Back in June 2021, Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference was chock full of new capabilities available in September when the tech brand releases Apple’s iOS 15 and macOS Monterey. However, there’s one new feature that’s left the email marketing community on a cliffhanger–Mail Privacy Protection (MPP).
For food services marketers, MPP will change the way the industry utilizes contextual personalization in email marketing. Apple will strip identifying information from hidden tracking pixels for users that opt in to MPP, making campaigns reliant on weather, time, or location less reliable. The email image will also be cached between send-time and read-time, which changes real-time image personalization to a more recent-time window.
Apple’s update comes at a time when the industry is shifting tides. After the pandemic drastically changed consumer behavior, digital order growth skyrocketed up 111%. From food delivery planning to loyalty program value, consumers now have high expectations and expect near-instant gratification when it comes to convenience from their favorite restaurants.
Apple’s Mail Privacy Protection does not pose a threat to food services marketers. In fact, it offers a great opportunity. If marketers aren’t doing so already, they should be handing zero- and first-party data to customers on a silver platter. Using the data customers volunteered, marketers can personalize and streamline omnichannel guest experiences that drive high-value actions such as repeat dining. Loyalty communications have also become crucial to an industry in which 52% of adults between the ages of 25 and 40 changed where they order food because another restaurant had a better loyalty program. Tapping into zero-and first-party data to personalize loyalty statements and notifications is a powerful tool to retain new customers brought on by the pandemic and send meaningful communications.
Instead of viewing Apple’s new privacy measures as a rain cloud over marketing strategy, explore how food and beverage services can evolve their communications to meet increased demands for privacy while continuing to provide the personalized, cross-channel experience customers now expect.
Focus on what matters most to your customers
Ordering food through a restaurant’s app became commonplace for many consumers over the past 18 months. While the momentum is still moving forward, brands need to ask how they can create positive, 1:1 experiences for every customer across every touchpoint.
Below, Inkredible Eatery shows how brands can ensure people get the experience they want at every point of their journey. The header image is personalized with a user’s first name to grab their attention. The hero image then urges Quinn to download the QSR brand’s app to their Apple or Android device or deep links the user to a personalized app page based on their preferences.
Based on the user’s previous behavior, the email utilizes past purchase history, recently browsed, or abandoned meals to deliver a personalized, seamless ordering experience. Finally, the bottom block of Inkredible Eatery utilizes first-party loyalty data to communicate membership status, how close customers are to the next loyalty tier, or points until their next reward. Further, first-party data generates personalized copy and progress meters to drive urgency, increase engagement, and increase order value. Loyalty gamification can instill a sense of pride and status when customers unlock free items and graduate to higher reward tiers.
Sunny with a chance of loyalty and behavioral personalization
Despite Apple’s iOS 15’s image caching impacting real-time images, all hope is not lost on leveraging upcoming weather forecasts in email. Utilizing weather for food services remains a powerful tactic. More than half of consumers want to preschedule food delivery before bad weather. Marketers still have ways to keep that tactic in their emails.
First-party data such as customer zip code or assigned home store can strongly indicate where the guest is located. In the Inkredible Eatery example below, a weekly forecast shows when inclement weather is expected– keeping the brand top-of-mind and encouraging guests to plan to take advantage of delivery convenience.
Next, the email promotes app downloads by device targeting to display the user’s relevant app store. With this functionality still in play post-iOS 15’s release, brands can continue encouraging customers to experience mobile ordering. By reminding customers of previous behaviors, another level of personalization displaying order history prompts the user to reorder the favorite menu items or shows interesting food combinations to increase the urgency to order or increase check size.
There’s a lot of buzz going around that Apple’s iOS 15 privacy updates will end effective email marketing strategies. Marketers can now rest assured that the “death of email” myth is busted (yet again). The reality is, email has proven that it’s not going anywhere through the channel’s ability to innovate with the times. Just like any technology or platform, there is always room to evolve. Now is the time for marketers to grow with their environment and seize strategies that harness zero and first-party data to personalize the email and mobile channel to its highest potential.