Location-based marketing is one of the most powerful ways of targeting your audience. In fact, 9 out of 10 people who currently own a smartphone use it for information related to their location. Not only does this provide them with relevant, timely content, but it also allows vendors to access data in a non-intrusive way.
Having a dedicated mobile app or a QR code system that delivers targeted messages and unique offers to your customers is guaranteed to increase engagement as people interact with your restaurant more. It will also make you a household name in the neighborhood.
We call this “phygital” marketing: the combination of a physical presence with digital engagement. Phygital is a hybrid marketing channel that can deliver an immediate, immersive experience that doesn’t just make brands memorable – it converts.
In the future, phygital interactions will deliver increasingly targeted experiences to customers. Here are three ways the phygital approach can improve engagement within the restaurant industry.
No. 1: Promote online ordering and table reservations
One of the best ways to use technology within the restaurant setting is online menus for people to view. Creating and deploying QR codes on counters, tables or even doors provides a quick, touchless alternative. This touch-free option encourages quick ordering while minimizing the need for direct interaction with wait staff. All customers need is a mobile phone to scan the code, and they canquickly and easily access the menu, bridging the gap that’s traditionally filled by restaurant staff.
Restaurants can also offer patrons the option to pre-order their food online when they make a reservation. This option helps streamline the entire process, making it easier for both parties — the patron, who can quickly and easily acquire their order, and the restaurant, which takes weight off servers and limits time crunches.
Promoting an online ordering system through in-app ordering is another way to implement phygital marketing strategies. The same goes for table reservations. Having the option to book a table directly from the app without calling the restaurant can significantly increase the number of people who make reservations.
No. 2: Add online payments and multiple fulfillment options
The more personalized the browsing and ordering experience, the more satisfied your customers will be. One way to personalize the restaurant app is by offering multiple payment options. In fact, as of 2020, 87% of shoppers reported a preference for touchless payments and self-checkout options. Given the strength of this number, businesses are working quickly to improve their contactless interactions with customers, and no channel is better suited to this than phygital.
When placing an order or booking a table with food pre-order, customers should be able to pay in-app either by card or other providers like PayPal, Apple Pay or Google Pay. The same goes for their dine-in experience, where online payments nicely complement QR code menus by minimizing personal contact and enabling a quick, painless checkout experience.
No. 3: Send targeted promotions via push notifications
One of the biggest advantages of phygital marketing is the ability to connect customers with promotional material via QR codes and other location-based push notifications. A restaurant’s app can deliver push notifications that give special offers, promotions and discounts to customers nearby, such as a free dessert or a free drink with the order of a main course.
Restaurants can also use phygital marketing — more specifically, geolocation — to target restaurant promotions based on certain factors, such as weather (promoting hot chocolate on cold days or lemonade on hot summer days). The more specific and contextualized your promotions are, the more likely it is for people to be interested in them.
Push notifications and QR codes are also a great way to encourage customers to rate and review their dining experience. App notifications encourage patrons to share a photo on social media or tag the restaurant in a review, and QR codes provide easy access to platforms, such as Yelp or Facebook, to leave a review if they’re satisfied with the experience.
When done right, phygital marketing unlocks even deeper connections between brand and consumer. Phygital marketing doesn’t just enable better customer interactions onsite and online, it also helps brands measure their customer experiences with concrete data. This new channel is a game changer for restaurants, which are constantly looking for ways to streamline and optimize the dining experience.
About the Author
Sharat Potharaju is the Co-founder and CEO of Beaconstac, responsible for crafting the overall strategy and execution. Sharat is dedicated to achieving Beaconstac’s vision to enable digital connection with every physical object and place on the planet. Prior to his entreprenurial career, Sharat spent a few years working in investment banking at Merrill Lynch in New York. Sharat holds a Masters in Engineering Management from Duke University, and a Bachelors degree in engineering from the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Madras.