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Executive Q&A: Maximizing Guest Engagement

Ali Evers, Paytronix
Ali Evers, Mobile Product Manager, Paytronix

What are some best practices when developing a branded restaurant app? 

Making an app valuable is first and foremost. Third-party delivery aggregators offer access to countless brands from a single app; you must give customers a reason to download your app separately. We recommend providing exclusive benefits through your app, such as special rewards, discounted delivery, or secret menu items.  

Once customers download your app, make it easy to use. Intuitively match customer behaviors to its user flows. Then consider adding features that compliment your brand, such as reward trackers, badges, and re-order options.  

As you’re adding functionalities, make sure your app integrates across its feature set for seamless operation. Your online ordering, gift, payment, loyalty, messaging should all align so customers have a consistently personalized, streamlined experience.  

Then it’s all about maintaining customer engagement to ensure your app stays on their phones. Here, the same exclusive benefits you leveraged to drive app downloads, can help retain downloads. On top of those, you can leverage the data your app has access to, like location, to tap into geofencing offers.  

Tell us a bit more about geofencing and location-based marketing via app. 

Geofencing is a marketing strategy that leverages a location-aware device like a smartphone to send automated messages once a target enters a given virtual perimeter. This is incredibly helpful for optimizing the timing and relevance of your marketing messages. With geofencing, brands can send flash offers or rewards to customers who are already nearby. It taps into the “I’m-already-out-and-nearby,” logic in a customer’s mind, and cuts out the inertia that might keep one at home.  

Please speak to the benefits of a user-friendly, intuitive UI for ordering, checkout, and other activities. 

The key to avoiding cart abandonment is offering a reliable and user-friendly digital experience. At the least, that means your integrations between online ordering, loyalty, payment, and gift are all up to spec for a seamless experience. Then, consider some ways to personalize the process and make it more convenient. Your menu is a great place to start, building out item customization, individual menu displays based on order history, or refreshing your photos. Last, you can leverage loyalty to make every experience more meaningful. Offer personalized rewards and deals to ensure guests feel recognized and see the value in visiting your brand, on- and off-premises. All in all, providing the kind of experience you describe elevates a customer’s connection with your brand from transactional to emotional. And that keeps them coming back. 

How is AI enhancing real-time updates, personalization, and loyalty? 

With AI, restaurants can design and launch automated campaigns that draw on deep wells of data to personalize the customer experience. AI makes it possible to optimize your communications and loyalty offerings to resonate with customers on an individual level. This technology is building better relationships between brands and customers and freeing up restaurant staff to prioritize tasks that require authentic human intervention.

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