Having a paper card stamped for every cup of coffee you buy is no longer cutting it in the world of quick-service restaurants (QSR) in the States. Revamping existing loyalty programmes and rolling out new ones, QSRs are becoming increasingly sophisticated with focused interest on tracking individual customers rather than aggregated purchase data.
Reducing anonymous transactions
In a fast-paced industry with tight margins, the goal of these programmes is to gain greater insight into customer-specific needs that make loyalty economics viable. As such, big names including McDonald’s, Starbucks and Dunkin’ Brands are leading the way with meaningful programmes and incentives to drive transaction frequency.
According to Joy Das Gupta, category manager, Loyalty at Startbucks, the company’s gift-card programme My Startbucks that launched in 2008 addresses the issue of the anonymous transaction. QSR sales are typically low-ticket purchases that are consequently paid for using cash. By introducing a swipe loyalty card, the data collected can then be channelled into more meaningful programmes, offerings and incentives.
Data driving sales frequency
As the saying goes, data is just data unless it’s being used to gain insight. Offering loyalty card programmes sheds light on what customers want, and where and when they are spending. It also importantly reveals who high-value and high-potential customers are. What this means for the franchised QSR is that individual stores can be shown who their most valuable customers are, and consequently boost sales through targeted product range and increasing frequency of sales.
Paper card goes digital
Taking cues from days of old with the paper punch card setting a workable guideline, these QSRs have been able to assess and implement tight-budget value propositions. Additional points are also rewarded for registering online and sharing loyalty material on social media. Once customers are signed up, benefit mixes are creatively deployed using surprise rewards or entertainment industry partnerships on top of the usual free transaction reward.