So the world has had a couple of weeks to digest the Apple announcement — Apple Pay — and to get its collective head wrapped around the idea that there might be something new coming that could, through skill, luck, and timing, be significant for the future of B2C.

QSRWeb has an article they’ve posted today – http://www.qsrweb.com/articles/apple-pays-impact-on-restaurant-loyalty-marketing — that goes into some more detail about Apple Pay and specifically how it can be applied to restaurants to increase ROI and generate ongoing revenue for restaurants.

One sentence in the article really jumped out at me – “BIA/Kelsey estimates that two-thirds [of restaurants] are lacking in any loyalty program at all.”  I’m more than a little shocked, I guess — how can that many restaurants NOT have some sort of loyalty program in place in this day and age?  I find it shortsighted and somewhat silly that there are businesses who engage with consumers on a regular basis but have no long term plan to increase that engagement (and therefore increase sales and bottom line figures) using technology.

I realize that tech sometimes is expensive; just like any core investment into a business, it has to be well thought out and designed to be scaleable and manageable without overwhelming the person assigned to managing the program.  The user experience is not always an easy one to design – we are always refining our UX and looking for the features we need to focus on for the next iteration – and some mistakes are more costly than others, that much is true.

However, failure to design and launch ANY program is a much bigger failure over the long term and costs a lot more in lost business than a couple of mistakes made along the way.  There’s simply no excuse now, with the proliferation of tech and the declining price of implementation, to put off designing and deploying some sort of program that keeps you first and foremost in your customers thoughts, especially if it means that you are pushing other, competing businesses down the list of “where should we go for lunch” or “what’s for dinner tonight” in your customers mind.

As a business owner who takes credit cards, you’re already under the gun with the new credit card acceptance rules coming into play next year.  Perhaps your current terminal can be adapted to accept EMV cards, perhaps not.  The cost of swapping out your existing terminal for a tablet (mPOS) style is minimal, and tablets offer so much more than a standalone processing terminal.  Add apps, run loyalty, service your customer anywhere in the business (including the old cash register counter), and create a system that is simple to integrate and easy to manage, while keeping costs under control.

Just some food for thought today.