Retail bakery chain Greggs has seen an increase in average consumer spend since launching its mobile loyalty scheme, according to its chief executive.

Whiteside said that since its release in February, “thousands” of consumers had joined Greggs Rewards.

The app allows consumers to pay for purchases bought in-store, and offers rewards. Greggs has claimed the app is the first to be launched by a UK food-on-the-go retailer.

He said: “Average spend is higher [for members], which is what we expected. We are happy with what was a soft launch. We wanted to make sure the technology was working, which it is. We are gearing up towards more aggressive recruitment marketing to bring people on board.”

To persuade customers to spend more in-store, Whiteside said Greggs had focused on its promotional deals, such as its £2 breakfast meal deal with a hot drink and £3 sandwich deal.

Whiteside added that despite the increasing retail price of coffee, which could impact in-store prices, he was confident that Greggs’ coffee would still be “exceptional value for money”.

The business is also set to focus future openings away from the high street, which currently represents 80% of the chain’s stores. Due to the changing shape of the high street, Whiteside said the next five years will see Greggs aim towards 60%, with 40% opening in transport locations and industrial parks.

Customer service

Additionally, Whiteside spoke to British Baker on Greggs’ use of social media for customer engagement. Last month, the bakery chain was named the second most popular brand on social media for young people, according to a report published by social specialist agency Headstream.

“Our social success is based on great customer service, relevant engagement and our brand personality,” he explained.

“When it comes to social media, we focus all of our attention on customer engagement – not sales. Content planning is an important part of what we do, and having the capacity to respond quickly to timely events is also important. We plan our content around a calendar, but the team aim to be as responsive as possible and consider what is going on in the wider social scene, keeping us front of mind for our customers.”