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Baja Fresh tracks ROI on mobile offers using real-time redemptions

Baja Fresh is teaming with Sparkfly to run its first mobile digital campaign that will enable the fast-casual Mexican restaurant to track promotions from media to purchase and draw conclusions on ROI drive.

The promotions will run through Yelp, Facebook, Google Search, mobile ad networks and Uber to assess the effectiveness of each individual channel with real-time redemption data. They are part of the restaurant’s national “Catch 2” Seafood Taco combo deal, which allows consumers to mix and match seafood tacos and add a third taco for 99 cents. With the mobile promotion, consumers will be eligible to receive $2 off an $8 order, or $5 off a $15 order.

“Baja Fresh is using the data to optimize the campaign in real time. They are getting regular feedback on which partners are driving the most ROI, and they are allocating spend differently, based on who is actually moving the needle,” said Catherine Tabor, founder and chief executive officer of Sparkfly.

“They are focused on using the data to see which of their advertising partners are moving the needle, and at a higher-level, if mobile and digital are channels that make sense for them.”

Fresh catch
Sparkfly is integrated with over 20 leading point-of-sale systems, including MICROS, which Baja Fresh uses in its franchise locations. Because of these deep assimilations, when offers are redeemed through the point-of-sale, the chain will have a real-time feed that shows transactions and provides insights on the purchase that was made.


Leveraging the technology from the Sparkfly platform, the campaign will generate data that goes beyond the simple act of redemption, and includes information on basket size and individual items purchased.

The partnership is starting with a two-month campaign in Los Angeles, with over 60 different Baja Fresh locations.

When data is collected in real-time, it becomes truly actionable for the brand in discovering what’s working and what’s not. Whether they’re looking to test different types of creative, or compare the ROI being brought in by different media partners; the earlier they know the results, the more valuable it is.

Breaking tradition
Many QSRs are taking advantage of this by straying from outdated market research tactics such as focus groups or surveys, and utilizing technology to solicit consumer feedback.

Traditional approaches are effective mediums for gathering information but tend to be skewed due to the redundant “ask and then answer” scenario.  Technology conversely allows for an open forum where consumers are more likely to share thoughts and reactions outside of being prompted. Fostering natural reactions, technology gives marketers in-the-moment and real representations of brand perception. While all businesses want to hear positive feedback about their brand, it is not the most productive decision, as raw reaction will allow for true growth and innovation.

Groupon has similarly integrated Sparkfly’s technology into its mobile and online experience so that coupons can be delivered on a one-to-one basis (see story).

The coupon codes can then be scanned or typed in by an employee at the point-of-sale. The information is then sent back to Groupon and the retailer to get a better perspective on what consumers are buying.

For example, a retailer offering a deal for a percentage off of an item will be able to see what else was purchased at the same time, with the goal of improving the type of offers that Groupon merchants push out. With a better understanding of what else shoppers are buying in conjunction with their Groupon offers, merchants could potentially partner together to offer consumers a bundle of products from different brands.

Modern methods like this for hunting and gathering feedback save merchants’ valuable time and help them maintain on-demand consumer engagement. Las Vegas–based sandwich shop Capriotti’s recently began utilizing its POS system to encourage customer feedback, (see story) and includes a soft solicitation on every receipt to complete a survey online.

Responding to feedback immediately can improve the chances of retaining customers in light of negative impressions. Without collecting customer feedback via technology, many unsatisfied customers would be permanently lost.

The number of mobile and digital deal options is only growing for merchants, making it more difficult to know where to place their bets without solid data that backs up consumers’ preference for using daily deals. With so many loyalty programs and offers shuffled over to mobile, Baja Fresh is intent on using its promotions as a vehicle to change behavior. If carried out well, discovering where to pool ad dollars will be very effective for Baja, especially when introducing new menu items.

“This is the first campaign we’ve run with Baja, and though it just recently launched, we’ve already heard that they are taking what they’ve learned from the first few weeks and using it to affect how the money is being spent during the rest of the campaign,” Ms. Tabor said.

Final Take
Michelle is editorial assistant on Mobile Commerce Daily, New York