Loyalty Programs For The Millennial Market

Key points

  • LOYALTY PROGRAMS have been around for a long time but the old approach of stamping or cutting holes in cards which customers carry around with them is fast disappearing.
  • As everything moves online, customers still want to participate in loyalty programs — but these days they expect to be able to store and access this kind of information on their phones.

A study conducted in the US last year 
found that diners pay up to 46 per cent more by participating in loyalty programs. They do this not only by visiting the restaurant which offers the program more frequently than they would otherwise, but by ordering more food while they’re there.

According to the study, customers’ top requirements for a loyalty program are easy enrolment options, access to exclusive deals, ease of earning points, and ease of redeeming rewards — no surprises there.

If you have a digital POS system, it might already include a loyalty app feature within it. If not, you can choose from a variety of options which can be run using mobile apps and utilise emails and phone numbers to identify customers. It’s important that the app you choose is one which can be integrated with your existing POS system - this facilitates tracking and analytics, enabling you to measure the success of the loyalty program by comparing it against sales data.

Another point to bear in mind is that the loyalty program you choose should offer flexibility in how rewards points are allocated. For example, some programs offer pre-set rewards, while others allow you to nominate them yourself.

This is important, as the way your loyalty system works should depend on your customer demographic. For example, research shows that millennials would rather earn points based on how much they spend, rather than how often they visit.

Here are some of the other features you should be looking for:

* Ability to customise a mobile app to present your restaurant brand — so customers don’t know you’re using a third party platform

* Automatic SMS and/or email alerts sent to customers when they reach a certain number of rewards points

* Variety of options to earn points: such as scanning a QR code, check-in via an app, digital stamp cards

* Display of your menus, integration with online ordering, and promotion of special offers via mobile app

* Ease of joining the program — such as texting a keyword to a phone number, or downloading an app

* Ability to identify customers via category — such as new, VIP or those who haven’t visited for some time. This enables targeted marketing via text/email

* User interface which presents the process as a game — particularly popular with millennials, this approach allows customers to go on a quest to earn points by completing online activities