Comparing ROI of POS Loyalty programs to Wisely
We often speak with restaurant owners who run loyalty program offered by their POS. In many cases, they've been running their program for years, but are hungry for something better — something that helps with hospitality, not just discounting. There are benefits and costs to switching, but should restaurants bite the bullet and do it?
The short version: Yes, switching to a Wisely is worthwhile for two reasons. First, Wisely is positioned to offer a stronger ROI because it's easier for guests to signup and because it enables a better guest experience. As Danny Meyer says, recognition is "the number one reason guests cite for wanting to return." Second, switching can be done with less than a week's worth of work.
The ROI Equation: Sign-ups, Visits, Profit
Loyalty program ROI can be easily quantified: (Number of Guest Signups * Incremental Visits per Guest * Incremental Profit per Visit) / Program Cost. Let's step through each piece of this equation.
One-tap online account creation and guest-to-guest referrals make Wisely unique in its ability to signup guests. No plastic card based program offers either of those, and together they account for ~55% of total signups on Wisely.
Wisely guests can create an account with one click of a button. Notice how Mani and Isalita put the Call To Action in the header of their websites. For every 100 guests who signup in the venue, effective online signup tactics will bring another 100. We can also target. Aloha does provide tools that enable web signups, but instead of requring api calls from your site, Wisely can place a link on your website. From there, guests can signup with via Facebook with one tap or filling out their email & password. Overall, the ease of getting signed up and checking
Whenever a guest signs up for Wisely, they’ll have the option to refer their friends. For every 100 guests that sign up for your program, Wisely’s referral program will bring, on average, another 20.
Wisely will sign up the most guests because we’ve built a guest acquisition system that spans online, guest referrals, and in-venue.
Incremental Visits per Guest
This will sound obvious, but motivating guests to make an incremental visit means that either they’re going to go out to eat one more time, or, more likely, they’re going to come to your restaurant over someone else’s. How can loyalty affect that?
This is where an app is superior to a physical card. Before a guest decides where to dine, they can easily see how many visits they need to make the next status tier, and what benefits they’d earn. You want your guests saying, “We’re only 2 visits away from making Silver at ABC Restaurant.” POS programs often have a website where guests can look up their balances, but they rarely offer a mobile app or mobile optimized site.
The second area an app is superior to a card is in the actual guest experience. Handing a card to the server to redeem your points is a clumsy, awkward process. If the guest is on a date, business meal, or on a special occasion, the chances a physical card gets used are low. Therefore, the chance your program motivates the guest to visit for that occasion is also low, because they’re not likely to accrue any benefit from it. Instead, Wisely’s experience is 100% seamless; guests earn visit credit just by being signed up and having their phone in their pocket. Wisely knows when the guest arrives, and our algorithm determines whether or not to give the person a visit. We also safeguard against people gaming the system: guests have to be in the venue for a certain amount of time, and a max of one visit can be earned per meal period.
However, the single greatest differentiator for Wisely: it enables staff to engender true loyalty, by personalizing the guest experience. Your regulars don’t want discounts; they want to be known and feel important. When one of your guests enters your restaurant, your staff will be immediately notified. Servers can see the current guestlist from an iPad next to the POS, the host stand can instantly see if arriving guests are regulars or not, and your management can get a push notification to their smartphone when a VIP arrives. That’s a level of experience that cards simply cannot touch — and one historically only achieved by fine dining. If you want to drive more visits, enhance your guest experience — and mobile apps offer the most ways to do that.
Incremental Profit Per Visit
Often when operators hear “loyalty” they think “discounting” and are immediately turned off. That stigma exists for a reason: Many are actually volume discounting programs. It doesn’t make sense to dump margin down the drain for your best customers. Instead, provide them with a first-class experience. It’s free, and they’ll appreciate it more.
Benefits offered on Wisely go far beyond discounting and into privileges and experiences that money can’t buy — priority seating, preferred reservations, invites to events, special gifts for regulars. In addition, armed with more information on guests, including notes on the preferences and feedback, staff can more effectively upsell guests.
Wisely has cost structure siimlar to other programs. A $250 setup fee, and a monthly subscription fee — $100 / location / mo for Wisely and $50 / location / mo for Aloha*. POS programs often charge $1 per card used in the program. This expense can often come in big chunks, for example when you need to reorder 2,000 cards at a time. Wisely has no per signup fee. Wisely does have a membership fee of $25 for every 250 guests added to the program.
To bring transparency to loyalty program value — and to allow you to evaluate scenarios based on what you think is realistic, we've built a Loyalty Program ROI Calculator around our famous equation: (Number of Guest Signups * Incremental Visits per Guest * Incremental Profit per Visit) / Program Cost.
Now, how does one switch from Aloha or Micros to Wisely?
When switching, you can either cut over to Wisely in one fell swoop or make a transition over a period of months. We don’t have an opinion on which method is best, because it depends on how many people are in your existing program, whether they’re actually using it, and so on. With either switching method, Wisely shoulders the burden for partners.
Once you’ve made the decision to switch, there’s a two-step process:
1.) Prepare to launch Wisely, following our usual process
2.) Wisely executes our standard “switch over plan”:
1.) Sending a personalized email to each guest
2.) Targeting Facebook and Twitter ads at your existing guests
3.) Creating physical invitations to be used in the venue
4.)Creating upgrade codes that enable your existing members to automatically granted Silver, Gold, or Platinum status
In our view, POS loyalty programs are effective at increasing visit frequency and spend. They also integrate directly with their respective points of sale, making it easy to track spend amounts and items. With all that being said, Wisely is different for one fundamental reason: it enables a better, more seamless guest experience. We believe guest experience is everything.
This video contains more information on Aloha Loyalty, and is our source for pricing, user adoption, and ROI information. To skip to the section on results, start the video at 14:00.
Wisely empowers restaurant groups to grow and sustain profitability by acquiring valuable new guests, converting them into regulars, and keeping them happy for life. Our software is easy-to-use and enhances productivity, so staff can focus on what really matters. For more information or media inquiries, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.