Can mobile optimisation and apps drive sales, footfall and frequency into your restaurant or pub?

How can apps and mobile-optimised websites drive sales and footfall? We conducted our own research for our quarterly Purple Paper to find out

Seize Digital
Given the constant pressures on the hospitality industry, food and beverage brands across the UK are seeking new ways to create a complementary digital customer experience that can drive footfall into their restaurants and pubs to boost sales.

One of the main reasons brands and operators in this sector are struggling with footfall is because of the convenience, choice and speed offered by online and rapid delivery via services like Just Eat and Deliveroo in comparison to the traditional customer sales experience. Rather than competing with each other, brands and operators need to establish online and offline channels that work together to complement each other as the key to success.

So, how can mobile apps and mobile-optimised websites drive sales and footfall in this way? We carried out our own research to find out.

1. Price is important, but it’s not everything

Our Purple Paper found that consumers across the UK, US and Australia still admit that price is the most important differentiator when making a buying decision. However, good prices alone are not necessarily enough to inspire customer loyalty or create those all-important repeat visits and purchases.

The cost of retaining a customer is up to 5 times lower than the cost of acquiring a new one. So, while low prices might bring in new customers or patrons, if you don’t have anything to get them back after their initial visit, any customer acquisition investment benefits will quickly be eroded away.  

The solution: At Eagle Eye, we believe that the key to attracting new customers and keeping them is to provide a regular stream of engaging content and offers both during their visit and online, via mobile apps and mobile-optimised websites. Offering discounts, promotions, unique content and showcasing new menu items and products can help to develop a channel-agnostic relationship that lasts. Yes, price is important. But for modern consumers, mobile engagement that recognises their preferences and custom wherever they are matters too.

2. Customers love to make spontaneous purchases

Our research found that 79% of consumers are likely to make spontaneous purchases if they are presented with relevant rewards and discounts. In this scenario, timely offers or content that incentivise customers as the shops close or a local event finishes, for instance, can be extremely effective.

This trend is driven by mobile, where nearly a quarter (24%) of consumers also said they browse via mobile both at home and when out and about in equal measure. It can be difficult for food and beverage brands and operators to therefore know how to optimise levels of engagement and uptake across sales and marketing channels. Consider though that 83% also said convenience, e.g. for a nearby retail or food outlet or at a suitable time, was important in deciding whether to use a promotion.

The solution: With the attention of consumers divided between physical and online browsing via mobile while out and about, the key to winning impulse sales is to be digitally omnipresent. This means you must engage customers online, but also prioritise engagement based on time and place via mobile. A mobile app that sends offers direct to consumers based on their location, i.e. when they’re within easy reach of your restaurant, can be extremely effective.

3. Mobile searches for local terms are on the rise

Mobile searches for ‘the best’ terms have risen by 80% over the past two years. That includes searches like ‘the best restaurant near me’. These are searches that are location-specific and are likely to be made by consumers with an imminent intention to dine.

Our Purple Paper found 83% of consumers compare prices and/or availability via mobile while out shopping, so the rewards for performing well in the search engine rankings for this type of search can be substantial. A further 25% said they had downloaded or used a retailer or food outlet’s website or app or accessed their Wi-Fi.

The solution: You can meet consumer demand for location-specific information in real time with mobile-optimised websites and apps that directs your target customers to your outlet and engages them to spend more or stay longer while they are there. The result is not only an increase in footfall but also a boost to your sales.

4. Consumers want to engage with brands

Other research has found that consumers across all generations increasingly want to engage with brands. Along with excellent customer service, they expect similar traits as they do from their families and friends, namely: reliability, authenticity and the feeling that a brand understands them and knows what is important in their lives. The advent of smartphones has made this entirely possible, and even expected from consumers.

Food and beverage brands that want to resonate with modern consumers must recognise that engagement is a two-way street. Simply bombarding the consumer with generic marketing messages is just not enough. Instead, consumers expect personalised engagement that is tailored to their particular interests and needs, such as being able to wish them “happy birthday” and offer them a complimentary celebratory drink.

The solution: Establishing a digital connection via a mobile app allows brands to build a one-to-one relationship with their customers or patrons by delivering tailored offers straight to their mobile devices. This could include timely promotions, rewards and unique content you know they’ll be interested in.

Connect with customers and drive your sales

Low prices will always be a key driver of sales, but to drive footfall, increase dwell time and attract repeat visits, it’s essential you build engaging marketing content and promotions that can work across channels.

Still need clarity? This short animation shows an Eagle Eye enabled consumer journey in the food & beverage space. 

Get in touch to discuss how we can help you develop a real-time digital connection via mobile with your customers before, during and after their visit.