In yesterday’s post, we discussed how Maishoku plays the role of platform in the online food delivery market by enabling buyers and sellers to reach each other that otherwise wouldn’t have a way to do so. In today’s post, we’ll talk about one more role that Maishoku plays: that of an online plugin for restaurants.
The idea of an “online plugin” for restaurants goes beyond simply providing a basic mechanism for restaurants to sell food online. Selling is only one part of becoming an effective online retailer. There are many other factors to consider, such as branding, design, SEO, and user experience. Maishoku’s goal is to provide restaurants with the tools that they need to excel in all areas of e-commerce. Let’s examine some of the ways in which Maishoku provides those tools.
Firstly, Maishoku is firmly focused on providing an outstanding user experience. The Maishoku website makes use of modern web technologies such as ajax to streamline the workflow and minimize page load wait times. Besides the website, there are native Maishoku applications available for both iPhone and Android, both of which were designed to provide the most efficient experience for mobile users. Both the website and the mobile applications are available in multiple languages, including English and Japanese. As of now, there are no major online food ordering services in Japan besides Maishoku that support all three of these factors related to user experience.
Also in contrast with other online food ordering services, Maishoku allows restaurants to customize the look and feel of their own site. For example, The Pantry’s site is available at https://www.maishoku.com/en/restaurants/pantry, which looks different from the site for Kyojaya, available at https://www.maishoku.com/en/restaurants/kyojaya. Restaurant owners are free to choose the color scheme and photos that best match their desired look and feel. Notice also that the URLs are clean, rememberable, and specific, which helps reinforce the professional aspect of the site as the “online plugin” for the restaurant. We anticipate that restaurant owners will feel a sense of ownership over their site by being able to customize the aesthetics to match their shop image; and by feeling a sense of ownership, we hope they will want to customize their site even more.
Another benefit of having clean URLs is the boost that it gives to the site’s fitness for SEO. Along with some other SEO-related enhancements that we have built into the Maishoku framework, restaurants can expect to receive a fighting chance of appearing in search engine result pages when users search for the restaurant online. Without visibility in search results, restaurants cannot expect to increase their sales simply by having the technical infrastructure to accept orders online – they must also be findable by their potential customers. By plugging into Maishoku, restaurants can leverage the Maishoku domain to attain higher levels of visibility online.
By tying the above factors together – user experience, customizable design, and SEO considerations – restaurants obtain a comprehensive way to extend their brand online. We at Maishoku believe that by simply sticking restaurants into a cookie-cutter e-commerce template is not the way to maximize their online potential. Instead, providing tools to restaurants to build and manage their own online presence will optimize their online potential in the long run. In fact there is a positive feedback loop that emerges between all of the factors in a successful online presence: a consistent brand image has positive implications on SEO, and increased success in SEO provides more traffic that can be analyzed with respect to design, user experience, and other metrics. In the same way that Facebook provides insights to page owners, Maishoku provides valuable analytics to restaurant owners on how to find the local optimum amongst all of the ways they can customize their online presence. This functionality is far more valuable to an online business than a mere online ordering mechanism, and it is at the core of what Maishoku aims to provide as the “online plugin” for restaurants all over Japan.