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Many happy returns: 4 brand leaders discuss customer retention strategy

 In Blog

Consider these tidbits of customer retention data:

  • For the first-time customer visit, there is a 50-50 chance of a return visit.
  • For the second-time visit, the chance of a return visit is 70 percent.
  • When a customer has visited four times, their is an 85 percent chance they will return within six months.

Long story short? Making it to that fourth visit is critical. And perhaps just as important is the necessity that your pizza brand develop a marketing strategy around that goal, as well as making sure your locations are geared up to ensure that first customer visit is nothing short of compelling.

Those goals were the focus of an hour-long panel discussion at last month’s Fast Casual Executive Summit in Seattle, titled, “Why 4 is the magic number when it comes to inspiring customer loyalty.

In the session, panelist and Corner Bakery Cafe/Il Fornaio CEO Frank Paci said his brand is moving toward that end by making sure a store manager talks with all first-time customer, while store associates work hard as well to build a connection with them.

“We’re trying to elevate the first experience to drive the second, third, fourth,” Paci said. “That is very important — engagement drives repeat visits.”

The session was moderated by Patronix Marketing Director Michelle Tempesta. Paci was joined on the panel by La Boulangerie CEO Nicolas Bernadi, Garbanzo Mediterranean Fresh CEO James Park and Peet’s Coffee Director of Loyalty Lisa Regelman.

The quest to drive loyalty

Peet’s Coffee launched its loyalty app one year ago, then relaunched it this past July, with a “new look and feel.” The brand is now working to include an order-ahead capability. Both initiatives, said Regelman reflect the brand’s strategy to drive customer loyalty. She said those efforts appear to be working, given 35 percent penetration.

Garbanzo Mediterranean Fresh CEO Park said his brand is focused on people, innovation and execution when it comes to spurring repeat visits and loyalty.

“If you do those three things, even if you’re selling *&** in the store you’ll do really, really well,” he told the audience. “It’s critically important to engage with our customers.”

Park said his brand’s strategy relies heavily on data insights and using data “to get a customer for life.”

“We’re constantly trying something new,” he added.

Corner Bakery has a similar philosophy. Paci said the brand has transformed its loyalty program into a ‘club’ that rewards repeat visits and purchases. The club now has 1 million members, he noted. A big key to the success, he added, is understanding who the consumer is.

Knowing the customer, and what they want and like, is also key for Garbanzo Mediterranean Fresh, which has incorporated a marketing strategy that pushes customers to another menu item.

The panelists noted, in particular, that a repeat visit strategy can’t be just a single campaign. Instead, they emphasized that it must include a full range of marketing moves. After all, the restaurateurs stressed that the cost of customer acquisition is still one of the largest single chunks of change most brands must dole out. That also means that any strategy under this heading must be multi-departmental, rather than directed by one arm of the brand.

As Park put it, “You need all the business organizational teams to work together.”

Republished with permission from QSRweb.

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