Fishbowl, a leading customer engagement platform provider for the restaurant industry, just recently announced an integration with Android Pay.
The integration allows restaurant brands to push personalized coupons and to provide seamless loyalty and promotional offerings within customers’ digital wallets. It also works to solve a problem that many brick-and-mortar restaurants and retailers are currently experiencing in the mobile app space, said Prem Kiran, Fishbowl's chief strategy officer.
Founded in 2000, Fishbowl began as a first-generation marketing company focused primarily on email and email-related services, said Kiran. In 2014, the company shifted its focus toward the growing digital landscape.
“Marketing has become much more data-centric in recent years,” Kiran said. “Understanding your guest has become the central focal point.”
In mid-2016, Fishbowl launched a restaurant automation platform, said Kiran, that brought together restaurant guest location intelligence, ordering and purchase data, payment data and more to offer omnichannel marketing capabilities for restaurant chains.
“Today, we house 170 million unique guests and their demographic information in our database,” Kiran said. “That has become a strength for us, to leverage that intelligence to help restaurants market effectively to their guests.”
Fishbowl currently operates at 270 large chain restaurants across the U.S., Kiran said, comprising over 75,000 individual restaurant locations.
“We have analytics capabilities, we have a CRM marketing platform and we have a complete mobile engagement solution,” Kiran said. “As part of CRM, we do omnichannel — email, SMS, push notifications, orchestration, customer journey maps. We create promo codes for clients like Jamba Juice or Denny’s.”
Kiran led the Fishbowl initiative to integrate with Android Pay, a move he said addresses a key issue many brick-and-mortar restaurants face in the digital space — getting enough unique mobile app downloads to justify the expense.
“Say we have a client with 7 million loyal guests in their database, for example, to whom they send emails, SMSs,” he said. “Their mobile apps will have less than half-a-million downloads.”
That’s not even counting the total guest volume of a large restaurant chain, Kiran noted — just the loyal guests who had previously given out emails and phone numbers. The numbers thin out further when considering that mobile app downloads are split among different OS options.
“For many restaurants,” Kiran said, “mobile apps are a small fraction of overall revenue and influence. If I were the CEO of a chain, I would question whether I need to continue investing. What we’ve found with Google is an amazing next step in how to circumvent this problem.”
Since Android Pay is a default app, Kiran said, the integration helps Fishbowl’s client marketers overcome having guests download an app. For example, the integration allows them to create promotional coupons using Fishbowl’s marketing automation and promotions platform, and the coupon then directly goes into Android Pay and resides in Android Pay.
“Android Pay becomes the mechanism whereby we can send coupons and promotional information and directly access the wallet that stores all of this information,” Kiran said. “Now, we can reach all of the Android users and not just the number of people who have downloaded the restaurant app.”
Kiran noted that Fishbowl’s technology is something that can easily be adapted to the broader retail space.
“The technology is clearly brick-and-mortar-centric,” he said. “While we want to be dominant in the restaurant space, our solutions can be adapted across brick-and-mortar retail.”
For the time being, Fishbowl will continue to focus heavily on the restaurant space, Kiran said, pushing out across the entire marketing stack — from acquisitions to redemption.
“What we are looking to do in the next year or two,” he said, “is to grow our capability across the entire marketing funnel — we’re talking about deep integration into Facebook, Google, and into a variety of restaurant review and rating services. Our investments are going to be around how to increase our reach and drive more foot traffic into the restaurant space.”