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Mobile guest engagement isn’t coming. It’s here.

By : Andy Sirmon

February 26, 2016 04:03 PM

HOSP-2016-Mobile-Engagement-2-blogMobile guest engagement is now expected by your customers, especially where convenience and unified brand experiences are paramount.

 

Previously we discussed how mobile guest engagement drives interactions, convenience, sales and repeat business to your restaurant.

 

Now, let’s turn our attention to how enabling consumer mobile engagement capabilities - whether they be loyalty, ordering, payment or some combination of the three – empowers you to be more competitive, and thus more successful, in an increasingly changing world.

 

So what’s changed?

 

What’s different today, and how does it impact you and your restaurant operations? First, it’s important to recognize that three trends are shifting consumer expectations and the ways restaurants serve their guests (you’ve probably experienced at least one of the following as a consumer yourself):

 

  • Digital commerce is rising: People are becoming more and more accustomed to ordering and paying for goods and services online – especially from their mobile device. Why? Because it’s easy. Consumers have learned that the old ways of commerce aren’t always the best ways; instead of facing the long lines or limited options found in brick and mortar locations, digital has literally put the power of the transaction in the hands of the consumer.
     
  • Mobile engagement is growing: As discussed in our previous blog post, consumers today are increasingly drawn to brands that interact with them, offer a personalized experience (i.e., “know them”), and reward them for their loyalty “automatically” as part of their experience in visiting the restaurant. Leading brands have recognized this and are finding creative ways to engage with their customers in even more personal ways – through their mobile devices.
     
  • Consumer behaviors are changing: You see it every day in your restaurant; consumers can’t keep from interacting with their phones. Why? Because we live in a connected society, bringing higher expectations of near-instant gratification. These higher expectations and desires for connectivity are extending to your customers’ relationships with your brand. Your guests don’t want to wait in line, they expect more for their business, and they want to be rewarded for their loyalty.

 

As the above trends are converging, the expectations by consumers for restaurants to address these trends are growing.

 

In short, guests expect to be able to interact whenever and wherever they want with the brands that they love. As stated on Forbes.com,

 

"Customers are in the driver’s seat now and many businesses that don’t have the technology and systems in place to support an omni-channel customer experience will be forced to take the backseat.” So know that mobile guest engagement is fast changing from a “nice-to-have” to a “must have” for your business.

 

But also know that investing in mobile capabilities will have a positive impact on your bottom line – as long as the experience you offer is seamless.

 

According to a study by Rosetta, engaged customers buy 90% more frequently, spend 60% more per transaction and deliver three times the value to the brand over the course of a year. You can find this in the implementation of specific capabilities in your restaurant as well.

 

For example, a report released by NRA/LevelUp last year stated that consumers who have placed an order online visit the restaurant 67% more frequently than customers who haven’t. The experience you provide is key, however; according to Performance Improvement Partners,

 

89% of consumers will go elsewhere if their first e-commerce purchasing experience with a brand isn't up to standard.

 

So what is the takeaway for you?

 

Know that the lines between online and offline experiences are becoming blurred. Get ready now to meet the expectations of the omni-channel consumer. Remember though, these are not expectations about a specific product or app.

 

The expectation of the omni-channel consumer might best be described as expectations around the experience. Experiences are personal and therefore your approach in meeting expectations needs to take that into consideration.

 

Implementing a mobile strategy to address these expectations is key to keeping your restaurant competitive in the future.

 

Next up:

 

So why aren’t more restaurants embracing mobile technology? Next time we’ll explore the reasons why brands may not be going mobile, and debunk some “mobile myths” along the way.    

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Andy Sirmon

NCR Hospitality

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Andy is a passionate marketer dedicated to helping make every day easier for restaurant operators. Here, Andy shares his insights on the restaurant industry and how disruptive innovation is transforming the way restaurants do business.