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Tropical Smoothie Café’s app whirs up automatic reward credits

Tropical Smoothie Café is blending together a slew of mobile loyalty ingredients for its application, including an automatic reward credit earning feature, friend referrals and the ability to link credit or debit cards for streamlined on-the-go purchases.

The fast-casual restaurant chain rolled out the first iteration of its mobile app several weeks ago, and is now adding several loyalty-first features in a bid to drive sales as well as downloads. Customers can now leverage the app to earn automatic money-back credit after spending a specified amount at Tropical Smoothie Café locations and make quick purchases without having to carry a physical wallet.

“We know that mobile technology has impacted both the way consumers spend as well as the way in which they make dining decisions,” said Jami Horowitz, manager of brand awareness and impact at Tropical Smoothie Café.

“Specifically, our engaged millennial target [customers] carry out many of their day-to-day functions through a mobile device and seek out brands that fit into their mobile lifestyles.”

Blending in new capabilities
Tropical Smoothie Café has implemented an automatic rewards credit earning tool within its app, enabling consumers to build their loyalty credit with each purchase. Users will earn $5 in credit for each $55 they spend at its restaurants, alongside a $5 welcome incentive for downloading the app.

Distributing a welcome incentive of loyalty points or credit is a popular sales-driving tactic that has been tapped by a slew of fast-food chains.

During its first-quarter earnings call, McDonald’s revealed it garnered more than seven million downloads of its mobile app since the fall 2015 launch, proving that welcome offers are directly correlated to high registration rates (see story).

Additionally, Tropical Smoothie Café consumers can boost their credit amount by referring the app to friends. Customers will receive $5 for inviting someone to download the app and another $5 once that individual spends $10 at a Tropical Smoothie Café.

Fans of the quick service restaurant chain will also be able to complete faster on-the-go purchases by taking advantage of the app’s mobile payments capabilities. Individuals can link their credit or debit cards to their app accounts to complete a payment in-store or use the order-ahead feature to skip the line.

The in-app technology encrypts each user’s card, ensuring that consumers will feel secure when using the feature.

“Our consumers are on-the-go; they don’t have time to wait in line,” Ms. Horowitz said. “If they can easily order ahead and skip the line upon arrival, this shows how Tropical Smoothie Café is the answer not only to their nutritional needs, but also the answer to save time and streamline things in their busy day-to-day lives.”

Customers can also track non-app purchases to accumulate even more rewards credit.

Tiered loyalty levels
Tropical Smoothie Café is attempting to fuel more sales by allowing consumers to move up through a variety of tiered loyalty levels. Consumers who first download the app are placed in the “Boosted” level, which offers the $5 welcome credit and $5 bonus for every $55 spent.

Individuals who spend $500 or more within the app in a one-year period will reach the “Energized” level, which also offers the automatic rewards credit in addition to a complimentary menu item on the user’s birthday and a free smoothie supplement at any time.

The “Supercharged” status level, accessible for consumers who spend $1000 or more in a year, includes one free smoothie supplement per week, as well as VIP invites and exclusive deals.

Tiered loyalty levels provide even more incentives for consumers to pay for purchases through a brand’s app and collect their rewards credit. If, for instance, an individual sees that he or she is $10 away from unlocking a new level featuring a plethora of prizes, he or she will be much more likely to spend the extra money to attain that status.

Tropical Smoothie Café has been placing a bigger focus on mobile as it ramps up to maximize in-store efficiency and attract new customers.

Earlier this summer, the fast-casual chain worked to streamline its customer service and operating system at store locations by adopting a mobile management system that cuts down on paper waste and saves employees time (see story).

“Our app will continue to evolve as both technology and consumer demands evolve,” Ms. Horowitz said. “If we are not giving our consumers what they want and/or need, they will find someone else that does.

“Lack of evolution would prove to be a detrimental business decision in the long run.”