Loyalty programs for companies have been around for awhile and they come in all different shapes and sizes. Some programs are created in such a way where a customer has to collect a certain number of points to unlock a special reward, or maybe they pay a particular premium to gain access to additional options as a valuable customer (i.e. Amazon Prime). For restaurants, loyalty programs are a simple way to say “Thank You” to customers and keep them coming back for more. If a customer loves your restaurant, give them something to motivate their return. The most recent statistics show that 64 percent of brands saw an increase in loyalty program membership over the last year. Rewarding your most loyal customers will in turn help you attract more customers to your restaurant who will then spend more often. Let’s take a deeper look as to why you should launch a loyalty program, particularly using software that will help you best manage the information:
1. Increases Sales
Using a tool where you can simply plug in a loyalty rate for customers will quickly help boost sales since it will encourage customers to order again. Being able to choose the loyalty rate and the total amount a customer can redeem gives you – the owner – control as to how you want the loyalty program to be managed. From a customer’s perspective, they can immediately see their loyalty balance increase as they order each time. Once they reach the minimum redemption amount, they can then choose to redeem their loyalty rewards with a single click. By having a system in place where a customer can easily collect on their purchases and redeem the benefit will pay off in the short run and long run.
2. Easy to Implement
Don’t make customers jump through hoops to get rewards. Equally important is to provide customers a clear idea of the benefits they will receive. Your goal is to motivate customers to spend more at your restaurant and spend more frequently. When attempting to change a customer’s buying habits, it’s critical they understand the benefits involved and how easily they can capture those benefits. With the example provided in #1, restaurants can establish their loyalty program by creating a loyalty rate for orders and a minimum redemption amount customers need to accumulate before redeeming their loyalty balance. By setting a minimum redemption amount, customers are motivated to order again and again. There are tools available that make launching such a program quick and easy. The most important aspect to launching a loyalty program is finding one that works for you and sticking with it. You will need to adapt and evaluate the customer data as it comes to find out the best approach to attracting new customers and retaining current customers. Each restaurant’s definition of success can differ, so prior to launching a loyalty program, decide what is most important to you and stay consistent with the offer given to your customers. Most importantly, make sure your loyalty program is easy to implement and easy for customers to understand.
3. Inexpensive Marketing Tool
About 71% of consumers decide to join a loyalty program based on discounts and around 63% join for free products. These are the top two most attractive rewards. Instead of just picking a random number to decide how much you would like to give back to your customer, find a value that would be meaningful to them, while also determining what would be profitable to you. As the example in #1, if a restaurant sets a 10% loyalty rate and a $5 minimum redemption value, customers will accumulate a 10% reward on each order and be eligible to redeem their loyalty balance after they accumulate $5 in loyalty rewards. So, after ordering $50, they could redeem $5 off their next order. This customer-purchasing effort doesn’t cost the restaurant anything unless a minimum amount of purchases are made.
4. Boosts Awareness
The real value of a loyalty program is its ability to sustain engagement with valuable customers. The more loyal your customers are to your brand and the more they purchase, the larger the reward is for them in the end. Find a way to make your loyalty program experience as easy as possible for those purchasing so they know how much rewards they are collecting. By using a system that automatically keeps track of this information for them (and you), you will find a more positive and fruitful relationship with your customers. Raising awareness about your loyalty program does not stop once customers start using it. Customers will need gentle reminders about their rewards to 1) continue to spend and 2) to redeem their rewards. Over 51% of U.S. consumers are loyal to brands that interact with them through their preferred channels of communication, so use a service that will allow you to communicate via mobile, email and web – all at the same time.
5. Assists in Collecting Customer Data
When it comes to data collection, loyalty programs are a great way to keep track of customers who will provide the best ROI to your restaurant. By giving back to your customers, you will draw in new customers who want to buy from your restaurant. Additionally, when you know what your customers want (based on their ordering preferences, frequency of orders, total order amounts, etc.) you can begin to create a program that makes sense to them. This will help you make the most of your loyalty program to drive business.