Tracking coupon performance is a science. An effective coupon strategy builds both sales and profit, so knowing what’s working (and what isn’t!) is integral to your bottom line. So how do savvy restaurant marketers decide whether to coupon, what to offer, and how to distribute coupon deals?
Couponing can be a gamble for restaurant operators. Some operators shun coupons entirely to avoid devaluing their brand and standard prices. But in some cases, the risk can pay dividends. Coupon usage tracking is the key to monitoring and optimizing your marketing spend. But coupon usage numbers, like the data in your customer database, are useful only if your employees track redemptions correctly.
If you’re not tracking coupons consistently, you’re not the only one. Poor tracking is by far the biggest stumbling block to understanding and managing your marketing investment.
The reality is, if you aren’t tracking the success of your coupons, you can’t know if an offer or distribution method is worth repeating. If your POS system is capable of tracking coupons or other offers, you can capture precise response data and then compare the results of different pricing, packages, publications or programs.
So where do you start?
Limit the number of coupons that you offer at any one time. More is not always better. Your employees can be overwhelmed with a lineup of customers, and they won’t waste time searching for the right coupon to redeem. Keep the list of coupons in your POS system short and organized. Don’t leave room for mistakes: accurate tracking relies on your staff entering the right coupon, every time.
Consider adding Coupon IDs (tracking numbers). Your employees may find it faster and more accurate to enter an ID code than to locate and select the right coupon button in a crowded coupon menu. It’s a whole lot easier to easier to type in a number or scan a barcode than it is to scan a panel full of coupon groups to find an elusive coupons. IDs or barcodes speed up coupon entry and reduce entry errors. So not only will you handle more orders in less time, but you’ll have better information for evaluating the performance of your coupons and marketing campaigns.
Train your staff on proper tracking. Data entry is certainly important, but so is knowing what offers are current and which ones are expired. Combined with an accurate list of active coupons, training your staff on the proper procedures for redemption is essential to manage coupons effectively.
With rising operational costs, spending wisely is as important as keeping your customers happy. By identifying your most profitable offers and coupons, you can avoid wasting marketing dollars down the road. Are you using your POS to track coupons and campaigns today?