Consumers love you, love your place and love your food - but why are they going to share their contact information to join your loyalty program?  Statistics suggest that many of your customers would join a program, if it were available (50-80% in other industries) but online loyalty programs I think are going to experience a significant slowdown if the social option is not provided.  Marketing Sherpa reports that as many as 86%  of consumers would ignore or leave an enrollment if that enrollment required more than a click or so (more than it takes to say 'yeah - connect using my FB credentials').  To me this is an invitation by the consumer to access and authenticate them by their Facebook log in, which I'd prefer over a standalone, not connected to the social graph kind of log in. 

This permission can provide the marketer access to the social graph, and thus a network of Facebook friends that averages around 150 other prospective consumers for your restaurant.  This kind of access also will matter as we see systems that can read, understand and present the consumers preferences that are gleaned from the posts, discussions and input provided by the consumer themselves.  Having this kind of connection via their social persona is essentially the consumers permission to enhance the customer experience and not just delight, but elate them in their visit to your restaurant.  The ability to make full use of this data is still ahead of us for sure, but if marketing Sherpa is tight (and I think they are) consumers are already expressing fatigue in the account creation and log-in process for yet another social site or coupon / deal site - what we do not want is that it be your site and your loyalty program.

The answer is a loyalty program that leverage the existing social accounts and provides the consumer access to your loyalty program in exchange for access to their social graph.  

Socially Yours,

Steven Groves


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  • You're right on Ms. Hilfer and at no time should the merchant expect that the content available via these mechanisms can be used without specific and explicit permission form the consumer.  This post is about form fatigue and whats happening to address it.  Social sign-on is the right answer in my mind. 

    The topic you bring up, that of managing consumer data in alignment with regulations, is also an area of quickly shifting sands and undoubtedly in the next few years we'll hear about breaches that will be spectacular and widely publicized due to the lurid spin the media will put on it - stay tuned, it's coming.  

    The situation is even more onerous if the brand does business globally - the constraints are even more sever than they are here in the US and ignoring it will only cost money.  As we design these systems for the future, the merchant has to provide a capability that permits the consumer complete and utter control over their data, how it is used by the merchant and provide portability of the content.

    That all being said, statistics show that that around 85% of the consumers will give access to their data for as little as a free cup of coffee.  So gaining access is one aspect, but now the value upon which the relationship has to be managed.  Best practices  in this area include reminding the consumer at the very start of the communication (aka - first line of an email) why they are getting the communication and an option to opt-out.  

    This is an emerging trend for social and forward looking marketers will pay attention if they do not want to have to re-engineer their infrastructure in a what will be only a few years time - this kind of empowerment in the control of the consumer data by the consumer is coming fast. 

  • Steven, social fatigue is definitely a problem for brands. Social sign in seems like the easy way out, but brands need to tread lightly because of privacy issues. Vendors/app developers are pushing social sign in, but many are ignoring these legal issues. Marrying social sign in to loyalty is a terrific idea, but informed consent for consumers is a must. FTC watching this area closely.

  • We used to have Facebook Connect enabled and that allowed users to sign in to Reservation Genie with one click.  We had to remove it when we enabled our tour clients to sell tickets online (we do reservations for restaurants, tours, and nightclubs that are connected to concierge desks).  We're working on bringing it back so that we can do more with FB.  We have built a loyalty program into our reservation system that uses gamification principles of Foursquare to award the top 10 most active customers with "VIP perks" on future reservations.  Take a look at Corazon at Castle Hill's restaurant profile to see it working.  Right now the loyalty revolves exclusively around the restaurant.  We're getting ready to release a city wide VIP status that revolves around all our restaurants within a city.  That's where we need the social graph access.

  • Miguel, I'm not familiar with  We're working with an eCRM partner that can pull that data in and allow us to use it to target guests based on demographics. We also work with some social media partners that can gather info for analysis but if you want to be able to use the data to contact people based on demographics you probably need something somewhat robust. 

  • thanks for the answer! I'm working on a wine brand that is preparing to start wine tourism events a fb sign in would be very usefull to collect the information on the public and stay in touch. do you think i can find a website builder liker or similar that includes those kinds of information database templates?? how is it done? only pragrammers can create a thing like that

  • Miguel - You're right to ask and my research shows that the functional, Facebook-based loyalty systems are still ahead of us.  My vision is a program that will rely on using ONLY my Facebook login - while critical for the next generation of systems, we are seeing movement that way.   Plink just announced a solution that provides loyalty rewards via Facebook, and Onosys and getta!Table both support online ordering via Facebook.  Is there a Facebook only solution yet?  I know of at least one that is in the works but is still in stealth mode - stay tuned Amigo!

  • Miguel, it depends on the level of complexity.  You can add sign on with Facebook or Twitter fairly easily but collecting and processing the data in a useful way could be a bigger investment.  

    Steven, I read a similar article last week:  and completely agree from both a user standpoint, I'm more likely to sign up for something when I can do so with my Twitter or Facebook account = 1 click, and as a marketer I'm much happier to collect the additional information.  

  • I agree with your point of view but how expensive is a thing like that? can that be managed an created by the owner of a small business??? does it require specialized handwork? 

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