In the age of communication the buzziest buzzword in marketing is relevance. In short, this means getting the right message to the right people at the right time. For restaurants, mobile apps are a perfect way to be sure the messages reach the right people. Mobile customers are everywhere, a recent survey by QSR found that seven out of ten respondents had placed a food order via mobile device.
Advertising saturates today’s consumers wherever they turn. More than ever, people are either desensitized or even somewhat hostile to traditional, “billboard” style marketing efforts based on broadcasting messages in a one-way manner.
For every “hit” there are bound to be a ton of “misses” and no one knows if the “hits” are the kind of people likely to be interested in the message.
Another drawback to traditional broadcast marketing is that it is difficult to measure the effectiveness of a campaign. This, of course, clashes head-on with the business community’s desire to track and analyze data, quantified results and ROI.
Consumers today have a great deal of control over what kind of communication they partake in. Instead of waiting for studio executives and editors to decide what to show them, modern media consumers are empowered, curating content unique to their tastes.
This is especially true of mobile apps. Upon granting companies access, app users can offer detailed demographic and transactional information in a manner that restaurants simply have never had access to before.
With a mobile ordering app, a restaurant can fill in the blanks for all of the famous “five Ws.”
- What did they order? Ordering apps shed light into individual customer transaction data such as their favorite items and ingredients, number of items in a typical order, tip amounts and promotion amounts. For example, you could easily identify and send a note of appreciation to your best tippers.
- When did they order? Understanding customer behavior can allow for more effective promotions. For example if a customer usually comes by around 11 am, you could target a special offer to them at 10:30am, just as they are deciding where to go for lunch.
- Where was the customer when they ordered? This benefit is unique to the GPS functionality within mobile technology. If a customer usually orders in large quantities from a corporate office building, they might be a good candidate to learn about your catering program.
- Why did customers enjoy or not enjoy their experience? Splick-it provides customers with a direct feedback channel in the apps, creating a loop that allows us restaurants to receive and respond quickly and effectively to praise and concerns alike.
- Who are the customers? The real potential of this data is truly revealed in the ability to append all of the aforementioned data that is being collecting with an actual customer rather than a demographic bucket with a range of individual preferences that is likely to tell you nothing in particular about each particular guest.
The value of all of this vast information only becomes more and more valuable over time with each additional order, as restaurants will only continue to develop a more refined and accurate profile of a certain customer’s behavior and preferences.
In fact, app users are generally willing to share their information, under the right circumstances. A 2012 PwC survey found that there were conditions that made respondents more likely to share information:
- 73 percent of respondents said they would be willing to share information depending on the benefits they got in return.
- 80 percent said they would share information for a benefit with monetary value like coupons or free Internet service.
- Even when no monetary benefit was involved, 60 percent were willing to share information.
- 80 percent said they would share info if they knew upfront how the company would use it and 87 percent prefer to be able to choose how to use their information.
Consumers recognize that there are benefits to sharing information beyond dollar rewards. Nowadays a user can customize the digital experience and get personalized content, targeted advertising and free services. Smartphones and tablets are completely portable yet offer all of the power of a desktop computer.
These devices are a game-changer for marketers, too. Now more than ever, it is imperative for brands to build relationships with individuals.
Restaurant industry analysts often study the behavior of restaurant customers on a massive scale. Yet such studies fail to recognize the diversity of eateries and customers out there. The customers at a brunch spot are going to have different habits than the regulars at a late-night sushi joint. Diners on the go during lunch hour will behave differently than retirees out for an afternoon cup of coffee. It is impossible to reach such a diversity of people with one broad stroke marketing campaign.
That is the beauty of a mobile app. The app is both a tool for distributing marketing and a valuable way to gather information. It is a double-win situation. Customers will gladly sign up for the prospect of occasional deals and promotions, along with a super-convenient ordering and payment process. In exchange, the restaurant will have access to rich data that would rival any survey or study, and the relevant marketing that comes with it.
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