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Canadian Subways are collaborating with Turnstyle, a location-based marketing and analytics platform that utilizes public Wi-Fi to attract, retain and reward customers. The platform gives the chain insights about on-premises customer behavior and allows it to send real-time messages to customers’ phones without requiring customers to download a mobile app, according to a company press release.

The expansion follows a successful program that took place last year in Northern Ontario. It saw customers who signed-in to the Turnstyle-powered Wi-Fi returned 1.8x more frequently than those who did not, and those who redeemed the first coupon increased their visit frequency 5.2x compared to their pre-redemption behavior. The new partnership enables 600 Subway restaurants across Alberta, Saskatchewan and Northern Ontario to turn their free, guest Wi-Fi into a location-based marketing platform at participating locations.

The loyalty program instantly rewards patrons who sign in to the Wi-Fi for the first time by sending a digital coupon for a free 6-inch sub directly to their smartphone through email or SMS message. From there, guests are automatically rewarded on subsequent visits based on metrics detailing how often they visit a Subway location, without the need for future Wi-Fi sign-ins, punch cards, coupon flyers or mobile applications, the release stated. Once a customer opts-in to the Turnstyle-powered Wi-Fi, they automatically become part of Subway’s loyalty platform.

“We’re thrilled to be working with Turnstyle to enhance the customer offering and experience through Wi-Fi,” said Melissa Gallagher at Twist Marketing. “As we move towards integrated digital experiences, it’s important that we bridge the online and offline world together. Leveraging Turnstyle’s technology, we are able to do this and so much more.”

Subway is utilizing Turnstyle’s technology to increase customer retention — particularly among millennials, increase real-time insight on customer habits, better customize the in-store mobile experience and create more consistent public Wi-Fi across the Subway network.

“Market trends and recent studies indicate that more than 69 percent of customers are willing to hand over data for location-based marketing rewards,” said Devon Wright, CEO, Turnstyle. “We are honored to be working with Subway to bring something relevant to their clientele, based on customer insight garnered through Turnstyle technology.”

Turnstyle launched a program for Subway restaurants across Northern Ontario in February 2015. The program, which included 54 participating Subway stores, saw more than 16,000 customers sign-in to the Wi-Fi more than 35,000 times over four months. Once a customer opted in to the Turnstyle powered Wi-Fi, Subway had the ability to message them through email or SMS, based on their location and demographics. Subway realized a 17-percent redemption rate on their mobile opt-in coupon offering compared to the 1-3 percent industry average for traditional direct mail, the release stated.

Turnstyle’s technology allows any Wi-Fi enabled device to be detected as soon as it enters the premises. By logging on to the Wi-Fi with Facebook, email or a phone number, it enables customers to opt-in to receive customized offers and rewards.

Travis Wagoner

Travis Wagoner is a previous editor of He spent nearly 18 years in education as an alumni relations and communications director, coordinating numerous annual events and writing, editing and producing a quarterly, 72-plus-page magazine. Travis also was a ghostwriter for an insurance firm, writing about the Affordable Care Act. He holds a BA degree in communications/public relations from Xavier University.

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