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    Subtle Selling

    I went to Panera yesterday morning to pick up some pastries for a company meeting. As usual, the cashier asked if I had a reward card, and asked if I’d like to get a reward card. I said, “no” to both. However, I might just change my mind after my experience!

    The cashier gave me the reward card discount anyway, which took about 8% off my order total. When I saw that total ring up, I almost asked for the paperwork for the reward card right then. However, I was in a hurry, so I decided to just wait until next time. This is a great strategy for getting people to sign up for the card. The restaurant is not losing any money by giving me the reward discount, as they budgeted for this “loss” when they started the loyalty program. It makes me feel good about my relationship with the company, allows me to try out the discount, and gives me the satisfaction of savings. My only thought was that the cashier should’ve told me he was giving me the discount anyway, just as a courtesy. I happened to notice, but not all customers would. This is a great sales opportunity, so calling attention to the benefits of the loyalty program might have tipped the scales.

    While waiting for my breakfast sandwich, two other customers used their reward cards. Both of them were eligible for a free coffee that morning! Wait, I can get free coffee if I get a reward card? You didn’t tell me THAT! These customers were giving reviews without even knowing it. Seeing other customers utilize the loyalty program was helpful in showing me the ease and the benefits. They were able to give their phone number to pull up their rewards account, and the cashier helpfully told them their freebie-eligibility. I like that they make it easy… you don’t even have to keep up with a coupon or points! Again, had I not been in a hurry, I would have picked up the paperwork.

    Your customers can be your best sales people, and a product sample goes a long way toward making the sale. I’ll be signing up for the Panera reward card next time I visit the restaurant, and I their subtle selling gets all the credit.

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    2 Responses to “Subtle Selling”

    1. Grace says:

      I’ve had this happen to me a few times at different grocery stores and it always makes me like them a lot more. I get tired of signing up for a million different rewards cards so I usually avoid it unless I know I will be shopping somewhere a lot. I really like that CVS has a courtesy card button on their self-serve screens that you can use without having an account.

    2. Matt Faus says:

      Since these reward cards cost money to implement while providing no tangible value to the consumer they actually increase prices. Unless, of course, the emotional high of getting a “sale” is truly worth a few cents per transaction to you.

      There are also privacy concerns, but I don’t care too much about that. These people sure do, tho: http://www.nocards.org/overview/index.shtml

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