Tasti D-Lite’s Store Customers ‘Checking In’ via Social Loyalty Cards

Tasti D-Lite hopes to keep customers cool with a summer of social media. The frozen treats chain has set up its loyalty cards program so that customers who use Foursquare, Facebook, and Twitter can automatically share when they earn rewards points from in-store purchases.

Foursquare users will be able to simultaneously “check-in” and earn Tasti D-Lite rewards points whenever a cashier scans their loyalty card. As part of Foursquare’s locations-based game, the check-ins will help customers earn badges and become mayor of that particular store. And when their loyalty cards are scanned, the activity feeds of Facebook and Twitter users will reflect new purchases/earned rewards points.

Around 30 of the brand’s 44 locations are taking part in the initiative. B.J. Emerson, social technology officer for the Franklin, TN-based Tasti D-Lite, said his company will also test incorporating coupon links into customer messages that appear in the social streams.

“So the automatically generated post would include a coupon for their friends,” he said. “It’s not just a boring message where their friends are thinking, ‘OK, that’s great. I see you’ve checked in there.’ We are adding value to their feed.”

Emerson continued, “What we will be doing after that is making coupons unique to the person who generated and sent them. So the customer will gain referral points when her friends redeem a coupon.”

The retailer became intrigued about such a loyalty program, he said, after monitoring a bevy of customers voluntarily sharing their purchases on its Facebook page and Twitter account. “We then wanted to automate the process and reward them with points,” Emerson said.

Therefore, the brand’s “TastiRewards” loyalty cards program was slowly rolled out at stores late last year and debuted online in mid-January. Social media elements were shored up two weeks ago. Loyalty members receive a point for every dollar spent, while Tasti D-Lite rewards them with a medium-sized freebie item when they reach 50 points.

With the social aspects in play, customers can get an extra TastiRewards point for every automated Foursquare check-in, Facebook update, or Twitter tweet. Therefore if they activate their loyalty programs for each service, customers can receive three extra rewards points on every purchase.

Users Choose From 12 Default Messages for Social Streams

Via a password-protected dedicated site, MyTasti.com, members can change which of the three social entities they want to use for sharing purchases/rewards points. They can select one or more default messages – from 12 available options – that their friends will see post-purchase in the activity streams. If members choose multiple default messages, the system randomly picks one at the point-of-sale.

Here are two examples of the default messages they can select. “Had to get my fix over here at Tasti D-Lite [store location]. I’m [X] points closer to a freebie. http://myTasti.com.” And, “Yes, I’m eating Tasti again. Just earned [X] more TastiRewards points! http://myTasti.com.”

tasti.jpg Emerson said 7,000 consumers have registered in stores for the program, while 1,000 have signed up online. Heading into spring and summer, he expects a big uptick in activity – especially as locations realize their incentive to increase sales through the loyalty program’s automated social media aspects.

“It’s been encouraging that 28 percent of those who have registered online have enabled connections to one or more of their social networks,” Emerson said. “On average, those people have 91 friends or followers. Do the math when considering tens of thousands of customers [if the program takes off]. We are just now rolling it out.”

The brand also plans to put up a points leader board at MyTasti.com so customers can compete nationally for the top 10 spots and prizes, he said. “We also want to take that virtual activity and put it into a digital display within our locations,” Emerson said.

Foursquare and Facebook May Be in for a Summer Battle

Meanwhile, Foursquare and Facebook appear set to go head-to-head in the geo-social advertising space. This month, Facebook is expected to launch a platform for brands that will allow their customers to post about products when they arrive at stores. According to an Advertising Age report, McDonald’s will be the first company to test the platform.

And in the coming weeks, many brands using Foursquare will be anticipating when they can also get plugged into Facebook’s geo-location service. Dustin Clark, Web project manager for Mountain Hardwear, said he’s recently synced up the outdoors manufacturing brand’s two retail outlets with Foursquare’s business program. Clark said his Richmond, CA-based company would also likely implement Facebook’s geo-location service into its strategy if it became open to other businesses.

“I’ll recruit consumer participation however I can,” he said. “I’ll support both of them until there’s one clear leader – if they end up to preaching to the same crowd, that is.”

Follow Christopher Heine on Twitter at @ChrisClickZ.

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