How restaurants can identify and activate your highest potential digital customers

In the past several years, the restaurant business has seen a significant shift in consumer behavior transitioning to digital ordering and engagement.

Over the next few years, research shows that the online food delivery market worldwide is projected to grow by 12.67%, demonstrating an increasing reliance on digital channels as an essential component of the dining experience.

Customers now have the option to eat in, order takeaway, or take advantage of delivery thanks to the availability of user-friendly apps. Even still, 55% of internet orders are simply takeaway orders. Early adopters of technology are becoming increasingly interested in these new cutting-edge platforms.

Restaurants can embrace these new digital channels to reach all their in-market customers with the right messages on the right channels, especially those customers most likely to convert. The key is using their first-party data.

Applying data to find in-market customers

As online delivery flourishes, restaurants can use data to find the greatest opportunity for new digital channels.

Epsilon examined the intersection of heavy online delivery users and early adopters of technology: 1) people who frequently use online delivery, and 2) people who are more inclined to embrace new forms of digital technology. This segment of users has the highest potential for new digital channel engagement, and when restaurants can capture and activate valuable customer first-party data for media activation, they can promote messages and products that resonate with guests most likely to convert.

Epsilon’s expertise and approach allows our restaurant clients to find those people most likely to purchase. This, coupled with our media activation solution Epsilon Digital, allows restaurants to deliver highly effective messages across channels to real people, not vague audiences.

Data enhancement unlocks a deeper understanding of guests

The key to making this happen is data enhancement. At Epsilon, we take a restaurant’s first-party data and enhance it with a series of other data sources, allowing brands to see their customer on a much deeper level.

Why does this matter? Restaurants can analyze and strategize on how to effectively reach all their in-market customers, especially those who are most likely to purchase. They can determine what messages will resonate and the right channels to deploy their ads.

  • STEP 1: We use proprietary data of all US individuals’ demographics, eating habits, 11 major purchase category frequencies, shopping patterns, lifestyle, preferences and propensities to fill in data gaps a restaurant doesn’t know about its customers.
  • STEP 2:  Then, we analyze and build restaurant-focused audience segments using Epsilon’s proprietary market trend propensity models. We can segment and profile the high vs. low technology early adopters and evaluate restaurant customers who frequent takeout orders, seek fresh food, are quick service enthusiasts, and order delivery online.
  • STEP 3: Finally, we examine and study the restaurant-focused segments and technology early adopters together because these cross segments are more inclined to embrace new digital channels for restaurant menu engagement and virtual orders.

Epsilon found that 11% of a total US audience age 18 or older are early technology adopters and frequently do online food delivery. Conversely, we found that 35% of a total US audience of the same age are generally “tech laggards” who don’t adopt new technology at the same level and do not regularly do online food delivery. 

Activate stronger performing media with Epsilon’s help

Optimizing media activation is obviously good for a restaurant’s bottom line, but it also develops stronger customer affinity overall. In fact, “the new channel strategies can intersect with existing channels to make a more seamless guest led experience when ordering through and engaging with the brand,” Stewart says.

With Epsilon Digital, brands get more out of their first-party data to reach in-market guests. We deliver 98% of all messages to real people, not cookies or devices, and we see 2.5x more guests than our competitors.

And through Epsilon’s identity and activation solutions, restaurants can expect:

    • Personalization: Emphasize the value and convenience for these customers in new digital channels. We leverage customer data to enhance segmentation and deliver personalized experiences. Additionally, Epsilon’s CORE ID helps us understand these customers within our data base.
    • Fulfillment: Leveraging new digital technologies, such as metaverse digital ordering experience or delivery applications. Epsilon assists brands with their channel strategy, enabling integration of emerging digital channels and a data collection strategy that aligns with KPIs.
    • Loyalty/Engagement: Utilize new digital channels for interactive experiences like gamification and tiering. Epsilon’s Loyalty platform enables brands to create tailored journeys within these channels.

Restaurant brands should align on what goals they want to achieve with the launch of new channels, assess their level of existing channel maturity, and ensure proper resources before deploying.

Cook up new customers with these strategies and Epsilon’s solutions, and effectively identify and engage with all your customers, including your highest potential digital buyers.