Craig Backus, Owner of Golden Principle Marketing, has been named an Accredited Solution Provider by Constant Contact®, Inc., the trusted marketing advisor to more than half a million small organizations worldwide.
I recently picked up a Belly Card at the Koney Island Inn on West 7 Mile Road in Livonia, Michigan. It’s a very different loyalty card system as it doesn’t require the cashier to take any action while the customer is accumulating points. The program includes an iPad that the store puts on the counter, and the customer simply scans their card or their Smart Phone using the camera feature within the iPad.
The customer is rewarded with a predetermined number of points per visit, and is able to redeem them at various point levels. For example, every time I check in at the Koney Island Inn, I receive 5 points. Once I accumulate 15 points, I can redeem them for a free soft drink, at 20 points, a free Koney Dog, at 30 a side Greek salad or cup of soup, and so on up to 150 points which would offer a “Date Night! Dinner for 2.”
I’m sure that the Belly Card rep must review the process with the proprietor, and there has to be a balance between encouraging the customer to return, and the cost to the business. The biggest challenge I see to this program, is that the average sale made by that specific customer is not taken into account. When my family of four eats dinner there, our typical bill would be about $30. When an individual stops in for lunch, they might spend $7 per visit. So here’s the resulting “value” each client receives for their loyalty:
In this model, the individual is receiving nearly 5 times the value for their loyalty. I’m not privy to the analysis that took place, but I’m assuming that the restaurant owner was able to provide their average sale, and perhaps even a breakdown of the percentage of sales at various dollar points. Perhaps this model serves the greatest number of clients, but I’m not going out of my way to accumulate points with such a minimal return.
There are additional advantages to the owner in having the ability to contact customers via e-mail, and additional social media integration at a higher tier of service. Additionally, there are apps available through Apple and Google that make it easy for people to capture and display their Belly Card at multiple locations. One card can serve a variety of purposes depending on the market penetration in a given area. The more people that have the card, the more direct access to the consumer. I’d be interested to see how the value equation works at other establishments to see how much incentive their is for people to join.