What if most stores – and even Amazon – are getting frictionless shopping wrong? What would it mean for brands that are trying to do things differently?
Kim Otocki, a member of the Paytronix marketing team, recently had the opportunity to sit down with Gus Olympidis, the president and CEO of Family Express. His c-store brand has firmly established itself as a leader in the frictionless experience, and Olympidis had a lot of wisdom to offer other c-store owners who are trying to follow suit.
“We’re beginning to see a movement away from demographics, toward psychographics,” said Olympidis, pointing out that the cookie-cutter approach of segmenting by generations doesn’t work nearly as well as it used to. A group like the millennials, he points out, is far too large and diverse to use as a guide for consumer wants, needs, and behaviors.
The key to serving consumers best, says Olympidis, is doing everything a c-store can to understand them, independent of their demographic. In order to accomplish this, c-stores need the kind of data insights that will let them treat their customers as individuals instead of members of a broad group.
Some of these insights can be provided by digital loyalty programs and digital customer relationship management. But according to Olympidis, one of the biggest mistakes brands are making right now is assuming that technology equates to a frictionless customer experience.
In fact, he believes that “bad technology creates friction.” Anything that makes it more difficult for consumers to get what they want increases friction, and that can absolutely include technology. […]
In the age of Big Data, having a wealth of information can be both a blessing and a curse. There are a lot of valuable insights to gain, but you need a team with the right skillset to determine what is important and apply it to the creation of effective campaigns as well as your overall marketing strategy. Since no solution is going to work for every brand, taking a deep dive and developing a customized approach will always yield the best results.
Here are three data-backed tools that you should consider implementing to engage customers and increase sales:
- Subscriptions: Falling under the larger umbrella of stored-value payment, subscriptions are a growing trend. Some brands choose to let their customers load prepaid meals onto an account, which is not much different than preloading cash to spend. In both cases, when guests store value on a card or in an account that’s linked to a loyalty program, visits and spend typically increase. Prepaid meal passes have sometimes resulted in incremental spend being boosted by up to 80%. When stored value is paired with auto-reload features, it can produce additional benefits like a 15% increase in weekly visits.
- Artificial Intelligence: More than a hip term, AI is a tool that is helping marketers determine the most impactful ways to reach their guests at a reasonable cost. Taking individualization beyond bands and segments allows marketers to optimize promotions and maximize their ROI. One-to-one visit challenges that offer rewards based on individual guest behavior have generated remarkable results. One such challenge saw the number of visits increase 10.5% across all guests and almost 28% among those who were already visiting somewhat regularly. Choosing the right promotion can entice more visits and spend from even your best guests.
- Segmentation and Predictive Scoring: Targeting guests by likelihood to take actions can further refine any marketing strategy. Whether guests are inclined to visit once a week or once a year, you can craft promotions that will work for each segment. Thoughtfully structured campaigns typically drive a 15-25% increase in visit frequency and prompt behavior changes like visiting at a different time of day, spending more, and trying new products. Predictive models can also be used to identify segments that are likely to visit without receiving an offer, helping you avoid cannibalization.
In the hands of the right data insights team, these tools will motivate increased visits and spend, which ultimately leads to improved top-line sales. To learn more about building a successful loyalty program, download “Target Low-Frequency Guests. Here’s Why.”
Many restaurants face more of a challenge during the summer months, when regular guests may be out of the area on vacation or taking advantage of the warm weather to grill at home. Using your guest engagement platform to create innovative campaigns will help drive visits and incremental spend. Check out these five proven ways that your restaurant can keep your guests engaged and excited all season long.
1. Prepaid Meal Passes
Last summer, HuHot Mongolian Grill revamped its traditional summer gift card promotion and launched the HuHot Grill Pass. During the month of July, guests purchased the Grill Pass for 5, 11, or 25 entrées and had until the end of the year to redeem them. Since the guests had prepaid for their meals, they were more likely to buy additional items like appetizers and desserts. In fact, HuHot found that purchasers spent 80% more than the cost of the Grill Pass during the redemption period. Because of the initial expense, these passes keep guests coming back again and again.
2. Instant Wins
July is National Hot Dog Month, which presented a perfect opportunity for National Coney Island to reward its guests with instant wins. Throughout the month, new and existing program members had the chance to win free menu items like beverages or fries with every swipe of their loyalty card. After winning, guests had 14 days to come back and claim their prizes. This instant-win promotion not only created excitement but also delivered huge impact for National Coney Island’s business, nearly doubling enrollment and increasing visits by almost 40%.
Giving your guests the opportunity to complete a quest in order to receive a reward is a great way to increase transactions. The Yogurtland Flavor Quest challenged guests to visit and earn stamps in a virtual passport by trying new flavors that were released throughout the summer. The more new flavors they tried, the more yogurt they could earn at the end of the quest. In the first year that this promotion was run through the Yogurtland loyalty program and mobile app, participation tripled and 32% of the participants visited once a week or more.
4. One-to-One Visit Challenges
Giving your guests reasons to visit their favorite location more frequently is a successful way to increase your sales. With one-to-one visit challenges, you can vary the length or the number of visits needed in order to maximize ROI. Whereas infrequent guests might have to make fewer visits over a longer time span, your best guests may need to visit more often over a shorter period to complete the challenge. Using machine learning to figure out the best challenge for each guest gives you the best chance to truly drive incremental visits during these slower months.
5. Win Back Campaign
Summer is a great time to attract guests who haven’t visited recently through a win-back campaign. One particular restaurant experienced great success by sending the richest offers to guests who hadn’t visited in the past 12 months and lesser offers to those who were already actively engaged. During one of its win-back campaigns, the number of visits from infrequent guests increased by 176%. Once these guests have returned, there will be opportunities to keep them coming back all summer.
Learn how you can introduce these high-impact promotions to your marketing strategy – by calling Paytronix at 617-649-3300, extension 5 or requesting a demo today.
Do you plan your marketing campaigns months in advance? Do you run the same basic campaigns on a regular basis? Do all of your guests receive identical offers? If you answered “yes” to any of these questions, read on to learn how leveraging new technology and changing your approach to a one-to-one model will revitalize your customer engagement program.
Imagine that it’s a random Tuesday and your boss says, “We need to get more guests through the door.” You respond by carefully crafting a “We Miss You” campaign to send out to guests who typically visit often but haven’t been in for a while. You send all of them a visit challenge that promises a reward if they come in once in the next 30 days.
While these types of campaigns are generally effective, is 30 days the right time frame for everyone? In reality, a challenge that has the same message, the same period of time, and the same reward can’t work for everyone. If you send this challenge to guests who usually visit every day, why would you reward them for coming in once in 30 days?
With artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning-based marketing tools, one-to-one offers and challenges are auto-targeted for each guest. Whereas, one guest may be asked to visit three times to earn a particular reward, a more active guest may be asked to visit five times to earn a different reward. One-to-one marketing enables you to target guests based on their individual visit behavior. You simply set the parameters – How much do you want to spend? Are guests required to visit within a certain time frame? What are the respective rewards for the challenge? The AI-based system processes these rules to deliver a personalized brand experience to each customer.
As with any type of campaign, Paytronix doesn’t lock you in to a basic set of off-the-shelf promotions. One-to-one campaigns can be leveraged in several ways depending on your brand and business objectives.
- One-to-One Cadence Rule/Uploader: This version of the one-to-one challenge is “On Visit X, use this reward.” And the intelligent algorithm we’ve created will determine the best challenge for each guest.
- One-to-One Continuous/Lapsed Designation: This option enables you to send targeted campaigns all year long, rather than doing so on specific days. You also aren’t limited to a set number of tiers that your guests fall into. For example, typically you have tiers such as; guests that visit less than three times, three to five times, or more than five times. With one-to-one continuous campaigns, you can have an endless number of tiers. Manually, this would take an exorbitant amount of time to craft and set up, but with this feature, guests are auto-targeted for you.
- One-to-One Points/Visit Challenge: This version enables you to vary the thresholds and timeline for a guest’s offer. Some guests may be asked to visit two times in a month for a reward, while others may get a week to visit once to complete the challenge.
Giving control of your promotions to a “machine” can be scary. This feature gives you peace of mind that you are still in control, just with less manual work. You can monitor how your one-to-one campaigns are performing and adjust the parameters in real time to achieve your desired results.
Stop wasting time and brain power on manual campaigns and maximize the return on your marketing investment with a little help from AI. Learn how – by calling Paytronix at 617-649-3300, extension 5 or request a demo today.