Business Implementation

Implementing an online food ordering business also needs some field work beside the website preparation. Works, responsibilities and infrastructure required to establish your online business vary depending on the way you decide to manage your entire business.

You need to first decide how you are going to manage Norsani, either Self or Shared Management?

Self Management

When you decide to self manage your food ordering business, you should definitely be wanting to establish your food ordering business for a small town or city with vendors having limited access and usage to computers and internet in their stores.

Your main responsibility will include:

  1. Registering and fully managing vendors accounts: This includes posting their items, setup their settings, and processing their orders. You do not need to login to each vendor’s account to process their orders you can do that from your admin front-end orders dashboard page. However, you will need to login to each vendor’s account when you need to update their items or change some settings or create discount coupons.
  2. Processing orders on ground: You will need to manage the entire ordering process from notifying the vendor to prepare the order, to picking up the item and delivering it to the customer.
  3. Updating vendors & items data: You will need to update each vendors items and information whenever their’s a change. For example, vendor offer new items or have stopped offering some items or have change location and delivery zone and fee or some items have finished for the day because of either online or ground orders so you will need to login to that vendor’s account and “offline” that item and before the next opening day of the vendor you should “online” the item again.

If you will be offering delivery service, which most of the self implementation businesses do, you will also need to do some logistics preparation. As a very first start you will need:

  1. One delivery vehicle: This could be a motorcycle.
  2. A delivery person: You can either hire someone or do it yourself.
  3. A smartphone: To quickly manage orders anywhere.
  4. An office: As a start this could be your home.

However, those requirements will expand as your business expands.

Also if you will be offering pick-up, dine-in or curbside orders, you will need to make some sort of agreement with vendors to prepare and handout the order to customers. i.e making an advance deposit to vendors so they can deduct the amount of each order referred by a call/message/email by you, while you have received the amount online.

Shared management

Shared management is the best way to manage your online food ordering business as it will give you more time to focus on marking. Each of your vendors will manage their store and orders by themselves while you focus on getting more customers and expand the business by adding new vendors.

You should always consider this way of management whenever it is possible even if you are implementing in a small town or city or have few vendors. i.e when vendors use computers or smartphones and have an internet connection in their stores.

Your main responsibility will include:

  1. Introduce your business to vendors and encourage them to register on your website. This could be done by making field visits and meetings with your vendors – with a tablet device having an internet connection – where you introduce your service and it’s benefits and go through the vendor’s registration form step by step with your vendors.
  2. Provide your vendors with a quick training session on managing their store and orders. This could be also done during your meeting with the vendor by opening a demo vendor account that have few items and orders – you can create this account previously in office with disabled selling privileges – and showing your vendors how to create new items, discount coupons, withdraw requests and process orders.

For the infrastructure part, you will only need to have an office. As a start, you can use your home but you should consider renting an office as your business expands you will need to hire employees for customer support & satisfaction, marketing, legal afters, etc.

Marketing

From the technical part, Norsani will do it’s best to insure the consistency and functionality of your business but from the management and marketing part, it’s all your responsibility to insure success of your business.

Whenever you plan to open an online food ordering business you should think of the way you are going to provide your service and it’s potential success, and this depends on your implementation geographical area and the uniqueness of available vendors on your service.

The city/town you are planning to implement in already HAVE one or more online food ordering businesses working?

If yes, you should think of ways to provide your service in a better way than your competitors, for example you can do the following:

  1. Targeting vendors that do not exist on other online food ordering businesses. i.e small vendors that provide good food but do not use computers and internet in their stores.
  2. Specialize in a single cuisine. i.e you can make your online food ordering business only for Chinese food, or Indian food, or Korean food, and include most of those vendors within your city in your website so whenever people think of ordering some of that kind of food your website comes as the best resource.
  3. Apply lower fees on vendors. This will encourage vendors to engage with your service and promote you to their customers.

The city/town you are planning to implement DO NOT have one or more online food ordering businesses working?

If yes, you are lucky and should focus on advertising of your service so people get to know the benefits and start using it.

You can also start with a self implementation of your business and try to get as much vendors as possible and provide as good service as possible.

 

System Implementation

After installing Norsani, you need to make some important configurations to Norsani and WooCommerce to make the system work according to your requirements. This is done by going through the Norsani and WooCommerce admin settings.

Configuring Norsani

Go to Norsani admin settings by clicking on “Norsani” on your WordPress admin side menu. The main settings you must review is as following:

  1. The Google API Key: You must enter your Google API key to enable the location and delivery service. You can get instructions on that in the “Questions and Answers” in Norsani Help Center.
  2. Distance settings: You should set how distances between vendors and customers are calculated.
  3. Fees/Commissions: You should set your fees/commissions rules on your vendors sales. These rules are only applied between you and your vendors and not on customers, customers will only pay for their order total (Delivery fee + items price). If you wish to add a fee on customers use the WooCommerce Tax options.
  4. Terms of Service: As an online food ordering website, it is always good to write some important terms of service rules for your vendors. If you also want to write some terms for customers you can do that from the WooCommerce admin settings.

Configuring WooCommerce

As The Checkout and payment systems are controlled by WooCommerce you should definitely need to review some important options in the WooCommerce admin to completely get ready to start your business.

As there might be a lot of settings, WooCommerce developers have tried to make it as much easy as possible to set by creating a setup wizard which you can easily follow.  To quickly go to the setup wizard copy the following link to your browser address bar and go:

yourwebsitedomain.com/wp-admin/admin.php?page=wc-setup”

Replace “yourwebsitedomain.com” with your website address.

Please take your time and go through all options in the setup wizard, this is a business setting up process where you should be very careful.

Adding the demo data

This is an optional step as this will create demo vendors (Three vendors for each allowed type) and items (Six for each vendor), Norsani menus, and set the static page that includes the main search bar on your homepage. To add the demo data, go to Norsani Help Center and click the “Install Demo Data” button.

If you do not wish to add demo vendors and items, You can manually add the Norsani menus from WordPress menus and add the static page to your homepage by creating a new WordPress Page with “Frozr front page” as it’s template and changing the “Your homepage displays” setting in the WordPress Reading Setting.

Customizing the layout

Now you should add your special touch on the layout, and the best way to do that is with the WordPress customize tool (Appearance -> Customize).

Add your logo, change the theme color and do as much customization as you like and hit the “Save Changes” button.

You’re ready

Once you complete those configurations, your “computer” work is done and your website is ready to host vendors and receive orders.

You should now go and do some field work. read the Business Implementation article for more information.

How it works

1. Vendor registration

Vendors register using the stepped registration form that requires many details and information from the vendor like store name and address, type of orders the vendor is going to offer, delivery zone and fees per kilometers/miles, store opening timings..etc. The system will use all of that information to control the purchase process for customers.

You can either allow/ask vendors to register or you can also do it your self using the registration form, and the best method to do that is by having a meeting with your vendors with a tablet and allowing the vendor to see the process while you enter their information.

The more accurate and completed details you filled on vendor registration the less issues you will face when customers make orders, for example if you put an inaccurate value for the delivery fee, accepted order types, delivery time or zone, you will face a lot of unhappy customers and more likely lose profit.

2. Item searching

Norsani uses some powerful systems to guide the user to his favorite items as quickly as possible, these include:

  1. The main search engine: A smart search engine to search form all vendors and items. The search engine will automatically start searching after the user starts typing few words bringing results as quickly as possible and as accurate as possible ordered by the most matching results at the top.
  2. The favorite system: Registered users and visitors can add favorite items and vendors to their favorites to reach them quickly each time. When visitors add items or vendors to their favorites they will only be their when they open the website using the same device they used when they added those items or vendors to their favorites while registered users can see their favorites on any device after login.
  3. Vendors lists: Norsani groups vendors by their type and create a separate list page for each type so users only browse the type of vendors they wish to order from.
  4. Vendors list filters: Users can use the filters available on the vendor list pages to filter vendors by:
    1. Order type available.
    2. Classification/Category.
    3. Name.
    4. Favorites.
    5. Top rated.
    6. Recommended (according to user purchase history).
  5. Featured vendors and items: You as website admin can select some vendors and items in Norsani admin settings as featured. The selected items and vendors will appear whenever the user starts to use the main search engine just before starting typing. This will allow you to promote some vendors and items to users and drive more traffic to them.

3. Add to cart

Whenever users have found their items they can either click on the + icon on the right to quickly add it to cart or click on the item’s name to go to the item’s full details page to see more photos on the item, full description and details, leave a review and see related items.

Users can select the way they wish to get each item before adding it to cart. Norsani offers four order types by default but the website admin can select which are accepted on the website and the vendors can select which are accepted on their items:

  1. Delivery: This will require the user’s location to be within the delivery zone of the vendor. Users will be asked to set their location before they can select this option and if the selected location is within the delivery zone of the vendor the system will allow selection and calculate the delivery fee from the vendor’s store to the user’s location using Google Distance API.
  2. Pickup: By selecting this option, users are required to physically go to the vendor’s store and pickup their order. Users can simply click on the “Get directions” button on the vendor’s page which will direct them to the Google Maps service with directions to the vendor’s store.
  3. Dine-in: This is same like Pickup except it will allow the vendor to know that the user is going to dine-in so they can do any preparations like table reservation.
  4. Curbside: This is also the same as pickup and dine-in except it will allow the vendor to know the method of pickup.

4. Checkout

After users have added some items to cart, they can – at any time – edit their cart to change quantities, add discount coupons and view detailed total amount and go to checkout page.

On the checkout page, users will need to choose their preferred payment option from the available payment options. You will have to setup your accepted payment methods during system implementation. The Payment system is controlled by WooCommerce so you can add any payment gateways support by Woocommerce, there are hundreds available on the web.

5. Order processing

After user completes submitting the order, the complete amount of the order goes to your payment account associated with the payment gateway the user have chosen. If the payment was confirmed, the order will appear on the vendor’s orders dashboard page under the processing tab, and if the vendor was online at the time the order was made the system will play a notification tune to get the vendor’s attention.

The vendor then starts preparing the order, and finally change the order status to completed when order has been delivered. The order then moves to the completed list.

6. Money distribution

Each of your vendors have a balance meter on their dashboard home that will display their current website balance.

After receiving the order and during preparation the vendor’s balance meter is kept unchanged until the order status is changed to completed. At that point, you fall into two situations:

The customer has paid online?

In that case, the actual money is hold by you, but in numbers the system will do the following:

  1. Get the order total amount.
  2. Deduct any fees/commissions set by you on the vendor.
  3. Add the remain number to the amount (number) in the vendor’s balance meter.

The customer has chosen an offline payment like Cash on Delivery?

In that case, the total order amount is paid to your vendor – including your fees/commissions – after delivery so the system will do the following:

  1. Get the order total amount.
  2. Calculate your share from the order total according to the fees/commissions set by you on the vendor.
  3. Deduct your share from the amount (number) in the vendor’s balance meter. This is like if the vendor has made a withdraw from their balance.

However, you can change this behavior if you are the person doing the delivery service and receiving the actual amount of the order.

Getting Started

Norsani is a WooCommerce plugin designed to work with WordPress. The reason I’ve chosen WordPress is because it is the most popular and easy to use content management system on the web.

WordPress is used by 60.0% of all the websites whose content management system we know. This is 31.6% of all websites and WooCommerce is used by 12.9% of all the websites who use WordPress.

I’ve developed Norsani to be as smart as possible to completely install itself with a simple click so you do not need to worry about hiring a developer or being a WordPress expert.

I will discuss two situations which you can be in one after purchasing and downloading Norsani.

You already have a website?

In this situation there are two cases:

You are already using WordPress as your CMS? if yes then simply install Norsani like any other downloaded plugin:

  1. Log in to your WP admin area and go to Plugins > Add New.
  2. Browse to the Norsani archive .zip file on your device and select it.
  3. Click Install then click Activate after installation completes.

You are not using WordPress as your CMS? then you have to create a sub-domain or buy a new domain and install WordPress on it, you can do that using the integrated 1-click installation service for WordPress in your hosting account.

You still do not have a website?

In order to get set up your Norsani system, you’re going to need three things:

  1. A domain name (a web address like example.com)
  2. A hosting service (a service that hosts the files of your website and connects it to the internet)
  3. WordPress content management system.

To get your domain name and hosting account you can browse the web for a well-established website hosting company like for example TMD Hosting. However, selecting a hosting company is all your choice but make sure it includes features like unlimited SSD space, unlimited bandwidth, a free domain, premium support and a free cPanel. When ever you have choosing your hosting company you can simply chat with one of its sales reps. and complete the process of choosing your domain name and opening your hosting account.

The WordPress platform itself is free, but a domain name and hosting will cost you around $3 – $5 a month (for a shared hosting plan). however after your business moves forward and you are getting 100+ orders daily or have 60+ vendors registered. I highly recommend upgrading your hosting plan to VPS for best performance.

After your domain and hosting account is ready, you should now install the WordPress platform, you can do that either manually – I’m not going to explain this step as it might be a bit confusing for beginners – or automatically using the integrated 1-click installation service for WordPress, most of the hosting company offer that for a quick startup.

The last step after your WordPress website is ready is to install Norsani:

  1. Log in to your WP admin area and go to Plugins > Add New.
  2. Browse to the Norsani archive .zip file on your device and select it.
  3. Click Install then click Activate after installation completes.

After you install Norsani you will be automatically directed to the Norsani Help Center, if you have reached there, you’re done and your online food ordering system is ready to go 😀