When it comes to QSR marketing strategies, the best potential return on investment can be achieved by reaching consumers at the right moment. The QSR franchise industry has a global value of $560 billion, which tells us it’s an extremely crowded marketplace. Standing out in this crowd and convincing consumers to choose your restaurant over a myriad of options becomes essential, especially since consumers’ QSR decisions are made quickly—and often impulsively.
Turning to mobile and on-site experiences that encourage consumers to visit your location and buy more while there is essential. Proximity-based advertising that ties your physical location to the digital space can help you reach consumers at the crucial moment when they’re deciding to stop for a quick bite. Mobile rewards programs, branded location-based content, and targeted messaging can help you reach customers in those valuable purchase moments.
Enhancing the Location Experience With Technology that Entertains
A solid QSR customer experience can make all the difference between whether a customer chooses to return to your location or go elsewhere in the future. Marketing at a location can create brand affinity that will resonate with consumers and give them a positive impression of your brand. This is especially true if you use that marketing to entertain.
One example of a successful strategy is McDonald’s location-based channel, McDonald’s TV. The in-store television network was rolled out at 645 California locations in 2011 to test its potential, and while McDonald’s is still gathering the results before launching the program nationwide, the case study offers some excellent examples of proximity marketing. The channel features local content, like news, weather, and sports, and features profiles of local residents to increase human interest. This strategy may prove to have a strong ROI as it leverages:
- Branded content made for a captive audience: Consumers who have chosen to eat at a McDonald’s location are, essentially, a captive audience. The company wisely uses the opportunity to expand their message with branded content.
- Personalizing the experience by location: Each unique location uses content focused on local residents and current events. This connects the brand to the community and makes for a far more personalized experience.
- Entertainment not advertisement: While the content is branded, it’s not an overt advertisement. Instead, it’s content that people will want to watch, and that impacts their daily lives. This strategy holds diners’ attention while allowing for strategic advertising moments and opportunities for upsells.
The McDonald’s TV program is successful as it encourages individuals to spend more time at the locations, creating opportunities for them to buy extra items after their meals, like coffee or dessert. Additionally, those consumers are being constantly, but not irritatingly, exposed to McDonald’s advertising through that content, thereby creating greater brand affinity and increased basket size.
Mobile Rewards Programs to Create Loyalty
QSR rewards programs focused on ROI must encourage repeat visits to a restaurant’s location. Consider the case of Starbucks, which has the most popular QSR rewards program in the US. Currently, Starbucks reports receiving more than 30% of their revenue through purchases related to their app, showing a particularly powerful ROI. Starbucks encourages use of the app by offering:
- Automatic rewards tracking: Consumers don’t have to take a lot of steps to add points to their account or to use them. They simply make a purchase with a linked credit card and the rewards accrue.
- A leveled system: Starbucks has several levels of rewards, with the highest being the exclusive Gold level. The more a consumer spends at Starbucks, the higher the level they attain.
- Advance purchase and payment—a solution for a common problem: One of the app’s greatest benefits is the built-in ability to order and pay before arriving at the location. This eliminated an issue Starbucks used to have with long lines by streamlining the purchase process.
An app that provides mobile rewards allows you to incentivize buying without having to offer discounts. It helped Starbucks increase revenue, solved consumer complaints about long lines, and built brand affinity. Finally, the app also provides Starbucks with data and information on their customers that helps them to better target their offers at exactly the right time and to the right audience.
Proximity Marketing for Consumers On-the-Go
Proximity marketing offers a strong ROI as it allows you to reach out to consumers in the moment that they’re most likely to make a purchase. QSR consumer decisions are often made impulsively, so a program that offers the ability to determine signals of purchase intent is going to offer a higher ROI than traditional, non-mobile avenues.
Shopping apps can help here, as they are designed to travel with consumers and help guide them as they make purchase decisions. These apps offer the opportunity to reward customers for visiting your restaurant, without having to discount prices or offer deals which will negatively impact your ROI. Often, they use location-based technology to provide proximity-based messages to consumers for QSR locations they’ve visited before, making them ideal as a mobile marketing platform.
These apps offer the opportunity to reward customers for visiting your restaurant, without having to discount prices or offer deals which will negatively impact your ROI.
Shopping apps can also be a good way to leverage the other two ROI marketing strategies for QSRs. With them, you can entertain consumers while they’re at one of your locations, through branded content like stories about your brand or information about new offerings. You can also offer automatic rewards that track and incentivize buying while reaching out to a wider audience through the platform. Shopping apps offer high ROIs because they take the best marketing strategies and put them together in one easy-to-use app.
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