Three Ways to Get More Out of Your Fall Promotions

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Fall is a great time for promotions. Leaves are changing, school is back in session and customers are on the hunt for fun things to do before the brutal chill of winter sets in. Autumn months are filled with obscure holidays and extra activities to satisfy the summer void. As a business owner, you may be planning ways to harvest that added momentum. Here are three tips for making this fall a profitable and memorable season for your business.

  1. Pay Attention to Current Events. Within one week in September the newest season of The Voice premiered (22nd), we said goodbye to summer on the first official day of fall (23rd), and International Coffee Day stormed Twitter and social media (29th). If you didn’t promote something special for at least one of those things, you probably missed out on some extra business. Between professional sports, miscellaneous holidays, and the goings-on of Hollywood, there’s no reason to have a boring month. Find something fun, find a way to celebrate it, and promote the heck out of it.
  2. Show Favoritism. Have a weekly open mic night or an end of summer party in the works? Promoting special events to the general public is a great way to get new feet through the door. However, offering exclusive deals/benefits to people who are “in the know” is how you’ll ultimately generate repeat business. Heighten the effect of your existing special events by incorporating special value adds for your loyal customers.
  3. Be Able to Evaluate Success. There’s no benefit to having a test if there isn’t a system in place for scoring. It’s a great idea to “test” different kinds of deals and promotions, but you should decide ahead of time what the goal is and how you’ll determine whether or not you’ve reached it. Whether you’re aiming to move a certain product, increase revenue on a slow night, gain social media followers, or make your presence known to a wider audience, be sure your whole team knows the goal for your event and has the tools they need to help you be successful.

Pay attention, show favoritism and evaluate success. May your harvest be bountiful!

Mobile Platform for Pittsburgh Penguin’s PensPoints Loyalty Program Triggers Big Success

Originally published on August 6th, 2014 by Jim Tierney of Loyalty360. See original post here.

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When the Pittsburgh Penguins launched its fan loyalty program–PensPoints–in February 2013, it marked the first mobile app-based rewards program to surface in professional sports. With a big assist from technology developer LoyalTree–which helped facilitate the integration in CONSOL Energy Center (home of the Penguins) with LoyalTree lead developers Ray Chan and Shriya Joag−PensPoints was poised for success.

David Peart, Senior VP of Sales and Service for the Penguins, told Loyalty360 that there were some anxious moments before the program launch 18 months ago, but those subsided after rapid engagement and program member adoption.

Peart said the PensPoints program currently has about 90,000 members. “It’s grown steadily since we introduced it,” Peart said. “Members have maintained the same sort of activity as far as engagement levels since we launched the program. We are absolutely surprised at the adoption rate, the number of members, and this sort of fan engagement.”

Working with LoyalTree has been a phenomenal experience, Peart said. “We’re also surprised from a technology standpoint because of the amazing flexibility of this mobile platform, how much it’s been adopted internally within our organization, and how proactive LoyalTree has been,” he said.” Peart said the Penguins’ staff, coupled with LoyalTree, has combined to become such a forward-thinking, progressive new media and marketing group that is always abreast of the latest technological advances.

Last month, Peart was honored by The Sports and Entertainment Alliance in Technology with the InStadium Experience in Innovation award for sponsorship sales connected to the PensPoints loyalty program. The awards cited team executives in the U.S. and Canada who find new ways to leverage technology, new media, and data to drive long-term team value for their sports franchise. “Anytime you’re a pilot program or trying something for the first time, especially from the technological standpoint, there will always be a little bit of hesitancy,” Peart explained. “A lot of this was trial and error for us. As an organization, it (the award) validates all the hard work of the media group and the marketing group related to a willingness to adopt new technology.”

Since PensPoints was the first mobile app-based loyalty program in professional sports, some important lessons have been learned by the Penguins and other professional sports franchises looking to follow suit. “What it says to other teams is there are ways to use technology in this space,” Peart explained. “As an organization, we try to embrace and look for opportunities to use technology and be innovative with technology to solve problems from a business perspective.”

LoyalTree doesn’t require businesses to buy any additional hardware to run the program, and builds custom-fit solutions that allow for a seamless adoption of the program for staff members. PensPoints, which is run through users’ smartphones and uses QR codes, rewards people for things such as attending games, listening to games on the radio, and purchasing concession food and merchandise. If the code is scanned by a generic QR code reader, then it will automatically link the user to buttons to download the PensPoints application for Android or iPhone.

Once the codes are scanned using the PensPoints scanner, then the application interface informs the consumer exactly what they are doing through messaging and interface animations. Fans scan special codes in the app to collect PensPoints–and the program is free to join. Every time a fan earns 100 PensPoints, a new reward voucher is automatically mailed to his or her home. Vouchers can be redeemed throughout Pittsburgh. Special codes are given when PensPoints are earned. Codes will appear in places such as IceTime magazine, on sales receipts, or can be heard over the radio.

Peart said the use of the mobile platform, in and of itself, was the most innovative aspect of the PensPoints loyalty program. “It afforded us the ability to see that this was scalable for multiple applications, not just for admission, but also concessions, and we do retail traffic driving promotions, and watch parties where members can collect points,” he explained. “The mobile platform really makes this very present and always available.” In the past 18 months, Peart said, his staff has learned a considerable amount about the rewards side of the program. “We’ve been able to streamline that and deliver more compelling rewards,” he said. “The gamification aspect of this loyalty program has put it off the charts as far as activity level.”

Loyalty Strategies for Businesses with Non-Local Customers

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Our goal is to help business owners reach their loyal customers with an engaging rewards program. However, not every business has a built-in base of loyal followers. Due mostly to location, some businesses cater more to the traveler than the neighborhood customer. These businesses often typified by airports, hotels, or vacation areas represent what we call “Non-Local Customer Base Locations” or NCBL’s.

Although non-local customers present a clear challenge for developing loyalty and recurring revenue, there are many possibilities for engaging non-local customers in a unique and memorable way which can have a significant impact on their value to your business. It’s also possible to gain valuable knowledge about new products or marketing initiatives from non-locals, as outsiders are less likely to give skewed feedback due to loyalty bias.

In an effort to better understand what can make an NCBLs successful, we reached out to the Retail Operations Manager of Green Beans Coffee: Preston Stohs. Green Beans Coffee has locations across the United States and the Middle East, primarily on military bases and most recently, in airport terminals. This provides a mix of locations with very loyal customers (as in the case of their military base locations) and very transient customers (at the airport locations).

For his airport locations, Preston employs a tactic of targeted outreach to those who do have the ability to frequent the business – such as airport employees. He offers standing discounts to airport employees, and hand delivers Green Beans Coffee marketing materials to kiosks and businesses throughout the airport. By turning locals into “crazy loyal local customers” they become brand champions and drive additional business from travelers or other locals without being prompted.

After talking with Preston, we realized that he invests a lot of intentional effort into his loyalty strategy. He pays close attention to sales data and customer demographics at each location. He knows his audience, and plans carefully how to reach them. His strategy is an excellent one for getting the most out of an NCBL, and is the reason why Green Beans Coffee is such a successful LoyalTree business.

We’ve used Preston’s insights, and some of our own through working with a variety of NCBLs, to compile a table of possible strategies for capitalizing on the non-local consumer market. We’ve outlined four possible business objectives, and have provided a breakdown of the loyalty strategy for realizing each one.

The loyalty strategy includes a plan for marketing (how to promote your objective/communicate to the public), rewarding (what kinds of rewards are most likely to help you achieve your goal), and giving points (how to use loyalty points/the points economy within LoyalTree to help you achieve your goal). The table also outlines the ideal business conditions for pursuing each objective.

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Loyalty Success is Proven With Seamless Lavu iPad POS and LoyalTree Integration

Originally posted on April 24, 2014 via PRWeb in Albequerque, NM. See original post here.

Cloud-based iPad POS for restaurants creators Lavu Inc teams up with loyalty program partner LoyalTree to offer simple single-click integration, targeted analytics, and programs to reward loyal customers. The extended development and testing period has allowed for integration streamlining for a satisfied real-world user-base.

Albuquerque, NM (PRWEB) April 24, 2014

Lavu Inc., makers of the popular iPad POS for restaurants, has announced a seamless integration to the robust loyalty platform offered by LoyalTree. Benefits of the partnership include connected backend dashboards for easy access to customer histories and customizable targeted marketing campaigns. Integration has been simplified to require only a single click in the Lavu business management control panel.

“We have expanded our relationship because our partners at Lavu are respectful, intelligent, and work hard to make the integration the best that it can be,” said Jake Klinvex, COO of LoyalTree.

The partnership is two years in the making. This was time well spent by both development teams, working to perfect the user experience. Ease of use is an important consideration for busy restaurant-industry professionals when selecting a business management solution.

“I love LoyalTree for the customer givebacks and because it is customer dependent,” said Lauren Booten of Buddy’s All American BBQ about the Lavu and LoyalTree partnership. “Once we get our customers to sign up we do not have to do much from there. The minimal cost is great too.”

LoyalTree is a customizable mobile loyalty program. The integration allows Lavu iPad POS clients to attract new customers by providing first-time visitor bonuses, personalized mobile advertisements with targeted offers, and by rewarding customers for specific purchases. “Our LoyalTree partnership helps Lavu clients attract new customers and then rewards those customers for coming back,” said Josh Bennett, VP of Business Development at Lavu Inc.

The extended period of development and beta-testing for the Lavu and LoyalTree integration benefited from real-world usage and analysis. The loyalty platform extension to the iPad POS had a steady adoption uptake despite minimal marketing exposure. From small shops to multiple location franchises, hospitality businesses have already added LoyalTree to their Lavu iPad POS management toolkit.

“We have been able to add new features,” Klinvex added about the two year development period. “Both linked-card and email earning were found to satisfy those customers who want a frictionless experience, may not have smartphone, or for merchants who may not print receipts.”

For more information about Lavu iPad POS and LoyalTree special offers, visit http://poslavu.businesscatalyst.com/.

About Lavu Inc.
With customers in 85 countries, Lavu iPad POS by Lavu Inc. was formed as a solution to common point of sale problems and restaurant industry issues. Lavu Inc. offers POS Lavu as a full-featured point of sale software solution at a fair price. Through cloud computing, wireless mobility, and multi-touch devices, Lavu POS redefines the entire approach to restaurant business management.

For the original version on PRWeb visit: http://www.prweb.com/releases/2014/04/prweb11791746.htm

Read more: http://www.benzinga.com/pressreleases/14/04/p4495581/loyalty-success-is-proven-with-seamless-lavu-ipad-pos-and-loyaltree-int#ixzz3CpelMDnv

LoyalTree Named a Tech 50 Finalist

Originally published August 18th, 2014 at 11:46am by Deborah M. Todd of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. See original post here

A celebration of blockbuster deals and attention-grabbing product launches by the region’s tech companies has been narrowed down to the region’s most eligible contenders of the year.

On Saturday, Pittsburgh Technology Council announced the 50 technology companies and individuals chosen as finalists for the 2014 Tech 50 Awards. Now in its 18th year, the Tech 50 Awards were created to honor local innovators and the companies that have been built around their expertise, said PTC president and CEO Audrey Russo.

“This year’s Tech 50 Awards mark almost 20 years of trailblazing tech companies. We look forward to celebrating the achievements of this year’s finalists and recognizing the region’s continued innovation in technology,” she said.

The companies and individuals will be honored with their awards Oct. 21 at the Wyndham Grand, Downtown. For more information or to register, visit tech50.pghtech.org.

This year’s Tech 50 Awards finalists are:

■ Advanced Manufacturer of the Year: Aerotech, Inc.; eVProducts Inc.; GiftCards.com; Industrial Scientific Corp., Lanxess; Universal Electric Corp.

■ Ed Tech Company of the Year: Acrobatiq; BirdBrain Technologies; BloomBoard; Panther Learning Systems Inc.; Wombat Security Technologies Inc.; Zulama

■ Innovator of the Year: Aquion Energy Inc.; Astrobotic Technology Inc.; Blue Belt Technologies; Iagnosis; Intelomed; Malcovery Security; Resilient Cognitive Solutions; Rhiza Labs; WindStax Wind Power Systems

■ Interactive and Application Developer of the Year: Branding Brand; DVSport Inc.; LunaMetrics; Schell Games; Snap Retail

■ Life Sciences Company of the Year: Aesynt; Carmell Therapeutics; Cernostics; Cognition Therapeutics Inc.; Net Health; Neuro Kinetics Inc.; Rinovum Women’s Health

■ Startup of the Year: Diamond Kinetics; Encentiv Energy; Forever Inc.; FutureDerm Inc.; LoyalTree; NoWait; Thread; Treatspace Inc.; WebKite

■ Solution Provider of the Year: Advantech US Inc.; AEC Group Inc.; C-leveled; First Insight Inc.; Newton Consulting; SDLC Partners; Sherpa Software; Summa Technologies

■ CEO of the Year: Kraig McEwen-Aesynt; Peter DeComo-ALung Technologies; Jason Wolfe-GiftCards.com; Ware Sykes-NoWait; Stephen Bollinger-Rinovum Women’s Health

Deborah Todd: dtodd@post-gazette.com.

Read more: http://www.post-gazette.com/business/technology/2014/08/18/Pittsburgh-Technology-Council-announces-Tech-50-finalists/stories/201408180129#ixzz3B8yp6CwR

What Are Experiential vs. Transactional Rewards?

Sushi ClassAt LoyalTree, we encourage all of our business owners or loyalty program managers to fill their rewards store with a healthy mix of experiential rewards and transactional rewards. Having a good mix is very important for having a successful program so this post is devoted to explaining them clearly and describing the benefits of each.

A transactional reward is when a percentage or dollar amount discount is offered. The actual experience of eating at your restaurant, getting a massage at your spa or shopping at your store stays the same. At the end of a customer’s usual experience, she or he receives a discount.

An experiential reward changes the actual experience of receiving your services. Either a new, unique, personal experience is offered, or the existing experience is heightened in some way. Here are some of our favorite experiential rewards offered by LoyalTree business owners to serve as examples:

– Private Sushi Rolling Lesson at 1000 points

– Name a menu item after you at 1500 points

– Private Authentic Mexican Breakfast for 6 at 2500 points

Experiential rewards and transactional rewards each have ideal uses. Transactional rewards are great for enticing new customers to give you a try, or incentivizing a repeat visit. Transactional rewards can be used to appeal to a younger or lower income demographic. Using a loyalty system that allows you to keep track of and stay in touch with customers who redeem a discount reduces the risk involved with offering a transactional reward to attract new customers. (Deep discount services like Groupon or Living Social can be harmful to your bottom line, and offer no way of keeping in touch with new customers who redeem their coupons. Fortunately, we know of a loyalty system that solves that problem!)

Experiential rewards are great for encouraging loyal customers to save up points, rather than spending their points right away on less valuable rewards. Experiential rewards also tend to appeal to a higher income demographic who are less concerned with saving money and more interested in VIP treatment. Experiential rewards can come at little or now cost to you as a business owner, depending on what you offer (ie: sushi rolling lesson or naming a menu item in honor of a long standing loyal customer). The possibilities are endless! Experiential rewards also encourage organic social media engagement, as your customers are more likely to generate original content about a unique experience than a transactional reward. This type of engagement is great for your net promoter score.

Have some great ideas for experiential rewards? Leave us a comment to share!

Penguins app-based loyalty program wins award

Written by Patty Tascarella. Originally published on August 4th, 2014 at 10:38am EDT. See original story here.

 

Add technology innovation to the awards garnered by the Pittsburgh Penguins. The Sports and Entertainment Alliance in Technology honored David Peart, Pens’ senior vice president of sales and service, with its InStadium Experience in Innovation award for sponsorship sales.

Peart was cited by a panel of professional sports peers for Pens Points, the first mobile app-based loyalty program in sports. It was created with Pittsburgh-basedtechnology developer LoyalTree. It has about 90,000 members.

The awards single out team executives in the U.S. and Canada who find new ways to leverage technology, new media and data to drive long-term team value for their sports franchise.

Two Lessons from LeBron about Customer Loyalty

LeBronFour years ago LeBron James left his hometown of Akron, OH and his first pro gig with the Cleveland Cavaliers for a sweet deal with the Miami Heat. Cavs fans were devastated, and years of adoration were exchanged for unbridled loathing. Many latched onto the fact that LeBron has a “Loyalty” tattoo on his arm as a source of satirical ammunition.

However, for the duration of his time in Miami, he remained committed to the Akron/Cleveland area, donating hundreds of thousands of dollars to his alma mater. His marketing and business team is comprised of his same buddies from Akron who have been with him for the life of his career. LeBron is a family man who has retained strong ties with a close circle of friends, despite his fame and success. His move to Miami doesn’t necessarily make him a “disloyal” person. On the contrary, his lifestyle as a whole tells the story of a very loyal friend and community member.

There are two lessons here that it behooves businesses owners to take note of:
1) Even people who are incredibly loyal will make a move for a sweeter deal. Be sure the rewards you’re offering actually seem valuable to your customers. If they make you look like a cheapskate, you’ll struggle to keep customers committed. (IE: A 10% discount or less is considered cheap by most customers.)

2) Emotional connection counts for something. LeBron came back to Cleveland, in part, because of the historical and emotional significance of being “home.” Create an environment that feels like home, and you’ll have a much better shot at winning back customers who have been exploring elsewhere. Selling branded merchandise and/or experiential extras (like a private wine tasting for two, for example) is a great way of helping your customers feel like they’re in the family. Also, offering those as rewards for loyal customers is a great way to cultivate a stronger connection.

Bottom line: If you don’t put in the extra effort to keep your loyal customers around, they may leave you for the Miami Heat… or at least: your competitive equivalent.

Coffee is Hot

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The coffee industry is roasting the competition when it comes to building amazingly successful loyalty programs on LoyalTree. There are several reasons for this: coffee is a daily ritual for many people, so current customers are easily incentivized to engage the program as they want to earn points for their daily investment. Secondly, it’s easy to woo new customers in the door, as coffee is fairly inexpensive as far as risky new adventures go.

Although the coffee industry may have some unfair advantages (like selling a legal addictive stimulant), there are things we can learn from cafe culture about how to build a loyal customer base. Coffee shops strive to provide an experience, to be unique. From plush, comfy furniture, to featured local art; from the community bulletin board in the back where you can find a yoga class, babysitter or dog walker, to the friendly baristas that know your “usual,” the cafe-experience itself is addictive! Coffee shops seem to excel in providing memorable customer experiences. People make friends in coffee shops- they go on dates, have job interviews and build their businesses in coffee shops. This friendly, comfortable environment is what keeps people coming back.

No matter what kind of business you own- counter service, full service, food service or otherwise, creating an experience people can’t wait to Tweet about is crucial. Channel the cafe-culture. Be addictive!

 

Case for Coffee

Pittsburgh-based mobile rewards program, LoyalTree, launches in Australia and Mexico

It’s been an exciting spring at LoyalTree! Through partnerships with key Point of Sale (POS) system resellers, we were able to launch our mobile rewards program at our first locations in Mexico City, Mexico and Brisbane, Australia.  Our team is beyond excited to welcome these new cities to our growing international community.

 

While we continue to grow our global presence, we are proud of our Pittsburgh roots! Having just finished a successful second season of PensPoints with the Pittsburgh Penguins, we are gearing up for September and the start of a new hockey season.  Additionally, we have over 30 LoyalTree locations in the Greater Pittsburgh Area, and that number continues to grow every month.

 

As a mobile loyalty rewards program, LoyalTree seeks to give business owners and customers access to the same caliber of rewards program available to the nation’s largest retailers.  We’re the only program out there that is built with the needs of the business owner and the consumer experience held in tandem.

 

Our integration with the existing POS makes the process easier for staff, and prevents the business owner from having to purchase new hardware. In addition, our backend dashboard allows business owners to track sales and manage their LoyalTree program easily. Our mobile app offers a clean, intuitive experience for customers to track their points, join new loyalty programs, and earn rewards as they spend at their favorite spots.

 

From the City of Bridges to cities around the world, LoyalTree is on a mission to empower businesses of all sizes. We’re helping business owners grow with their customers in mind. After all, the future of retail lies in the hands of consumers. Conveniently: that’s also where LoyalTree lies- in the smart phone in the hand of the modern consumer.
Want to get in on the action? Download LoyalTree for iOS or Android in Google Play or the App Store. You can find us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter at @LoyalTree. Business owners can reach out to us directly at: sales@loyaltree.com.