News Feature | March 16, 2015

Subway Tests Loyalty Program Through Wi-Fi

Source: Innovative Retail Technologies

By Brianna Ahearn, contributing writer

Subway WiFi Loyalty

Subway, the sub sandwich chain with over 46,000 locations throughout the world, has launched a new test of its loyalty program connected to its Wi-Fi. A partnership with Turnstyle Solutions, a location-based mobile marketing company, is currently rewarding loyal Subway customers with a free sandwich in select stores in Northern Ontario. Subway shared the announcement via a press release on The Point of Sale News website.

The program began February 24, and will reward every Subway guest who logs into the Wi-Fi offered at participating locations with a free 6-inch Subway sandwich of their choice. The promotion uses Turnstyle Solutions' technology to push an in-store notification to receive the reward, as well as opt-in for additional rewards on subsequent visits. Turnstyle Solutions also offers Social Wi-Fi capabilities, letting consumers sign on through Facebook and Twitter.

“We are constantly seeking innovative tools to add to our clients bottom line, by aligning communication objectives and authentically engaging with their users. Turnstyle was a perfect fit,” said Melissa Gallagher, Vice President of Twist Marketing. Twist Marketing leads the marketing initiatives for the Northern Ontario SUBWAY®region.

The new test marks one of the first times a quick service restaurant has used Wi-Fi to reward consumers. Subway hopes to use the Wi-Fi system to replace their existing loyalty program that uses punch cards. Traditionally most customers tend to think of Panera, Starbucks and coffee shops, not quick service restaurants like Subway, as destinations for free Wi-Fi. Subway aims to change that mentality, as well as encourage customers to spend more time in the store. This would result in consumers spending more money on menu items while enjoying the free connection. Turnstyle Solutions lets Subway and similar restaurants monetize their Wi-Fi and engage with customers with proximity detection. The company also lets retailers analyze their promotional campaign's performance, with a customizable platform to measure success.

Subway's move is in line with research showing that businesses that offer free wifi receive a good return on the investment. A 2014 survey conducted by Bredin Research and sponsored by Comcast Business found that nine out of ten businesses thought wifi helped keep customers happy while they wait, while more than 55% believed it resulted in higher sales per visit.

Subway's franchisees are on board, and want to to use the program to help increase business to their respective stores. “After 50 years in the marketplace, we haven’t forgotten our most valuable asset, our customers. We are constantly looking for ways to enhance the experience in store. Turnstyle’s technology was appealing because it evolves the way that we can interact with our consumers, providing a platform for direct communication and a new innovative reward system for our patrons, all through the Wi-Fi,” says Steve Beaudry, Board Chair of the local SUBWAY® Canada Franchisee Advertising Trust, in the press release. 

Beacon technology and location-based marketing is quickly becoming the new focus of food and beverage retailers, and Subway is one of the early adopters. The chain released a mobile wallet powered by Paydiant in 2013. Subway currently has more than 3,100 restaurant locations throughout Canada.