Thanks to the digital breakthrough of technology, people have access to hundreds of restaurants in the palm of their hand. They can even get delicious meals delivered to their doorstep. Even though customers have countless restaurant options, it's important to not overlook the significance of brand loyalty.
Brand loyalty is still just as important as it was years ago. Restaurant brands are having to get more creative, and more tech-focused, to build long-term customer relationships and loyalty though. In a world where consumers can order from just about anywhere, leveraging data to personalize their experiences can help make your restaurant their top choice – and keep them coming back for more.
The battle for data
With the rise of third-party delivery apps, you may not own the customer experience and you may not have access to customer data either. As more customers order from third party delivery services, you may feel like you have little control over how customers engage with your brand, from their ordering experience down to the final product. The process of losing control over the customer experience is called brand disintermediation, and it often results in a loss of customer loyalty.
You can fight brand disintermediation by owning as much data as possible. Third-party delivery sites can send customer data to your own customer data platform (CDP). With this information, you will gain access to your customers’ demographics and ordering habits, for example.
Even better, you can offer your own digital ordering options and branded loyalty experience and have even more control when it comes to customer experience and data collection. Know how your customers view your menu, receive promotions, and get to know your brand, so you have the power to tailor the experience to each customer’s needs and create loyal customers.
Building a loyalty program
Let’s start with a customer loyalty platform. Years ago, this might have been a punch card to track number of visits toward earning an reward or signing up on an email list to receive standard offers, but now customers crave fully digital experiences. In fact, they expect high levels of personalization from all their restaurant experiences, from drive-thru to fine dining.
To be effective, your loyalty platform should leverage transactional and experiential data so that you can ultimately offer personalized rewards, offers and marketing specials. Maybe it’s special items only available to your loyal guests, or an enticing rewards structure that incentivizes your loyal guests to keep coming back and earning.
Most customers seek a personal, thoughtful experience in restaurants and will give their contact information for a tailored, individualized service. It can be as simple as using name personalization and saving their frequent orders. In fact, 58% of consumers went to a restaurant solely because of a personalized offer. This is where automation and leveraging data to drive personalized marketing can make a big impact – building on their sense of loyalty and helping drive connection to your restaurant for your customers.
You want your marketing and loyalty platform to be integrated with your restaurant POS system. Just think about it: your POS already collects information about sales, average check size, tip percentage, and more. The data it holds can be leveraged in the early stages of your customer loyalty strategy to start building customer personas. An integrated tech stack will help bridge the data of your ordering platforms and loyalty information so you can develop impactful marketing and loyalty programs – that ultimately drive revenue.
Related: Restaurant owners share how the pandemic is changing the customer journey
Connecting your data ecosystem
You may have multiple sources of valuable data that each tell a small part of the story, especially if you’re a larger enterprise restaurant brand. To use that data efficiently, you’ll need to connect each source into a single ecosystem.
Your branded digital experiences provide access to most of your customers’ names, contact information, locations, and ordering habits which can be used to send personalized offers based on their past behaviors. However, without sales data from your POS, it’s hard to tell which marketing strategies work and attribute success. By integrating these two distinct parts of your data ecosystem, you’ll get a clearer picture of your best strategies and your best customers.
How? You need a well-designed customer data platform (CDP) to pull together all your loose ends into a single source of truth. From third-party data and mobile app orders to in-person sales, a CDP can pull all the data you need and help make it more legible.
Every restaurant, no matter the size or scope, is already collecting data, so why not make the most of it? By building a data-driven customer loyalty strategy, you’re investing in your customers’ satisfaction and your own success.