How Subway Gets Closer to 1:1

Over the last year, global sandwich chain Subway has been boosting their mobile strategy with an evolved RCS text-messaging experience and an ever-more-seamless journey tied to point-of-sale.

These marketing innovations are the result of a nearly five-year relationship with personalization platform Mobivity, whose specialty is helping retailers and QSRs transform their loyalty program through comprehensive data, analytics and targeting solutions.

Mobivity recently announced a new Offers and Promotions and platform, with Subway onboard. One-to-one customer personalization at scale keep the chain’s promotions relevant, even while navigating thousands of franchise owners in more than 100 countries.

“Operating a QSR brand in today’s hyper-competitive, loyalty-shifting world is a challenge for a chain of any size,” Mobivity CEO Dennis Becker told me. “Those challenges are magnified when you operate the most restaurants, and all across the world. Furthermore, in a franchised environment where you are dealing with literally thousands of owners who implement different POS technology, getting reliable sales data quickly and being able to accurately interpret information such as promotion redemptions is extremely challenging.”

The new platform manages promotions across channels, from SMS and print receipt offers to more traditional free-standing inserts. The technology generates a unique code for each message, allowing brands to “turn and burn” the codes when the offer is used by a customer.

“Once the deal is scanned in-store at the register, or redeemed digitally through the restaurant’s app for instance, the code will be considered redeemed and no longer be valid for future redemption (across any channel that customer interacts with Subway on),” Becker explained. “Since the offer code is uniquely created for the guest and the channel in which it was received, this will provide the organization with deep data analysis and insights around marketing channel effectiveness, as well as their guests ongoing frequency and spend.”

According to Subway, they are currently using the solution in more than 26,000 stores in the U.S. and Canada, and have leveraged it with their growing base of loyalty members and guests who have registered an email account with the company.

“The solution helps Subway provide surprise promotions, deals and surprise rewards to MyWay Rewards members and other subscribers, growing the brand’s reach and significantly expanding our capabilities to nurture customer lifetime value,” a source from Subway stated.

The same source also said that Subway’s marketing team “has cited an increase in its base of addressable guests since introducing the solution,” adding that “[the] implementation was seamless from a guest perspective.”

Subway has used many of these digital channels in the past. But on the back end, single-use codes across channels is a game-changer in terms of the customer data that can be captured from it, along with precise execution of promotions.

For example, in the past,” said Becker, “if you were a member of their email program as well as an app user, Subway might deliver a single offer across both or multiple channels, giving customers multiple opportunities to take advantage of a highly valuable offer or promotion.”

Becker remarked, “In this situation, Subway is able to broadcast an offer across both their email and app programs, giving them the widest reach to their known customers and preferred redemption channels, while also restricting that offer to only be redeemable by a single customer one time. Currently, the program is employed across their email and app user bases with plans to expand to additional channels like our SMS messaging program with Subway, Google’s RBM implementation, Free-Standing inserts, or any additional channels Subway wishes to use.”

He added, “By implementing our unique approach to data capture that works across all POS systems and can be implemented remotely in just minutes, combined with our AI-powered data normalization process, we’re able to provide Subway management, franchisees and agencies accurate, near-real-time data on sales by store, market or region and analyze offers and media to determine the most effective combination of offers (those that drive customer spend and frequency) and media with the highest return on marketing spend. In the end, Subway overcomes the inherent challenges of running the largest QSR brand and giving them the tools to manage their marketing efforts with maximum insight and intelligence.”

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