• Restaurant Marketing

How to Ensure Repeat Business From First Time Visitors

by: Robin Johnston On: January 4, 2018
3 min read

Repeat customers ensure long-term business success, but getting them in quantity can be difficult when you lack feedback on the effectiveness of your marketing efforts. Fortunately, such feedback is readily available in digital form for all businesses. While e-commerce has always benefited from this, brick and mortar businesses can also get digital information on the foot traffic in their stores and restaurants.

How is this possible for offline businesses? The answer is Wi-Fi sensor technology. People today are reliant on Internet access with their mobile devices, and if you provide free Wi-Fi access to your customers, most will use it. When combined with the right sensor technology, your Wi-Fi can provide the digital feedback you need for marketing success in converting first-time customers into repeat buyers. This technology provides you with many useful customer behavior metrics. One particularly important metric is the first-time visitor return rate.


This metric is the number of visitors making their second visit and is expressed as a percentage of all visitors. Subsequent visits such as third visits, fourth visits, etc, are not counted. Wi-Fi sensor technology recognizes the appearance of mobile devices within its range and tracks them. After five minutes of tracking, a visitor’s second appearance is labeled as such. The second visit is especially notable because the person has a strong potential of becoming a loyal customer.

If you have a high first-time visitor return rate, it means you’re doing something or several things right. If you can maintain this return rate, retain these customers over the long term, and increase their lifetime value, your business will grow rapidly.

Here are three ways the first time visitor return rate can help your business:

Business and Marketing Troubleshooting

If your first-time visitor return rate is consistently low, the problem could be that your marketing strategy isn’t bringing in many first-time visitors. Obviously, you can’t have first-time visitor returns without first-time visitors. You can verify this by checking the first-time visitor metric, which Wi-Fi sensor technology should provide.

However, if your first-time visitor return rate is low, but you’re getting plenty of first-time visitors, then there’s something about their first visit that is putting them off. Checking through your records will reveal when the pattern began. What changed during this period? Did you change your interior decor? Perhaps a key employee who interacts with customers either left or was hired. Perhaps there is a disconnect between your marketing message and what your visitors encounter at your business.

Customer Loyalty Programs

Turning first-time visitors into repeat customers may be more difficult than retaining your current group of longtime loyal customers. First-time visitors lack the long history of customer satisfaction enjoyed by your loyal patrons. This may require different loyalty incentives, and working these out will require some testing.

Test a new loyalty incentive by comparing your first-time visitor returns against what they were previous to the test. This will prove invaluable for improving unsatisfactory return rates. On the other hand, if your return rates are good, then this testing can improve them further.

Test YOUR Emails

Keep the incentives for existing loyal customers separate from those tailored for your first-time customers by using different email notifications for each group. Once you have enough baseline statistics for a specific incentive, you can then test the effects of email subject lines, content, and call to actions on your first-time visitors. For those who haven’t responded to your previous emails, offer a deep discount, or other attractive incentives.

Finally, the first-time visitor return rate is particularly relevant for new stores and restaurants that need a strong base of loyal customers but haven’t been in business long enough to establish one. Use this metric in combination with well thought out testing to quickly grow your business.

Restaurant Marketing FAQs

What is Restaurant Marketing?

Restaurant marketing is the process of getting people to visit your restaurants. Restaurant marketing creates loyalty, provides data to research, analytics, and allows restaurants to gain a better understanding of their ideal customer profile. It utilizes all customer channels: guest WiFi, website, social, rating sites, mobile apps, email, text, and advertising.

Learn More About Restaurant Marketing Here

What is WiFi Marketing?

WiFi marketing is a marketing technique that uses guest WiFi to collect & clean customer data such as names, emails, phone numbers, customer behavior, and demographics. This data is used to personalize marketing campaigns to increase customer loyalty, build online reviews, and save at-risk customers. The performance of every campaign can be tracked down to the tangible ROI of a customer walking back in your door.

Learn More About WiFi Marketing Here

What is Restaurant Reputation Management?

Restaurant reputation management is the process for restaurants to manage customer feedback and creating systems to improve customer experiences, passively build positive online reviews, and save at-risk customers. It is a very important aspect of running a successful restaurant business.

Learn More About Restaurant Reputation Management Here

How Does Bloom Identify and Bring Back Lost Customers?

Bloom Intelligence uses machine learning to identify at-risk customers. When one is recognized, the system will send them a message with an incentive to get them to return and re-establish their visit pattern. Bloom users are seeing up to 37% of churning customers return.

Learn More About Saving At-Risk Customers Here


What our happy customers
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Austin Eggleston
Bob Cross, Vice President of Operations
Ron Murray
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