On Monday, this first of this two-part series explained not only why digital ordering apps and delivery solutions are essential for today's QSRs, but also why the presence of just ordering and delivery capabilities won't make that app profitable in this constantly changing QSR game. Today's report dives deeper into the critical necessity of making whatever you choose for a mobile ordering and delivery solution connected at every point to your loyalty efforts and tech.
The bottom line is that for real "buzz" and business generation, QSRs need both digital ordering capabilities in their mobile apps and the kind of loyalty tools that not only engage customers, but build and nurture long-term, loyal relationships.
And here's solid proof that loyalty is key
The digital research company, Applause and its Application Resource Center looked at data from nearly one million app store reviews in the App Store and Google Play. Using a tool that measures and scores mobile user sentiment about brands, the company ranked 55 restaurants on a 100-point scale for the brands that generated the most positive mobile user sentiment or customer experience feelings around that brand's mobile ordering tool.
The final report on the research showed that even QSR giants, like McDonald's, Wendy’s and Dunkin’ Donuts have room for improvement, as all three scored less than 33 on that 100-point scale. Researchers explained that modern customers expect rich, location-based and transaction-aware apps that provide better experiences and add real value. Poorly rated apps often lacked user-friendly messaging or engaging features like loyalty programs and rewards systems.
So what's a brand to do? Here are some suggestions
The following list details essential pieces of that mobile ordering app puzzle, each bringing important factors in the overall customer experience to your app in ways that strategically engage your customers.
- Mobile Loyalty Program:An integrated mobile loyalty program with a simple, intuitive point-based system helps encourage frequent, short-term purchases. Customers earn points for every order and then can use these points to buy free or special promotional items.
- Customer Behavior Analytics: The data collected by a mobile app provides valuable insights into your customers' preferences and behavior. Restaurateurs can use this information to create personalized sales offers, loyalty initiatives and hyper-targeted promotional campaigns.
- Highly visual and personalized communication: Highly visual and personalized communication through a mobile app builds long-term, loyal relationships with customers. Show your customers mouthwatering visuals of your food to not only appeal to their appetites, but also strengthen the emotional connection between your brand and your consumers.
- Targeted marketing campaigns: Use collected data to develop broad promotional strategies involving different groups of guests, then create hyper-targeted campaigns to deliver the right message to the right audience at the right time.
- Referral program and social media integration:When integrating social media platforms in your app, make sure you're adding capability to share content across multiple social channels directly from the app. Then offer additional reward points to customers who recommend your brand on social media.
- Gamification: These types of features can be powerful customer engagement tools since you can use reward systems to encourage repeat customers and solidify the image of your brand overall.
- Quality control:Mobile apps provide the easiest way to gather customer feedback. You can implement a feature that allows app users to rate your service and leave their feedback, so you can determine what your guests want and what you need to improve in your restaurant.
- Proximity marketing: Proximity marketing provides huge potential for restaurants that aim at offering a contextually relevant customer experience. Marketers can send user-friendly messages that appear automatically on consumers' smartphones and reach those who are most likely to make a purchase.
Daniel Rubinstein serves as chief business development officer at LoyaltyPlant where he empowers restaurant innovators to build meaningful customer relationships with their guests through mobile-first marketing strategies.