How food delivery brands are providing connected experiences in an uncertain time
This post is authored by Ido Bar Oz, Strategic Cloud Alliances Director at Braze, an AWS Competency Partner
It goes without saying food delivery brands face tremendous headwinds right now – from the long-running shifts in consumer behavior driven by the rise of smartphones and other mobile devices to today’s global health and economic situation. But while every industry is dealing with a challenging, fast-changing dynamic, the food delivery space is facing a unique set of challenges and opportunities that can tell us a lot about the way that customer engagement as a whole is changing today. At the same time, the role of delivery has never been more important – helping deliver food to the front doors of millions of people while creating new revenue streams and employment opportunities for restaurants and their staff.
Tremendous changes are afoot in the food delivery space
Food delivery has been around for decades (centuries, in some regions), but for much of that time, delivery was primarily handled in-house by restaurants and done on a purely local basis. Back then, the idea of having desired food from any cuisine in the world delivered to your door could seem like a fantasy. But over the past decade, the rise of mobile and the speed, scale, and agility made possible by modern cloud technologies have allowed modern food delivery brands to both modernize the ordering, payment, and order tracking aspects of delivery and massively grow their audiences all over the globe.
Coming into 2020, the food delivery landscape was already seeing signs that it was beginning to reach maturity. Back in February, The Wall Street Journal noted a rise in the number of planned food delivery firm mergers and initial public offerings (IPOs), driven by growing reluctance among venture capital firms when it came to subsiding operations in the space. We’ve seen Uber Eats sell its India business to Zomato, Glovo taking steps to optimize operational efficiencies, and Delivery Hero’s Domicilios.com brand merging with iFood, all seeming consequences of this shift.
But all these changes paled in comparison to the impact of this year’s global public health crisis on the industry. With large swathes of the globe finding themselves under near-total lockdown on short notice, the need to have food delivered – and many other things – has seen significant growth in a short time. However, while this shift is poised to have some benefits for food delivery brands, it also requires them to quickly change their communications strategies and innovate quickly in order to abide by new government guidelines and meet new customer needs and expectations.
How Braze and AWS support connected experiences for delivery brands
In a time when growth at any cost is no longer an option and food delivery businesses must adapt to new global circumstances, how do these companies innovate quickly enough to provide timely, connected experiences while continuously building the customer loyalty they need to drive sustainable growth? To answer this question, we must dive deeper into the technologies that make it possible for leading brands in this industry and beyond to quickly adapt to changing circumstances while listening to, understanding, and acting on their customers’ pressing needs. Braze is proud to be helping companies do just that.
Braze, is a comprehensive customer engagement platform built on AWS, and an AWS Partner Network (APN) Advanced Technology Partner with AWS Competencies in both Retail and Digital Customer Experience. Braze is designed to help brands bring modern stream processing and data science frameworks to their customer engagement strategies. In 2019, Braze sent more than 600 billion personalized emails, push notifications, in-app messages, SMS messages, and more to billions of monthly active users. Many of the world’s leading food delivery platforms leverage the combined technologies of AWS and Braze to achieve live views of every customer, highly intuitive customer journey building, in-the-moment campaign optimization, and cross-channel communication capabilities.
The power of speed and flexibility
Because Braze is architected on top of AWS, the Braze platform sees significant benefits from the speed and scale of the cloud. Braze cycles through more than 10,000 servers every week and receives more than 8 billion API calls each day and processes each request in under 100 milliseconds, something that’s made possible by AWS Auto Scaling and Elastic Load Balancing. The elasticity and scale that AWS provides helps companies using Braze to quickly scale up their message volume to users. In addition, because Braze is built on a foundation of stream processing, Braze customers are able to collect user data at a high frequency, supporting more nuanced analysis and more effective action on that information. This makes it possible for food delivery companies to provide relevant connected messaging experiences and to adjust their communication strategy swiftly when needed.
These capabilities were essential during March and early April of this year, when the global situation led to huge, recurring spikes in messaging outputs for food delivery brands in the United Kingdom. In accordance with government guidelines there, Braze enabled food delivery platforms to keep their customers informed in a timely manner about relevant changes to orders, delivery schedules and practices, and other key information – and to do it all via sophisticated, cross-channel digital outreach.
UK Messaging Stats – Braze
In the UK, many businesses sent a “message from the founder” email on March 13 that highlighted new safety and hygiene regulations associated with the crisis, followed by announcements around the launch of contact-free delivery for consumers on March 17 and the March 20 announcement by the UK government that closed all restaurants in the country. Each one of these campaigns was associated with new spikes in messaging outputs.
A similar dynamic played out in the US, characterized by both volatility in messaging outputs during March and early April and by the increased use of email as a channel by brands, in comparison to more stable messaging trends in March 2019.
For brands operating in this environment, fast-changing circumstances and the need to send large volumes of messages at a moment’s notice are just facts of life. Braze, with the help of AWS, can seamlessly adjust to support our customers’ massively higher message outputs without endangering our platform’s stability or requiring advance planning to make it happen. That’s made it possible for brands in the food delivery industry to meet today’s challenges and get essential information in front of their customers when it matters most. This doesn’t just help with communication – it helps deliver the right meal to the right customer at a much needed time.
Data agility and optimized engagement
In challenging times, data agility only becomes more important to brands. With the right information, it’s possible for food delivery brands to support relevant, personalized messaging and service offerings that better fit their customers’ tastes and preferences as they evolve. Because Braze is architected on top of AWS, food delivery platforms using Braze are well situated to easily move data between different tools and teams, which allow businesses to have a holistic view on the consumer journey.
Leading global delivery brand Deliveroo is an exemplar of what’s possible with the right technology. Early on in its history, the company established a goal of building a strong, global, cross-functional team across its CRM, Data, and Engineering departments. To ensure that customers in every market were receiving rich, relevant, cross-channel messages, the company’s CRM team in its Central London headquarters was tasked with supporting Deliveroo’s marketing data and analytics needs across 12 other European markets.
The CRM team was tasked with testing out new marketing tools, channels, and campaigns in the London market and then using their learnings to help roll out new technologies and approaches in other regions. To make sure that they were accessing accurate campaign data in real time, Deliveroo began using Braze Currents, our high-volume data export tool. Currents provides brands with a interface that supports direct connections between Braze and a variety of other technologies, including:
o Storage services like Amazon S3
o Data warehouses like Amazon Redshift
o Business intelligence (BI) tools
o Customer Data Platforms (CDPs) like mParticle and Segment
Using Currents, Deliveroo was able to automatically move data between Braze and other layers of their technology stack. That data agility made it possible to manage and evolve the company’s marketing strategy and process, while also giving teams across all regions seamless access to any data captured by Braze. By leveraging S3 in conjunction with BI tools, these teams can now easily join Braze campaign information with other important datasets, such as average order time. Then, they can easily look at a visualization of the data or access subsets of the combined information in real time to identify actionable insights that can support more effective marketing efforts.
By taking advantage of the Braze platform’s AWS-supported infrastructure and easy integrations with BI tools, Deliveroo was able to break down silos, improve time-to-value, and democratize data access. All of the company’s global teams are now able to explore data and identify insights for their specific regions and share findings with the company as a whole, supporting more frequent experimentation and reducing the amount of time the CRM team spent fielding data requests by 8x.
Some things remain the same, even in the midst of a fast-changing environment. The best consumer experiences are always going to be personal, relevant, and occur the moment they are wanted – and that’s true yesterday, today, and tomorrow.
To learn more about how today’s brands can leverage different best-in-class technologies as part of a modern customer engagement stack, check out our ecosystems and integrations content roundup.
Ido Bar Oz is an experienced SaaS Executive and go-to-market strategist, leading global growth for successful start-ups and enterprises. Based in London, Ido is managing Cloud Alliances at Braze, a leading customer engagement platform. Before Braze, Ido held various positions internationally including KAYAK, the world’s leading travel engine platform. Ido is Israeli by birth and lived in Germany, Switzerland and UK with a passion for traveling and technology.