How Jamie Oliver Uses Loyalty Cards — And How Local Business Can Compete


“Standard points-collection rewards cards don’t tell you if it has taken a customer nine months or nine days to buy enough to ‘earn’ their free drink.” — Ian Howe, head of marketing at Jamie Oliver Enterprises

Source: The Independent Article

What Ian Howe has stated in the article linked above has indeed been one of the weaknesses of a standard loyalty card. As anyone who has implemented them knows they are great branding tools, but they are definitely lacking in the amount of information they have been able to collect — not only the frequency of use but who are the most frequent customers, lapsed customers etc.

Knowing this type of information has become more important and those who can collect and analyse it gain competitive advantage. Ian Howe goes on to explain how a new electronic loyalty platform designed to collect data will work in Jamies Italian Kitchens;

“With the information we can gather about our customers, we can now accurately predict what the impact of the marketing that we do will be on bums on seats, and adjust what we do and when we do it to better manage the number of covers we can get during our quieter times…When our waiting staff see someone is a vegetarian or teetotal on their hand-held while taking an order, they simply won’t engage that person in steak options or wine choices.”

This is great for a large chain like Jamie Olivers but a small local business has no hope of introducing such a custom service. It was an attempt to even out this inequitable situation that led to our designing zapacard.

What we recognised was that, even if a small business could collect all this data they would not be able to use it effectively. Instead it would become a block, paralysing them as they decided what to do next. In this case small data is much more effective; with small data collected over time it is possible to identify useful insights which can directly benefit the business. It won’t tell them everything about the customer at every transaction but imagine the difference it would make if a business could answer the question we led into this post with; how long has it taken the customer to complete their card?

Knowing simply when a customer returns a completed card it is possible (over time) to identify;

  • the average time to complete a card
  • which customers return the most cards
  • which customers have stopped coming in
  • if the rate of return is higher during promotions
  • if the rate of return has changed compared to last year
  • which promotions incentivise which customers

With this information it is then possible to better manage your customer interactions. For instance you can let specific customer know when relevant promotions are coming up, contact customers who have stopped coming in, give special rewards to customers returning the 10th card etc. All of which makes a difference.

This was our main insight in creating zapacard (of course you can do this yourself, we just make it simple and fast).

Knowing your customer is more essential than ever. You don’t need to be Jamie Oliver and spend a fortune to better know your customers, just use your existing loyalty card effectively.

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