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QSRs, Mobile and Customer Rewards | The threesome that’s redefining loyalty | 2/3

Part Two: Why mobile – and what makes a good rewards app

In last week’s opener, we talked about the history of loyalty, and how you pretty much have to nail it in today’s rapidly evolving QSR sector if you’re planning on being around for the long-haul. Today, it’s all about loyalty on your mobile – our favourite! – and what a great rewards app looks like. If you’re in the QSR sector and looking to loyalty to drive customer retention, today might just be your lucky day …

What’s so great about mobile anyway?

Here’s an interesting fact: according to the Pew Research Centre, a huge 20% of Americans primarily use their smartphones instead of having internet access at home – and we’re not just surfing. We’re spending around two hours every day using apps – to play, to share, to email, to message and to shop. What’s more, we use our phones during every stage of the shopping process – from discovering what’s out there to sourcing reviews, to performing price comparisons to making the actual purchase. We don’t just do it in our armchairs either, we’re doing it in the store, or walking to work, or on the train, or before we turn the lights off for the night… in fact, all the time … See where we’re going with this? Yep – rewards programs matter and are a super-charged, highly effective way to attract and retain brand evangelists, what’s more, mobile is the single best vehicle for doing so. Bottom line? Including a mobile-first strategy in your plan for rewards domination is a no-brainer – unless you plan on not being around in 5 years time. 

Unlike the loyalty drivers of yesteryear, mobile isn’t going anywhere. You’ve only got to look around you to know that wherever we’re headed on this spinning cybernated sphere that our mobile devices will be coming with us:

  • The global mobile population amounts to around 4 billion unique users 
  • As of February 2019, mobile devices accounted for 48 per cent of web page views globally
  • Around 2 billion people made purchases from a mobile device in 2019,
  • With around 95% of consumers conducting research via their mobile device before completing an in-store or online checkout. 
  • About $1 in every $4 generated in e-commerce comes via mobile, with annual spending figure surpassing $35 billion.
  • Searches for branded restaurant apps which enable reservations, tracking orders, and discounts have grown 120% YoY.

In 2018, we Americans spent 140% more time using food and drink apps than during the two years before. Why? Well for a start, there are simply more food and drink apps out there, but we’re also a demanding bunch. We want convenience (with bells and whistles, thanks) and the restaurants are listening. 

Brands spend up to 11 times more on recruiting new customers than retaining existing ones (Brand Keys)

Being able to order ahead and being rewarded for our custom is a compelling proposition which we really really like. The apps that answer our convenience cries provide value, but they also provide a bridge between a brand’s physical presence and their digital one, which means that wherever we are, our favourite QSR brands can meet us right there. If you’re a QSR looking to drive repeat business and loyalty from your customers, it’s time to start steering the future of your brand in the winning direction: meaningful, momentous – and mobile.

What makes a QSR app a great  QSR app?

For a loyalty program to find an enviable level of success, there are a number of factors that need to be considered. Customers are generally happier with a rewards app when there are few requirements as possible at their side to accrue and activate their rewards and when the whole app experience is as quick as possible. These are non-negotiable standard elements of any app worth its salt. No one wants to be spending more time than they need to glean what they need from your app – gaming being the only exception. QSRs need to aim for a level of personalization that feels niche, not mass.

  • Personalization that feels genuinely personal, relevant and which feels unique to the customer.

Personalization is one of the most persuasive tools in a successful reward app – both for you and for your customers. For you, the enormous potential of reams of customer data around their preferences and behaviors means you have the golden ticket that allows you to tailor your brand experience to each of your customers – you’re happy, your customers are happy, and you’ll also have the intel to hand that allows you to innovate with new products and services that you know your audience is looking for.  

  • The ability for customers to accept or reject offers 

Again, it’s an intel thing. Providing your customers with a selection of rewards which they can either accept or reject, you learn what type of offers your customers prefer and those which they’ll actually use. Over time, you can fine-tune your offers, and your customers get more of what they like. That means there’s a higher chance of them using their rewards, powering brand loyalty and ensuring that stickiness the clever rewards programs are known for. 

  • Providing personal recommendations based on a customer’s purchase history

Not everything in life has to be free – sometimes a personalised recommendation goes a long way to building brand loyalty too. Got a new product that big data has told you will be a sure-fire hit with some customers? Pushing these recommendations via your rewards app will help drive sales – with money off the next purchase if your audience is willing to provide a review of said product (you’re welcome).

  • Being notified when new products or services are launched 

Akin to the personal recommendations above, the ability to notify customers when you launch new products or services can be a great way to engage your audience base via your loyalty app. These notifications need to be relevant – as a vegetarian, I probably don’t want to be notified when you’ve put that new Big Bison Burger on the menu.

  • The ability to view detailed information on products

This one seems a bit ‘meh’ – but bear with me. In a world where suddenly everyone’s taking a vested interest in what goes into the food that they eat, its provenance, production, environmental and sustainability credentials, you bet I want to know what’s in that dairy-free cream bun, and if I’m helping or hindering the planet by eating it. Not critical, but hey, we’re talking loyalty here and my loyalties are to cleaner, greener, transparent businesses that are vocal about their social responsibility. It may not be big now, but who wants to be a follower when you lead by example?

  • Redeem rewards on relevant products and services – that is, personalized!

Your loyalty app should allow customers to redeem their rewards via the app – on products and services that are relevant to that customer. There’s little point at all in amassing a shed load of rewards on coffee that as a tea-drinker  I’ll never purchase, or services that I’ll never use (like that discounted delivery service that feels rather pointless when I can walk to your outlet in less than 60 seconds).

  • The ability to order products and/or services via the app  

… and the functionality to receive updates about order status. QSRs by their very nature are fast when it comes to service. But today’s consumer wants everything yesterday and waiting in a queue for more than 60 seconds can cause symptoms ranging from mild irritation to murderous rage (I speak from experience). As such, it makes sense for your loyalty app to provide the twitchy customer with the ability to order in advance and collect when turning up. You win for being an easy brand experience, and your customer wins for avoiding an uncomfortable restaurant rage incident.

  • Make it easy to settle the check

Ordering to collect, then having to wait ten minutes to pay while your staff struggle with the lunchtime rush makes absolutely no sense at all. Not only will the customer lose all sense of that warm, fuzzy jump-the- queue joy they experienced by being able to click-and-collect, you’ll also risk losing their custom to the outlet that bothered to make the whole purchase experience a seamless, irritation-free ride.

  • Location-based offers 

Make sure that rewards are relevant. Giving your customers a choice of how to engage with you, whether it’s via mobile, social or another platform, increases the likelihood of engagement.

The results are in … as more QSR brands embrace loyalty, the customer experience improves. And as the technologies that power our digital lives continue to advance, allowing brands to connect with customers in truly value-add, meaningful ways, mobile will undoubtedly be a core driver of this new customer-centric approach to growth. Already, the big QSR brands are making bigger waves across their customer base with their rewards apps – growing revenues, driving loyalty and laying the foundations of a truly mobile future. Who’s blowing the competition out of the water, doing rewards right, and strengthening their position in an increasingly crowded space? Check back next week to find out!

What to do next

Kumulos award winning omni-channel messaging gives you the platform to engage your audience and create loyal customers. Send rich, interactive push notifications that are personal and relevant to the user. Target the right users, in the right location, at the right time and optimize retention. Book your demo today and see how Kumulos can deliver real business results for your app.

Read Part Three: ‘Who’s Smashing It’ here.

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