Restaurants have been in a unique marketing environment for decades. As technology advanced and allowed businesses in other industries to more precisely target customers, restaurants have largely remained in the dark. This is because they typically do not have a strong method for collecting customer information.
A handful of restaurants have managed to collect some information through loyalty card applications. And others have chosen to target using location-based advertising. For the most part, though, the options were limited. Wi-Fi remarketing is changing this. Restaurants now have a tool that they can use to find out more about their customers and create unique, specific content that can be used to effectively target them.
What is Wi-Fi Remarketing?
The core of Wi-Fi remarketing is the agreement made between customers and businesses. In exchange for the use of a company’s Wi-Fi, customers provide their contact information. Different Wi-Fi remarketing software’s work in slightly unique ways. Some will request a social media profile, while others will ask for a customer’s phone number, email address, and name. Oftentimes it is up to the business to choose the information that they would most like to collect.
When the business has this information, they can then create a new marketing list and then begin to market or remarket in new and unique ways. Some restaurants may prefer to push the list to social media and harness the power of advertising campaigns on Facebook and Instagram. Others could send out promotional emails and SMS coupons.
It allows both parties to benefit in multiple ways. The customer benefits through the use of free Wi-Fi while they are in the establishment, as well as any valuable information they receive from the company’s advertisements after the fact. The business also sees multiple advantages. First, they draw in more customers to their brick and mortar location because of the convenience of free Wi-Fi. Second, they gain new leads and quality information that then allows them to improve their marketing efforts.
While remarketing is inarguably an excellent tool for any restaurant to use, companies still need to be aware of how their remarketing efforts will affect their business and their customers. The following dives into a few factors that every company should think about before opting for Wi-Fi remarketing.
Wi-Fi remarketing provides relatively more privacy than many other technologies that are currently out on the market. The information that is collected with Wi-Fi remarketing is only made available to restaurant management, allowing the establishment to guarantee customer privacy. However, what is done with this information is to some extent up to the restaurant. They have the ability to share this information with third parties or even sell it. While this can be a lucrative new stream of revenue, it is best for restaurants to avoid doing this.
The first reason it is wise to keep customer information in-house is that it helps to maintain customer trust. If customers find out that a restaurant, they patronize is selling their information, it can tarnish the brand. The second reason is the recent concerns over data privacy, created both by the media and by regulators. If businesses want to continue collecting this type of information, they need to stay on the good side of regulators and show that they are prioritizing customer privacy.
“Data security has emerged as one of the biggest threats to a restaurant’s reputation and bottom line. Congress and regulatory agencies continue to consider public policies to stem the tide of computer hacking and data breaches.”
- National Restaurant Association
Public Wi-Fi networks are dangerous. They leave individuals who connect to them open to attacks. To help prevent this and help protect both customer security and a restaurant’s network, many Wi-Fi remarketing platforms offer network monitoring.
Many of the platforms offer network protection, device detection, and notifications and alarms. The network protection offers a handful of safety solutions, such as blocking inappropriate and illegal content and encrypting traffic. Device detection allows the restaurant to monitor the devices that connect to the network so that management can manage permissions to each device in an independent way, if they so wish. The notifications and alarms alert the restaurant about activity on the network, including user activity levels and disabled devices on the network. These types of features allow restaurants to have blanket security for themselves and their patrons.
The Various Remarketing Options
With Wi-Fi remarketing, restaurants are able to take advantage of several different marketing techniques. The first is the splash page. When customers choose to use the Wi-Fi, they are redirected to a splash page that can be customized to provide high quality marketing content. The restaurant can advertise their current promotions, upcoming events, and basic information about the business. These pages will often offer the ability for restaurants to post pictures and videos, send vouchers that can increase customer retention rates, and widgets that provide wanted information (i.e. sport scores, weather, etc).
The second marketing tool that is gained through Wi-Fi remarketing is an enhanced ability to pursue email marketing campaigns. Many of the platforms integrate an automated email marketing campaign function. The system will automatically take customers through a funnel of email marketing as soon as they provide their email address. When customers complete pre-set actions, customized campaigns are triggered.
These campaigns can have various calls-to-action, whether encouraging customers to provide a restaurant review in exchange for a discount voucher or offering them special deals when they have not visited the restaurant in a specified amount of time. Finally, these campaigns are further optimized with email targeting. Instead of sending out a general campaign, restaurants to target customers based on how often the visit the establishment, their language, gender, age, and more.
The third marketing tool is the ability to remarket to customers when they leave the restaurant. Using Google AdWords, Facebook Pixel, and custom codes, businesses can resurface through website advertisements as the customer surfs the webs in the following days and weeks.
The fourth and final marketing tool that Wi-Fi remarketing offers is the potential for customer communication. Many platforms offer a messaging system, allowing the restaurant to message customer directly while they are using the Wi-Fi, providing support and information. Contests can be advertised and customers can inform restaurant management of their preferences or complaints.
Companies and Cost
Restaurants can build their own Wi-Fi remarketing system. For larger establishments this could very well pay off. For smaller restaurants, though, the complexity and expense of developing the technology is rarely worth it.
Instead, there are a number of strong platforms available.
Social Wi-Fi offers the platform to a single restaurant location for $45/month. They allow the business to customize their landing page, splash page, and provide customer insights. It is also simple to create email or remarketing campaigns.
Wisely charges $220/month for each location. They have a robust guest CRM system which allows you to track each customers visits and online interactions with your business. Internal feedback option also allow regulars to leave you private feedback.
Yelp Wi-Fi costs $199/month and is only available for Yelp Business users. They provide the basics of Social WI-FI allowing you to have a branded sign-in page and SMS promotion capabilities.
Zenreach does not provide blanket pricing but is in line with Wisely and Yelp. They tout their customer feedback portal which asks customers to rate their experiences so you can get out ahead of unhappy customers and encourage happy ones to post reviews.
Wi-Fi Remarketing Disadvantages
As seen through the discussion above, there are numerous benefits that Wi-Fi remarketing has to offer. Unfortunately, there are also a few downsides—not too many, though. The first is that customers may feel uncomfortable sharing their information and that it is a violation of their privacy. They could opt for visiting establishments that offer Wi-Fi in exchange for no information or simply refuse to use the Wi-Fi offering.
The second potential downside goes beyond customer concern for personal privacy. The advertisement and follow-up marketing can create annoyance. There are many individuals that do not want to see the same ad over and over for weeks on end. And it could affect how they see the company, viewing the restaurant as less exclusive because of the mass marketing efforts. A recent survey proved that there is truth to this annoyance with remarketing. While more than half of respondents view online ads as useful and even interesting, they also get annoyed if they are regularly exposed to repeat ads.
12% even went so far as to approach the advertise and complain directly.
In closing, remarketing has astronomical potential. It can increase customer engagement with restaurants, allow establishments to more effectively communication with patrons, increase customer retention, and elevate the ROI of marketing efforts. However, it does need to be done with caution and care. Great effort and thought needs to be put into the advertisements and ensuring that there is enough variety to prevent annoyance among the customer base. Additionally, to ensure security restaurants should actively supervise the security portal that their Wi-Fi remarketing platform offers. If done correctly, Wi-Fi remarketing can transform how restaurants interact with their customers and enable these establishments to create unparalleled customer retention, an enhanced collection of online reviews, and regular interactive engagement with restaurant visitors.