By Anthony Stevenson
In a market that’s increasingly crowded with loyalty programs all vying for the same share of wallet, what opportunities – and options – do retailers across Canada have when it comes to offering customers more flexibility and choice in how they redeem their well-earned rewards?
For every consumer decision, there is a specific moment when the choice is made. Whole industries are dedicated to helping consumer-facing businesses influence that moment of choice. But what continues to be a challenge for many businesses – including restaurants, bars and other food and beverage operations – is pinpointing when that moment occurs and having the right strategy in place to effectively “nudge” the consumer to making the decision they want them to. Too often, their marketing and loyalty approaches focus on anything but the moment of choice, leaning instead on broad, flat tactics like coupons or static, accrual-based loyalty programs.
In short, too many restauranteurs are ignoring the relevancy of the moment.
The Link Between Context and Conversions
The goal of any F&B loyalty and marketing effort is to convert potential customers into paying patrons and repeat guests. Loyalty programs, for example, are good for maintaining awareness in the minds of current customers and incentivizing them to return. Discounting, couponing and other offers are well-worn tactics for driving new business. But these initiatives are often deployed without context; that is, a restaurant may not recognize that a customer is a loyalty member until they transact, or a bar & grill may not be delivering offers to the potential customers that are most likely to use them. This sort of context is key to conversions.
These days, the typical vector for both loyalty programs and discount/coupon offers is the web. Restaurateurs and other F&B operators direct loyalty members and potential customers to the loyalty program website or the third-party coupon website, respectively, and expect the consumer to take the affirmative step of engaging on their own. While this may be effective to a certain degree, it does not optimally target that crucial moment of decision-making that ultimately determines whether a consumer will visit and spend in the establishment.
Only by adopting a real-time approach to offers and loyalty – and by having the technology and partners to support such an approach – can F&B operators truly capitalize on the power of the moment.
Mobile, Real-Time Issuance, and Location-Based Engagement
When a restaurant, tavern or bar understands where their customers are, what motivates them, and can reach them when they’re ready to make a purchasing decision, they can increase their conversions and maximize the return on their marketing dollars. Achieving this, however, requires an embrace of the mobile channel (as opposed to strictly digital), leveraging real-time offers to optimize redemptions and relevance, and using location-based targeting to connect with the customers at the right moment in both time and space.
The first and most important aspect of this approach is embracing the mobile channel. As we mentioned in one of our previous blog posts
, restaurants can take advantage of the ubiquity and connectivity of customers’ mobile devices by deploying loyalty apps, sending promotional SMS texts, and even using geo-targeted push notifications when a customer is in proximity. In other words, mobile is the key that unlocks the relevancy of the moment.
Real-time offers can be tailored to the individual customer by connecting data from a loyalty program or other customer relationship management system to determine the best time and offer type will best resonate with that individual customer. And location-based deployment can ensure that each customer receives their offer when they are in the right physical location to visit the restaurant, bar or tavern. Geo-location can even, in some cases, draw in new customers who are nearby, provided they have opted into location services.
Context is the most significant factor in influencing the consumer’s moment of choice. Restauranteurs and other F&B operators who understand the importance of context, recognize the relevancy of the moment, and embrace the strategies that can maximize the power of the moment, will have a major advantage over their competitors that are still using static, flat loyalty and marketing approaches. If your restaurant, bar or tavern is ready to realize the relevancy of the moment, we can help you get there. Contact us today.