This afternoon at BIA/Kelsey’s Leading in Local, Neal Polachek, board advisor for vSplash, offered an analysis suggesting local independent pizza owners must get more sophisticated online or the rest of us will be stuck with a choice between Dominos and Poppa John’s.
Polachek was speaking on the session, “Focus on Local Strategies: Brands and National Retail.”
There are 70,000 U.S. pizza locations and 3 billion pizzas sold each year. Every consumer in the U.S. eats 46 slices per year on average. Americans love pizza. The problem is that the smaller independent stores (the ones selling the good pizza) are losing ground to national chains that are using e-commerce tools to drive sales and reduce costs.
Polachek cited pizza industry data showing independents store sales were down 24 percent and independent locations were down 10 percent last year.
The top four pizza chains on the other hand are generating 30 percent of sales from their digital presence (desktop and mobile). They are actively steering customers online, offering convenience, using data and analytics to maximize sales and are cutting costs in the process.
By contrast, independent pizza locations are way behind the times. According to Polachek, citing data from vSpalsh’s Buzzboard data, 80 percent of independent pizza stores cannot enable an eCommerce transaction. Only 5 percent of SMBs have a mobile optimized web presence. A staggering 42 percent of independent pizza stores have a menu on their website.
Polachek believes there is an opportunity worth hundreds of millions of dollars for companies that can help independent pizza stores, and even the national chains, optimize their digital presence.