Loyalty programs have proven to be a key driver in keeping customers coming back to fast casual operators through the worst days of the pandemic, according to a recent report from Paytronix Systems, Inc. In addition to loyalty customers spending 6% more per visit in 2020, the top 10% accounted for more than half of all loyalty spending at their favorite brands.
“During a tumultuous 2020, loyalty programs shone through as one of the key survival tools for brands in the restaurant and convenience industries,” Andrew Robbins, CEO of Paytronix Systems Inc., said in the release. “The best programs are those that look beyond simply enticing customers with offers and leans into the idea of personalizing the customer journey. In this way a loyalty platform is part of a broader guest engagement strategy that touches all parts of the guest experience, whether that’s digital, physical or a combination of both.”
A key point here is looking beyond loyalty programs as basic punch cards or receipt-based coupons, but using a loyalty program to personalize each customer’s journey with your brand. The busy environment in fast casual is challenging because it doesn’t afford the interaction time at POS to gat personal details from a customer like cell phone number or email address. However, advances in payment technology and data security make it easier then ever to identify a customer by their payment card. Storing credit/debit card numbers to identify repeat purchase patterns became problematic after many large chains were hacked and data was stolen.
Now, tokenization technology allows payment cards to be stored as tokens, or numbers that represent payments cards. Tokens have no value if stolen because they can’t be changed back to card data without the complex formula that created the tokens. However, tokens can be used in place of the cards they represent to identify repeat purchases and establish frequency and spend patterns. Using the right POS technology, fast casual operators can identify repeat customers based on their credit or debit card, and deliver instant, personalized rewards and incentives right at the POS with no delays in register throughput.
The data your business generates is the most valuable asset you have: use it to drive sales and promote customer loyalty!
Overview by Don Apgar, Director, Merchant Services Advisory Practice at Mercator Advisory Group