, so like Shopify while they built the customer base slowly and with capital efficiency they are now rivaling the bigger players in footprint
- Last year they were serving 50,000 customers / day through their platform and did approximately $500 million in GMV (the value of the orders placed), this year they are on track to do $3 billion (with a B) and expect to end the year at a revenue run rate that may top $100 million (yes, I asked for permission to publish these numbers).
If you want to see a short spot that outlines the importance of the restaurant industry arming itself with better software tools to serve and market to their customers you may enjoy this 60-second video that makes it clear why it matters. It speaks volumes to why we all love our local restauranteurs and want to see them survive …
Or if you want to see the argument laid out clearly by a customer, look no further than Motorino Pizza in NYC who posted this note that appears before you enter their website:
6 Ways To Incorporate SEO While Building A Business in 2020
There’s no quick fix, or “one and done” solution when it comes to search engine optimization (SEO). You have to be prepared to play the long game to see the full advantages of SEO when developing a site — and it’s worth it to see your site rank highly on search engine result pages.
That said, there are some methods that will give you a quick boost. Shift more attention to the most significant ranking factors and tactics that will give your site the ability to rise to the top of the search results this year.
Choose a Responsive Design
User experience is a big deal these days. Google loves to serve its users the best results possible. If your website isn’t easy to use on a mobile device, you’re going to suffer a setback in ranking. Think about it, have you ever landed on a site where you had to zoom in to read the text and scroll side-to-side to read all of the content? This was most likely the desktop version of a website. It was made for larger screens and doesn’t reformat to fit on different screen sizes.
Responsive sites will resize images and reorganize the blocks of content according to the size of the screen. If you want to test whether a website is responsive, open up a web page on a desktop or laptop. From the full screen, shrink the window by clicking and dragging, and you’ll see the sidebars move, the navigation and header will take on new positions and the content and images will line up differently.
Mobile search volume accounts for more than half of the total searches made online (see chart below). A responsive, mobile friendly site is no longer an option, but a necessity, when it comes to providing an enjoyable user experience.
Create Keyword Clusters
Making a list of keywords that your ideal audience would use to find the content you’re offering will also boost your SEO ranking. Plug each keyword into a keyword tool to generate additional ideas. Assess the best options for keywords to include in your content strategy by grouping them into pools based on search intent. You’ll notice that many of those keyword options will be subtopics large enough to write an entire blog post about, in which you can provide more detailed content optimized for a related keyword.
For example, if you own a home improvement business, a central page on your site would be kitchen renovation. And because there are so many choices to make when renovating a kitchen, you could then go into depth and create a new page for every option, from counter tops and backsplash tile to faucets and refrigerators. When you’re planning your content, structure the website to feature central pages that are optimized for the most central, competitive keywords and most important aspects of your business.
Publish articles on the related subtopics in full detail in order to provide as much information on those major keyword topics, to show your expertise in your field, and to demonstrate authority within the content of your site. Google looks for this as partial evidence of your status as an expert in your niche.
Google also loves when there is a distinct organizational structure. By linking the subtopic posts to your major product pages, you signal what pages are most important to your site by creating a keyword cluster.
Optimize Your Content
On-page optimization enhances the likelihood of your page being ranked for your target keywords. Avoid keyword stuffing and place your keywords strategically. For instance, use your target keywords in the front end of your titles, and keep your titles under 60 characters or they will get cut off in the search display.
Place your keyword in your URL. The most effective URLs are those that are under 5 words and summarize the title or content on the page. Keywords should also be included in the meta description. Using your keyword in the beginning of the meta description will improve the click-through rate for users. As will placing your keyword within the first 100 words in the first paragraph of your content, and using keywords and keyword synonyms in the subtitles.
Use structured data markup whenever possible. If you can provide a rich snippet, you may get a boost in the position your site is displayed.
Make Your Pages Quick and Nimble
With a heavy emphasis on user experience, page speed can make a huge difference in how your site performs. If you’re an ecommerce site, it becomes extremely important because every second your page takes to load will cost your business money from lower conversions.
mPulse Mobile Case Study on Page Speed Vs Conversion Rates, Image source: https://digitalducats.com/page-speed/
Test your mobile page speed here. You can improve your site speed by reducing image file sizes, using plugins, and using a content delivery network to give your website additional page speed.
- To reduce the size of your images use Kraken or Smush.
- W3 Cache is one of the most popular WordPress plugins that increase page speed, but you can decide for yourself by choosing one from this list.
- Choose a CDN (Content Delivery Network) to reduce your pages load time from a list of options here.
Get Other Sites to Link to You
Establishing credibility and authority is a necessity to be competitive in search results. Backlinks are a powerful way to prove that your content is credible and authoritative because essentially it is being endorsed by the websites that link to you. But stay away from paid links, or any link scheme used to manipulate ranking in an underhanded way. Unnatural linking will lead to penalties and should be avoided altogether.
One approved method of link building is to become a guest author. There are guest posting sites in every niche and having knowledge about your business is all you need to create an article that can be submitted to a site for publication. It may take a few weeks to get a response, and you may need a few submissions before receiving acceptance. Get into a routine for guest posting to build backlinks as fast as possible.
Ask People to Share Your Content
A social network is a priceless asset for expanding your audience and getting more traffic to your website. Build your network by being active on the social media site that has the most impact on your business.
Install social sharing icons on your site and include a call to action to get the most shares. A retweet study revealed that content with share icons received 4 times as many retweets with the phrase “Please RT”.
Although there is a lot to put together to achieve a first page result, it’s a long-term game plan. Start building your website with SEO in mind to give your site the best chance at the top positions in search results.
How To Grow Your Visibility, Attract Leads And Convert Customers On Autopilot With Gemma Went
How do other entrepreneurs make it look so simple to grow your visibility, attract leads and grow their business, when you feel like you’re on a marketing treadmill and not seeing the results you’re working so hard for?
If you’ve been asking yourself this question, you’re going to love this episode of The She Means Business Show!
This week I’m joined by online business consultant and digital marketing strategist, Gemma Went!
Gemma previously created two incredible masterclasses for us inside the Members’ Club, all about social media and creating an automated marketing system and her strategies are amazing!
In this episode she’s sharing more about her evergreen ecosystem, that will help you grow your visibility and attract more leads, without having to constantly hustle!
- In this episode we talk about:
Gemma’s favourite sources for marketing inspiration and her best recommendations to help spark ideas.
- How signing her first client when she was 4 months pregnant made her realise she needed an automated marketing system.
- Gemma’s evergreen ecosystem and how she creates online journeys that turn leads into customers.
- How she plans her content and balances automation with human connection and building trust.
- Gemma’s top tips for increasing visibility and conversions.
If you would like to find out more about Gemma, head over to www.gemmawent.co.uk
Links & Resources:
- Gemma Went’s masterclasses, exclusively for the Members’ Club
- Neil Patel’s Digital Marketing blog
- Social Media Examiner
I hope you love this episode and before you leave…
If you’re a coach or run a service-based business, I have an invitation especially for you!
We’re running a free challenge in collaboration with the incredible Gina DeVee called Package Your Brilliance!
Gina will be giving 5 live training sessions inside our pop-up Facebook Group and helping you understand where you can get started with packages, how to get to $10k months, how to know what to charge and how to find your ideal clients.
How to Run a Collaborative Brainstorming Meeting by @ceotwit
by Allison De Meulder
What do pasta and brainstorming meetings have in common? They can both be sticky. Brainstorming in my company was focused on leading others in a way where collaboration was key. We needed to accomplish various goals, including: bringing new products to market, surviving during economic downturns, and creating revenue generators. I recommend doing this together, and that means, whether you are in the shipping area or IT department, you’ve got ideas, and they need to be heard. So how do you collaboratively brainstorm and throw pasta at the wall and see what sticks?
Bring together a mish mosh of people.
Group staff together in a room. Bring together 1-3 representatives from each team or department, so you only have a few from each area and together you have one melting pot of people from all areas of your company. A good mush pot includes, production, design, accounting, IT and management. The various vantage points of the company are sure to come out when idea generation kicks in. The more varied the teams are, the more varied the ideas will be. You don’t want groupthink, you want the creative juices flowing. You need a problem solved or a revenue generating idea, you don’t want everyone in the room regurgitating the same thing.
Be simple and to the point, don’t get saucy.
State what the meeting is about. For example, if the meeting is about bringing in more revenue for the holiday season, state just that. Don’t give too much background as this leads to appropriate or the right answers. At this moment, you want mostly viable but out-of- the-box ideas. Once ideas have been generated you can get down to the nitty gritty of those details. Sometimes knowing less is giving you more to work with.
Start placing the pasta.
Have a white board, mine is floor to ceiling and after I have stated the problem or question at hand, I call for staff to call out ideas. No idea is too small, too big, too intelligent or too silly. Everything goes. So, proceed to write absolutely everything on the board. You are haphazardly placing your pasta pieces, filling up the board with words placed vertically and horizontally. Throw in that creative flair.That is what is so amazing about the process, is that there is no judgement. The person at the board gives nothing away, keep that poker face on! Just keep writing. What you will find is, one person’s idea leads to another idea and another one, and they feed off of each other for an amazing brainstorming session.
Now it’s time to pull out the special sauce.
Now you are going to navigate through all of the ideas. In the room, go one by one, you can wait for a collective “yay” or “that’s not going to happen” or you can cross off some answers yourself and do others as a group. Feel free to apply judgement at this point because the initial creative process of the idea generation is over and now it’s time to turn on the “MOADIS” hat, made up of management, operations, accounting, design, IT, sales and marketing, and see how the ideas fit in with the reality of “MOADIS.” Always be kind and respectful. It is essential not to be overly critical of an idea but rather give reasons it could or could not work. Idea generation should be a safe space.
Once the process of throwing pasta on the wall is over, and you and your team have gone through the list, it is a good idea to narrow down to five viable options. Take these finalists away from the meeting by circling them and giving a round of applause not only for these sticky ideas, but to everyone who participated in the brainstorming. For many, this was out of their comfort zone. So their efforts should be applauded. Mull over these finalist ideas on your own, with management, or with key decision makers. See what sticks and utilize collaborative brainstorming to keep your organization delicious!
The post How to Run a Collaborative Brainstorming Meeting by @ceotwit appeared first on She Owns It.
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