The final quarter of the year is awash with sales; from Black Friday to Cybermonday, from Boxing Day Sales to the launch of the January Sales, for every shopper there’s a retail deal to be had. But who’s to say that retailers should be the only beneficiaries of sale season?
The food industry is becoming more sophisticated in terms of technologies, adopting mobile ordering, digital loyalty and expanding its payment options. Through these technologies, operators are able to create simple yet sophisticated marketing programmes to target shoppers during this period.
Get clever with promotions
During sale season retailers go all out with promotions and discounts, and there’s no reason restaurants, cafes and bars can’t do the same. Create promotions that appeal to hungry consumers with tired arms and legs, promise them a refreshing pit-stop and a chance to refuel before continuing to pound the pavements. What better way to raise their winter spirits than with a special on festive caffeinated beverages? Promotions can easily be added to an operators mobile ordering platform, while loyalty technology can be set to offer extra rewards for shoppers during specific events.
Consider the timing of promotions too. During the day, most shoppers will be focused on finding that next big deal and will have limited time to sit down, for that reason a limited menu will be most appealing. If the stores close at 6pm, offer a 6-7pm post-spending ‘discount dinner and debrief’. Make the shopper feel like you are a natural, cost-effective extension to their busy day.
Adapt to the shopping schedule
In advance of Black Friday and Boxing Day, in particular, you will find consumers leave the house early, queuing outside their favourite stores or shopping centres in order to be the first through the door.
This is the perfect opportunity to adapt your hours to their schedule. If you’re not normally operating at that time, consider opening early so that shoppers can get a good breakfast inside of them. Or, if the opportunity allows, take your food and drink to them. There are a couple of ways to do this: if you offer click and collect, hand out flyers to shoppers in the queue advertising your app, then update your delivery points to include the queue. Once the food is ready, it can be handed to them for eating while they wait. Alternatively, take ready-made hot food out to the line with a mobile payment terminal ready to take money as hungry shoppers snap up your deals.
Inform your regular customers
Through your own digital ordering or loyalty platform, you are likely to be collecting customer data signalling trends and preferences for group, and individual customers. What’s more, you can use this data to market direct to your loyal audience, through the likes of push notifications and newsletters, letting them know what winter sale surprises you have in store for them.
Despite the benefit customer data brings, not every person will have consented to marketing. So, for these, and potential customers, consider reaching out on other channels such as social media. Many sales shoppers use Facebook, Instagram and Twitter to keep an eye out for the best deals leading up to, and throughout the day. Make the most of social media by piggy-backing on trending sale hashtags and shouting about promotions and specials to your wider network.
Sale season might traditionally belong to retailers, but traditions can evolve. As the food and drink industry becomes more sophisticated in terms of technology, and creative in its marketing efforts, there’s no reason businesses can’t capitalise on a period when high-street footfall, and therefore sales opportunities, reach a peak.
It’s not as catchy as: ‘When is a door not a door?’ (answer, when it’s a jar) but it speaks to the idea that in-car collection, and the technologies that support it, are flexible enough to bend to the needs of a business and its guests.
Delivery can be daunting to the uninitiated, and it might be tempting to sign up with a third-party ordering aggregator that offers the service, such as UberEats, but other options could suit your business and brand better. Here we present three different ‘levels’ of delivery, starting with the most basic – and cheapest method: doing it yourself.