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7 best practices for pizza shop loyalty programs

January 24, 2018

Eager to earn a bigger slice of your customers’ restaurant spending? Loyalty marketing can be just the ticket—provided, of course, that you structure your loyalty program smartly. This post gathers insights and best practices from pizza merchants across the country, for a loyalty program your customers can really sink their teeth into.

1. Encourage profitable customer behaviors.

A good loyalty program lets you customize your program however you like, so you can incentivize customers towards profitable behaviors. While pizza businesses vary, here are a few profitable actions you might focus on:

  • Increase “add-on” sales.  Say your goal is to encourage customers to tack on breadsticks, pasta, sodas, cookies, or salads to their pizza order. You could award bonus points for each of these add-ons, or let customers redeem points easily to score free sides.
  • Improve game-day sales. Pizza is always a crowd-pleaser when friends watch sports together. Try awarding double points for game-day purchases.
  • Boost catering sales. Many of your occasional customers buy pizza for big, group events: kids’ birthdays, office parties, and more. How many one-timers can you encourage to try your shop as a caterer?
  • Tap into recurring event sales. Recurring events (Friday poker night, a monthly church social or “must-see” TV parties) represent another profitable income stream. See our post The Power of Recurring Purchases for more.

2. Make sure everyone can participate.

Just about everybody eats pizza, so make sure your loyalty program is similarly accommodating. Old-fashioned paper punch cards can work, but they’re also inconvenient for customers, more prone to fraud, and offer merchants zero insights on customer buying habits. Many pizza merchants looking for a greater level of consumer insight coupled with an inclusive, accommodating program choose Clover Rewards because it works on virtually all computers and mobile devices, not just smartphones – so 100% of a shop’s customers can participate.

3. Sweeten the deal for VIPs.

Don’t be shy about bumping up rewards for customers in higher program tiers. While writing this article, we found Pizzology Craft Pizza & Pub in Carmel, IN, offering locals a free lunch special after buying 7,but regulars earned that perk even faster, after buying 6, and VIPs after buying 5. Likewise, Flying Saucer Pizza in Redmond, WA, offered a free appetizer for locals who buy 10, regulars who buy 9 and VIPs who buy 8. They also accelerate the pace of earning rewards as customers buy more pastas or salads.

4. Market spontaneously.

Pizza enjoys wide appeal because it’s an all-occasion, spontaneous food. The trick, of course, is reaching your customers at the right moment with an irresistible offer. A mobile loyalty program like Rewards enables you to forge one-to-one relationships to your best customers, improving your future marketing efforts.

Clover Rewards offers allow merchants to send specials directly to customer phones, luring them back into the shop. If you’re in a university town, try a finals week deal for a limited time. Enduring a stretch of terrible weather? Offer your customers some cold-weather comfort food with a spontaneous offer. Rewards specials work excellently to launch new menu items, too.

5. Make joining a no-brainer.

Every pizza parlor serves up a monster order occasionally. The next time a big spender walks in, briefly introduce your loyalty program and make it clear they’ll save money today just for joining. Get that customer over the initial hurdle, and chances are good you’ve engaged a profitable repeat customer for the future.

6. Nudge ‘em when they’re close to a reward.

A loyalty program study by the University of Chicago proves that customers buy 20% more product and accelerate their purchase frequency by 20% when they know they’re close to earning a reward. You can harness this motivation to your advantage in several ways. (See our post Psychological Study Shows Loyalty Programs Increase Purchases by 20% for more.)

Make sure your cashiers inform customers when they’re close to earning a reward. You might even email customers who’ve stashed a lot of loyalty points but haven’t made any recent purchases.

7. Reward customers across multiple locations.

It’s crucial that pizza chains make their loyalty programs seamless and hassle-free across multiple locations. That’s why it’s imperative that any loyalty program a pizza chain with multiple locations chooses a cloud-based loyalty program. That way a customer can reap rewards for their purchases whether at your downtown flagship or one of your suburban satellites.

The bottom line…

Pizza is a warm, comforting, social food that can engender tremendous loyalty – even evoke the taste of home. Your loyalty program should solidify already-strong customer relationships while deepening new ones.

[image: Pizza by Bert Kimora on flickr]