The Value of the Voucher
By Kevin Moyse
Cheap Takeaway Menus are all about value. We are fascinated how – by putting a little extra thought and effort into what we do – we can offer our customers high quality takeaway menu design and menu printing at a low cost. We are proud of what we can provide and it’s no accident that we make it possible. We know how to design great takeaway menus and takeaway websites, and we know what quality menu printing looks like. Taking that extra leap of imagination and putting in hard work to offer these to our customers at a great price is one of the reasons our business is called Cheap Takeaway Menus. We would not be so bold with our name otherwise. And who doesn’t love a bargain?
We all like to feel we’re getting something at a discount. Vouchers and voucher codes can provide your customers with this feeling. Even the illusion of a bargain can boost your takings.
A quick glance at the internet will show just how much vouchers and voucher codes have become part of the retail experience. They are an enticement to buy. An attractive deal has to be more than an off the cuff idea. It needs thought and planning. You need to crunch the numbers to make sure your profitability does not suffer. Work out exactly what offering a voucher to your customers will cost you, and weigh it up against the potential earnings from people taking you up on the offer. You know your business, and you know your customers. What will work best for both?
Using a voucher wisely
Vouchers and voucher codes are an impressive selling tool. Takeaways have long taken advantage of the power of deals and incentives; menus are full of them, from free delivery options to online only deals. You know how to incorporate deals into your overall business plan. Vouchers are much the same, with the added bonuses of being time-sensitive and a novelty (a quality which can never be underestimated). If you keep track of your orders taking special notice of the response rates for each promotion you will be better armed to use vouchers more effectively. This is true for any type of marketing, you must be able to measure its effectiveness to evaluate whether to continue, adjust or stop particular offers. Marketing is as much trial and error as anything else. Vouchers can be used in a number of ways:
Getting new customers / holding on to old ones
First time customers have the potential to become long-time customers. All you need is the chance to show them your fantastic food at a competitive price and let them experience your customer care. A voucher or voucher code can give you that chance to attract new custom.
Additionally, don’t limit yourself by believing that a voucher can’t be used as a retention tool. If you’re keeping a close eye on your customer base you can create opportunities for customers to keep coming back. The occasional voucher to redeem with their next order will ensure your customers aren’t tempted to stray and might in fact re-order sooner. This works especially well in conjunction with a time limit, ie “off your next order made within 30 days.”
Increasing the average value of an order
Experiment with vouchers which can be used when a customer spends a certain amount. This can be a tricky one and not everyone will take you up on this offer, but as long as you aren’t alienating any customers with the offer, there is little harm in giving it a try. Every takeaway we know will gladly accept the possibility of a larger order rather than never having the chance to. This kind of voucher is bound to attract someone every now and then. There are so many permutations to this approach that you can chop and change to see which works and which doesn’t (e.g. “spend £25 to get £5 off your next order made within 30 days.”)
Encouraging the sale of high margin products
If you have set up your business carefully then you will know the profit margin on everything you sell. Offering a percentage discount on a low margin product may not be worth your while, even if you’re playing a long game. Choosing the products with the highest margin to attach a voucher to could be a shrewd move and increase your overall margin.
Running short term special offers
Vouchers should never be open-ended anyway, but if you email vouchers to customers which expressly state ‘This Week Only’ or ‘Saturday Night Special’ you will pique their interest in a way a simple expiry date never will.
Driving online orders
This is the 21st century. All takeaways should have an online ordering system. If you don’t have one yet we can help you with that Link to websites info. A massive proportion of your business can be generated through online orders so you’ll want as many customers as possible to be using this method to place their orders. Offering vouchers which encourage online ordering will work to support this.This could be “20% off your first online order” or discount codes for specific products when they are bought online. Plus you get to build up that all important database of customers for future use.
If you are currently offering free delivery under certain conditions, you are in effect using a voucher strategy. Free delivery on orders over £20 may be standard for you, but how many orders do you receive under £20? And how many of those do you think could increase in value beyond the £1 delivery charge if you offered a voucher for free delivery on orders over say £15, or £10. Try it for a time and keep track. Free delivery is still a hugely attractive incentive for any customers. It is a psychological quirk of consumers to buy more to get it delivered free. Capitalise on that.
Use free delivery vouchers to target customers who may not have ordered for a while. Targeted emails or text messages may yield an order, and the exclusivity of choosing ten or twenty email addresses to use at a time will make your risk negligible. And if no one takes up the offer, what have you lost?
If you’re not sure of yourself, vouchers on delivery options are a great way to dip your toe into the waters of voucher strategy. Give it a go before you move on to more complex offers.
Build these into your margins and they can be extremely lucrative for your business. The larger the discount you can offer on products the more appealing you make the prospect of ordering. 10% seems to be about the middle ground and something which will benefit both sides of the transaction, but again, you know your business, your customers, and your margins. So act accordingly.
Cash reduction discounts
A cash reduction voucher (e.g. £5 off) on a minimum order value can work just as well. The one caveat here is the minimum order value. A fiver off a £20 order will give the customer a whopping 25% discount, whereas a £50 order gives the customer 10% off. Choose your battles with this one. Perhaps a voucher for the family meal or the special event orders…
Product based vouchers
It may be that your margins are such that you can create a voucher based on individual products (for example buy one garlic bread get one free, or one free extra topping if you buy a 12” pizza, or free garlic bread on pizza orders over £25). Again, these are options based on how much you know your business and your customers. If they are attractive enough that the customer takes them up, the cost of the free item to you will be offset and compensated for by the extra money they will spend with you. Vouchers are a marketing tactic, pure and simple, but they can be and regularly are a highly successful one.
Getting your vouchers out there
Ideally it shouldn’t be costing anything to get your vouchers to customers. The days of separate paper vouchers are pretty much gone (but can be easily incorporated onto a flap of your menu). These days, digital vouchers and voucher codes are how you get them out there. We’ve mentioned emails and text messages, but don’t forget social media. You now have the ability to reach hundreds of people at once, and for them to share your message with many more. Gathering contact information from customer is vital, but in this day and age an online presence is a must for any business wanting to challenge its competitors. Get Twitter, Facebook, Google+, and Instagram accounts for your takeaway. And then use them.
Remember that you are offering vouchers for your benefit as much as, if not more than, the customer’s benefit. Do the maths, look at your previous orders, identify patterns and see what works and what doesn’t. Trial and error will be worth the effort. Monitor your response rates to design the best possible approach. Don’t just send out vouchers haphazardly because that way leads to ruin. Vouchers are a calculated strategy to run alongside every other tactic you are using to drive orders to your business. The success of voucher campaigns lies in the attention to detail. By keeping an eye on your records, your website traffic and your profitability you can successfully choose which dishes or deals to create vouchers for, how often to put them out to customers, and which customers to target.
Like every other way you approach making your business a success, vouchers work when you do it right.