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    Building a Loyal Customer Base in the Digital Era

  • In quick service, improving ROI is all about incremental visits and revenue.

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    Data should be driving your campaigns in ways that make the experience feel more one-on-one.

    Dining is an intensely personal experience. We are loyal to the restaurants and orders we love. Our Instagram and Facebook feeds are filled with the meals we eat and the friends with whom we share our meals. We are in some part defined by what we eat, where and with whom; and whether we realize it or not we personalize our mealtimes to reflect our habits and our lives.

    For quick-service restaurant brands, extending personalization into mobile and online ordering can drive repeat business and build more loyal customers whose orders match their lives and habits on the go. As more people order meals online and through mobile apps than ever before, the data collected paints an increasingly clear picture: Consumers react less to traditional factors such as menu options and in-restaurant aesthetics and more to hyper-personalization in marketing efforts.

    It is a shift in how your restaurant drives repeat business, and it is all about understanding your consumers and interacting with them in ways that feel familiar. Customers appreciate when you know what they have ordered in the past, and value their time by re-offering them their favorites the next time they visit your app. The tools that bring the instant order capability in the form of one touch reorder, or sections like “My Orders,” or “My Favorites,” are an important part of a digital personalization strategy.

    Another great way to personalize your customer experiences is through limited-time offers (LTOs) that greet guests on their home screens. If, for example, a guest likes to order chicken instead of beef, your app should consider offering personalized chicken LTOs, or displaying chicken dishes in the banner images that decorate the screen.

    In addition to the overt methods of tailoring online ordering to customer habits and tastes, there are some behind-the-scenes personalized marketing efforts that can deliver actions from your guests. For example, you can tailor offers to incentivize behaviors. In broad terms, that might look like sending an offer to every former guest who hasn’t been back in while, reminding them what they loved about the experience.

    If your restaurant segments its list based on the frequency of guest visits (something you should be doing), you might market a different offer to your brand evangelists than your infrequent guests, engaging the former with incremental order enhancements like appetizers and desserts, where the offer sent to infrequent guests might encourage them to visit once more. In every case, the offer can be tailored to drive an incremental action, where every dollar spent is a victory.

    Beyond overt personalization tactics like tailored imagery and re-ordering capabilities, and more covert efforts like specialized offers, there are hybridized ways to reach the audience and get results. Take families; it’s a safe bet yours are ordering three or more entrees at dinner time. Using your data, you can identify those families who love to order meals at home from you, and you can send them family-oriented messaging to encourage a reorder. “One click and dinner is solved,” might be the push notification or the subject line. 

    Whether you are trying to a drive specific outcome like an incremental visit, or letting user data drive your actions in automated ways like a personalized push notification, data should be driving your campaigns in ways that make the experience feel more one-on-one, more conversational. With sound digital platforms, the data is available. All you need to do is use it the right way to build action from your guests. Restaurants who utilize hyper-personalized approaches are able to market to their guests based on what they like to eat, what they like to see, what they want to experience—whether in the mobile application or online. And by giving them what they want, and inspiring action from them, you build a relationship. Loyalty. Repeat visits. In quick service, improving ROI is all about incremental visits and revenue. More than ever before, those questions are answered with a personal touch.

    Since joining Tillster as Chief Marketing Officer, Hope Neiman has helped to revolutionize the digital ordering industry through extraordinary leadership and innovation. She has executed several integrated marketing campaigns and strategic partnerships that have driven restaurant sales and increased consumer brand loyalty to make Tillster a preeminent self-order solution, data and marketing service company for the quick-service restaurant and fast-casual dining industry. For more information, please visit http://www.tillster.com