Punchh IDs Apple Pay users in the restaurant before they sit down

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Restaurant owners will have the ability to identify an Apple Pay user the moment they walk into the restaurant through a new tool on the Punchh restaurant marketing cloud platform — and send them special offers or coupons through a text message.

Punchh, of Mountain View, Calif., has launched a beta version of Punchh Acquire to its platform, saying it addresses the critical marketing need of new customer acquisition for restaurants.

Punchh Acquire allows restaurant owners to attract new customers through Apple Pay, Facebook, Instragram, Snapchat and others. As new customers visit a restaurant for the first time, Punchh Acquire delivers information about the customer and assigns them with digital identities and profiles.

It allows restaurants to measure campaign efficacy and make adjustments in real time to help move the customer up the value chain toward brand loyalty, Punchh said.

In the past, Punchh has cozied up to Apple Pay, integrating capabilities in its platform for Apple Pay users to redeem loyalty rewards and offers when completing a transaction.

"Our business is all about building relationships with customers because relationships grow revenue, but you simply can’t build a relationship with customers who remain digitally invisible — both those who are visiting for the first time and the ones who have already visited but have not established a relationship with your restaurant," Shyam Rao, CEO and co-founder of Punchh, said in a Friday press release. "Once a customer makes a purchase in your restaurant, Punchh is already the single most powerful platform available for retaining and growing the lifetime value of that customer."

Through Punchh Acquire, the platform now enables restaurants to turn these "invisible customers" into first-time patrons and begin building personal, lasting and profitable relationships, Rao said.

Punchh Acquire interacts with third-party email service providers, text messaging services, Apple Pay and WiFi to allow the multichannel marketing to new customers.

Punchh says its network of restaurant customers includes more than 100 chains across the globe. During the Punchh Acquire beta test period, the Del Taco restaurant chain is among the first adopters.

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Retailers Mobile wallets Restaurant industry Apple