Panera Bread drives highly personalized guest experiences with the Adobe Real-Time Customer Data Platform

Omnichannel is reshaping the world of fast casual dining, and Panera Bread is at the forefront. A full slate of services, including curbside pickup, in-store kiosks, contactless dine-in, and home delivery, have bridged the digital and physical experience for guests. Recently, residents in the town of Ballwin, MO, welcomed a next-generation bakery-café that brings together all these digital technologies with the trademark warmth of the Panera dining experience. It is a clear view into the future of the company, where Panera can consistently meet customers on each individual’s own terms.

Panera’s success in omnichannel has defined new priority areas for the company. A critical one is personalization, which now has to be orchestrated across different channels and use cases. The execution is more important than ever, in a competitive fast casual industry where loyalty is the core engine of growth. In fact, 72 percent of consumers say that poorly executed personalization (irrelevant information, disregarding preferences) decreases their trust in a brand (per a new Adobe survey). Panera understands that in order to maintain momentum, blanketed approaches to customer experience no longer hit the mark.

The Unlimited Sip Club

Panera has been using enterprise applications in Adobe Experience Cloud to support its customer experience strategy. The company built a sophisticated operation internally, where deep insights on the customer journey have enabled greater sophistication around personalization. Powered by the Adobe Real-Time Customer Data Platform (RTCDP), they can now capture signals that were not previously considered in targeted campaigns. This opens up new opportunities, such as engaging guests in colder climates with new soup options and delivery/curbside services.

Recently, a personalization initiative focused on the Unlimited Sip Club, a monthly subscription service for iced coffee, hot coffee, and hot tea. Consumers who signed up for the service were highly engaged but came with varying levels of intent. With the national attention that Panera drove for the program, member personas ran the gamut from coffee lovers and first-time customers, to longtime patrons of the company. Adobe’s RTCDP helped to support micro-segments that allowed teams to test and optimize different content and messages. By carefully orchestrating this across channels like the website, email, and social media, Panera was not only able to boost engagement and increase subscriptions to Unlimited Sip Club, but also bring back customers who tried the service and hadn’t renewed.

“Personalization campaigns are essentially won on the margins, where a few carefully selected data points will produce the conversion necessary to make a real impact on the business,” said George Hanson, SVP and chief digital officer, Panera Bread. “It speaks to the high expectations of guests today, where every interaction needs to be relevant, simple, and engaging. Gathering real time insights and orchestrating cross-channel experiences is critical here, and our continued partnership with Adobe Experience Cloud will allow us to execute with speed and efficiency.”