Togo’s Eateries' 3 Pillars of a Successful Loyalty Program

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Togo’s Eateries' 3 Pillars of a Successful Loyalty Program

By Leslie Wilson-Lopez - 08/15/2016
In the contest for loyalty, brands all fight for the same piece of real estate: the smartphone screen. Retiring physical punch cards, we have channeled our loyalty programs into the one device no one leaves at home. And although smartphones give us unprecedented access to customers, the device alone isn’t the key to a successful loyalty program.  
 
Togo’s Eateries was founded in 1971 by a young college student with a large appetite and little money looking to make sandwiches the way he liked them — big, fresh and meaty. Today Togo’s has more than 325 locations open and under development throughout the West.

At Togo’s, our team built a rewards program and found the levers of success through employing strategic and engaging campaigns and strategies. Togo’s Tribe rewards members open our emails between 25-35% of the time, and they redeem offers at twice the usual rate if we send both a mobile push notification and an email. This past January on National Sandwich Day, a double points promotion increased visits by 58% and spending by 27%. Our loyalty program is succeeding, but not just because of fancy technology.
 
We built Togo’s Tribe on three pillars: crew support, the simplicity of the program, and the ease of the app. If you aim to build a great loyalty program, here’s what I would recommend doing:

1.Win the Crew’s Support
 
Your crew members are the most important factor in a loyalty program. If they support the program, it can thrive. If not, it will fail.
 
The crew is essential because customers only discover and use the loyalty program if your crew members encourage them. Ideally, your cashiers should ask, “Are you a member of our loyalty program? No? Well, let me tell you about it…”
 
Train the whole crew to a) Pitch the loyalty program, and b) Remind loyalty members to earn and redeem points.

2. Make Simple Rules

The most popular games tend to have simple rules. That’s one reason why Jenga is more popular than Bridge and Cribbage. Your loyalty program must be as intuitive as a childhood game.

Make value explicit. For instance, in Togo’s Tribe, $1 spent equals 1 point, and 50 points equals a $5 reward. We do birthday points, double point days, or other specials, but the core rules of the game don’t change.

Simple rules create immediacy. If a customer knows they're five points shy of a $5 reward, they want those four points. They'll spend another $5 to get $5.

3. Design a Straightforward App

If it takes more than three taps to earn or redeem points on your app, it’s too complicated. Particularly in our on-the-go society, people want to pay fast and not hold up the line.

At Togo’s, our team made a three-step process: tap the app icon, tap to check-in, tell the cashier the three-digit code that appeared on the screen. It’s 99.9% confusion proof.

The crew, the rules, and the ease of the app determine how digital loyalty programs perform. Your customers might download multiple loyalty apps, which means the onus is on you to stand out. Try offers, contests, and rewards that have never been tried before. Stake your claim on that coveted smartphone screen.

-Leslie Wilson-Lopez, Brand Manager, Channel Marketing at Togo’s Eateries