How Digital Engagement Can Save Restaurants & Retailers from the Great Customer Disconnect
Ho-ho-hold on a minute; how can restaurants and retailers possibly make those critical connections with customers this holiday season when, for the first time in US holiday history, customers likely won’t even enter the store except, at best, to pick up their online order and go?
The problem is real. Just ask Mobivity chairman and CEO Dennis Becker. As he pointed out in a recent marketingdive.com interview, “Imagine QSRs around malls and shopping locations: Black Friday is going to be materially different this year. Ambient traffic is not going to be there.”
The traditional holiday season between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Eve has been the heyday of customer connection in years past, often the best quarter of the year for quick service restaurants (QSRs), retailers, and consumer packaged goods brands (CPG), largely driven by mass consumer shopping and often in-store.
Give up or go big?
With coronavirus restrictions hampering or, in some areas, eliminating in-person shopping, does this mean QSRs and retailers are in a hopeless situation? Dennis Becker thinks not. “The ability to weave in seasonal disposition and the spirit of consumers in direct marketing engagements is a huge opportunity,” Becker points out in How QSRs Can Pivot their Marketing to Join the Holiday Conversation in Marketing Dive.
While restricted travel and store shopping constricts brands from keeping engaged with customers, there are creative solutions to nurture those relationships during the holidays by employing digital engagement strategies.
Digital engagement campaigns and programs are an ideal accelerator to customer connection even when that customer isn’t walking in to the store. For example:
- Connecting with guests on the most popular mobile phone app — the text messaging app — with business to consumer (b2c) mobile messaging
- Leveraging the delivery bag and to-go bag with smart, data-driven receipt messages to present offers, coupons, and critical store information
- Engaging your most loyal customers with digital loyalty programs to increase customer return visits
The messaging itself requires finesse this year, with brands needing to figure the right balance between pandemic-related safety messages while also promoting products or offers.
How the country’s leading brands are doing it
To turn the 2020 consumer relationships challenge into opportunity, brands can follow the leaders and learn from their successes:
- Casual dining restaurant chains Papa Gino’s Pizzeria & D’Angelo Grilled Sandwiches used mobile messaging with age-old marketing wisdom to drive significant gains in transactions and revenue, generating a 4.4 X return on their marketing spend. How they did it
- Renowned QSRs brand Blimpie Restaurants used Mobivity’s Recurrency platform to capture and leverage basket-level POS data, which resulted in an 11%-plus boost in customer spend per transaction. How they did it
- The global restaurant chain subway, already doing B2C texting, experimentally upgraded with Google’s latest enhancement to mobile messaging, RCS, to deliver multimedia, interactive texting with their loyal customers. The experiment generated 140% higher rate of conversion than standard SMS texting. How they did it
- National burger chain Smashburger used data intelligence to capture basket-level customer preferences, and transform that into dynamic, targeted printed receipt offers that resulted in customers returning seven times more frequently and spending more with each purchase. How they did it
With creative digital customer engagement tools and strategies, such as disease, restaurants and retailers can still reach out to their customers to make even 2020’s holiday season a winner.
We encourage you to check out the full article from Marketing Dive How QSRs can pivot their marketing to join the holiday conversation to get more insightful holiday season marketing guidance from our own CEO Dennis Becker and other industry leaders.