The restaurant industry has always been challenging: competition, low profit margins, and high turnover make effective management difficult, regardless of the type of restaurant or level of owner experience. However, current conditions have increased these challenges significantly.
Changing customer preferences, including high expectations for service and a focus on nutrition and sourcing of ingredients, affect the entire operation. An increasing reliance on reviews and referrals make brand management both more important, and more complex. Increases in mobile device users have made it easier for potential customers to find new restaurants, check out the competition, look for deals, and read online reviews before visiting.
Related Reading: How to Use Customer Engagement Tools to Build Brand Loyalty
Competition is more fierce than ever before, making customer loyalty increasingly important for the bottom line. One study found that improving customer retention rates by 5% can increase profits by anywhere from 25-95% . Loyal customers are also more likely to refer new customers, respond to up-selling, and try a new menu offering . Loyal customers also purchase more per visit , increasing overall sales every time a repeat customer walks through your door.
Restaurants already have access to an often untapped resource to gain actionable data, build customer loyalty, and drive business. Point-of-sale (POS) systems are a combination of hardware and software that act as the central point of payment for goods and services in a restaurant. Applications that work to enhance the POS system, known as POS integrations, can add considerable functionality to a basic POS system, providing the restaurant owner with a number of benefits that expand the value and capabilities of the platform in many ways.
Out of the many new functionalities restaurants can gain from POS integrations like delivery management, kitchen and employee management, accounting and more, customer engagement tools can provide the greatest return on investment.
5 ways POS integrations can support customer engagement:
1. Create data-driven campaigns
Customer engagement platforms like Como Sense can use POS integrations to gather valuable data on your customers, which can be analyzed to provide you with actionable insights. You can learn where your diners are from, how often they visit your establishment (or, for multi-site establishments, how often they visit each site), what time and day of the week or month they are most likely to visit, and what products they choose most often.
This data can be used for creating personalized campaigns for an individual or to a group of customers, increasing their likelihood to respond to a custom offer and improving the ROI of every marketing effort. Forbes found that 57% of marketers reported that creating a data-driven campaign measurably increased ROI .
2. Manage personalized loyalty programs
Loyalty programs are an essential tool for restaurants looking for new ways to connect with customers. By integrating with POS data, a customer engagement platform like Como Sense, can segment customers according to their behavior, for example, spend levels and tailor cost effective loyalty activities according to different customer tiers. Many POS systems have basic built-in customer loyalty features, but restaurants can benefit from advanced solutions like Como Sense that are purposefully designed and offer a rich set of flexible features.
Oracle’s recent survey found that 65% of all U.S. consumers are members of one or more restaurant loyalty programs; but also that the relevance of the rewards offered was more important than the ease of redemption or simplicity of the program .
3. Engage customers with a mobile app
Some POS integrations can be connected and feed information to a mobile application that can be downloaded to a customer’s smartphone or tablet, providing another channel to reach customers with special offers and incentives, exciting content, and more. Mobile apps can take reservations, pre-payment, and food orders to streamline planning and operations.
They can also be used to access loyalty features such as point shops, discounts, and coupons provided that they are integrated with the POS. This enables a seamless experience when customers come in to redeem their benefit.
4. Omnichannel communications
POS integrations can help support omnichannel communications between restaurant and customer. Customers have many methods to choose in interacting with your business. Ordering can take place in person, on the phone, on the restaurant website, or through a mobile application. Payment can take place through any of these channels, or be made to a delivery person or at a kiosk. Customer reviews can happen on the restaurant website, in person, or on social media.
Using your POS data will make it easier to understand the best way to interact with customers. You’d be able to know, for example, if a customer is regular visitor in a specific branch or if it is an Online customer that mainly orders in. According to this data you’d be able to launch the right communication through the right channel.
5. Access dashboards and reports
Dashboards and reports are critical for restaurant owners wishing to keep an eye on business metrics and key performance indicators for analysis and planning purposes. These may include sales, customer, staff, product, and accounting reports. However, POS integrations may also include information on reward and loyalty programs, and offer redemption, giving restaurant owners real-time information that can be used to evaluate marketing campaigns.
POS integrations are becoming more and more important to the success of restaurants. Many are used to enhance the data-gathering capabilities of the POS system, improving the customer experience and driving loyalty and sales.
Como Sense, an innovative customer engagement toolset that enables you to collect first-party data right away, already integrates with 80+ POS systems worldwide. Start gathering actionable customer insights to help you bring them back while increasing their spend.
To learn more about how Como Sense can add powerful customer engagement capabilities to your POS, giving you the data you need for unlocking your business potential, schedule a free demo with a Como expert today.