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Holistic strategies for long-term success in the Food Delivery industry


Holistic strategies for long-term success in the Food Delivery industry

In the rapidly evolving landscape of the foodservice industry, sustaining long-term success goes beyond customer acquisition. Retention strategies are critical to building a loyal customer base and ensuring continued growth. This article explores a comprehensive set of strategies to help you achieve your business goals.


What is customer retention?

In the dynamic world of the food delivery service industry,  customer retention is a key metric, often considered as the lifeblood of sustainable success. Retention refers to a company's ability to maintain its existing customer base over a period of time. In the context of food delivery services, this means not only attracting new users, but also ensuring that these customers continue to choose your platform for their dining needs. Calculating customer retention is a fundamental aspect of assessing the health of a food delivery business.


Cohort analysis

A powerful tool that provides deep insights into user behaviour and loyalty is cohort analysis. Cohort analysis involves grouping customers based on shared characteristics or experiences, and then tracking their behaviour over time. In the context of food delivery services, cohorts can be created based on factors such as date of sign-up, date of first order or geographic location. By examining how different cohorts behave and whether they exhibit patterns of continued engagement or drop-off, businesses can tailor retention strategies more effectively.


The formula for customer retention is simple yet powerful:

The formula for customer retention calculation for food delivery marketplaces

Customer retention rate = (Total number of customers at the end of the period – Newly customers acquired) / Customers at the start of the period.


This formula quantifies the percentage of customers that have been retained over a period of time, providing valuable insight into the effectiveness of retention strategies. Let's now look at a comprehensive set of strategies to ensure lasting success in the food delivery sector.


Retention strategies


The list of retention strategies for food delivery business

Quality customer service

The cornerstone of customer retention is providing exceptional service. Timely and courteous interactions, prompt problem resolution and a customer-focused approach build trust.


Personalized recommendations

Use data analytics to understand customer preferences and behaviours. Offering personalized recommendations based on previous orders creates a more engaging and tailored experience, improving customer satisfaction and encouraging repeat business. For example, using Playfood web-marketplaces and food delivery apps you can strengthen personal recommendations by setting up personal promo codes for customers. Follow the link to learn more.


Habit formation

The habit-forming approach revolves around cultivating customer loyalty through a series of discounts and promo codes designed to encourage repeat use of a particular food delivery application. By strategically incentivising successive purchases, food delivery marketplaces can capitalize on the psychology of habituation and encourage a routine of using the same food delivery platform. Habit formation starts with the first order.


Look cheapest strategy

The "look cheapest" strategy focuses on creating the perception of being the cheapest option in the eyes of the consumer. This can be achieved through tactics such as promo codes, discounts, rewards or price-based habit formation. The aim is to ensure that users perceive your food delivery service as the cheapest, encouraging them to choose it over competitors. By strategically using promo codes tied to specific events, seasons, or customer milestones, food delivery businesses can keep their offerings fresh and engaging. Check our recent article on how to boost food delivery orders with promo codes.


Regular communication

Keep customers engaged with regular communication via promotional emails, newsletters, push- and in-app notifications about new menu items and special offers. Keeping in touch will help you stay top of mind with your customers and encourage them to choose your food delivery service for their next meal.


Seamless user experience

Invest in a well-designed and stable mobile app and website to ensure a smooth ordering process. Cheap clone solutions may be appealing to new starters, but they won't offer much in the long run. We've compiled all the pros and cons here.


Community engagement

Foster a sense of community around the brand by engaging customers through social media, influencers and events. Encourage user-generated content, respond quickly to feedback, and build a community invested in the success of the food delivery service.


Adaptation to trends

Keep abreast of industry trends and technological advances. Embrace innovations such as contactless delivery, AI-driven recommendations, and sustainable packaging. Proactively adapting to trends showcases the service as forward-thinking and customer-centric.


Marketing and branding initiatives


The list of marketing and branding initiatives for food delivery business

In addition to operational strategies, effective marketing and branding initiatives play a crucial role in influencing customer retention.


Strategic brand positioning

Clearly define and communicate your unique value proposition. A strong and distinctive brand positioning helps customers remember and choose your service over competitors.


Compelling visual branding

Invest in visually appealing branding elements to create brand recognition and positive impressions. You can start with a brand foundation: logo and brand color scheme. And later expand to a full visual style, as a cohesive visual identity contributes to the overall brand experience.


Social media engagement

Use social media to engage with your audience. Share useful content with ongoing promotions, repost user-generated content, behind-the-scenes and fun content related to your niche, such as real-life scenes from your target audience, and interactive content or contests to build a community around the brand.


Influencer partnerships

Collaborate with influencers to build brand awareness, reach a wider audience and increase the amount of orders. Influencers create authentic content that showcases the convenience and appeal of your food delivery service.


Seasonal and promotional campaigns

Run targeted marketing campaigns during specific seasons, holidays, or events. Exclusive promotions and limited-time offers create a sense of urgency and excitement.


Data-driven marketing

Analyze customer data to tailor marketing efforts. Personalized messages and recommendations based on data analysis enhance customer engagement and retention. Sometimes new products can even be created on the basis of data-driven reports. For some inspiration, check out our latest Top-10 list of ideas to strengthen your on-demand business in 2024.



By combining operational excellence with strategic marketing and branding initiatives, food delivery service businesses can create a holistic approach to customer retention. Satisfied and loyal customers are the foundation for long-term success in the competitive food delivery service industry.

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