This proposal identifies the opportunities and benefits that can be gained by Pizza Express from developing a sell-side ecommerce website. This is intended to exploit the ecommerce technology for ordering Pizza’s online for either home delivery or collection.
Pizza Express (www.pizzaexpress.com/, accessed 05/01/2008) is a UK established business with the first restaurant opened in Wardour Street London, providing the public with an authentic Italian Pizza taste cooked as in Europe. Since the first restaurant opened in 1960’s, Pizza Express have a combined total of over 300 restaurants in the UK and Ireland, “serving 16 million customers a year” (http://www.pizzaexpress.com/aauhist.htm, accessed 05/01/2008).
Pizza Express’ current website provides a range of information from the history of Pizza Express to finding the nearest Pizza Express venue. The search mechanism allows customers to search by postcode, street name or town with the results providing full address and approximate distance. The company provides customers one type of ecommerce facility to order “Gift Cards” online (http://www.pizzaexpressgifts. com/templates/page_01.php?cfp=page:0001, accessed 05/01/2008).
Pizza Express’s competitors include Pizza Hut, Domino, Perfect Pizza and Papa Johns and various other small local businesses that cater for Pizza. For Pizza Express to remain competitive and ahead within the market, they must adapt to offering similar facilities that improve customer experience.
There are various opportunities and potential gains for Pizza Express from developing a sell side ecommerce website, allowing customers to order from the menu for home delivery and/or collection. Pizza Express provides a collection facility but the customer has to either ring the venue or attend in person to place the order.
Over the last decade the emergence of online functionality and web tools, transaction facilities and enhanced (broadband) connection speeds have all added to the extensive investment to encourage online purchasing. For vendors and retailers, overhead costs can be reduced with potential to increase the reachable market 24/7.
The National Statistics Office identifies that in 2006, 63% of UK households had Internet access being above the European Union average of fifty two percent. 44% of these UK Internet users are connected to Broadband which allows faster speeds for better usability. Additionally, ecommerce has also increased with a rise in orders placed over the internet (http://www.statistics.gov.uk/cci/nugget.asp?id=1715, accessed 05/01/2008).
Sell Side electronic commerce “focuses upon selling goods or services to business customers where the primary goal is revenue creation” (Turner, 2002, p53). The factors that will drive sell side ecommerce is more efficient and effective customer service, lower sales and marketing costs, new sales opportunities, increase market opportunities and lower cycle times.
For Pizza Express, providing customers with an opportunity to order their meals online for home delivery and collection will provide a more efficient and effective customer service. For those customers that do not want to venture out to a Pizza Express venue or are unable to due to other commitment but still desire food from a Pizza Express menu will be able to do precisely that. With the numerous locations of Pizza Express, they will be able to cater for majority of their customers. To ensure home delivery can be catered, a search facility is required on the website where the customer has to enter postcode of delivery address prior to placing an order.
Customer satisfaction and customer service will increase as waiting times at restaurants is reduced or removed though home delivery. This also will reduce the whole cycle time for those customers paying online whilst ordering rather than at the collection time.
Providing the online ordering facility with registration allows Pizza Express to record customer details and utilise this information for marketing and identifying customer base and popularity of the ordering and collection service. Pizza Express can maximise usage of this data to market and personalise its products and upcoming offers to customers primarily through emails and possible paper mail shots to reduce sales and marketing campaign costs. This will all be achieved from the customer accessing Pizza Express over the internet from home, a partial benefit derived from ecommerce. As Bernard Liautaud (2000) identifies the use of ebusiness intelligence for turning information into knowledge which finally turns into profit.
Pizza Hut and Domino’s currently provides an online ordering service allowing their customers to purchase Pizzas and other items from the menu for either home delivery or collection (http://www.pizzahut.co.uk/delivery/, accessed 05/01/2008). Using IT can assist companies in meeting strategic objectives such as cost strategies, differentiation strategies and innovation strategies (O’Brien, 1999). For Pizza Express, they can offer customers lower prices or Pizza deals through mail shots and direct advertising, providing additional functionality of online ordering and opportunity for direct marketing.
The proposal to develop a sell side ecommerce website should take into account theoretical concepts to ensure Pizza Express achieve success through the new service for online ordering.
The first theoretical concept is Human Computer Interaction (HCI). The interaction between the customer and the online service for purchasing, analysis of the following elements is imperative:
- useful – accomplish what is required
- usable – do it easily and naturally
- used – make people want to use it (Dix et al, 2004).
Functionality, (cognitive) accessibility and elements of software reliability should also be considered as well as a suitable Graphical User Interfaces (GUI) where applicable. It is anticipated certain stakeholders will have their own criteria of expectations and “requirements” concerning online purchasing. Two variants of the term “requirements” will be applied: “functional” and “non-functional” (Sommerville & Sawyer, 2001).
Functional requirements is something a product must do or a quality that it must possess; the functionality or services that the system is expected to provide. The requirement is sought by the client as it is essential to the overall function to prove useful in its business activity or context.
Non-Functional requirements are specific qualities or properties within the product such as presentation, reliability, response times, usability or adaptability to diverse operating environments; any other requirements that must be integrated into the system but are not a component of fundamental functionality.
For computer interaction sight, hearing and touch are applied. Depending on the User’s capabilities, these senses will play either a major or minor role. For instance, a deaf User will not interact with a computer or interface that uses sound as the primary interface input. Pizza Express facility must ensure that they do not minimise or reduce Customer base from shortfalls within the sell side ecommerce web design, as this could lead to bad publication for the company.
“The GOMS model describes the user’s task representation as a conceptual model in terms of Goals, Operations, Methods, and Selection rules. It is especially useful for the prediction of the user’s behaviour” (http://hwr.nici.kun.nl/~miami/taxonomy/node87.html, accessed 05/01/2008). Pizza Express’s customer goal is to place an order for a Pizza and additional items from the menu. The operation is how they interact to place the order, method being the process to place an order and selection rules specify which method.
For Pizza Express the “method” aspect of GOMS is the most significant factor. The process for online ordering includes:
- New or Existing customer – this will allow customer to register to log in.
- New Customer, enter location – either postcode or street and town that checks if there is a Pizza Express in close proximately. If there isn’t, then provide feedback confirming unable to progress.
- Identify closest Pizza Express and ask customer to register.
- Registration process to collate information on customer to build Customer profile and database.
- Confirm if home delivery or collection
- Select items from menu
- Ability to change pizza topping or add additional toppings
- Confirm order with total cost Go to payment screen to pay. Confirmation with order number, Pizza Express venue contact details and approx waiting time.
- Existing user
- Confirm if home delivery or collection
- Select items from menu
- Ability to change pizza topping or add additional toppings
- Confirm order with total cost
- Go to payment screen to pay
- Confirmation with order number, Pizza Express venue contact details and approx waiting time.
It is important to check whether Pizza Express can deliver or have restaurant in close proximately before continuing with registration process. Existing Users have options to amend their profile, this is necessary if they have moved or change of contact details.
Additionally to ensure usage of website and returning customers, following Shneiderman ‘Eight Golden Rules of Interface Design’ will assist in good web development to accomplish the task. Shneiderman states:
- Strive for consistency
- Enable frequent Users to use shortcuts
- Offer informative feedback
- Design dialog to yield closure
- Offer error prevention and simple error handling
- Permit easy reversal of actions
- Support internal locus of control
- Reduce short-term memory load
(Dix et. al, 2004)
Applying or considering to some extent Shneidermans “rules” would provide designers with valuable foundations for HCI in relation to potential Users.
The benefits of ecommerce would include increase of services to customers (online ordering), attracting new customers, keeping up with competitors, collating customer profiles and understanding the customers by geographical location and customer profile, obtain web statistics to identify customer buying patterns, reduce marketing costs, automated ordering process, direct marketing to customer base and increase of sales.
An eProcurement system (online web) will allow the process to be automated and reduce human labour input and error through computerised systems, the online order is sent direct from the web to the kitchen order system for the correct restaurant. The traditional process can be automated at certain levels hence reducing human intervention and allowing front line staff at the restaurant to concentrate and provide an efficient table service to customer at the restaurant.
An e-procurement system for Pizza Express should include the following functions:
- E-Sourcing & selecting goods: System provides customised products from e-catalogues (menu) with ability to amend toppings as chosen by customer. The total of order is shown on the screen as changes are made to the order.
- Approval System: Email generated along side the selection of product and automatically sends to the kitchen with customised and prioritised accordingly. An email is also sent to the customer with the same details and reference number.
- Purchase Order management: The ordering, approval, invoicing, and receiving processes should be automated. As the system automatically notifies Pizza Express of new order and records order details.
- Reporting System: Different format of reports can be provided by the system, and purchase trends and estimate costs and negotiation potentials can all be analysed and judged for future procurement. Pizza Express can utilise this information to target marketing campaign to customers with direct mail shots and generic advertising for any new services or promotions.
- Payment System: An electronic payment system linked to the order process will reduce customer contact with staff at the restaurant for collection and remove from process for home delivery. There is much efficiency to be gained with a payment system linked to the ordering service.
Pizza Express currently does not offer an ecommerce sell side website for customers to places orders online. Their competitors, Pizza Hut and Domino both provide this functionality allowing customer to either collect from restaurants or have orders delivered to their home address, at a specific time as chosen by the customer.
The benefits Pizza Express can gain from providing an online ordering service include:
- Reduced transaction costs;
- Identify and prioritise workload at restaurant;
- Improve efficiency and reduce labour costs, eliminate manual and paper based processes;
- Gather significant and accurate data on spending to assist cost analysis and provide decision support;