It’s your Birthday? Then FREE DRINKS for everyone!
Not so much… Read on.
If you’re in the bar/restaurant trade, then how many times did you hear the following cringe-worthy words over the weekend: “Hey, it’s my birthday. l should get a free drink!” (What did you say in response?) Let’s talk about the best answer you can give to that question.
The Bar Conundrum
The interesting thing about bars is that people always feel that they should get free rewards on their birthdays. Yes, this happens in restaurants too, but in a restaurant you can limit your losses with some chips or some free cake, but the birthday boy or girl still has to pay for an entree and a drink. Plus, no one goes “restaurant-hopping.” At a bar though, all you can offer is a drink–and giving away your only revenue source for free is a bad business idea.
Here’s the trouble though: You can’t really say no without sounding like a dick.
What Is a Bar Owner to Do?
Here’s the first thing you do: Convince the birthday girl/boy that free drinks are lame and she/he can get that from any bar. You have something better.
What do you have? A customer loyalty program (the LYLTY app, of course!).
Okay, okay. Don’t use that sales pitch. It’s terrible.
Instead, pull out a list of birthday options that are exclusive to your loyalty app members.
Experiential Rewards Pay Off
Here’s the little-known secret to consumer loyalty programs: you’re supposed to use them to build revenue, not give revenue away!
The best way to do this is to have your customers build points on their loyalty app (we recommend an app over a card!), and then redeem those points for cool events that get them into your bar to buy more drinks.
For instance, your regulars could use their points to rent a private party room at a discount (which would bring more people into your bar), or you could offer your loyalty club members exclusive member benefit classes where they learn how to mix their own drinks.
Make Them Feel Like Insiders
Another idea for experiential rewards is to give your regulars a “backstage pass” to your business. If you have a brewery, you can provide a tour in which you explain how to make beer, and show them the different stages. That type of customer loyalty program reward would generate a ton of buzz for your bar.
The point is, whatever your bar focuses on, there’s usually an off-limits area. When you provide supervised access to your off-limits areas, your customers get excited and talk about your bar more–and then their increased sense of ownership brings them back to your bar again and again.
The important thing to remember about your customer loyalty program is that it is meant to enhance your power as a business, and to increase your marketing reach. It’s not meant to be a free drink giveaway, and it certainly isn’t meant to be a revenue drain.
Finally, we’ve said this before, but: If you’re wondering what experiences your customers would like, then just ask them! Your customers are your greatest marketing resource. Use their ideas to become exactly the bar they’ve always dreamed of going to. Your business will flourish, your customers will love you, and you won’t ever have to cringe again when someone says, “Hey, it’s my birthday. I should get a free drink!” You’ll know exactly what to offer them instead.
A big welcome to the new year. We hope you’ve all had a chance for a little break, a time to recharge and get excited about the year ahead! We put down some thoughts about the year ahead for all of us in retail.
The big trend we see is that retailers are finally realising that they must change. For many years, leaders of the retail industry were averse to change – they wanted everything to be smooth and as long as they beat “last year,” they were happy.
This is no longer possible.
In the past, it was the retailer who determined what a customer should want to buy and how they should shop. Today, it’s the customer who is defining (redefining) the shopping experience. A retailer is missing opportunities for sales when it operates in the traditional ways that kept merchandise categories and selling channels separate rather than co-ordinated.
The acceptance of omni-channel trade and digital savvy merchandising is important. Today it is a requirement for success. However, it is not only acceptance of new ideas, but we also see the need to review old systems and procedures. Store operations and mindsets must change.
Some have assumed that Amazon is going to kill the industry, that everything will be bought online. Well, as we have recently seen, it’s not that simple. Amazon is redefining itself as well. We’re not surprised that Amazon is opening some stores, and buying companies like Whole Foods to gain dominance. We do believe that they will be a strong player, but will not eliminate good competition.
2017 was the year of digital discovery. 2018 will be the year of technology and more integration of it into mainstream retail. It will be the year where we see retailers create new operating models that are less focused on their store vs. the web and more focused on creating experiences that gives customers more control and convenient ways to shop. I think it will be an exciting year where customers will find newness and creativity.
We’re excited to help you create a better experience for your customers with the LYLTY app.
Join us in 2018.