Return Customer Marketing

I’m sure that this has been discussed to death but I haven’t been able to find anything when using the search function. (I find plenty of other useful info that keeps me occupied for hours though.)

Anyway, my DELCO pizza shop just opened about 6 months ago in suburban Portland OR. We need plenty of new customers, but I also want to increase customer frequency at the same time. I am looking into starting a rewards program. It will need to be a punch card system as we only have a cash register. Also, for the last few months, I’ve been recording every delivery that we take and I think its about time to send these people a postcard (especially the one’s that haven’t ordered for a month or two.) Are there any offers or specials that you guys have the most luck with? These are customers that I’ve already gotten to eat our pizza once and they may just need a little push to try us again and become hooked.

Also, when you send postcards to exact addresses, is there a more cost effective way to do it than standard postage? The USPS website isn’t the best and I just figured out how to use their EDDM. (Thank you PMQ.)

I’m looking for any advice that you guys can offer. Or if you can direct me to a previous thread where this has already been discussed, I’d appreciate it.

Thanks in advance,


First thing. GET A POS SYSTEM! there are cheap and FREE products out there.

Search for terms such as:
[list]Bounce Back
Box Topper

Just so you don’t think Daddio’s sentiments are universally shared: Don’t waste your money on a POS System!!! It is just the “flavor of the day” - the new thing that will magically fix all your problems. A waste of time and money… Successful people have them, as do unsuccessful people, and people are successful without them, as well.

Disagree. I am able to run my store more efficiently and grow with it.
Just the simple mathematically errors & uncharged stuff from handwritten tickets was enough to make me pull the trigger.

If you are strapped for cash, Point of Success makes a nice program.
The higher end systems have much, much more features if you want to splurge.

I somehow knew this was going to be one of the first responses. I’m working on it and hope to have Point of Success hooked up by the end of July.
Thank you for the key words too. I found that using the advance search and looking for titles only helped me sort through the information a lot easier.These two threads were particularly helpful.

I’ll keep doing some research, but what does anyone do for postage on lost/lazy customer postcards? Since my volume of postcards going out won’t be very high, do I just need to put a stamp on each one?

I have heard this said a few times in marketing seminars as well as other places. Hand write the postcard and use regular postcard rates. This will give the personal touch that shows the customer they are not just a target for mass marketing. A customer is less likely to use the round filing cabinet to store a personal note that is hand written and stamped.

At one point in time I sent customers who had ordered at least 3 times but had not ordered in 60 days a $1 Million ticket for the next weeks draw. The response was about 40% of the customers returned,which in my books is very high. I wrote a note that said, Your support is worth a million to me! Good Luck. The total cost was $1.50 per customer. Two orders from the returning customers paid for the whole deal. One of the customers reported winning $100.

I love this idea, I think every time I get a corporate order, I’m following up with that.

You can file this with “you don’t need to accept credit cards either”.

or with “I know people who do well and don’t market at all”.

To your specific question . . .

The best thing we’ve done to encourage repeat business is sending out postcards to everyone who “signs up” and who we have delivered to. Get a bulk mail permit at your post office and have the indicia imprinted on your postcards for a .26 rate. The permit is around $180 a year. You can organize your postcards to different degrees for better rates if you are so inclined. Do a search here as someone has posted very detailed info on how to take advantage of the best rates. Again, all made “much” easier with a POS – especially as your customer list grows.

In our experience, emails are not particularly effective, but they are so cheap to do it just makes sense to – if for any reason than to just keep your name in their minds.

Make sure you have business cards and magnets on your counter for people to take home. Nothing like free advertising on their fridge or bulletin board.

Whatever you do, I would “always” suggest you make your offers “unique” so you can track the effectiveness of “each” one. I see countless businesses send out mailers and also hand the overruns out in the stores. Many run the same ads everywhere, year after year. Either its lazy marketing or they think the feel their counter people can ask the right questions or input the coupon from the correct medium every time. Imo, at best this is an unreliable practice and at worst its just not a good expenditure of managerial effort to try and distinquish where a coupon came from.

A lot of people here would mention box toppers but we have never found them to be effective – no matter the offer – aggressive or not. Again, many will just tape their overruns to the box – so how do they really know if it is effective or not?

Larger and smaller markets are different – as are other demographic profiles. Experiment!

.To be accurate, that statement (by me) would say, “I do quite well, and I don’t market AT ALL.” No advertizing, and nothing that resembles advertizing in any respect. I started accepting CC about 5 years ago, and still do, but I have found it is unneccessary. Debit Cards, yes. CC not so much.

I have run across a few places that do little or no marketing and seem to do okay…But they are the exception to the rule…Often they are in a high traffic area and/or have been around “for ever”…But having said that, even places like that can drive more business (and profit) by marketing…I am kind of biased, however, I think it would be unwise to spend little or no money on marketing…

Maybe I should have qualified my post to refer to people who are trying to maximize their investments. I admit, I may be guilty of making broad assumptions from time to time.

My biggest mistake was opening without a pos. I got one six months after I opened

I bought the pizzeria I grew up in from my Dad. Started in 1959 it is a great place that everyone knows about. He had good sales (500K in 2006). I knew that we had a potential for higher sales because he never did marketing and he did not take credit cards until 2006. He also had no POS.

First thing I did was to upgrade our oven and get ready for more sales. Then I bought a POS and started marketing with direct mail menu’s. Return customer marketing is all about reminding your customers that you are there for them so getting a menu is a great way to do that. We also started using box toppers the past 8 months and that is another great way to get customers to come back more often. Sales have doubled since 2006 and we are continuing to grow.

lol, I think I’ve been flamed. Actually, I’ve got nothing against marketing, if you need it, you need it. But my usual thought when I see persistent marketing by an established biz is: “Why can’t you retain your customers?” Assuming they are not a “cheap food” place- PH, Domino’s,LC, etc - then the thought process goes like this: No Place would do Marketing if it didn’t bring in new people - This biz does Marketing all the time - Why aren’t they full? Why don’t those customers come back? This is the question you need to be asking yourself, instead of just blindly pouring your $$ into more and more Marketing.

I think it’s important to mention that Daddio sent those tickets to already repeat customers who may have been slipping away. It’s a very clever idea and worth the investment because you know they already like your business. They didn’t just try you out once and never return. Clearly, your products resonated with them. It may not work with a brand new customer that you are trying to get back in. If they didn’t like you the first time around, that won’t get them back.

Good point.