The Crunch: Only a few years after Restaurant.com launched, the potential to offer business solutions became apparent. Since 2004, Restaurant.com has provided incentive and loyalty solutions for brands large and small. Restaurant.com’s Business Incentives team helps brands attract new patrons, reward consumer behavior, improve retention, and build customer loyalty — while remaining low-cost compared with other strategies like coupons and discounts.
Incentives are a necessity in commerce today, and most brands use them as part of a promotional strategy to attract, engage, or retain customers. And, of course, cost-conscious consumers are onto this.
The issue, then, is not whether a brand uses incentives, it’s how and why. That’s where Restaurant.com Gift Cards make their mark. Businesses looking to move beyond a purely transactional marketing strategy — and engage and motivate consumers on an experiential level — find Restaurant.com’s solutions to be a high-value and cost-effective option.
Restaurant.com Business Incentives works with thousands of brands, offering savings to their customers with gift cards for restaurants, entertainment, and travel to drive new business, increase revenue, and generate additional profits.
“What we’ve learned in working with brands is that there is also a demand for services around the incentives,” said Chris Pilkington, Director of Marketing for Restaurant.com’s Business Incentives team.
The Business Incentives division is more of a solutions provider — it has stepped up to show brands the advantages of using gift cards to attract customers and has assembled a team of “incentives experts” to help them build out custom programs for deploying them.
Restaurant.com Business Incentives work equally well for SMBs, large enterprises, and everyone in between. Large firms value Restaurant.com’s flexibility in working with marketing departments and outside agencies on a case-by-case basis. Meanwhile, companies that need more developmental work to get a program up and running also find the resources they need.
“We offer fulfillment and integration services to help streamline the process. Some brands need help building an incentive program while others simply require an integration solution,” Chris said.
Incentive Solutions for Increasing Customer Acquisition, Engagement, and Retention
Restaurant.com is an efficient way for brands to increase customer acquisition and conversions. Incentives attached to email offers mean higher numbers for the metrics that are precursors to conversion: open and click-through rates.
Incentives can drive both in-store and online traffic when used in conjunction with direct mail. At checkout on the web, they entice shoppers who might otherwise abandon their carts. The Restaurant.com Business Incentives team helps brands look at their own trends and remedy their unique concerns.
Incentives are also ideal for rewarding consumer behavior such as downloading and logging on to a mobile app, engaging with a brand on social media, or filling out a survey. They can also help a brand evolve a long-term program for increasing customer engagement.
Brands that generate a lot of casual shoppers but struggle to retain them use incentives to boost retention and strengthen loyalty. “When brands are so focused on new business,” Chris said, “they sometimes struggle to maintain communications with the customers they already have.”
A Restaurant.com incentives expert might advise a brand to boost average order value with “spend and get” and “gift with purchase” incentives, and reduce attrition and increase reactivation with incentives targeting repeat customers — especially those who haven’t recently visited.
Customizable Dining, Entertainment, and Travel Products to Help Brands Motivate Consumers
Restaurant.com got its start offering consumers great deals on restaurant meals, but, as it has developed into a solutions provider for brands, its product line broadened. Today’s Business Incentives team strives to help brands target consumers from millennials to baby boomers and beyond at a wide variety of price points.
The tried-and-true Gift Card incentive lets diners save up to 50% off their final bill with physical and digital gift cards that never expire, and are redeemable online and via mobile. Restaurant.com continues to add more experience-driven incentives, such as Dinner & Movie, which features a Restaurant.com Gift Card and two Fandango® movie tickets at up to $28 in value, redeemable online and via mobile at thousands of movie theaters.
Its newest product, the Dine & Travel Pass incentive, offers savings at restaurants, hotels, resorts, car rentals, activities, and more. The pass includes a Restaurant.com Gift Card and a Travel Savings Card. The travel savings portion is redeemable online and via mobile for up to 50% savings on travel at more than 400,000 top-brand hotels and resorts, and at 8,000 rental car locations.
“The different ways brands can position the Dine & Travel Pass illustrate the versatility of our approach,” Chris said. “Brands that have customers with a lot of leisure dollars can offer it as an opportunity to take that much-needed vacation. But it can also be positioned more practically: it might be aimed at a mom and three kids who have a soccer tournament next weekend — they can use it to save money at a hotel down the road and a meal after the game.”
Restaurant.com Business Incentives Division Strives to Improve ROI for SMBs and Enterprises
Consumers today expect and respond to incentives, so businesses must find a cost-effective way to offer them. The Restaurant.com value proposition works so well for brands because of the margins it offers — leading to a greater ROI.
“If a brand uses a retail gift card to increase average spend, chances are they’re paying full price for the incentive. Similarly, offering a discount or free shipping with purchase have hard costs that reduce profit margins”, Chis said.
“We don’t dispute the effectiveness or even the viability of those kinds of incentives,” Chris said. “Instead, we ask our clients to test with our incentive versus the incentive they’re using. If they can achieve similar results with our incentive, we can help reduce marketing costs and increase profitability.”
That means extra money brands can take to the bank. “Let’s say we can save a brand $8 on a $25 incentive,” Chris said. “What can you do with that extra $8? You can target another customer. You can reinvest it back into the business. You can run more marketing campaigns.”
The choice to run more marketing campaigns, Chris said, often means more business for Restaurant.com. “When a brand sees the positive results of their first promotion with us,” he said, “they’ll often want to talk about incorporating our product into other programs.”
And repeat business for Restaurant.com shows the actual value of the incentives the company offers.