How targeting only lapsed visitors helped HuHot increase sales

How targeting only lapsed visitors helped HuHot increase sales

A few of HuHot's lapsed visitors make S'mores after receiving a targeted invite offering a freebie upon returning the the restaurant.

HuHot Mongolian Grill was on a mission to entice its "most unlikely visitors to come in and purchase meals," which is one reason the 60-unit brand recently deployed the Paytronix predictive scoring platform. Franchisees were worried that loyalty offers were too often going to its repeat customers, but using the scoring system ensured that the brand didn't cannibalize sales by giving discounts to those who would visit the restaurant regardless of a promotion, Monica Minford, digital marketing director for HuHot Mongolian Grill, said in a company press release.
"With Paytronix scoring I have more confidence in my campaigns. Paytronix has the knowledge and resources for accurate predictive analytics, so I trust the scoring and its ability to help us create impactful campaigns," she said. "We've also gained a clear understanding of how our emailed promotions are performing, so we can repeat or refine the ones that drive incremental visits and spending."

Monica Minford, digital marketing director for HuHot Mongolian Grill.

How it works
The Paytronix scoring solution predicts future customer behavior by blending data to indicate the likelihood that a member will present specific behavior or attributes. Each member is assigned a score that's as easy to interpret as a FICO credit score, Lee Barnes, head of Paytronix data insights, said in the releases. 

"Paytronix scoring is a data-driven, predictive filter that restaurant and retail marketers can use for critical insight such as scoring guests' likelihood to visit in the next 30 days, or how likely individuals are to open a promotional email," said Lee about the system that can score millions of customers on a variety of dimensions to help marketers engage consumers with highly targeted, relevant communications. "With Paytronix scoring, brands like HuHot can leverage the full power of Paytronix's predictive analytics without having to make a sizeable investment in building or employing a predictive analytics team."

Testing the system
HuHot used the system to promote its annual National S'mores Day campaign (Aug. 10) but was cautious due to a concern of creating more demand than they could redeem. To keep that from happening, HuHot used the scoring system to only reach its least frequent loyalty guests, shifting levers to narrow the group to a size that that was more manageable. 

Paytronix predictive analytics scored and segmented out a target group of guests identified as "unlikey" or "very unlikely" to visit. Offers were sent two days before National S'mores Day, with target and control, giving these infrequent and lapsed guests a free tray of S'mores with purchase of a HuHot grill meal. A notification was sent to all other members simply informing them that HuHot was serving S'mores, and to come join the party on National S'mores Day, Lee said.

The quick campaign was effective — drawing in 237 guests to redeem their free S'mores and re-establishing a connection with the HuHot brand, Minford said. These were all incremental visits from lapsed and low-frequency guests and were not cannibalizing sales from guests who were likely to have come in and bought S'mores or a meal. 

HuHot even realized a change in spend of $4,500 from those 237 guests, for a dramatic increase above the control group.

"Our Franchisees felt good about the campaign," Minford said. "The Paytronix scoring tool helped us reach only a set number of the least likely guests to visit, so we drove the right blend of just enough redemptions."

Topics: Marketing / Branding / Promotion, POS

Companies: Paytronix Systems, Inc.

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