Thanx Expands Access to Enterprise-Grade Loyalty Programs
Bespoke loyalty programs used to be reserved for the largest national brands. Restaurant chains like Pizza Hut, Chili’s, and Starbucks generated massive success as some of the first players in the industry to let customers earn and redeem rewards from their mobile phones. Now, the loyalty, CRM, and guest engagement platform Thanx is looking to bring those same high-end features to the broader business market.
The recent launch of the Loyalty 3.0 platform upgrade is a milestone moment for Thanx, which has been around since 2011. The company is looking to make the types of sophisticated loyalty programs once reserved exclusively for mega-chains like Dunkin Donuts and Domino’s available to a broader audience, including small and mid-size restaurants.
The new platform comes with the ability to customize rewards through a flexible points engine. Smaller businesses and mid-size chains can build out branded loyalty programs through Thanx’s self-service program designer and create new rewards in real-time through a rewards marketplace. Businesses can also activate and manage non-discount rewards, and run A/B testing to execute campaigns that generate the highest possible return on investment.
“Loyalty 3.0 is a major step forward because most loyalty programs don’t evolve. Often, they are ideated and launched years prior and stay stagnant as customer behaviors, cultural landscapes, and macro-economic industry variables all change drastically,” says Thanx CEO Zach Goldstein. “Loyalty 3.0 enables restaurant brands to update significant aspects of their loyalty program in real-time.”
That real-time aspect is a major differentiating factor for Loyalty 3.0. Changes like dollar-to-point conversion ratios, rewards values and availability, or the look and feel of customer-facing digital touchpoints typically take weeks or months of lead time, in addition to the time spent in meetings with technology vendors and the money spent on implementation. Goldstein says Loyalty 3.0 was developed to provide restaurants with a level of marketing agility and flexibility that was previously unavailable.
“Legacy loyalty programs have been incredibly difficult to iterate on and change. An endless array of barriers including lack of account support from technology vendors, lengthy lead times to implement, and substantial costs associated with updates kept marketing teams from making necessary changes to their loyalty programs,” Goldstein says.
Another challenge Goldstein hopes to remedy has to do with the complexity involved in building legacy loyalty programs. National restaurant chains can afford to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars developing their own bespoke platforms that capture relevant data from their rewards members, but smaller organizations have struggled to access the same data from their own loyalty programs in a cost effective way.
“The core value of a loyalty program is the ability to capture data and the little data that is captured from legacy loyalty platforms is typically inactionable because of the complexity associated with launching promotions or campaigns,” Goldstein says. “Thanx not only captures more customer data because of our proprietary credit card linked loyalty technology, but we make it easy for any sized marketing teams to launch sophisticated personalized campaigns with an intuitive dashboard and clear ROI reporting.”
Goldstein says the ability to “slice and dice” data is what Thanx is known for. The company offers access to customer data in a pre-built Snowflake data lake that updates in real-time, so restaurant teams can augment loyalty data with data shared from other parts of their technology stack. Loyalty 3.0 takes that ability an additional step further, with a deep investment in data-portability.
“Beyond loyalty, we know that restaurants increasingly want to connect their existing technology systems together and to share customer data across platforms,” Goldstein says. “Thanx will continue to innovate in this area, making it even easier to import customer data from other sources into Thanx and to connect Thanx to downstream systems without expensive, time-consuming integrations. This will allow restaurants to better understand their customers and to use their loyalty program data to inform all aspects of marketing and operational strategy.”