Panera Bread is finding its test with consumer palm-print-linked Amazon One to make the customer experience easier than older methods, the company’s digital chief said Sunday.
George Hanson, chief digital officer for Panera Bread, and Jason Templeman, director of the Amazon One platform, provided a glimpse of the partnership, which is in test in St. Louis, Mo., cafes, during a National Restaurant Association presentation entitled, “Delivering a Frictionless, Personalized Experience Through Loyalty Innovation.
In March, Panera Bread announced the partnership with Amazon to bring the contactless palm-reader payment option to in-store guests, with the Amazon One platform. Panera said it was the first national restaurant chain to debut the technology, which allows users to link their credit card payment with their unique hand signature, and simply wave their hand to pay for their Panera menu items.
Hanson said the Amazon One platform with linked MyPanera loyalty accounts will roll out to more cafes, earlier mentioning Seattle, Wash., units, over the next few months.
“We had a philosophy of making big bets with big partners,” Hanson said. And the early results have accelerated the strategy for the bakery-café company.
“Amazon One not only does the loyalty identification experience and the payment experience, which we believe will only propel more usage and more loyalty at the café, but Amazon One also allows very easy new loyalty signups,” Hanson said in citing benefits.
“That means a better, more consistent experience and digitally higher margins, higher check and, again, the ability to have that continuous two-way relationship with our guest,” Hanson said.
The company has measured usage, registrations through Amazon One, new registrations for MyPanera members and other factors, Hanson said.
“Amazon One has unlocked for us the ability to get in-café registrations,” he said, rather than have customers take a form and apply at home. That was a “game-changer,” he said.
“It has made the guest experience faster, more convenient, and more personalized,” Hanson said.
In addition, Templeman said the “network impact” would likely make Amazon One more attractive among retail outlets, allowing it to be across other retail locations such as Whole Foods Markets
“If I’m on a business trip and go to an airport,” Templeman said, “I can go to a Hudson Non Stop location and don’t have to wait in line. I can go to Seattle, have lunch at Panera using MyPanera loyalty program and payment.” Then Templeman said he go to a sports arena and to buy items at a stadium.
By the end of the year, Amazon One will be in all Whole Foods locations. “We are seeing a lot of momentum,” he said.
In addition, the security halo provided by the Amazon ownership makes it attractive to consumers, the pair said.
Contact Ron Ruggless at [email protected]
Follow him on Twitter: @RonRuggless