Archive for the “Reward Programs” Category

McLoyalty: One of world’s largest QSR brands enters the loyalty arena

With the announcement that McDonald’s will launch its first loyalty program nationwide in July, one of the world’s top brands has indicated that the shift to digital relationships between restaurants and their guests is accelerating. What’s more, it’s making a commitment to collecting zero-party and first-party data, something that all brands will find increasingly important as the landscape changes around data usage and data privacy.   

Just as e-commerce companies like Amazon have long provided personalized experiences by getting to know their customers, McDonald’s aims to do just that by understanding each customer to keep them both engaged and loyal. That is, encouraging their guests to come back time and time again.  

Of course, the bottom line is the bottom line, and loyalty programs are proven methods for delivering real value, something any of our more than 500 clients can tell you. Loyalty customers deliver larger checks and more frequent visits, but the true value lies in the customer insights. McDonald’s is about to learn the same lessons that companies like Jimmy John’s, Panera Bread, and Papa Murphy’s put into practice every day.  

 The real goal is in getting to know their own customers well enough to motivate guest behavior through AI-driven personalized offers. In the QSR world, which is dominated by low prices and razor-thin margins, brands must understand these motivations and make adjustments without giving away product unnecessarily. This means using artificial intelligence to create personalized, relevant engagement that drives individual action. Some of our clients have seen great success by using AI to predict guest behavior and fashioning the next best offer that generates incremental activity. 

 All of this is only possible if brands like McDonald’s can capture the same zero-party and first-party data that an e-commerce company can grab through a digital property like a website. This means leaning into digital ordering, which is something that consumers are primed to do. Research we conducted with PYMNTS indicated that in 2020, 63% of the $769 billion that consumers spent on restaurants last year was on takeout, and 89% of that spend happened through digital channels. One layer deeper, we found that customers who belong to loyalty programs spend twice as much as non-members.  

 To this end, tying the loyalty program to the mobile app is a key part of the overall strategy. When we surveyed restaurant patrons, 92% of vaccinated restaurant customers who shifted to online ordering during the pandemic told us that they plan to continue ordering this way, even now that restaurants in the US have mostly reopened. 

 With everything centered on the mobile phone, McDonald’s next step could be in creating more digital experiences that make it easier and faster to sign up and use loyalty, even for those who don’t have the app. We’ve helped some of our clients integrate with NFC payments through Apple Pay and Google Wallet so that when a customer taps to pay on their mobile device they can gain or use rewards, or even sign up for the program, right from their phone.  These digital experiences are super easy for the guest and greatly increase program enrollment and engagement. 

 I believe McDonald’s will use loyalty to accomplish what all of our clients do: increase visits, increase spend, and make visiting a habit for their guests, ultimately, boosting the top line to add to the bottom line. 

P.F. Chang’s Tana Davila recognized as Innovator by HT’s Top Women in Tech

HT Top Women in Tech Award LogoIn March of last year, P.F. Chang’s overhauled its entire business model in a matter of days as statewide lockdowns went into effect across the country. On-premises dining, which had previously accounted for 80% of the brand’s business, evaporated overnight.

In less than six months, the brand launched a new online ordering front-end, a new table management system and reservations engine, major upgrades to the mobile app built by Paytronix, and new contactless technology at the table.

The result: takeout business doubled in 2020, and delivery business more than tripled compared to 2019. The brand’s loyalty database, powered by Paytronix, grew by 350,000 guests last year. […]

The 2021 restaurant and c-stores landscape… and the big party in our future

Like most of America, the restaurant and c-store industries will be happy to bid 2020 goodbye and hope for a fresh start in 2021. As we at Paytronix look toward the future, we see a brightening on the horizon, one that may even end in a large party.

But getting there is going to mean change, not only in how the industry thinks about guest engagement, but also in how restaurants themselves are constructed. We predict that as restaurant and c-store brands move beyond the pandemic, they will need to make significant investments in the technology infrastructure that enables them to focus on truly owning the guest. […]

2021 Predictions: The Fusion of Safety and Convenience

This year, society embraced e-commerce like never before. When the COVID-19 pandemic forced people to stay home and made everyone hyper-aware of their susceptibility to germs and viruses, consumers turned to digital platforms not for convenience, but for comfort and safety. 

E-commerce options like contactless payments, online ordering and delivery and subscription programs saw an explosion of new adoption by consumers—and by brands trying to appeal to those consumers—because it was the safest option available. Moving forward, consumers will continue to use these digital channels, but they’ll have resumed looking for the ease of use and convenience that they demanded before the pandemic. 

There are three trends expected to make waves in the convenience store industry in 2021: 

1) Convenience store shoppers who temporarily prioritized safety over convenience will expect both. After a years-long focus on creating frictionless environments for customers, c-stores switched gears in 2020 and began focusing on touchless experiences instead. The shift was evident both in new offerings, like online ordering and curbside pickup, and in tone. Brands emphasized the safety of these offerings over the convenience by signaling that they were “touchless” options. 

Moving forward, customers will still expect that enhanced level of safety, but their patience for learning new platforms and using clunky workarounds will wane. C-stores will need to adopt technologies that both limit physical contact and minimize friction. 

2) The industry will continue to experiment with drive-thrus and curbside pickup. Drive-thrus were especially lucrative for restaurants this year: the drive-thru represented 42% of all restaurant visits in the second quarter and increased a further 13% in July, when many restaurants began to reopen.

Convenience stores—especially those with made-to-order food offerings—are looking to capitalize on this trend. Over this past summer, Wawa announced plans to build a drive-thru and curbside pickup-only store in Pennsylvania. Consumer preferences for options like these are likely to continue into 2021 and beyond. 

3) Recurring digital revenue streams will become a staple of the convenience industry. The accelerated shift toward e-commerce brought on by the pandemic means that consumers are developing a preference for omnichannel engagement with their favorite brands, where loyalty, payment and ordering all work together seamlessly. 

That preference also applies to recurring payments in the form of subscriptions. Customers are already accustomed to paying this way for everything from groceries to pet supplies, and now subscriptions are straddling the digital and physical realms, with programs like Cumberland Farms’ coffee subscription and RaceTrac’s fuel discount program. 

The convenience industry is about to see a boom in recurring digital revenues like these, thanks to new solutions coming on the market. These will make it faster and easier to prop up a subscription program that runs alongside existing loyalty programs, and will also provide novel ways for convenience retailers to differentiate their brands. 

To learn more about contactless solutions, online ordering and subscriptions, visit www.paytronix.com