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Global market for online orders

PERTH-BASED e-commerce solutions provider CLS Global has developed a webbased online ordering system for franchise heavyweight Subway.

The online website, www.subinahurry.com, is potentially worth $10 million a year for the firm, according to CLS Global technical director Cliff Lloyd.

“It is an example of e-commerce that works. And it works from both sides, the consumer and the franchise owner,” Mr Lloyd said.

The website, aimed at boosting Subway’s orders by 30 per cent, started as a pilot project in Queensland six months ago. The site is now being rolled out across the country and has made its way to the US for a test run in Los Angeles.

“The system is quite innovative. The entire system is run out of Perth,” Mr Lloyd said.

“There is no software or hardware, the entire application is delivered to the end user through a browser.”

The online ordering system converts a consumer’s electronic order into a fax that is sent to the desired Subway store (CLS Global has the capacity to send 900 faxes a minute).

Mr Lloyd said adopting technology already utilised by store owners was a major part of the web project’s success.

“The huge benefit of this is that e-business doesn’t have to be about sending an email,” he said.

“Could you imaging a store checking emails when it was busy?”

The system evolved from a hobby project to determine if CLS Global could solve Subway’s in-store lunch queue woes. At the same time the company continued with its core business of procurement software development.

The lure of the American markets kept the project inching along.

A pilot US site was launched in California last month and it is expected to roll out to other parts of the US – a deal that could earn the company $10 million annually, according to Mr Lloyd.

“It came about because we were familiar with Subway and it has a real business problem in that the popularity is growing, it’s a sign of people’s healthy eating and weight consciousness,” Mr Lloyd said.

“What makes it [Subway] healthy is that it is fresh, it’s made on the spot. That is quite a slow process, and they are competing in the fast food market where their competitor can throw a hamburger out the window in a matter of seconds.

“What happens is that they have a significant peak period – from about 11am to 2pm – and a minor peak at dinner time.

“When people enter a store, physiological research shows there is a limit to how long a queue is before people will choose to join it.

“Research they [Subway] have done shows they are losing 30 per cent of business through walk-offs. They go somewhere else because the queues are too long. Offering a solution that would assist them gain those customers was an alluring prospect for us.”

Mr Lloyd said the online ordering system was a good platform for Subway because it suited the company’s demographics. It also is an easy system for the franchisees to manage.

“People eating Subway are usually those who sit at a desk, have a lunch hour and are generally connected to the Internet. The demographic is already kitted up with the tools,” he said.

“The product gets marketed to people entering the store and looks at converting 30 to 40 per cent of walk-ups into online orders.

“That will free up the store and encourage the walk-offs to come in.”

Mr Lloyd said the website was currently launching in South Australia and would soon rollout to Victoria, with those in Western Australia likely to have access to the program in six months.

“WA is the last to have access to it, that was amazing to us,” he said.

“If we continue to roll out to other places we will likely see it here in six months.

“From a WA point of view, the fact that it is delivered out of Perth is something I am quite proud of.”

And CLS Global’s recent contract wins in its core business market of procurement software management is keeping the company charging ahead, so much that an IPO is on the horizon.

“An IPO is something that is on the agenda but not the short term agenda,” Mr Lloyd said.

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