The Crunch: Customer loyalty begins when you provide high-quality goods and services, but many businesses now recognize the value of incentivizing clients with rewards programs that keep them coming back for more. Companies that use Como’s cloud-based solution, Como Sense, receive a modern loyalty program that reveals valuable customer insights from mobile engagement, point-of-sale systems, and social media that can later be used for marketing. Brands such as BMW, Burger King, and Papa John’s have turned to Como to drive their loyalty programs and gain a unified view of customers through branded mobile applications and integrations with leading POS providers. And since customer acquisition costs are substantially higher than retention costs, integrating with Como Sense makes a lot of sense.
Loyal customers lay the foundation for a successful business, and when you consider the cost of acquiring new customers, it’s easy to see why.
A Harvard Business Review article reported that bringing in new clients is 5 to 25 times more expensive than keeping a customer. The same article revealed that a 5% increase in client retention can boost profits by 25% to 95%, according to research by Fred Reichheld of Bain & Company.
This begs an obvious question: How do you satisfy customers and keep them coming back in competitive markets such as restaurants and retail? Companies should start by answering an even more essential question: Who are your customers?
Old-school loyalty programs, such as punch cards or cash back programs, give customers incentives to return. However, the retailers and restaurants distributing them aren’t getting to know their customers in a meaningful way — one that can be used to deliver personalized marketing and experiences down the road.
One company that’s helping brands bridge that gap and build meaningful relationships with clients is Israel-based Como, the creator of Como Sense — a cloud-based, POS-integrated suite of customer management and analytics tools that provide branded mobile applications and deliver deep insights. Como’s customers are consumer-facing brands, like Papa John’s, Burger King, Coca-Cola, and BMW, and its goal is to help these companies improve customer retention.
“At Como, we start with happy customers, which has a double meaning because, as a B2B platform, we only serve businesses that have consumers,” said Yair Holtzer, Co-Founder and VP of Strategic Partnerships at Como.
The end result is that brands are able to glean valuable data while supplying their end users with a mobile app and loyalty program with tangible value that customers actually enjoy using.
A Como client that’s seen an increase in profit and customer satisfaction since integrating with Como Sense is London-based restaurant chain Natural Kitchen, which improved its loyalty program with a branded mobile app that rewards customers while gathering crucial marketing data.
“We used to have a very old-fashioned stamp card,” said Justin Green, Managing Director at Natural Kitchen. “With stamp cards, there’s nothing. I don’t know what your name is, I don’t know how old you are, I don’t know where you live.”
After implementing the Como Sense solution, Natural Kitchen saw a more than £100,000 increase in purchases in the first two months, with 40% of loyalty club members buying something each month.
“Como has enabled us to engage with our customers in a way that we’ve never had before,” Justin said.
A Mission to Give Businesses a Complete Picture of Their Customers
A modern marketing challenge is connecting the dots between customer interactions on each channel. Yair told us the team at Como, which was formerly known as Conduit, calls Como Sense the “Swiss Army knife for happy customers” because of everything it does to reward its corporate customers while it tracks their clients’ journeys to gather insights and analytics.
“The Swiss Army knife [solution] was built to answer a very bothersome problem for brick-and-mortar businesses, which tend to have a lot of different and fragmented channels,” Yair said. “At the store, they have the point-of-sale system, but they also need to manage a Facebook page and a loyalty card, as well as dealing with promotions and advertising — it’s all very fragmented.”
Business owners are busy by nature, which is why tools like Como Sense are such a time-saver, helping them effortlessly gain a well-rounded picture of who’s buying from them.
“Business owners or marketing managers of chains are so busy in the day to day that they don’t have time to spend on rewards programs,” Yair said. “This is why they tend to go to a customer acquisition solution since it’s much easier for them to decide on a specific Google or Facebook campaign — it’s a one-time decision.”
Como Sense’s ability to give businesses a unified view of their customers often extends beyond promotion and loyalty into day-to-day operations. Yair shared one example of this concept in action.
“A few months ago, one of our customers, which has more than 25 locations and 300,000 loyalty members, used the collected data to decide where to open new branches,” Yair said. “By understanding the geography of their customers and putting it on a map, they were able to understand the [population] density for each location and chose new locations based on where they would have customers on day one.”
Loyalty Programs & Branded Mobile Apps Keep Clients Coming Back
Sometimes, customer retention can lead to customer acquisition in an organic way. People who love your store or restaurant will likely tell their friends and family. And there’s no better brand advocate than someone you know and trust.
“We’re not saying to neglect customer acquisition, but we are giving our businesses the tools to use loyalty to get new customers to their businesses,” Yair said. “This is much cheaper than advertising in a very expensive campaign where it’s hard to measure effectiveness.”
Branded mobile applications present tremendous opportunities to retailers and restaurants, which can use them as a direct line to their customers.
“Sometimes it’s a little bit frightening to have your own mobile app,” Yair said. “You’re not sure if people will download the app, but you know inside your heart that, if you want to grow, you have to have your own mobile app.”
Como Sense customizes apps to the needs of each business because every company is different. Some might want to use an app for a loyalty program and to distribute coupons, while others might want to add functionality for placing orders, booking appointments, or navigating to stores.
“Not every company is Starbucks. Not everyone has the resources to develop their own app,” Yair said. “Even if it’s a 5-, 10-, or 15-location chain, they will get a tailor-made solution that is customized to their business needs.”
Hands-On Support Through an Ecosystem of Partnerships and Dedicated Success Managers
Going beyond its proprietary technology, Como also knows the importance of human relationships in business.
Two types of partnerships exist in the Como Sense ecosystem: POS companies and solution partners, which consist of dedicated success managers and professional partners in specific verticals.
Como has more than 100 POS partners, including Revel Systems and AccuPOS, and when used in conjunction, retailers and restaurants receive a solution that handles transactions and inventory, while giving businesses a cloud-based dashboard to track customer engagement and analytics.
Solution partners are integral for business owners because they devote their time exclusively to making sense of customer data and helping turn information into improved strategies. Como has more than 20 success managers working out of their offices in New York, London, Stockholm, and Ness Ziona (Israel).
“Our success managers are hands on,” Yair said. “It’s not just a support guy that’s making sure you aren’t having technical issues. The success managers are giving them good recommendations for best practices.”
Chain Stores Boost Engagement with Como’s Cloud-Based Solution
Natural Kitchen has seen firsthand how Como Sense’s combination of a branded mobile application and POS integration can help a business learn more about its most loyal customers. After all, it’s the customers who keep coming back who can make or break a company.
“Como is making our lives so much easier. We didn’t have any database of our customers. Now, we have a proper database,” said Alba Formoso Getino, the Social Media and Marketing Manager for Natural Kitchen. “It’s great as a tool for knowing our customers.
“They just come in, they scan the barcode, and that’s it,” Alba said. “The integration makes everything easy and fast.”
The value for companies is twofold, with improved engagement through modern loyalty programs and valuable insights derived from collecting and analyzing data from several channels, including POS, mobile, and social media.
“We’re really connecting the dots to create a very impressive insight tool for our businesses,” Yair said.
As a B2B business, Como’s goal is satisfying their customers — brands like Quiznos, Fox Racing, and Fauchon — by empowering them with the tools and technology to keep consumers happy and walking through the front door.