Encouraging brand loyalty is an important part of encouraging repeat business. A great way to do this is via loyalty programs, which encourages customers to return again to eventually receive some sort of reward for doing so. In the pre-technology days, this was commonly done via stamp cards; for example, if you buy 8 coffees at many cafes, you get one free.
On a trip to San Francisco last year, I noticed that several of the places I went to eat had signage for “Stampt.” Rather than a physical card you have clogging up your wallet, you simply download a mobile application, and it stores all your “stamps” for you on your smart phone.
When a guest is at a location that participates, they simply scan the restaurant’s unique “Stampt Quick Scan” card after making a purchase, which constitutes the equivalent of receiving their stamp for that visit. Once a card is complete, they receive their reward, whatever that happens to be.
While this is a relatively new phenomenon, I think it has some major potential to become the norm for food and beverage establishments. It is equally efficient for both businesses and consumers: it’s extra exposure for the locations that participate, and it eliminates the paper for the customer.
There is also massive potential for restaurants to tie in mobile-based loyalty programs to social media initiatives. Like social media channels, this is a great way for marketers to engage with their most loyal customers as they can also send announcements and special offers exclusively to the app’s users, any time.
Stampt user Andy Pietoso of Napoli 2 Restaurant in Town and County, MO, also noted that the apps integration to Facebook ties in-store loyalty seamlessly to his social media marketing plan:
Now my customers have my business appear on their Facebook page each time they get Stampt™, so they are my social media marketing plan, freeing up my time and money so I can do what I love most – run my business so my customers are well served. Other social media marketing plans require my time or my money – or both! And it is still not as impactful as the customer’s voice. People want to know what their friends are up to and recommend more than they want to hear from the owner’s biased postings. And with our business popping up all over social media sites, it naturally boosts my search engine ratings, too, so it helps me reach more potential customers that don’t even have or use Stampt™ yet. How cool is this technology? You got to LOVE it!
This is a prime example of social media and mobile integration. As Andy highlights, customer reviews are becoming more and more instrumental in influencing buying decisions. If friends are constantly sharing on social channels that they’re visiting a specific location, their friends are going note this trend and perhaps feel more inclined to check out the establishment.
Furthermore, restaurants could also use their social channels to promote their participation with such an app and encourage patrons to register. There could be overlap with other mobile-based social channels, like Instagram or Pinterest, by perhaps offering additional incentives (“stamps”) for people who share photos and tag the restaurant, etc.
As a consumer, do you like the notion of having loyalty programs become mobile? And would you like to be able to share more of your brand experiences with your friends over social media?