Today we caught up with Systems Administrator Paul Marrero of Uncle Julio’s, the person behind the award-winning campaign that Uncle Julio’s was recognized for today with a 2017 Loyaltees Award. Paul offered some additional insight on how he’s leveraging Paytronix and the Uncle Julio’s loyalty platform to make an impact.
Paytronix: Congratulations Paul, on Uncle Julio’s recognition as a 2017 Loyaltees Award winner. Thanks for taking the time to tell us a bit more about your loyalty platform today. As the System Administrator for Uncle Julio’s, you are the person responsible for designing the loyalty program, or the Uncle Julio’s Loyalty Czar as we’ve heard you called.
Paul: Thanks, the Uncle Julio’s team is honored by the recognition.
Paytronix: In talking with you about the Uncle Julio’s loyalty program, you mentioned having done away with your old email club in the process. How has the Paytronix platform replaced your previous email solution and how are you leveraging the integration of email and loyalty today? […]
Before digital loyalty programs, restaurants had no real way of figuring out which visitors were likely to return. And, what’s worse, they had no way of effectively incentivizing visitors who could become loyal to return.
Today, identifying and nurturing potential loyal customers is more important than ever; people have a seemingly endless array of options when it comes to their meals. They can purchase ingredients at the grocery store to cook at home, or have ingredients delivered to their door using increasingly popular services like Blue Apron. For a quicker meal, they can buy pre-prepared hot food from supermarkets or convenience stores, order takeout, or go out to eat.
How can your restaurant compete?
The answer is as simple as it is challenging: Get customers to meet the four-visit milestone.
Obviously, you want people to visit, and to visit often. But your goals can be much more specific than that. Data shows that each visit increases the chance that a customer will visit again, effectively choosing you over your competitors.
Do you need to reinvigorate your brand, increase revenue, and improve profitability? Upgrading your rewards program may help. However, proceed with caution. Upgrade only when you know the new program will better align the program with corporate strategic goals and likely produce large financial benefits.
There is never a perfect time to change your program. When clear signs arise, give a program upgrade serious consideration. Look for any of these four signs:
1. Declining loyalty penetration and new member enrollment. If the share of checks associated with your loyalty program is declining, it could signify that tenured members are lapsing and that the program is no longer motivating them to come in. If new member enrollment is down, it could be because new guests are not interested in the program or that team members in the store have stopped promoting it.
Your program should achieve a minimum of 15 percent loyalty penetration. This means at least 15 percent of your checks should be associated with the loyalty program, and according to many top brands, their loyalty penetration numbers far exceed the 15 percent benchmark. For example, in an July 2016 earnings call, Panera president Drew Madsen said that 50 percent of company transactions were associated with the My Panera program. If you notice your loyalty penetration rate dropping, and particularly if it dips below 15 percent, it may be time for a change.
2. Evidence that customers are “gaming” the program to their advantage. Have customers figured out a loophole in your program that they use to their advantage? Is your visit-based program increasing the number of split checks, and slowing down operations? Are customers buying low-priced items to earn points, and then redeeming them for expensive items? […]
Enrolling younger generations of guests into your rewards program can help your brand grow and maintain a strong core of loyal members for the foreseeable future. And these days, many brands believe that doing this requires their enrollment strategies to evolve so they keep up with the enrollment preferences of their increasingly younger guests. This is only partially true.
Your program should be a living and breathing entity. Adapting to match the engagement preferences of new customers will help your program attract new guests who are more comfortable using technology to connect with brands. Adaption is not a metamorphosis, but rather an expansion of enrollment methods to attract younger demographics.
Let’s say your program enrollment began exclusively as a card-based operation, and the only way members could enroll was by obtaining a plastic card in-store. You probably already know that attracting millennials to your program will help you build a sustainable base of loyal guests. So supplementing your card program by adding enrollment channels such as text-to-join or enabling enrollment via a mobile app or an online ordering system make sense. […]