Your Regulars have access to large groups of people- friends, family, colleagues at work. Those groups can and should become your customers.
There's a reason Groupon was initially such a big hit. Remember the early days? If a thousand people sign up for the pizza deal by Friday, it will be 80% off. Tell all your friends! Win-win for everyone, right?
For the deal seeker, yes. For the business owner, most likely not. Many businesses have chosen to use Groupon not to make money (margins are already razor-thin!), but to lure in new customers at a loss, with the hope that they'll come back at full price (and maybe even convert into regular customers).
Reality plays out differently. The problem for blowout group deals is that they tend to attract the one-off deal-seaking vultures, versus the authentic customers who will more likely stick around. The former are more price-driven, while the latter are motivated by soft factors, like whether the store/brand aligns with their lifestyle and values.
That said, group offers are great, as long as they promote healthy relationships and expectations between business owners and customers. Which is why we highly recommend that you allow your Regulars to offer sticky incentives to groups that they're able to muster together.
Here are some ideas to test:
*the Regular who brings in the largest group this month (or week) gets "X" (e.g. a cash incentive, free item, prize, giftcard)
*a deal on a catering order in excess of $200
*a group of 3 or more will all receive "buy one, get one free"
*whoever brings in a group of 3, the third person will get....
*a group of 5 or more will get a secret item
*a group of 10 will all get a % discount / secret item / free "x"
According to the University of Chicago, non-cash incentives are 24% more effective at boosting performance than cash, so the prize doesn't always have to be money.
Through referrals from your Regulars, there is already the instant personal connection, not to mention a willingness to buy (according to Nielsen, people are 4x more willing to buy when referred by a friend, and probably even more when referred by a passionate Regular who is also a friend!). The likelihood of converting your Regulars' referrals into Regulars is significantly higher as well; if the lifetime value of a referred customer is 16% higher (Wharton School of Business) than a random one, we're willing to bet that it's 25%+ when the referred customer comes from a Regular. When your Regulars refer groups to your store instead of individuals, you can multiply these effects.
Now off to the races!