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How to Drive Customer Loyalty with Location Data
Jamie Schlef Wilhelm
Jamie Schlef Wilhelm
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QSRs face an uphill battle every day, due to the intense number of restaurants competing for the same consumers. Loyalty programs, like those offered by Starbucks and Panera, have proven benefits both for the customer and the business. Customers love to earn rewards that can lead to freebies and other discounts, and restaurants benefit from the repeat visits. The good news is that location data can help a restaurant drive loyalty even if it does not have an app or established loyalty program.

Location data can offer the insights marketers need to understand how often customers are visiting their local restaurant, even without collecting dollars or points. Data reveals the number of visits a person is making to a particular location, so marketers can make decisions to increase loyalty based on true location data. Advertisers can target customers who’ve been at a restaurant within the last two weeks, by serving them an ad with a slight discount to drive them back in later. An owner can also use location data to serve a more aggressive offer to brand new consumers (first visit) to get them to come back in for a second time.

Of course, accuracy is critical. If you are the marketer for a sandwich shop on a crowded city block, you’ll need to be confident that the customers you’re targeting are indeed your customers – and not the folks who’ve gotten lunch at the competitor across the street. High quality data that is precise and trustworthy is the key to creating campaigns that reach and resonate with the right crowd.

No App Needed

While loyalty apps are a great way to engage and reward customers, they’re not required. You can retain and reward your best customers using location data and a great campaign. For example, you can reward customers who’ve been in for breakfast by offering them a discount on lunch or dinner. If someone has come in three times in the last week, send them a free side item if they come in again today.

This can all be accomplished with location data and mobile advertising – local offers can be served to customers who have been to stores in a particular area. (Make sure you’re specific about which store the offer can be redeemed at, particularly if your QSR is franchised! Not all stores will accept all offers and you don’t want to lead to a poor customer experience) An ad that is served for a discounted smoothie between 2:30 pm and 4:30 pm could drive back that regular customer who came in for coffee at 8:00 am or lunch at noon. You already know they’re nearby and that they like your menu.

Loyalty Rewards FTW

Studies show that those coveted millennials like loyalty programs, and while points-per-dollar is their favorite way to receive rewards, it’s not the only option:

  • 81 percent of millennials want free/discount food as a reward for loyalty
  • 63 percent prefer free/discount beverage

Building loyalty can be accomplished by serving ads with offers that represent the statistics above. Of course, the more customers come in, the more you may want to reward them as a thank you for being loyal. The customer who’s been in twice a day for the last two weeks should receive more rewards or offers – and possibly more valuable rewards – than the one who has visited twice in the last ten days.

It costs 5x more to win a new customer than to retain an existing one, so a simple loyalty program is worth the effort. The key to success is knowing your customers and what they love about your business, then creating a loyalty program that aligns with those values. Powering your loyalty program with Blis location data ensures your rewards reach the customers who earn them.

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Jamie Schlef Wilhelm

Jamie Schlef Wilhelm

Sales Manager, US Southeast | Blis Located in Atlanta, GA, Jamie oversees the Blis client relationships throughout the southeast of the US and is responsible for driving new business. Jamie has an extensive background in restaurant marketing as she spent over 10 years in the industry. Prior to Blis, she served as a Regional Marketing Director for Papa John’s.