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Schlotzsky?s engages customers with mobile games on app

Users of the app can now play Scratch, Match & Win for food and drink prizes, including a free sandwich every week for a year, and Stackin? The Original, which challenges players to move up levels as they stack sandwich ingredients, letting them share results on Facebook. The games continue the chain?s efforts to integrate a digital rewards program with social sharing and in-app referrals to let customers take the business viral. 

?It's fantastic to see a 43-year-old company taking advantage of not just mobile loyalty, but also gamification,? said Sheryl Kingstone, Toronto-based research director for Yankee Group. ?The quick-serve restaurants are one of the fastest-growing verticals to leverage mobile from order ahead to cardless loyalty programs. 

?The company is clearly trying to stay relevant to their mobile-first customers. Our studies show that customer engagement marketing strategies such as mobile scavenger hunts, SMS polls and trivia, contests, and promotions all increase response and conversion rates, creating more momentum for future campaigns.?

QR code
For a limited time, Schlotzsky?s Lotz4Me app can be downloaded by scanning a QR code on medium drinks.

Schlotzsky?s launch of the Lotz4Me Guest Rewards mobile app in June enabled users to refer friends and earn rewards when individuals in their network downloaded the app and made a purchase. The Lotz4M Guest Rewards app was developed by Punchh, a mobile CRM platform provider. 

Home page invites visitors to download game and app.

Lotz4Me uses social technology that allows guests to get rewards for discussing the Schlotzsky?s brand on Facebook or giving word-of-mouth referrals.?? 

To encourage consumers to get the app, each download was loaded with a credit for one free small The Original Schlotzsky?s sandwich with purchase of chips and 32oz. drink during the month of June. 

For each friend who downloaded the app based on Facebook referral, the guest who originated the invite received a referral punch once the new user visited a Schlotzsky?s to use the app. 

The chain additionally rolled out a ?Sandwiches Have Landed? digital campaign to generate buzz about the program during its launch. Through a series of videos, the adventures of a team of underdogs were chronicled on YouTube, Facebook and Twitter in June as they saved the world from the invasion of one million sandwiches headed to earth. The characters informed audiences how they could save the world from falling sandwiches by downloading the app to take a sandwich out of the sky.

Given the competitive nature of the fast-casual industry, apps that are designed to build brand awareness and deepen levels of brand engagement will drive profitable sales. 

Indirect rival Starbucks intermittently offers similar discounts to existing app users who successfully persuade friends to join My Starbucks rewards, and greets new users with bonus points, though the promotion is never ongoing. 

One of the best known digital customer referral programs has been implemented by Dropbox, which rewards both their existing and new customers with additional storage space when a new user signs up for the service. 

Rewarding advocacy
By combining an app-based loyalty program with a social sharing and a referral bonus benefit, Schlotzsky?s is driving incremental guest visits by rewarding members for each visit while also rewarding their advocacy through both social sharing and referral bonuses. 

Blending loyalty and social media to drive business to go viral.

This combination gives loyal and engaged guests an easy way to share their fandom with friends via the amplification of social media. By putting guests first, at the epicenter of the brand, and building around their stated wants, needs and desires, Schlotzsky?s is setting an example of how traditional app rewards can be taken even further.

?Mobile loyalty programs that reward users by tying rich customer profiles to actual transaction data provide the best foundation for success,? Ms. Kingstone said. ?Blanketing customers with SMS campaigns is not a meaningful engagement strategy. It alienates customers and causes them to opt out of future marketing communications. 

?Personalized, context-relevant offers are more effective, and basing rewards on real-world transactions ensures they are calibrated appropriately and promotes stronger engagement,? she said.

Final Take
Michael Barris is staff reporter on Mobile Marketer, New York.