Make it Rain with These 3 May-Inspired Revenue Generators

May is here, and although we won’t miss those April showers one bit, business owners can keep it raining in the warmer weather with these May-inspired revenue generators:

  1. May Flowers: Many of us have used the promise of May’s sunshine and beautiful blooms as inspiration to push onward through the frigid, cloudy, rainy suck months known as “March” and “April.” Adding some lovely arrangements to your decor is not only a great way to cheer up your customers, but it can also help you drive some additional revenue! According to Linda Cahan, a retail design consultant out of Oregon, bright colors like yellow and red help grab and hold a customer’s attention. She says that yellow is actually the first color the retina detects, which is why it captivates our awareness so effectively. So, put those brightly colored blooms to work! Draw your customers’ attention to strategic places (like your dessert or cocktail menu, or marketing materials for special promotions) by surrounding it with the floral bounty of May!
  2. Menu updates: Spring cleaning isn’t just for your hall closet! May offers a variety of opportunities for sprucing up that menu with themed specialty items! Mother’s Day and Cinco de Mayo are quickly approaching, and are bursting with themed-menu potential. Why not add Angel Food cake (because mothers are angels!) or specialty mimosas (because they’re angels who need to drank!). For Cinco de Mayo (5th) try out some new Mexican style desserts like Fried Ice Cream or chocolate ice cream infused with Cayenne powder for some heat.
  3. Special campaigns and promotions: Most people know that Mother’s Day and Memorial Day (25th) happen in May. As with any high-traffic holiday, those are fantastic opportunities for leveraging the increase in transaction volume to incentivise growth in your loyalty program. But what about capitalizing on lesser-appreciated May holidays- like May Day (1st), National Star Wars Day (4th) or National Teacher’s Day (6th)? Putting together unexpected promotional campaigns and offers is a great way to surprise and delight your customers! Plus, advertising a Star Wars Day promotion on your Facebook or Twitter Page is bound to be shared and retweeted. Can you say organic social media marketing?!

LoyalTree Brewery Tour

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St Patrick’s day is upon us- the most beloved holiday of college students across the United States and around the world. In the spirit of this fun holiday, we’ve put together a brewery tour of our own, featuring our favorite LoyalTree breweries. If you’re lucky enough to live near one of these fine establishments, you can celebrate with the knowledge that your appreciation of Irish culture will result in rewards to come.

 

Rivertowne Brewery

Rivertowne Brewery, taken from their website

Rivertowne Brewing, located in Pittsburgh, PA. Rivertowne Brewing, “the place where friends meet,” is a family owned brewery with a tap room and six restaurant locations throughout the Greater Pittsburgh Area. Unique in every way from the locally crafted artwork on each can, to the partnership with the Pittsburgh Pirates to offer free fries for the 2nd home run of each home game, Rivertowne Brewing is a Pittsburgh staple and an excellent choice for St. Patrick’s Day celebrations.

 

Penn Brewery

Penn Brewery, taken from their website

Penn Brewery, located in Pittsburgh, PA. If you’d like to enjoy an “ethnic-Pittsburgh” meal while you celebrate, Penn Brewery’s restaurant is an excellent choice. Serving everything from pierogies to the “French Fry Salad,” you’ll be sure to find something tasty to accompany their award winning beers. Since their start in 1986, Penn Brewery has won 19 Great American Beer Festival and World Beer Cup medals.

 

blackacre brewing

Black Acre Brewing Co., taken from their website

Black Acre Brewing Co, located in Indianapolis, IN. What do you get when you put a group of law students together in a classroom? Black Acre Brewing Company. That’s what. Black Acre Brewing Company is the result of a group of law students with a passion for homebrewing banning together with the common mission of spreading delicious beer throughout Indianapolis. It is now located in the Historic Irvington neighborhood of Indianapolis with a focus on unique, specialty beers along with a few traditional favorites.

 

Growler U

Growler University, taken from their website

Growler University, located in Eugene, OR. Okay, this one isn’t a brewery, but it’s so unique we couldn’t help but include it! Growler U is a pub serving the finest craft beer, cider, wine and kombucha from local and regional microbreweries. Their menu is carefully selected to pair well with what’s on tap (up to 100 choices!), and their staff are “knowledgeable craft beer enthusiasts” who are there to help educate all their customers on the process of microbrewing and choosing the perfect beverage.

 

WoodenLegs Brewery

Wooden Legs Brewing Co., courtesy of visitbrookingssd.com

Wooden Legs Brewing, located in Brookings, SD. Wooden Legs Brewing is an excellent choice for your St. Patrick’s Day celebration due to their pizza oven and high quality beer, but also due to their excellent rewards program! The variety of rewards options for loyal customers was why Wooden Legs was selected as a LoyalTree Stand Out Program of the Year.

 

Roy Pitz Brewing

Roy Pitz Brewing, taken from their website

Roy Pitz Brewing Company, located in Chambersburg, PA. “Liquid Art.” That’s what you need to know about Roy Pitz Brewing Company- there is hand-crafted art on the bottle and in the bottle. Their mission is to “share a philosophy of a passionate fulfilling life, through the art of crafting quality beers, hard work and the employment of good people.”

Chicken Salad Chick Launches White-Label App via LoyalTree Rewards

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Chicken Salad Chick and LoyalTree Rewards are pleased to announce the official release of the FREE Craving Credits loyalty app! Planning and building of the app have been underway since the summer of 2014. The app allows users to earn points for every dollar they spend at any Chicken Salad Chick location, and use those points to purchase rewards from the Chicken Salad Chick in-app rewards store. Customers will receive 25 points for downloading the app- enough to buy the “Free Cookie” reward, or a good start to save for something else. Customers will also receive something special on their birthday. In addition to offering great rewards for frequenting Chicken Salad Chick, Craving Credits also offers added convenience. By early Spring, users will be able to browse the menu and place an in-app order for pickup at their preferred location.” The app was released to the App Store and Google Play Store in late February and is now available for download.

In addition to the custom loyalty app, LoyalTree has built a deep software integration for Chicken Salad Chick’s Revel point-of-sale system. This aids the process of reward redemption significantly, which is convenient for customers and for the staff whose operations are not affected. The integration also provides Chicken Salad Chick with the ability to track how many redemptions have been made for each reward, which in turn allows them to make informed decisions about discounts/reward offerings in the future. Deep integration with the point-of-sale allows Chicken Salad Chick to engage their customers more specifically and more personally.

About Chicken Salad Chick: Chicken Salad Chick is a truly unique fast-casual dining concept. Perhaps the most notable quality of this fast growing franchise, aside from the 15 original, mouth-watering chicken salad flavors, is that customers describe the experience as being akin to “eating at a friends house.” The personality of this brand and uniqueness of the menu is what makes Chicken Salad Chick stand out. Born out of founder Stacy Brown’s kitchen in Auburn, Alabama, Chicken Salad Chick has now grown to over 30 locations in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Tennessee.

About LoyalTree: LoyalTree, a fully-integrated mobile loyalty platform, is the flagship product of CARDEEO, inc., a tech company based out of the Strip District in the heart of Pittsburgh, PA. LoyalTree is unique in the loyalty space in that it is fully integrated with the point-of-sale system. In addition to providing a seamless redemption process, this deep POS integration also provides a business owner with the opportunity for a deeper understanding of his or her customer base. White-label solutions are also available for enterprise customers.

LoyalTree Stand Out Partner Awards

Stand Out Partner Award

As our company continues to grow, it’s important to us to acknowledge the successes of our partners: both reseller partners and business owners. In the spirit of the upcoming Academy Awards, we assembled a committee tasked with reviewing the performance of our partners, and selecting winners based on several key performance indicators (program size & rate of growth, rate of customer engagement with the program, number & variety of rewards store items against total redemptions, or a combination of those metrics against the length of time as a LoyalTree member or size of the business itself). While we have many businesses who are working hard and finding success with their LoyalTree programs, the winners we have selected have demonstrated stand-out growth and performance in 2014. So, without further ado, let us introduce our first ever round of LoyalTree Stand-Out Partner Award Winners:

 

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Yogurt Lab: Greater Minneapolis, MN area, 11 locations, Quick Serve Frozen Yogurt

Yogurt Lab: Largest Member Base

Yogurt Lab was founded on an elementary, yet powerful mission: to provide people everywhere with the perfect equation of flavor, quality ingredients, and fun. And these three elements have been in the Yogurt Lab DNA since day one, when the first Lab opened in Minneapolis in 2011 by a local, homegrown family. It’s called a lab because we’re scientists of deliciousness. Every flavor of frozen yogurt is made fresh daily, right in our Labs. Yogurt Lab serves only premium USDA certified organic yogurt made with hormone-free milk. Pair that with our amazing collection of fresh, wholesome, and natural ingredients, and you’re guaranteed to discover the perfect equation for your palate.”

 

Franks_Downtown

Frank’s Downtown: Opelousas, LA, 1 location, Table Service Bar/Grill

Frank’s Downtown: Highest Rate of Customer Engagement

1) How long have you been in business? “We have been in business for 8 years at this location.”

2) What makes your business unique? “Frank’s isn’t your typical corner bar. Frank’s is often referred to as a second home. There probably isn’t very many bars that you can walk in to and find a dance teacher, an oil field worker, a day time TV producer or even a state senator. These are our regulars…this is our family.”

3) What have you done to make your LoyalTree program successful? “We try our best to let every customer know about the program when we hand them the reciept. Being a bar room makes it difficult at times. We often use the line “It pays to drink at Franks!”

 

 

Wooden_Legs_Logo

Wooden Legs BrewingBest Overall Reward Store

1) How long have you been in business? “Opened May 13, 2013″

2) What makes your business unique? “Brewpub AND Craft Beer Bar; Cicerone Certified Beer servers”

3) What have you done to make your LoyalTree program successful? “Innovative campaigns including double point lunches, points for attending trivia night, extra points for bottle rollette and sending free Christmas beers out to customers”

 

Goodwill Logo

Goodwill of the Coastal Empire: Greater Savannah, GA area, 19 locations, Retail

Goodwill of the Costal EmpireNew Business of the Year

1) How long have you been in business?  “Goodwill of the Coastal Empire was founded in 1965, making 2015 the 50th Anniversary of Goodwill in the Coastal Empire region.”

2) What makes your business unique? “Our mission sets us apart from other businesses by providing assistance to people with disability and other barriers to employment live independently and become employed.”

3) What have you done to make your LoyalTree program successful? “We have asked our customers to join our Goodwill Preferred Customer Program through LoyalTree to keep up-to-date with us and receive discounts on their purchases.”

 

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Mad Hatters Ethnobotanical Tea Bar: St. Petersburg, FL, 1 location, Table Service/Kava Bar

Mad Hatters Ethnobotanical Tea Bar: Small Business of the Year Award

1) How long have you been in business?We have been in business 9 months.”

2) What makes your business unique? “Our business is unique in that we carry all natural plant materials that give a natural buzz. We decided against mimicking other kava bars’ island theme and decor and, instead, went with something truly unique and different. We’re all mad here!”

3) What have you done to make your program so successful? “Loyaltree is easy to make successful. All you have to do is make sure your employees tell the customers that there is a loyalty program and they can get free stuff for signing up and using it.”

 

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Penn Center Systems: Dave Hall (of PCS) and Dan Sanchez (Manager at Moe’s Bar and Grill), POSitouch Reseller covering Pennsylvania area territory.

Penn Center Systems: Reseller Partner of the Year

With 36 years in business and 20 years with POSitouch, Penn Center Systems has both the electronic solutions and an immeasurable resources to improve any hospitality operation. LoyalTree also brings both an incredible solution and as well as significant industry knowledge to the marketplace.  There are definitely three major things that make LoyalTree so unique and so successful. 1) The solution is 100% customer activated.  This defines a business’s actual loyal base. 2) LoyalTree’s seamless integration with POSitouch.  The operation has to do very little extra to reward their valuable customers. 3) LoyalTree direct messaging is incredibly powerful for businesses to perform on-the-fly campaigns to immediately boost revenues / profits while also communicating general news to their loyal fans.

 

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ACME Cash Register: MICROS reseller, covers the Southern Tier of New York territory

ACME Cash Register: New Reseller Partner of the Year

1) How long have you been in business? “We have been in business for 40 years”

2) What makes your business unique? “Still a family business (going on 3rd generation) and one of the oldest Micros dealers in the country-32 years”

3) What is your favorite LoyalTree feature? “What impresses us the most is having a dedicated service rep to help implement the total loyalty concept-no intervention or time from our staff.”

 

We’re grateful to all of our business owners and reseller partners for having made 2014 such a successful year, and we’re looking forward to another year of growth with you.

Two Key Take-Aways from Super Bowl XLIX

Super Bowl Image

Image from: www.residentassistant.com

As we approach Super Bowl Sunday, there is naturally a lot of talk about nacho dip, Katy Perry and the comical marketing endeavors of companies with several million dollars to spend on a 30 second time spot. Since there are football breaks between Super Bowl commercials and refilling the guacamole dish, there’s also a smattering of people talking about the Seattle Seahawks and New England Patriots.
Amidst the cacophony of Super Bowl chaos, there is one vantage point on which the internet has yet to elaborate. Both of these teams have massively loyal fanbases. So, what can each team teach us about customer loyalty

Seattle Seahawks

The Seahawks demonstrate the success that is born out of atmosphere and gratitude. Anyone who has ever been to a Seahawks game will attest to the overwhelming presence of the “Twelfth Man,” or the additional “teammate” embodied by the fans as a whole. The Seahawks have attributed many home game wins to the earth-shaking (literally) power of their fanbase. The “Twelfth Man” has become such a Seattle staple that the Seahawks retired the number 12 in 1984 in honor of their fans. When the Seahawks make it to the playoffs, a “12” flag can be seen on the Space Needle, attributing the team’s play off status to the fans. This gratitude generates even more fan fervor, which ultimately benefits the team by driving them to victory (… and helping them sell a ton of 12th Man swag).

Applied to the hospitality industry: There are many contributing factors to creating the kind of atmosphere that in turn creates loyalty. Engaging your customers through creative promotions, raffles, giveaways and the like is an excellent place to start! Spice things up with a themed party, social media keywords for prizes or an in-store scavenger hunt for bonus points. Also, be grateful to your customers when you achieve success milestones. You wouldn’t be in business without your customers, and your gratefulness will inspire loyalty.

New England Patriots

The Patriots demonstrate the role that consistent performance plays in growing and retaining a fanbase. They have had winning seasons for the last 14 years and their current record is 170-54 for a .759 winning percentage. They made the playoffs 12 of the last 14 years. They have been to 6 of the past 14 Super Bowls (including this year) and have won 3 times. If you live in New England, this consistent solid performance leaves you no reason not to cheer for the Patriots (well: that and the fact that there are no other NFL teams in the whole of New England).

Applied to the hospitality industry: Control as many factors as possible to be sure you are providing a consistently positive experience for your patrons. The value of having a loyalty program that’s always there for your customers (instead of just running promotions or special offers occasionally) is, in part at least, the fact that it helps provide a consistent positive experience for your customers. It’s great to surprise your customers with something special on occasion, but nothing beats consistent, thoughtful, intentional customer service.
So there’s the last Super Bowl article you need to read. Go eat some things wrapped in bacon and sing your heart out at the Half Time Show…  you know we will!

bacon wrapped

The Golden Rule of Loyalty

By Ethan Tuxill

In an age where the business environment continues to evolve, accelerate and everyone seems busier than a one-toothed man in a corn-on-the-cob eating contest, I want to hit the pause button and reflect on what has remained a vitally important element of the B2C relationship: understanding and being understood.

Whether you’re an international Fortune 500 company or a single location coffee shop, your brand’s success is directly tied to how well your business and product offering resonates with the public. This may be obvious, but there are countless businesses that don’t take this into consideration when building their brand.

Think about it for yourself; anytime you elevate a specific brand or business over another in your mind, it’s usually due to the fact that what they offer you as a customer aligns with what you hope for out of them as a business and what you care about. This is especially true for loyalty programs.

There are an astounding number of loyalty programs floating around the business stratosphere, and most of them are just added noise in the already cluttered marketplace. Customers can see through a crummy program that offers little benefit for frequenting a business and often, having such a program can be damaging to your brand. Adding more complexity and “features” that customers don’t find compelling is not only a waste of resources, but a mark of an out-of-touch business.

Offering rewards that give a real benefit to the customer and that are perceived to be meaningful, not only generates goodwill and loyalty, but shows you are attuned to what your customers value. Generosity and graciousness show that you care about your customers enough not to presume that you deserve their business.

A glowing example of gracious generosity and an in-touch business comes from one of our most successful businesses; Wooden Legs Brewing Co. On Christmas morning, they sent out a free Christmas beer to their most loyal customers, a no-strings attached gift. This kind of approach to customer generosity and long-term relationship building is part of what has made their program wildly successful.

Customers aren’t ignorant; they understand that business owners can’t give away the whole farm just to get them in the door (good loyalty programs are careful with and focused on margins, profits and sustainable pricing). Customers also know that getting 10% off after spending $200 is like paying with a $20 and telling the waitress to keep the change on a bill for $19.82. However, there is a sweet spot in between skimping and getting pillaged, and customers gravitate towards companies that understand that and whose loyalty programs reflect that.

The most valuable business to customer interactions are more than just an exchange- they are about building a relationship. When this happens, repeat revenue is sure to follow.

Holiday Highlight: LoyalTree Users Donate Their Points to Give Free Coffee to Others at Coffee Tree Roasters

Between the beautiful weather, low gas prices and absence of theater tragedy associated with the Christmas Day release of The Interview, most Americans have had a lot to be thankful for this holiday season. On Christmas Eve, nearly 100 Pittsburgh-area coffee drinkers received an added bonus of holiday cheer at their neighborhood Coffee Tree Roasters when two anonymous local residents donated their LoyalTree points to give free coffee to other customers.

The anonymous donors are regulars at Coffee Tree Roasters and had accumulated over 2500 points between the two of them. Instead of using those points to get free hot drinks or free bags of coffee beans for themselves, they devised a plan to give free coffee to their fellow neighborhood Coffee Tree Roasters patrons.

They reached out to LoyalTree in November to make arrangements for the giveaway, and with help from Coffee Tree Roasters, their random act of kindness delighted customers eager to get their cup of holiday coffee. Nearly one hundred customers visiting the Fox Chapel location of Coffee Tree Roasters on Christmas Eve ordered their drinks and were informed at check out that it was already paid for.

LoyalTree is proud of the generosity and creativity of our users, and the kindness and flexibility of our business owners. We’re looking forward to 2015 and having more opportunities to connect with the communities of our business owners and users. Happy holidays!

LoyalTree PSA: Train Your Staff!

We say “Party,” you say “Staff Training!” Party! … you missed your queue.

We know staff training isn’t usually a party for you or your employees. However, training staff on your loyalty program is a requirement for a well-running and successful program. The difference between a program that thrives and a program that dives is usually staff buy-in.

Staff members are your brand, your personality, and your marketing mouthpiece. Above all else, they need to be comfortable recommending a new program. Remember to have a staff meeting prior to the launch of your program to make sure everyone is on the same page!

How well the staff understand your loyalty program, and how excited they are about it, is the difference between having a program that is used by your most loyal customers only and a program that has customers at all stages of loyalty. Having your uber loyalists on board is great, but wouldn’t it be even better if you could reach those on the cusp, and turn them into top customers as well?

Here’s what we recommend to LoyalTree business owners for training their staff on our program: 

  1. Nuts and Bolts: How the LoyalTree app works (e.g. earning points, purchasing a reward, redeeming a reward).
  2. Program Rules: Some rules are LoyalTree standard, and others are customizable. Either way, it’s important that staff are clear on how long customers have to collect points after a purchase, what to do if a reward expires before it gets used, etc.
  3. Marketing: Sell the program to your staff like you would sell it to a customer. This helps them know what to say about it! What does the customer get for signing up? What rewards can they purchase? How many points do they get per dollar spent?
  4. Support: Ensure that staff members know that if the customer has issues with their app they can email support@loyaltree.com for help!

You may also want to consider a monthly or quarterly participation challenge to give your program a membership boost. Some of our business owners offer gift cards every month to the Top 5 servers based on their customers’ rate of engagement. Others have contests to see who can get the most customers signed up for the program. We even have a business owner who tasked his staff with dreaming up the best promotion strategy for getting the word out about the program, whosever idea they used received an Amazon gift card.

However you choose to engage your staff, the most important thing is that they take ownership of the program. If they understand how it works, and why it’s helping the business, they are far more likely carry out their mission critical role in ensuring its success.

Have any other ideas for making things fun for your staff members? Write to us at marketing@loyaltree.com and let us share your story!

Ghosts, Goblins and the Fear of Over Rewarding

Halloween_Blogpost

This time of year is a celebration of all things scary; from primal fears like darkness and creepy crawlers, to more theatrical fears like haunted houses or a zombie apocalypse. In the spirit of Halloween, we’re here to discuss the fear of giving away too much and “losing the farm.” In other words, the fear of over rewarding.

There are several reasons why business owners may be afraid of a rewards program. What if the bottom line is negatively affected or the program attracts customers who have no intention of making a repeat visit?

These fears are rooted in the business owner’s desire to see their businesses thrive, reward the right customers and keep operations running smoothly. While certain phobias require years of therapy, we recommend the following steps to overcome the fear of rewarding:

1) Think Big Picture: Assess how much you are actually spending on the rewards you are giving away. If you are squeamish about giving away rewards to begin with, it’s easy to mentally overestimate the costs. Don’t forget to calculate the money your reward-redeemers are spending past the cost of the reward/discount you offered! While rewards programs vary, we have found that our merchants’ loyalty program users spend 20-30% more per check.

2) Assess who you are spending that money on: Are your promotions primarily focused on attracting new customers (shift), or incentivizing 3rd and 4th visits from existing customers (lift)?

If you don’t have a focus- get one! It costs a lot more to acquire new customers than to farm business out of existing ones; plus 80% of most businesses’ revenue comes from 20% of their loyal customers. Focusing on new customer acquisition is riskier and more expensive. Don’t underestimate the value of rewarding loyal customers! Do this well, and they may generate shift for you.

3) Determine your budget: Know what you are willing to spend on customer rewards and stay within those boundaries. Remember that offering unattractive rewards/promotions because they are inexpensive is not helping you in the long run. It’s better to offer a limited number of great rewards (generating exclusivity) than to offer a plethora of rewards nobody cares about. Your rewards represent your brand: choose to be exciting and generous or exclusive rather than cheap and unimaginative.

Offering rewards your loyal customers care about goes a long way in developing an emotional connection to your brand. It’s the difference between making your customers feel appreciated, or making them feel lazily “sold.” Many businesses offer rewards programs, but only a small portion of these programs truly make customers feel valued by the brand. A quality rewards program can build a robust, loyal customer base and drive enough repeat revenue to more than pay for itself.

Fear is based on a lack of understanding. In this case, not understanding could be causing you to miss out on engaging with your customers and the long term payout of having made that investment.

 

Sabres Launch Fan Loyalty Program

sabres-press-release

Published: 

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) – The blue and gold want to reward fans who stick it out through the good and the bad.

The Buffalo Sabres are launching Sabres Fan Advantage, a mobile application-based loyalty program that will allow fans to earn points toward tickets and team merchandise and take part in “exclusive fan experiences,” such as player meet-and-greets.

Participating fans can earn points by scanning codes on tickets or receipts from merchandise and concessions purchased in First Niagara Center. Fans at home can take part by entering keywords announced during Sabres games on MSG.

The program is available as a free download for anyone with a smart phone with IOS or Android operating system.

The 2014-15 Sabres Fan Advantage season runs from Thursday through June 30.

More information, including a video tutorial, can be found at Sabres.com.

The Sabres (1-3) return to First Niagara Center to take on the Florida Panthers (0-2) Friday night at 7 p.m.