Study: Consumers want e-commerce, loyalty options from restaurants

April 30, 2013

A new survey from EMN8 shows that consumers want the option of ordering food online from their favorite QSRs.

The survey was conducted online nationwide by Harris Interactive on behalf of EMN8 from Feb. 19-21, among 2,230 (among whom 1,904 consumed QSR food in the past 12 months)

Highlights include:

  • 43 percent of U.S. adults aged 18 and older would be interested in ordering from a QSR in the next 12 months via computer;
  • Three in 10 U.S. adults would like to order food from their mobile device; and
  • While the majority of 18-34 year olds who consumed QSR food in the past 12 months ordered in person (81 percent), this is predicted to decline over the next 12 months. Technology is providing the catalyst for this shift as mobile technology proliferates. Consumers are increasingly comfortable using this method with 30 percent of those who consumed QSR food in the past 12 months saying they'd use their mobile device to order in the next 12 months. Additionally, 48 percent of 18-44 year olds would place an order via a computer in the next 12 months.

"Consumers are extremely comfortable ordering goods online and, as generations grow up with mobile technology, they will increasingly want to engage with their favorite brands through this channel. It is increasingly clear that the food industry as a whole needs to embrace methods of interaction where they are comfortable," said Perse Faily, CEO, EMN8. "Through our research, it's clear that QSRs can reach a broader audience by adapting to these desires."

Loyalty programs becoming a necessity

As companies try to capture data and insights about their consumers, loyalty programs have become increasingly important for both brands and consumers. Today's branded loyalty or gift cards often include pin data that can automatically sync with a customer's digital rewards program instantaneously, making the transaction process a more seamless experience.

More than two in five (42 percent) of those whose favorite QSR does not provide all services would like their favorite brand to use a loyalty/rewards/frequent buyer program that incentivized them for purchases. Additionally, 77 percent of those who consumed QSR food in the past 12 months would use a stored value card to pay for their purchases if they could receive additional benefits such as loyalty points or extra coupons.

Also, those whose favorite QSR does not provide all services between the ages of 45 and 54 said they are more likely to want to see their favorite brand use a loyalty program than those age 18-34 (48 to 38 percent) – providing a new way to reach this consumer base. The 55 and older age group who consumed QSR food in the past 12 months responded positively to using a branded store value card to pay for orders if they could receive additional benefits with roughly two-thirds (66 percent) willing – highlighting a new way for QSRs to attract this demographic.

"Everyone from the local neighborhood deli to big brands like Amazon use loyalty programs to increase their customer loyalty — and ensure repeat customers — yet we've not seen this in the QSR industry as much despite consumer desire," said Hope Neiman, chief marketing officer, EMN8. "Loyalty programs are one way to offer incentives that the consumer sees near instantaneously — and one they continue to want from their favorite brands."

In addition to loyalty programs driving repeat business, more than four in 10 (42 percent) QSR customers said they were more likely to return to a restaurant if their past orders were saved within the ordering system. Those between the ages of 18 and 44 (55 percent) were more likely to agree with this statement than those ages 45+ (30 percent) — highlighting a need for restaurants to embrace technology that allows swift recent order recognition.

Read more about trends and statistics.

Topics: Customer Service / Experience, Loyalty Programs, Marketing / Branding / Promotion, Online / Mobile / Social, Online Ordering, Trends / Statistics

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