How Subway’s Wi-Fi Based Rewards Are Driving Foot Traffic

Rewards clubs are a classic way to boost sales. But over the past year, the QSR chain has taken its loyalty offerings in a new direction.

The infamous $5 footlong now costs $6, but Subway is banking on a different type of savings to keep customers coming back: rewards from its wi-fi based loyalty program.

Subway’s basic rewards program is simple. Customers register — getting 25 free bonus points in the process — and then swipe their card every time they make a purchase, getting 1 point for each $1 spent. Points can be redeemed either from the card or within the Subway app. But beginning last spring, the quick-serve sandwich chain launched a new test of its loyalty program connected to in-store wi-fi in a bid to communicate more seamlessly with its smartphone-toting visitors.

Here’s how it works: A Subway guest who logs onto the wi-fi at a participating Subway location receives one offer for a free 6-inch Subway sandwich of their choice. The promotion is powered by Turnstyle Solutions, Innovative Retail Technologies reports, and its technology enables Subway to send a push notification of the reward to the customer’s mobile device as well to ask the user to opt-in for additional rewards on subsequent visits.

“Market trends and recent studies indicate that more than 69 percent of customers are willing to hand over data for location-based marketing rewards,” Devon Wright, CEO at Turnstyle, said in a statement. “We are honored to be working with Subway to bring something relevant to their clientele, based on customer insight garnered through Turnstyle technology.”

The original 2015 test marked one of the first times a QSR chain used wi-fi to reward consumers, and one year later, the effort appears to be paying off: Subway recently rolled out the initiative to 600 of its Canadian locations.

As brands internalize the need to look beyond punch-card loyalty club systems of old, it’s likely that other companies may follow suit. After all, a wi-fi login guarantees that a customer has visited a specific store location, and rewarding this behavior ties directly to boosting foot traffic — a goal of every brick-and-mortar business.

“We’re thrilled to be working with Turnstyle to enhance the customer offering and experience through Wi-Fi,” Melissa Gallagher, VP of Twist Marketing, the agency that leads marketing for Subway in parts of Ontario, told QSR Web. “As we move towards integrated digital experiences, it’s important that we bridge the online and offline world together. Leveraging Turnstyle’s technology, we are able to do this and so much more.”

About The Author
Lauryn Chamberlain Lauryn Chamberlain @laurynchamberla

Lauryn Chamberlain is the Associate Editor of A New York City based journalist, she specializes in stories related to retail, dining, hospitality, and travel.