Archive for the “Loyalty” Category

Holiday Gift Card Update: Despite Positive Sales Trends, Winter Storm Freezes Out Gift Card Sales on Key Shopping Day

Top Takeaways:

  • – Total holiday gift card sales value is up in 2022 while the total number of cards sold is down.
  • – Digital gift card sales continue their rise.
  • – The large holiday winter storm cooled what is traditionally the biggest day of gift card sales.
  • – More consumers are opting for higher value gift cards.
  • – Fine dining gift card sales are up, QSRs sales are down.

According to Paytronix Gift Card Data, some retailers have much to be cheerful about. An early look at the data shows that the shift to digital gift cards is in full swing and that dining trends across the country continue to trend towards sit-down concepts. Despite the swing to digital, an arctic blast translated to lower gift card sales on a key shopping day, demonstrating that gift card sales are not insulated from factors such as weather.

Holiday gift card sales are largely up across the board. The total dollar value of cards sold is up 2.2% versus 2019 and up 1.4% since 2021. 2022 was the best year for gift card sales in recent memory, with more dollars spent on gift cards between Black Friday and Christmas Eve than any year since 2019.

However, while the total dollars spent on gift cards has increased, the number of gift cards sold is substantially lower than previous years. For the holiday period from November to December, numbers of gift cards sold dropped by 5.1% vs 2019 and by 10.7% from 2022. However, this trend has a notable exception: digital gift cards. Between Black Friday and Christmas Eve, the value of physical gift cards is down nearly a fifth (22%) vs 2019 and down 7.9% since 2021. Digital gift cards, on the other hand, have seen the value of sales increase by a whopping 77% since 2019 for the same time period, while the value of digital gift cards sold also increased 4.6% since 2021.

One trend of note during the Holiday Season was the impact of a severe winter storm that froze out a large portion of the country just before Christmas. As shown in the chart below, December 23 is typically the best day for gift card sales. While this still held true for 2022, gift card sales suffered significantly, with numbers of cards sold per day down 32.6% from 2019, down 23% since 2022, and down 10.9 percent since 2020 during the height of the pandemic. Value of cards sold was down by 19% since 2019 and down 14.3% from 2021. Physical gift card sales in particular suffered significantly due to the storm, with numbers of in-store cards sold down by 37% as compared to 2019. Shoppers who procrastinated had to find other stocking stuffers this year as the weather prevented last-minute shopping.

Inflation has also impacted the values of gift cards sold.  $5 and $10 cards were far more popular in 2019, representing 11.2% and 16.7% of gift cards sold that year, respectively. During 2022, the sales of those values of cards dropped approximately 3% each, with sales of each representing 8.8% and 14.1% of total gift cards sold, respectively. On the other hand, sales of higher value gift cards increased to match, with sales of $50 growing from 12.2% to 16.3% and $100 gift cards getting a boost from 6% to 7.8%.

Finally, gift card sales this holiday season reveal that, 2 years out from the worst of the pandemic, consumer tastes are changing from both pre- and post- pandemic. Between Black Friday and Christmas Eve, the value of gift cards sold for QSRs dropped 3.2% compared to 2019 and 6.9% compared to 2021. But the value of cards for fine-dining restaurants has increased 9% compared to 2019 and by 3.7% as compared to 2021, indicating a building demand to revisit concepts with a sit-down model. Moreover, dollars spent per day for fine-dining gift cards during the holiday season is up 80% as compared to 2020’s holiday season, indicating the trends of the pandemic are receding.

So what does this all mean for restaurants? Inflation has taken its toll on the American consumer, but as previous Paytronix resources have shown, loyalty offerings like gift cards are an effective shield against inflation. Moreover, the concepts that suffered the worst during the pandemic are enjoying a resurgence. Finally, the proliferation of digital gift cards shows that digital guest engagement is increasing in popularity and will likely continue to build in popularity.

And of course, cross your fingers for good weather on December 23rd next year.

Paytronix commentary in the Wall Street Journal

It’s gift card season.

Restaurants sell the bulk of their gift cards during the holiday season and the big change this year is that Cyber Monday has become the new Black Friday. When the Paytronix data specialists looked at the numbers, sales of eGift cards outpaced physical cards when it came to year-over-year growth.

Of course, the big news of 2022 remains inflation, and that’s what brought Rachel Wolfe at the Wall Street Journal to look at gift cards.

“Long viewed as impersonal by some, gift cards have taken on a new shine this season as a way to help givers maneuver around rising prices and let receivers buy what they actually need,” Wolfe wrote.

She also looked to Paytronix for commentary on gift cards and inflation. Said Chief Data Officer Lee Barnes: “… if I’m going to spend $50 on my brother-in-law, I may as well give him a gift card rather than get him that T-shirt I had been planning, which now may cost more.”

Read the full article over on WSJ.com (subscription required)

A Launch To Remember: Long-Awaited Delish Sisters Opens First U.S. Location

There’s some tasty news to celebrate this summer. Delish Sisters, a fresh and wholesome food brand from South Africa, opened its first-ever U.S. location at Clemson University’s new The Shepherd Hotel, a full-service accommodation that employs individuals with disabilities.

Delish Sisters sought out Paytronix technology for online ordering and delivery, customer loyalty, gift cards, and the launch campaign. As part of the Paytronix Gives Back program, the cost of the programs were covered in full.

According to the Delish Sisters’ website, the eatery’s collaboration with The Shepherd Hotel and the ClemsonLIFE program brings, “a team concept with heart, centered around empowering and employing people with special needs/abilities.” The Shepherd Hotel was founded with the mission of positively impacting lives, while ClemsonLIFE empowers students with intellectual disabilities. Paytronix could not be more proud to have a customer that supports this mission.

Though the original plan was to launch in March, construction delays had no damper on the Delish Sisters’ opening day. On August 8, gorgeous green plants, a bouquet of fresh flowers, and freshly baked croissants were arranged neatly in the light-filled restaurant. Employees smiled as Delish Sisters welcomed its first customers—just in time for fall semester.

To learn more about how Paytronix helps its customers create frictionless customer experiences, visit https://www.paytronix.com/platform/.

The Three Things Every Small Restaurant Group Needs 

Customer behavior is always changing – and to keep up, all restaurants need to be able to provide a top-of-the-line guest experience.  Whether your guests come into your locations or order online, they should have the ability to engage with loyalty programs, purchase and redeem gift cards, and place their orders with ease.  While national chains have a lot of resources at their disposal, using the right technology can level the playing field and help independent restaurants and small restaurant groups compete. 

As a provider of enterprise-class customer experience products to restaurants large and small, here are the 3 “must-haves” Paytronix recommends to keep your independent brand competitive: 

  1. Online Ordering: Since 2020, the number of restaurant customers looking to place food orders digitally has skyrocketed.  While some customers are looking forward to getting back to restaurants and gathering and dining with friends and family in person, many have permanently embraced the convenience of ordering and dining at home. 
     
    With Paytronix Order & Delivery, restaurants can streamline their online ordering operations, to make it easier for your staff to focus on what matters most.  As online ordering rose in popularity, many restaurants raced to partner with brands like Door Dash and Uber Eats to capture more orders, but were left with three or four tablets with orders coming in, and needing to manually enter those orders into the POS. HandoffSM brings all of the orders from third parties like Door Dash and Uber Eats and integrates right to your POS, reducing human error and freeing up staff to wait on in-house guests. 

    Once your customer receives their order – how does your management team know they’ve enjoyed their meal? On-site guests can talk to their server, and managers can make a situation right on the spot, but off-premise customers often don’t have any way to express themselves except to leave a bad review or decide not to return again.  With FEEDbackSM your restaurant managers can save a guest relationship right away by getting instant responses from customers, and enabling the manager to respond to negative experiences with discounts and offers at the touch of a button. 
  1. Loyalty: Loyalty programs do more than foster goodwill between you and your guests. They provide a valuable communication channel and help to grow your customer’s lifetime value. Built with the busy operator in mind, Paytronix delivers personalized, targeted, email messages in real-time so you can drive traffic every day. 

    The Paytronix platform also adds a layer of artificial intelligence to your campaigns by predicting future behavior, enabling highly productive segmentation, and making on-the-spot recommendations to increase spend and order frequency.  

    Regular customers are what drive business – but what happens when one of your regulars hasn’t been in for a while. How can you reach out to them and tempt them with a special offer or promotion to bring them back to your locations? A win-back campaign does just that, by identifying your customers who have missed an expected visit and sending them an offer to come back and remember what they love about your restaurant before they’re gone for good.  

    Check out this story of a brand who used a Win-Back Campaign to reengage with wayward loyalty members…with a 10.9x return! 
  1. Gift Cards: Restaurant gift cards are a popular way for your customers to share their love of your brand, whether for the holidays, a special event, or as a thank you and modern gift card programs include the ability to purchase and send a virtual gift card online as well as on site.  

    And for those customers who receive a gift card, making it as easy as possible for them to redeem their card creates a positive experience that they’re sure to remember.  Providing the option for both online and on-site redemption with an online ordering integration means that these customers can celebrate the way they choose. 

    By using loyalty, online order & delivery, and AI-driven insights with one platform, you have all the data you need to motivate your guests to buy more often and more frequently and a program with the flexibility to grow as you do. 

Interested in learning more? Get a demo with the team to learn more about what Paytronix can do for your brand.