A look into 2023: What lies ahead in guest engagement

Happy New Year!

The changing of the years always gives us a chance to look ahead. As the Paytronix team enters 2023, we asked our experts what to look for. Here are some of the responses from those with their fingers on the pulse of loyalty, online ordering, and the overall world of guest engagement.

Jeff Hoover, Director of Convenience Store Strategy

I think convenience stores will focus even more on loyalty in 2023 as more guests will be looking for value in a commodity (gas) during periods of high inflation. I also think convenience stores will begin to see even more value in the ability of loyalty to segment audiences and engage with customers in a personalized manner, with the ultimate purpose of driving both traffic and sales.

Also, reduced demand for gas due to higher prices and the growth in electric vehicles will force more retailers to focus on food service and other in-store convenience items. As these offerings come on the market, loyalty will provide a great tool to connect with customers, drive awareness, and encourage them to try new items. Overall, it’ll boost the longer-term sales of non-gas items.

Kristin Lynch, Director of Restaurant Strategy

Restaurant brands will continue to focus on loyalty in 2023 and will make guest engagement a priority.  They will look to answer the question “how best can I communicate, recognize, reward, and overall engage with my most loyal guests to drive their behavior?”  They might do this via program design (i.e. Bankable Points), guest recognition layers (i.e. Tiers, Badges) or Segmentation driven by AI (i.e. Individualized campaigns).

Marc Schultz, Head of Data Privacy and Security

Consumer sensitivity to Privacy and Security will continue to grow in 2023, as will the number of laws and regulations affecting how companies manage financial and personal data. This is a time to review what data is collected, how it is used, how it is protected, and how long it is retained. California’s CCPA/CPRA has redefined “Personal Information” and “Sharing” which is making companies re-evaluate the need to update their Privacy Policies and the opt-out links being presented to consumers.

EJ Van De Vegte, Director of Software Development

Loyalty accounts and programs are becoming more and more important for restaurants and convenience stores, but also for guest users. Where people were less concerned with the security of their loyalty accounts before, it is getting more important to the brands and their guests. The consumer threat is losing their data but also losing loyalty points or even gift card balances. Loyalty points represent value because an individual can use them to get free products or discounts. And eGift cards are straight-up money. All and all, aspects of a loyalty system become more akin to a banking system and need to be well protected. That protection has an impact on the user experience, so it becomes a balance between UX and security.

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)

Playing the Game: How WOB Bar & Kitchen Gamified Loyalty

By | December 20, 2022 | Uncategorized

Loyalty gamification offers a great way to connect with the growing demographic of young, tech-savvy guests.

Simply put, gamification means applying “game play” to different aspects of the digital marketing.  When it comes to loyalty, this can happen at three levels: core, layers, and promotions.

World of Beer tackled this at the core level in which its entire program rests on a game. Gamified layers would be actions like adding badges to the program, while gamified promotions are short-lived game-based discounts, like a free offering when your favorite sports team wins.

World of Beer is seeing smashing results with its gamified loyalty program. Founded in 2007 in Tampa, Florida as a craft beer bar that serves a variety of brews from across the world. WOB has a long-running loyalty program that awards guests $5 for every $75 spent. It then gamifies the whole program with badges and challenges.

Two recent challenges this year saw between 10-25% increases in spend and completion rates over 90%.

“Customers can earn badges when they try different beers. The badges are to honor their achievements, which they can show off to friends,” explained Cori Rosecrans, Director of Brand & Digital Marketing for World of Beer. Customers can enter challenges for their chances at more than just bragging rights. “We encourage customers to try beers and [enter for a chance to] win trips to beer capitals of the world. These challenges help highlight our [brand] differentiators and our assortment of beers.” More than fun, the challenges have produced serious results. Two recent challenges this year saw between 10-25% increases in spend and completion rates over 90%.

World of Beer’s loyalty program shapes its brand experience. At every engagement, guests climb the ranks of badge leaderboards and try their luck at life-changing prizes. As a digital engagement strategy, WOB’s gamified loyalty program keeps guests coming back and drives revenue.

Wondering how your brand might benefit from gamification? Speak to a loyalty expert at Paytronix today.

3 Ways to Boost Loyalty Program Enrollment

By | December 20, 2022 | Uncategorized

Loyalty programs can only succeed if people use them, which means you have to get strategic about enrollment. Customers want to quickly understand the value of signing up, and they want to do it fast. Meanwhile, employees want to know what’s in it for them if they can get people on board.

Here are three ways leading convenience stores are driving loyalty program enrollment.

1. Expand Enrollment Methods

Brands need to reach as many customers as possible in as many ways as possible. I spend countless hours designing industry-leading loyalty programs, but every program’s success requires the right number of enrollment methods. The best loyalty programs engage the masses. They reach outside the top 5-10% of customers to grow customer lifetime value and attract new customers.

Here are six popular methods of enrollment with unique advantages:

  • Mobile App: Provides immediate access to full loyalty program functionality.
  • NFC Payment: Fits seamlessly into a transaction and caters to younger customers.
  • Kiosk: Grabs the customer’s eye and prevents in-store lines.
  • Reverse Enroll: Expands marketing ability via a QR code or hyperlinked banner.
  • Text-to-Join: Enables customers to enroll on the go, and on their own time.
  • Physical Cards: Caters to older customers, and it’s fast.

2. Promote Your Program

There are two broad steps to promote a program. First, make sure your program is easy to understand. Ideally, customers will do some of the work for you through word-of-mouth. But they’re not going to rave about terms and conditions, so make the program perks clear. Second, consider the best ways to reach your customers. No matter how much technology one puts in place, it still matters when a cashier asks, “Are you a member of our rewards program?” at checkout.

Train your employees on the value of your loyalty program, and craft FOMO messages to drive customer interest. Employees should be capable of selling a customer on the loyalty program within 5-10 seconds. A great method here is offering immediate rewards on the transaction at hand. For example: “Would you like to join our loyalty program and enjoy a free snack with your coffee if you join?”

One of our customers saw a staggering increase in enrollment after reintroducing their POS enrollment prompts (in February).

3. Incentivize Your Employees

Give your employees some skin in the game! Competitions and rewards are great ways to motivate and recognize your hardest working representatives.

Here is one way to structure incentives:

General Registration Thresholds: Any store that hits the general thresholds gets a reward.

StoreAll Associates Receive
25-49% More Registrations$5
50-99% More Registrations$10
100%+ More Registrations$15
A general threshold is easy to design, especially if your locations have similar enrollment rates.
One Paytronix customer launched a competition in May of 2022 and registration rates skyrocketed.

In Conclusion

In a program’s first year, you should spend 80% of your time driving participation. Make sure that you’ve covered the right enrollment methods and that your employees and executives understand the value of your loyalty program. Loyalty program success begins with your team. Develop the right internal and external messaging around your loyalty program, then find ways to make it easier for customers to join.