Staying connected to your customers has never been more important in the hospitality industry. As businesses grow, and competition rises, it’s essential to consider how your brand will continue to deliver personal, quality customer experiences to stand out in the crowd.
Personalization is everything when it comes to keeping your customers engaged and your profits ticking upwards – but how do you actually implement personalization into your marketing strategy?
Here’s what you should know about identifying, delivering, and improving the customer experience with personalization tactics.
Why Does Personalization Matter for QSRs?
Even in today’s fast-moving and tech-focused world, the heart of the hospitality industry is still rooted in human connection. Whether customers visit a mom-and-pop diner or a multi-national franchise, they still expect personal, familiar customer service and communication.
“Your guest is why you are in business. Know who your guest is, and stay connected to them to grow your relationship,” says John Laporte, TASK President of North America.
Personalization is about enabling restaurants of all sizes to effectively develop meaningful relationships between brands and customers. The result is long-term customer loyalty and a constantly expanding footprint in the market. In fact, our market research has shown that 91 percent of consumers are more likely to shop with brands that recognize them, remember their purchase history, and offer relevant recommendations.
Personalized service and messaging, if put into a successful marketing strategy, can help boost businesses in a number of ways. These include:
- Reducing cart abandonment
- Increasing customer lifetime value
- Improving a brand’s reputation
- Nurturing key brand messaging
- Optimizing marketing tactics and campaigns
It’s important to remember that a positive experience is the key driver for repeat business and word-of-mouth marketing. To curate an experience your customers will love, focus on building a consistent, personalized marketing strategy.
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The Strategic Value of Personalization in QSR Marketing Strategies
When it comes to personalization, many brands are finding it tough to maintain a sustainable competitive advantage. As businesses expand, they run the risk of getting out of touch with their loyal customers, resulting in poorer experiences and lower retention rates.
There are a few QSRs, however, who are taking advantage of personalized marketing strategies and experiencing high returns on their efforts.
Taco Bell, for example, uses GPS location data to reach out to customers who are near a franchise location. Using past purchase information, they can immediately suggest items to that customer, making the entire experience faster, easier, and fit to that particular customer’s schedule and routine.
The value of personalization for QSRs is the ability to tap into sales opportunities in just the right way at just the right time for their target audience.
So much of purchase behavior comes down to timing and context. If brands can identify the exact needs, routines, and preferences of customers, they can more effectively offer a convenient and easy path towards a new purchase using the right marketing channels.
Putting personalization into practice for your marketing strategy helps:
- Increase top-line revenue
- Drive higher purchasing activity
- Strengthen bottom-line profitability
How to Use Personalization in Your QSR Marketing plan
You can think of the process for implementing personalization into your marketing efforts as comprising four key phases: Identification, Design, Delivery, and Evaluation.
To break it down, here’s what you should focus on during each phase:
Identify market trends and opportunities to tap into customer needs
Consider how different types of communication work more effectively in different scenarios.
If you’re planning an anniversary dinner, for example, you might be looking for options several weeks in advance – meaning that receiving an offer by email could be highly effective. If, however, you need a quick take-out option to bring home for the family after a long workday, you’re more likely to respond to a text or app notification offering a last-minute deal.
The first step to curating effective personalized marketing efforts is first identifying who your customers are, what kind of routine they have, and when they are most likely to need different levels of communication and service.
“No matter what kind of technology you put into your system, it’s worth nothing if it can’t ultimately improve the customer experience,” says John Laporte. “That’s why it’s so crucial to make sure you can accurately ID your customers, and really understand what you can do to meet their needs more efficiently.”
Design offers to reflect your target market
Whether sending a message through a digital touchpoint – such as a mobile app, text, or email – or a printed advertisement, brands need to constantly consider personalization.
In its simplest form, this means addressing every message directly to the customer using their name or nickname. In a more complex and meaningful form, this means reaching out to customers right when they usually start thinking about what to have for lunch, offering specific menu items you know they’ll like, and automatically suggesting their preferred method for payment and delivery.
Customers today expect brands to know and predict their behavior. Offering them easier, streamlined ways to engage with you through an inbound marketing strategy helps both your profits and your customers.
Boost Sales With Personalized Messaging
Guests expect omnichannel digital experiences that speak to their needs and preferences. Leading brands must drive personalization to connect with guests and drive forward sales.
Deliver consistent service and personalized recommendations
Providing a seamless and smooth customer experience is crucial for brands who want to drive their top line and tap into prospective consumers. Investment into this area has proven to increase average spend by over 70 percent at the front counter, and lead to six times more online orders.
John Laporte explains, “It’s important to have a single database at the top, connecting all touchpoints in your brand’s digital ecosystem. Every system that connects your operations and your brand – whether it’s pricing, promotions, digital marketing strategy, or sales – propagates into every other channel, immediately and automatically.”
Delivering value can look different for each brand and each customer. Some examples include:
- Weaving relevant and engaging messaging (based on time of day, location, and time of year) into digital signage
- Offer product recommendations based on order history
- Offer promotions throughout the ordering experience, including discounted add-ons, freebies, and meal options
Evaluate the effectiveness of your marketing strategies
This is a step that requires an integrated digital stack with full data management capabilities. Combining transactional, behavioral, and sales data, the evaluation process is key to ensuring your brand’s marketing strategy is working.
Brands should consider the impact of new sales, the effectiveness of coupons and deals, and loyalty program sign-ups. Then, compare those insights against your marketing strategies and personalization efforts to uncover what tactics are providing the most value t your marketing goals.
When analyzing personalization tactics specifically, brands should look at the rate of repeat purchases, digital engagement rates following direct messages, and overall increases in average spend.
Finally, use your evaluation to streamline your company’s marketing strategy in the future. Consider how you can use your technology to its fullest potential to drive forward better personalization and increase your metrics.
Invest in your digital stack
Personalization, especially for franchises and QSRs, requires top-of-the-line technology to accurately and efficiently integrate your data and your digital tools.
Whether you are working on re-vamping your loyalty program, designing better communication with your target audience, or segmenting customer profiles – the answer is integrated POS technology.
Taking the next step in personalization is the push your brand needs to join the ranks of world-leading QSRs. As you consider your marketing strategy, explore what a personalized approach could mean for your business.