Maintaining and growing a loyal customer base is essential for the success of any business, and is especially true for pizzerias. Research has shown that it is five times more expensive to acquire new customers than it is to retain an existing one. Additionally, diners who already know and trust your brand tend to spend more (around 31%) and are 50% more likely to try new products. A powerful way to foster those trusted relationships is to have a restaurant loyalty program that is integrated with your pizza point of sale (POS) system. Today we're talking about how to get the most out of your pizzeria loyalty program to bring in repeat business.
According to Victor Martinez of Piezoni’s, “I don’t see how a business can survive these days without a rewards program. It’s like not having a website.”
Make It Easy for Your Pizza Customers
Customers crave convenience in all aspects of their journey with a brand. To deliver that convenience with your loyalty program, first make sure it’s easy to join. Customers shouldn’t have to submit a lot of information to sign up—just the basics such as name, phone number, and e-mail. Your staff should then be able to use this information to look up and credit the account on your POS during a transaction, so the customer doesn’t have to carry around a card to use the program. When enrolling customers in person, lose the paper forms and jotted-down notes; instead, make sure your pizza POS can collect this information quickly. The customer— and the next person waiting in line—will appreciate the efficiency.
Second, make sure it’s easy to earn with your restaurant loyalty program. It shouldn’t take too many visits, pizzas, or dollars spent before a loyalty member earns a reward. If it’s too hard or takes too long to see results, customers won’t be motivated to continue using the program. Make it easy for them to earn rewards—even if it’s just $1 off an order. Remember that consumers today love instant gratification, so a large number of points earned per purchase and even a sign-up bonus will work well for your pizzeria.
Finally, make sure your program is easy to keep track of. Customers should be able to look up their accounts and review their current balances and available rewards, both online and using your mobile app. Staff should also receive prompts from your pizza POS about rewards when the customer is checking out: “Amy, I see you have a $5 reward available. Would you like to apply that to today’s order?”
When It Comes to Your Pizzeria Loyalty Program, Communication is Key
As with any relationship, personalized and engaging communication is vital. Personalized marketing messaging is the future, as consumers respond less favorably to traditional, broad-messaged marketing. Your pizza POS should be able to help you tailor your loyalty program e-mails, texts, mailers, and coupons to your customers. Congratulate them when they earn a reward or bump into a higher tier of your program, for example; or use their order histories to offer discounts or freebies based on what they actually like and order often.
Another way to “show them you know them” is to learn their names and greet them when they come into your pizza shop, if possible. At the very least, once the customer is at checkout and their loyalty program info is entered, staff will know their name and can use it in conversation.
A relationship is a two-way street, and engaging with your customers is highly influential. Besides knowing their names, you can engage with them on social media. Respond to all questions, reviews, and comments made online. (And if it’s negative, don’t argue, but instead focus on trying to make it right.) Send customers a short survey and ask for their recommendations and feedback. Their input could also help you decide what rewards to offer. All of these efforts work in harmony with your restaurant loyalty program to strengthen your relationships with your customers and keep them coming back.
Automate the Loyalty Program Process
Your restaurant loyalty program should not only be easy for your customers to use, but easy for you to manage. One crucial feature is to make sure that you own all of your customer information, particularly when leveraging third-party ordering platforms. A loyalty program that is fully integrated with all your online ordering and delivery platforms ensures that you retain all customer information and data, no matter how the order was placed.
The reward earning process should be automated and effortless once set up. Rewards should be calculated and issued to customer accounts upon each purchase, with no additional steps required. An industry-built point of sale system should have these capabilities, and should provide real-time data, reports, customization, and more to make management as simple as possible for you.
Spread the Word About Your Pizzeria Loyalty Program
Once you have a great pizza loyalty program in place and have worked out the details, it’s time to spread the word to get more customers to join. Promote your program in-store, on your website, on your social media, and in e-mail newsletters to encourage sign-ups. Offering an online “Enroll Now” form that customers can easily fill out to join provides convenience for them and you. Again, the easier it is for customers to use, the more likely it is that they will do so.
Some other loyalty program marketing ideas to help get the word out:
- Take and post pictures on your social media accounts of loyal customers who have earned a big reward. This tactic taps into the “fear of missing out”: customers will want to be included and get rewarded if they see other people successfully using the program.
- Put up signage or use table tents so guests can read about the benefits of your program and why they should join.
- Implement a referral reward to entice customers to get their family and friends to join.
A restaurant loyalty program that is done right will lead to happy customers helping to spread the word—and today’s consumers tend to place a greater amount of trust in reviews and recommendations from their peers. So, your existing customers will not only bring you greater sales from their own repeat visits, but can help bring in sales from new customers as well. A well-executed loyalty program is a win-win for all.
An industry-built POS system with an integrated loyalty program is the missing puzzle piece your pizzeria needs to grow and thrive in a tightly competitive environment. HungerRush offers POS solutions designed specifically with the needs of pizzerias in mind and backed by expert customer support. to learn more about how our solutions can help you provide outstanding customer experiences that foster loyalty and lead to ever-increasing sales.