The Zenreach Blog

Smart marketing made simple for offline businesses.

Posted October 6, 2015 by Zenreach

What’s the True Cost of Loyalty?

Loyalty is a provocative word in the bar and restaurant industry. Why?

Because loyal customers bring in the vast majority of your business, while every business around you is constantly trying to steal them away.

The data doesn’t lie. Loyal customers are extremely profitable for restaurants. In fact, according to a study by Boston Retail Partners, a restaurant’s “best guest” can represent as much revenue as nine “average guests.”

That’s a huge difference. And it doesn’t end there.

If you’re trying to increase customer spend and visit frequency, then a loyalty program is a no-brainer. A recent study by AC Nielsen shows that, on average, consumers spend 46% more with businesses that have loyalty programs than those that don’t. And not only do people spend more when they visit, but they also visit about 20% more often than non-members.

The problem is that everyone knows how good loyalty programs are, which means yours needs to be even better. Consumers estimate that a good restaurant or bar rewards program would increase their visit rate to a particular business by an average of 35%, so it’s important to stand out.

While great rewards and perks are important, the best way to stand out is to make the loyalty program extremely easy to use.

Which loyalty program is right for you?

There are several types of customer loyalty programs, ranging from the basic to the overly elaborate. For instance, the card your barber stamps each time you get a haircut is a very simple form of a customer loyalty program. But this solution isn’t ideal for a restaurant or bar in 2015. You don’t want someone to miss out on their rewards just because they forgot their card at home!

You also want to make sure you don’t lose out on the real value of customer loyalty programs–data. In its purest form, customer loyalty is an exchange of information. Customers give you all of the data you could possibly want about their purchases, and in return, you give them exclusive deals. That’s not something you can achieve with a punch card.

For example, TGI Fridays’ loyalty program offers their most loyal guests more than just free food. It uses the customer’s phone number to track visits in conjunction with a mobile app that enables participants to claim rewards. The program also allows members to earn the right to jump to the front of the line on nights when there’s a long wait. Beating the rush on game day is a pretty lucrative freebie! Setting the standard for many sit-down restaurants, TGI Fridays was named the top casual dining loyalty program in the 2015 Bond Brand Loyalty Report.

While a customer loyalty program benefits your business by bringing people in more often, in the end, your focus should remain on your customer. How can you make it as easy as possible for the customer to join the program? How can you convince people to opt-in without adding extra work on your end? How can you run your program with a minimal amount of opportunities for lost data?

Zenreach’s loyalty program on autopilot

Many restaurant loyalty programs heavily use email marketing–and with good reason. It allows restaurants to target customers on an individual basis and send them relevant messages based on their visit history. You can send out an email right when a customer signs up, welcoming them to your loyalty program. You can also email customers to wish them a happy birthday, to invite them back after a long absence, or just to let them know about an upcoming promotion. The emails themselves are stored until deletion, which enables customers to keep them until they’re ready to act. Emails also eliminate the need for customers to print out coupons, which are often forgotten at home.

If you use a technology like Zenreach, you can also use WiFi-enabled email marketing to automatically track customer visits, bringing loyalty programs to a whole new level. For example, maybe you want to offer a free glass of wine on every 10th visit. Instead of doing punch cards or a separate app, Zenreach will let you do that automatically through email. All you have to do is set up a router–once!

The best thing? The results with Zenreach are 2x better than traditional loyalty programs! While a successful loyalty program sees guests visits, on average, 20-30% more, businesses who use Zenreach see, on average, that guests who access the free WiFi visit 65% more than guests who don’t. That’s an incredible number, one that will have lasting impact on your bottom line.

Want more information on Zenreach or how to use Zenreach to run a hands-free loyalty program? Reach out today!


Zenreach makes it easy!

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