Dec. 7, 2005
When it comes to marketing, pizza operators may not know how good they have it. A customer's name, address and phone number is promotional gold most retailers pay big bucks to obtain, yet pizza operators get it for free with every delivery transaction.
But not every operator uses that information, even those who've spent thousands on POS systems designed for that purpose.
"Sometimes it's hard to convince people they need to focus most of their marketing efforts on the customers they already have," said Laura Gaudin, sales director for Houston-based POS software developer Revention. "Since those customers already love your product, you should market even more to them to increase your check averages."
A POS system makes this easy by providing detailed order history for every customer. Knowing "Customer A" regularly buys two large single-topping pies on Friday should flag the opportunities to encourage buying on the other days of the week. Gaudin suggested sending such a buyer a bargain offer for wings, cheese sticks or a multitopping pizza available only on a Tuesday.
"That's smart marketing versus blind marketing," she said. "Sending large pizza coupons to all customers who've not ordered for 30 days is one thing, but keeping track of customers' buying habits and marketing to them specifically based on that is another."
Keeping track of which offers work and which don't is equally important, said Gaudin. Operators should know how every marketing effort performed, and a POS system makes that easier to track.
"If you sent out coupons with a particular campaign, you need to measure how many you received back from new customers versus how many you got back overall to know whether the response came from new or existing customers," she said. "A POS system gives you a clear picture of your ROI on that campaign."
Rewarding good customers
Sean Brauser plans to use his POS this year to play cyber-Santa Claus.
"I'm going through my database and finding everyone who has ordered at least twice in the last 90 days, and I'm going to send them a Christmas card with a $5 gift certificate," said Brauser, owner of three-unit Romeo's Pizza in Medina, Ohio.
But because his POS database allows him to zero-in on just a portion of his customer database, he's sending a similar $5-off bargain to customers who haven't ordered recently and might need a little TLC. "Maybe we've screwed up and made them mad at us," he said. "So five bucks off might convince them to give us another shot. We can send that just to them without making it available to everybody."
An accountant by trade, Brauser sees the wisdom of running small, targeted programs every week to generate incremental sales. Sending offers to 100 names from his database won't drive huge comparable-sales gains, but the "extra $300 to $400 a week in revenue that brings will pay for a POS system really quick," he said. "Any incremental sales we get from that generates probably 50 percent incremental profit, and that adds up."