How digital can transform customer engagement in your F&B business

The customer purchasing journey food and beverage businesses starts digitally. Here’s how you can impact that journey in your business.

Seize Digital

These days, the customer purchasing journey in Food and Beverage (F&B) businesses starts digitally. In fact, the F&B sector generates the highest proportion of online search volume of any industry, with 72 percent of those searches taking place on mobile phones, according to industry research.

Google also uncovered that over the last two years there’s been an 80 percent rise in the number of searches for ‘the best’ (e.g. ‘the best pubs near me’). Customers in your area are actively searching for businesses just like yours – today, via mobile. The growth of online ordering and delivery is another reason why a ‘mobile-first’ approach to online-offline shopping journey forms one of the strategic recommendations in our recent 2019 Insights report.

Clearly then, the costs of neglecting your location in the digital world are extremely high. Being able to engage customers digitally and via mobile allows you to differentiate your offering from the competition and drive footfall and sales in your business. Perhaps more importantly still, it ensures that yours is the first name they find when customers search for nearby places to eat or drink in an area you operate.

Digitising customer engagement in your business

With so much noise out there, simply having a digital presence is not always enough to deliver your message to the people that matter. There are a number of different digital elements that can transform customer engagement in your business. This includes paid social media campaigns, Google AdWords, email marketing and more.

Some of the most successful ways to engage customers in the F&B sector has proven to be through the creation of personalised, targeted campaigns that are delivered in real time. For example, we see five times more conversions with targeted in-app promotions than we do with email marketing. There are also significant benefits associated with targeting those promotions by location. In fact, 31 percent of 25-34-year-olds would make a spontaneous or unplanned purchase if promotions are location-specific.

Digital customer engagement in action

We recently worked with Mitchells and Butlers (M&B), which is one of the UK’s largest operators of restaurants, pubs and bars. It wanted to promote the fact that Campo Viejo, the leading Rioja wine brand in the world, was available in its establishments. So, we created a digital campaign that would communicate this offering to new and existing customers, to drive engagement and extend the reach of both the M&B and Campo Viejo brands.

A social media campaign via Facebook and Twitter offered customers a free glass of complementary Campo Viejo wine, directing customers to branded microsites to claim their coupons, which were issued via the Eagle Eye AIR platform. Customers were also entered into a competition to win a trip to Rioja, Spain.

The coupons could be redeemed by customers in Ember Inns, Sizzling Pubs and Harvester chains. Using the unique coupon codes created, M&B was also able to track user journeys from issuance to redemption at the point of sale so it and Campo Viejo could identify the highest performing locations and social media channels.

All objectives were met

In total, 16,488 vouchers were issued and 4,362 of those were redeemed, with an issuance-to-redemption rate of 26.4 percent. More importantly though, the campaign also helped to raise awareness of the Campo Viejo brand and its products among a wider audience of new and existing customers. This led to an increase in footfall and sales in M&B pubs. It also generated valuable information that will be used to influence decision-making in future campaigns.

If you’re interested in driving customer engagement in your F&B business in digitally innovative ways, start by downloading our 2019 Insights report. You can also take a look at our services for F&B businesses, read more about the impact of digital on consumer shopping journeys or get in touch with our team.