Shake Shack’s Ecommerce Shake Up
What it takes to create an omnichannel experience that keeps customers coming back
When Steph So joined the team at Shake Shack in 2019, she was excited for the opportunity to grow the digital side of the famous burger company from a point where it was accounting for 20 percent of the business to possibly 25 or even 30 percent. So when COVID hit and all of a sudden digital accounted for 80 percent of sales, you’d think that Steph would feel like she bit off more of that burger than she could chew.
Not so, because as Steph says, digital can scale, and Shake Shack was able to handle the new higher traffic and at the same time come up with new, innovative ways to make the customer experience on digital even better.
“We’re a real believer in the thing that will make Shake Shack most successful is this feeling of it being a community gathering place,” So said. “I actually think about that a lot within digital. That even if you’re placing your order and having 80% of your experience in the digital channel, I still want that feeling of the brand as a gathering place, as an uplifting experience to come through that channel. Because ultimately, then you’ll go to a Shack and you’ll pick up your order. We want that interaction to be just the cherry on top of what’s already been a positive experience. And that to us is how we’re thinking about retention, that it has to be that seamless, and I hate to use this overused word, but it has to be a seamless omnichannel experience from digital into the restaurant.”
This omnichannel strategy is the secret Shack sauce that So and her team are trying to blend together every day. One of the ways the company has been experimenting to bring this to life is through using the app and digital advertising to bring awareness and business to new locations.
“What’s been most successful for us is when we are going to open a new restaurant, we try to go out there with digital ads, before the opening, so that folks get excited,” So said. “So that folks know they can download the app and be ready for opening day when we’re usually crushed with people. And recently we’ve opened a few new restaurants where it’s been exciting to see how many people have downloaded the app before us, even opening instead of standing in a long, snaking line on the first day. They’re actually placing a digital order on their first day and having a more expedient experience on that.”
So also said that forming creative partnerships is another way that Shake Shack is trying to get the most out of their digital presence.
“We work with Uber Eats, DoorDash and Grubhub,” So said. “I view them as a microphone for the brand. If you’re hungry and you’re going to order delivery, chances are you’ll be going to one of those apps. Now if you’re looking for Shake Shack, I would always hope that you come to ours. So, we have to be in mix with our third-party partners and we do a lot of fun activations with them… We like to use our third-party partnerships to do uniquely Shake Shack things, but with a really big platform. And then, on our own delivery, we really are focused on making sure that that experience is great and if you want Shake Shack, we want to make sure that guests can choose the mode, whatever is most convenient for them. So they play a complementary role.”
Ultimately, all of these strategies are designed to do one thing: get customers enjoying Shake Shack and making them want to come back.
How is it working? To find out more, tune in to So’s interview on Up Next in Commerce.
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