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Cinnabon Improves Customer Engagement Nearly 700% At POS

  • Written by Alicia Fiorletta
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Localized marketing is coming to the forefront among retailers. With the continued rise of the Social, Mobile, Local (SoMoLo) shopper, merchants are seeking new and innovative ways to reach customers that are in-store and ready to buy. Although many companies still struggle to determine an optimal localization strategy, best-in-class retailers are reaping the benefits. For example, Cinnabon increased customer engagement at the point of sale by 671% across more than 400 locations by partnering with MomentFeed, a location-based marketing platform.

By utilizing the MomentFeed PinSync solution, Cinnabon accurately pinpointed locations via geocoding, leading to more efficient rankings in geo-targeting apps such as foursquare, as well as on Facebook Places and via Twitter. The solution also allowed the merchant to merge duplicate venues, adjust inaccurate location placements, correct address information, and update venues with consistent branding. Since most of Cinnabon’s locations are in large spaces that offer a mix of venues — such as in airports and malls — accurate venue placement is a priority for success, according to Rachel Hadley, PR and Corporate Communications Manager for Cinnabon.

“When consumers are near any retailer, food service or restaurant, those companies always are going to want to incentivize them to come to their location, and most importantly, tell their peers and followers that they went there,” Hadley told Retail TouchPoints. “If consumers are looking for a place to go, they may use the ‘explore’ option on foursquare to find one. Many of our locations are within venues where consumers check-in anyway; when they do, we want to make sure that they see there’s a bakery nearby.”

Cinnabon initially partnered with MomentFeed to conduct an eight-month study of overall customer engagement and social sharing taking place at food terminals. Engagement was measured across Facebook, foursquare and Twitter, and included standard check-ins, as well as comments, photographs and recommendations. Within one month of leveraging PinSync, and following a charity check-in campaign, overall engagement at the point of sale increased by 86% and 43% on Facebook and foursquare, respectively.

The Hugs from Home campaign, which took place from Oct. 1-31, 2011, rewarded Cinnabon customers with “Cinnabucks” for every dollar donated to Operation Gratitude, a non-profit organization that provides care packages to the U.S. Military. Once consumers checked in to a bakery location via foursquare, Cinnabon also donated one dollar to the charity, for a maximum donation of $10,000. All money raised went towards sending “Hugs from Home” care packages to soldiers overseas. Ensuring top placement for all Cinnabon locations and placing a tag that promoted the campaign helped improve visibility and increased likelihood that consumers would participate.

“If you’re in a location and you see that there’s a special, you’re going to check in,” Hadley said. “That’s why we made sure people saw that money would be donated for each check-in. We believed it was an easy way for users to participate without having to make a direct, monetary contribution.”

The charity-driven, chain-wide campaign was developed to boost activity and interaction at Cinnabon locations, Hadley added. The merchant also wanted to increase participation among its franchisees, which can be a daunting, siloed process for the brand.

Cinnabon is continuing to experiment with check-in specials and other campaigns to further loyalty initiatives through Facebook, Twitter and foursquare, according to Hadley. However, as customers continue to leverage social media and smartphones to interact with brands, localized marketing will become an imperative to overall engagement strategies for merchants across verticals. “Nowadays, retailers have the opportunity to communicate with customers either passively or actively while they're physically in a store,” said Rob Reed, Founder and CEO of MomentFeed. “It’s very powerful for consumers to know that when they check in to a location, somebody on the other end is listening and acknowledging them in some way.”

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