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Serving up a new era in customer loyalty

Quick-service restaurants provide tasty food in a speedy and efficient manner for hungry customers on the go. But being in a rush should not mean that regular diners miss out on being rewarded for their loyalty.

Reward schemes have been commonplace across the retail sector for many years, and membership figures are high: a survey by GI Insight last year found that 94% of consumers are members of loyalty schemes. There’s a price to pay for retailers that don’t embrace them, with more than one in five consumers claiming in the same study they would stop buying from a brand that stopped its scheme.

But while almost half of those polled say they always redeem points and take advantage of offers, almost one in five said they never do so. Something is clearly wrong if consumers are ignoring the opportunity to get something for free – whether it’s a complimentary latte or a money-off voucher.

It could be because some reward schemes are unnecessarily complex, or just inconvenient, and this is a particular issue in the Quick Service Retail (QSR) sector, where speed and efficiency are paramount. The hassle of digging out a stamp card from a wallet or purse is just too much when all you want to do is grab a burger, coffee or smoothie before heading back to the office or catching a train.

Mobile technology has been heralded as the solution to the problem of digging out pieces of paper and membership cards, but often this digital solution creates new issues of its own. Shoppers left exasperated by buggy, unresponsive and unreliable apps are unlikely to use them again, if they can even be bothered to download them in the first place!

Encourage customers to engage

Loyalty schemes are clearly important to consumers in competitive markets such as fast food, so a solution must be found to encourage them to engage.

At Thyngs, we're eliminating this customer friction with a mobile loyalty system that is simple to use and, importantly, does not require users to download an app. Instead, it uses the image recognition and near-field communication capabilities built into all modern smartphones.

Consumers are responding positively. In a study conducted by YouGov on our behalf, and published in our 2018 Mobile Loyalty Report, nearly one-third (31%) of all GB smartphone owners (aged 18+) said they would be willing to collect or redeem loyalty or rewards points when paying for items in store by scanning a QR code or tapping an NFC collection point. Compare this to the fact that in a typical month, the majority of consumers don't download any new apps.

Our platform allows retailers to create loyalty programmes that customers can access without needing to install an app. It’s low cost and fast to implement so retailers can get started in the blink of an eye and see that spike in sales they’ve always been after.When designing the solution, we were eager to make sure it worked for retailers as well as customers. While shoppers and diners want to get their rewards, retailers clearly do not want to be spending a fortune on hardware or app development.

We therefore focussed on creating a solution that is fast to implement without expensive hardware or software. And, because it can be integrated with our connected payments solution, customers can even buy their goods and update their loyalty account in one seamless transaction. The minimal cost of the solution, and the fact retailers do not need to acquire costly payment terminals, means businesses can focus their efforts and resources on keeping the customer satisfied.

There are no forms to fill in, nothing to install onto their devices and no data that needs to be captured and stored by the retailer. And because there’s no need to develop new systems and no impact on speed or service, retailers could be rewarding customers and increasing footfall in less than a week. With an app-free loyalty programme that is fast and easy to use there’s really no significant barrier to adoption.

Improved efficiency and customer engagement

The simplicity of our system has impressed the owners of Tossed , the innovative healthy-eating fast food chain and the first hospitality business in Europe to go completely cashless. Founder Vincent McKevitt believes that the opportunity to integrate reward schemes with other transactional functions, such as payments and engagement, makes the solution ideal for all types of retailer.

We are working with others in the QSR sector too, including Wasabi, the sushi and bento food chain, which is already seeing the benefits of offering an app-free rewards programme to its customers..

Speaking about the Thyngs solution, Vincent says: "Thyngs has the simplest mobile solution out there. With minimal set up you can be up to speed with payment, marketing or loyalty campaigns. The ability to add this technology to any physical object opens up a lot of new payment and marketing opportunities.”