Implementing a food industry loyalty program can be difficult, but once you get it right, the rewards can be huge.

One problem people have with crafting their loyalty program is not knowing what the best practices are for their own industry.

The food industry is one where a loyalty program work nicely.

Following on with our ‘how-to & why’ series, we’re taking a look at a different industry. Today we’re looking at the food industry.

In the food industry, there are two key components you need to think about to really be successful: value and data.

Value of your food industry loyalty program

We all know how hard it is to get people to sign up for the loyalty program. Often, they’re scared you’re going to inundate them with emails and nothing much else.

If you want your food industry loyalty program to be a success, you need to work out what value you can bring to your customers and then you need to work out how you’re going to show that to them.

In short, you need to really impress the customer.

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Data

A loyalty scheme is not just there to help you increase your customer retention rate, but it’s there to help you learn about your customer. You can use the learnings to help drive your decisions about the value it brings.

Can you answer the following questions about your food or restaurant business:

  1. Why are they choosing to buy from you?
  2. What makes your product special, and different to your competitors?
  3. How often do your customers make a purchase?

Now let’s dive a little deeper into those three questions.

Why are they choosing to buy from you?

If you can understand why your customers are choosing to buy from you, then you can understand how better to market your loyalty program.

Suppose your items are mainly purchased as gifts, then what would appeal to your customers in a loyalty program? Free gift wrapping.

Suppose your customers buy from you because you have a wide selection of red wines. What would appeal to your customers in a loyalty program? 50% off a brand new wine added to the store.

Knowing why your customers are choosing to buy from you, will help you understand how to build your loyalty program.

What makes your product special, and different to your competitors?

People don’t buy products, they buy stories and if you have one you should be running it through everything you do.

Unless you’re able to compete with the big marketplaces who are able to offer the lowest prices and still reach a profit, you need to differentiate yourself from your competitors and show this through your loyalty program.

How often do your customers make a purchase?

What’s the purchase frequency for your products? Understanding smaller details like these will help you build a successful loyalty program.

Suppose your customers, on average, buy a product from you once a month, there is no point offering them a discount code that ends before the next month because they would have no plan to buy from you then. it might scare people into buying early, but also it might annoy customers.

Case study

Starbucks dominates the food industry rewards program.

food industry loyalty programWhat we like about the Starbucks loyalty program:

  1. They have a tiered system: Gold and Green level. At Green level, customers are entitled to a free drink every 15 visits.  At Gold level, customers are entitled to free extra shots of coffee, free syrups, and free coconut milk, plus all the perks of the Green level.
  2. They make use of both seasonal offers and exclusivity, by giving customers early access to their Christmas drinks.food industry loyalty program

Takeaways:

  1. In the restaurant industry, you need to focus on data and value.
  2. The same basic principles apply, but you need to work out how to implement them into your own loyalty strategy