Visit challenges are a great way to boost sales and increase customer engagement while motivating guests to dine more frequently. With the help of machine learning, this marketing technique has evolved from using the same challenge for all guests or even segments of guests to fine-tuning both the number of visits required and the timeline for completion. The approach has been shown to engage more customers without increasing discounts or cannibalizing sales.
HuHot Mongolian Grill, a 65-unit all-you-can-eat stir fry concept, had run simpler versions of visit challenges in the past. The members of its loyalty program were assigned different visit requirements based on the bands they belonged to, and the promotion would last for two weeks. But the results left considerable room for improvement.
One-to-one visit challenges enabled HuHot to vary two different parameters. Backed by computer algorithms, the company determined the proper time frame and number of visits to use for each guest. Some were given less time to complete the challenge, such as visiting twice within a week, while others needed to make six visits in a month. Considering visit history is often key in motivating guests to make that one additional visit.
The results of the one-to-one visit challenges exceeded expectations. Compared to the simplified version, HuHot saw a 69% increase in overall lift. It can be difficult to motivate more visits from those who are already frequent guests, but HuHot realized a 22% sales lift and a 21% visit lift for guests in the platinum band alone. Since sales had been flat for this group in previous visit challenges, the one-to-one approach proved capable of moving the needle for even high-frequency guests.
To hear more about the success that HuHot Mongolian Grill has had with its one-to-one visit challenges, check out senior director of digital Monica Minford in this on-demand webinar, “Spotlight Series: One-to-One Visit Challenges.”
When Popeyes launched a new chicken sandwich earlier this month, its locations were flooded with large crowds of people eager to give it a try. Interest in the new offering was also fueled by social media, as the Twitter accounts of several rival QSR chains and their respective fans chimed in. With so much buzz, Popeyes sold out of its chicken sandwich across the country.
It seems that most of the discussions about the best chicken sandwich have led back to one place: Chick-fil-A. Billing itself as the “Home of the Original Chicken Sandwich,” Chick-fil-A has been pleasing customers for over 50 years. And a significant factor in its sustained success is a loyalty program.
With such a loyal following already in place, some may think that rewarding guests who were going to come in anyway just cannibalizes profits. The key is to reward those who might not have visited without an offer, moving
your restaurant from a possible option to the preferred choice. Chick-fil-A’s loyalty program is a tiered one that converts casual visitors into loyal guests in the first tier and provides exclusive member benefits in the later tiers.
Members of the program earn points for every dollar spent, including on catering and mobile orders. Using the app, points can be redeemed for rewards that range from a cookie (150 points) to a salad (1,500 points). Members also occasionally receive additional rewards loaded onto their account by their local Chick-fil-A location.
The benefits increase as members advance from the entry tier to silver or red status. In the silver tier, they can gift rewards to friends and family or donate a meal to charity through the chain’s partner, Feeding Children Everywhere. After earning 5,000 points in a year, members join the red tier and enjoy even more exclusive benefits, such as two tickets to the Chick-fil-A College Football Hall of Fame or six tickets for a Chick-fil-A Backstage Tour.
Having a loyalty program has helped Chick-fil-A cultivate a strong base of repeat customers and brand advocates. If there’s a poll to determine the best chicken sandwich, it can encourage participation by sending out push notifications to its most loyal fans. And when another brand makes a splash with a new chicken sandwich offering, these fans will be among the first to say, “It’s good … but it’s no Chick-fil-A.”
To learn more about how a loyalty program can provide impact for your business, call Paytronix at 617-649-3300, ext. 5, or request a demo today.
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.”
Your guests increasingly expect frictionless experiences when dining out. Whether customers choose to visit a fast-casual or full-service restaurant in person or have their favorite meal delivered, making their interactions with your brand seamless from start to finish should be high on your priority list. Here are five of the top ways you can remove potential speedbumps and deliver the best possible frictionless guest experience.
- NFC Loyalty ID
NFC Loyalty ID represents the intersection of convenient payment and guest engagement. Through innovative technology, retailers can provide frictionless guest experiences while at the same time capturing data and offering easy program enrollment. Many guests already have their phones in their hands while waiting in line, so a simple tap at an NFC-enabled payment terminal lets them make purchases without having to dig through purses or wallets for a means of payment. Enrolled guests earn and redeem rewards with that same tap, while those not currently enrolled will be prompted to join, making NFC Loyalty ID an easy way to acquire more members while keeping existing ones engaged.
Did you know that guests at a full-service restaurant wait an average of 12 minutes between the time they request their check and when their transaction is complete? This time spent waiting often leaves a negative last impression for guests who might have otherwise enjoyed the meal. With Pay-by-Mobile, guests can load their bill onto the restaurant’s mobile app and pay as soon as they are ready. By eliminating the waiting period, the guests have better experiences, the restaurant can more quickly turn the table over during peak times, and servers receive higher tips.
- Online Ordering
For guests on the go, the ability to place an order online and pick it up without having to wait provides the convenience they seek. In order to deliver the best possible experience for your guests, in-store pickup needs to be as quick and easy as the ordering process. If guests have placed an order online to avoid a wait, you shouldn’t make them stand in line to pick up their meal. Having a clearly marked designated area for picking up online orders eliminates the last chance for friction and ends the guest experience on a high note.
For many of your customers, the most convenient option is often not going out at all, but rather, having their meals brought to them. Since delivery is predicted to constitute 40% of restaurant sales by 2020, many restaurants view it as a necessity. By making delivery available through your mobile app and coordinating it with your loyalty program, you will gain rich data for your marketing strategy and learn which promotions are likely to be the most effective.
- Stored Value
Like NFC Loyalty ID, stored value presents another way that guests can pay for purchases without having to put down their phone. By loading money onto the mobile app, guests are making a commitment to your brand and ensuring that they will return for future visits. When their balances are running low, guests can be prompted to load more money onto their accounts or encouraged to sign up for auto-reload. These options provide guests with the peace of mind that they will always be able to cover their next purchase.
Learn more about ways you can make your guest experience frictionless by calling Paytronix at 617-649-3300, extension 5 or request a demo today.