Want to Boost Sales During the Lazy Summer Months? Try a Travel Promotion!

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shutterstock_109696760Few business owners understand the doldrums of summer better than retailers. No matter how busy your store is the rest of the year, it’s pretty much guaranteed that business will grind to a near halt when school’s out for the summer.

With many families opting to spend time together outdoors, at amusement parks, on weekend getaways and longer trips — and no major gift-giving holidays in sight beyond Father’s Day — summer slowdowns are the nature of the retail beast.

Here’s an idea: Try a travel promotion! Your customers are already entertaining their wildest feelings of wanderlust, so why not join them in the fun? We’ve got a few suggestions on how to bump yourself closer to top of mind when all your customers can think of is a summer escape.

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Know Your Customer and How to Appeal To Them

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shutterstock_121852699We live in a consumer culture where almost no one pays full price for anything anymore. Sales, reductions and promotions are the way of the world, and as small businesses in particular, it can be tempting to fall into the trap of creating a promotion around every big holiday and occasion.

It can be a great way to ride the wave of consumer consciousness and make yourself stand out in an otherwise crowded marketplace! But there’s a danger in that, too.

What if your customers aren’t actually interested in the promotion you’re offering — even if “everyone else is doing it?” Do you risk alienating other potentially loyal customers with blanket-coverage promotions? Have you really considered YOUR customers when building these special-occasion sales and promotions?

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Five Ways to Use Restaurant.com in your Mother’s Day Promo

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Mother’s Day commercials suggest that sending a generic bouquet is sufficient for the mama bear in your life.  But does something you can blindly order online really reflect the gratitude and appreciation you have for your leading lady?APR4_shutterstock_134343251

As a business, how do you attract Mother’s Day shoppers who want to do something a little different?  You extend a little nod and say, “We appreciate what you’re trying to do in order to make your Mother’s Day extra special and would like to reward your efforts in the process!”

Here are five ways Restaurant.com can help your business stand out this Mother’s Day!

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Capitalize on Tax Refund Season – Get Customers to Spend that Extra Money with You!

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Get excited, retailers, because an estimated $230 billion in federal tax refunds will be issued this year to the nation’s taxpayers. That’s a lot of extra disposable income!

According to “The Impact of Tax Refunds on Average U.S. Families” (an online report based on recent IRS data) the average federal tax refund was $2,700 in 2012.  For two-thirds of taxpayers, this means receiving more than a month’s worth of income (or more than three months worth of groceries) for the average family of four.


So the big question is: how can you encourage customers to spend their tax refund with YOU?

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5 Easy Ways to Increase Holiday Sales by Offering Incentives and Rewards

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1. Offer a Free Gift

Many of the women reading this post have been “wooed” by the “free gift” technique offered by many department store cosmetic lines and other women’s brands.  The “free gift” technique gives shoppers a valuable and desirable free gift if they spend a certain dollar amount – perhaps something that can even be used as holiday gift for someone else on their list. [Read More…]

Putting an End to Cart Abandonment

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Ever find yourself standing in line at the grocery store, only to realize you’ve left your wallet in car? After investing a considerable amount of time shopping, gathering exactly what you want, there are a limited few that would make the decision to leave empty handed. More likely, you’d ask someone to watch your cart, run to the car, return to complete your transaction, and leave feeling incredibly relieved that all that time wasn’t wasted.

Online it’s a different story, right? Often, we willingly invest hours of time surfing. Page after page, site after site, shopping for the things we need or want and yet, at the end of our journey, when it’s time to check out, we get distracted or realize that the total is a lot bigger than we thought, and flee without even a backward glance.

Somehow when we are shopping in the privacy of our office, home, or even on our phone, it just seems easier to leave. In fact, the latest statistics show that 59% of the time a customer places an item into an online shopping cart, that customer fails to check out and complete their transaction.

There are lots of reasons people give for abandoning their carts but multiple studies show that online shipping costs are the number one reason people walk away from their online cart. A close second is that the cost of the items you’ve put in your cart, add up to more money than you’ve got to spend.

To combat this abandonment issue, many e-tailers have found that launching a follow-up e-mail campaign to entice a customer back can be an effective strategy for closing the deal. They understand that shoppers may have left their cart in a hurry because of circumstances beyond their control. Perhaps a boss walked by, a child fell, or the phone rang. By sending a reminder e-mail to that shopper a few hours later when they’re in the comfort of their own home or things have calmed again, it’s possible their interest in making a purchase can be rekindled.

If a simple reminder isn’t enough, often adding in an incentive award like a gift card or discount on a future or larger purchase, can increase conversion and turn a browser into a long-term and loyal customer. As Dealnews Features Director, Lindsay Sakraida, recently put it, by offering a promotional deal or additional discount to sweeten the pot, e-tailers are more likely to “convince on-the-fence shoppers to pull the trigger on a purchase”.

Prioritizing Your Customer Pipeline

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No matter what size your business is today, finding new customers and replenishing your pipeline should always be a top priority.  You may have the best product on the market but if you don’t invest time and energy in drawing new customers in your direction, it’s quite possible the next register to ring, may be your competitors.

So what are the best ways to fill your pipeline and ensure continued success? 

First, clearly define who you want to attract.

Understanding who is most likely to want your product can go a long way when deciding which investments of time and money will have the greatest potential return. Once you have defined who your target consumer is, learn everything you can about them.  Consider how they spend their time, what they care about, and what they value. By putting yourself in their shoes and seeing the world through their eyes, you can easily discover new ways to break through the clutter and attract their business and loyalty.

It’s also critically important to tailor your messages, products, and services to meet the needs you’ve identified.  This level of attention and care is something customers both value and remember. A positive experience also often prompts new customers to tell others which can lead to referrals and a stronger reputation within your community and industry.

You can also enhance your pipeline by attracting customers’ attention and generating interest by featuring special incentives or promotional programs with every purchase.  In other words, give them a reason to return.  Make sure they know how your product or service can benefit them or meet a need they have today or will have in the near future.  By helping your customers connect the dots and clearly understand the value you offer, chances are they’ll buy from you.  And, the better and faster you satisfy their needs, the easier it will be for you to stand out from your competition.

Last but not least, make working with you as easy as possible.

Do your part to make your customers’ lives easier.  As the phenomenal success of Zappos illustrates, by offering a perk such as free shipping, Day One they succeeded in attracting a large and growing customer base.  By covering the cost of shipping whether buying or returning an item, they forever differentiated themselves from other shoe retailers and e-commerce entities and filled their pipeline with loyal patrons for the foreseeable future.

In the end, if you provide a well-designed product or service, have a clear vision of who it appeals to and why, and then use this information to do everything you can to simplify the purchase process and make working with you as easy as possible; you can feel confident your reputation and your customer pipeline will be full for years to come.

Getting Your Customers To Spend More

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Being in this “dining deals” business makes me hyper aware of all the other deals around me.  Some folks in similar shoes might turn a blind eye to those customer promotional campaigns, seeing that they surround themselves with these deals every day at work.  However, I must be the exception.  I flock to these hot offerings and I’m usually game for the deal.

Actually, as much as I’m calling myself the exception, against the general consumer public, I’m the rule.  Why? Cause shoppers love deals!  It doesn’t matter the offering; I’m checking it out:

“Save 75% on Your Next Purchase!”
“Buy One, Get Two Free!”
“Spend $50, Get a FREE Gift Card”
“Hey John, Buy This Item and We’ll Give You Something More!”

Okay, maybe the last pitch is a stretch, but I know what these retailers are up to.  They are in the business of selling, and giving consumers something additional to encourage an initial sale is incredibly motivating.  People will line up to get a free pair of premium socks with a shoe purchase; a free sports band when you snag an iPod; or free shipping with orders more than $100.

Getting your customers to spend more requires giving them a valid reason to do so.

It’s likely you’re already fully aware of how to run a merchandising schedule that implements seasonal sales. What you might want to do is diversify what the sale is by adding an additional percentage off or premium gift. Many of our Incentive & Loyalty Solution clients use Restaurant.com Gift Cards for this very purpose.

If you’re skeptical, try a rewards incentive program for a limited run and see what the results are. Look at what your competitors are doing to find the niche you might fill with a special lucrative offer.  You might just be surprised what good fortune a twist on a sale brings to you and your business.

Above all else, your customers will spend more when they trust your brand.  Be clear, genuine and simple in your sale offerings.  If you prey on their confidence, you won’t just lose the sale – you’ll lose the customer, perhaps forever.

Balancing Customer and Employee Appreciation

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If you’re like most business owners, you spend a lot of time looking for ways to make your company stand out in a crowd. You work hard to bring in more business while also seeking to reward your loyal customers to keep them coming back again and again. As an employer, you also have to keep employees operating at peak performance for a happy and productive work environment.

The balancing act necessary to keep everyone happy and feeling appreciated doesn’t have to be precarious.  Restaurant.com Gift Cards can help meet your marketing promotion strategy goals and bring your incentive and reward program to the next level.

Our gift cards are easy to purchase and give to customers or employees. Because they never expire, they can be used all year long and even redeemed online. The great benefit is that they are redeemable at over 18,000 restaurants nationwide so anyone can use them locally or while on vacation. Your customers who live across the country will appreciate the ability to use your reward card near their home and office locations, so making our gift cards part of your sales promotion tools gives you an edge over the competition.

By giving restaurant dining to your customers and employees, you are offering them something they will actually enjoy using with their friends and family, and that’s something that they won’t easily forget.

Why Use Gift Card Rewards for Your Business

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For managers seeking to create employee incentive programs, there are countless methods to utilize for implementing successful programs that motivate employees and reward performance efforts. Companies are fast embracing gift card promotions as a preferred method for the following reasons:

1) Lower Costs
Gift cards are an affordable incentive solution that saves time and money. The added benefit is that they do not require a lot of time to manage orders or inventory thus making them an ideal solution for busy company administrators.

2) Value
Gift card solutions deliver high value for relatively low costs. Companies that offer our gift cards find that their employees appreciate fine dining at a large selection of restaurants and will work to achieve goals tied to receiving them. Our $25 gift certificates cost less than $5 making them an affordable choice for companies watching their incentive budgets.

3) Quick Turnaround
Processing orders for our gift cards are quick and easy. We offer electronic certificates that can be sent by email and redeemed online. Our gift cards can be customized to advertise company branding, and the gift certificates make an ideal presentation for performance awards, thank you gifts and special events.

4) Multiple Uses
Our gift program offers flexibility for companies to use as sales incentives, customer rewards and employee recognition. With so many ways to use the card, using Restaurant.com Gift Cards in your business is limited only by your imagination.

Contact us today to learn more about adding our incentive and loyalty solutions to your company’s reward program. Your employees and customers will thank you.