Mobile Madness: How Domino's And McDonald's Are Winning Customers With Apps
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Mobile Madness: How Domino's And McDonald's Are Winning Customers With Apps

March 29, 2016

Source: Forbes

March Madness may be in full swing in the world of sports, but in the world of food and dining, mobile is scoring all the points.

For some time now, apps such as Yelp and OpenTable have been helping to build the food-and-dining mobile ecosystem. Recently, apps like UberEats, one-hour delivery from Amazon Prime and DoorDash have come bursting onto the scene, much to the delight of consumers.

As I’ve written before, Starbucks has also been considered a mobile front-runner in the food and dining industry. The brand was an early adopter in the mobile marketing space and invested heavily in mobile technologies, platforms and campaigns.

We’re now starting to notice a trend of other heavy-hitter restaurants focusing on their digital presence and beginning to heavily fund their mobile strategies. Names like McDonald’s and Domino’s are just two making it as easy as tap, tap, order. Winning new (and old!) customers along the way.

Dominating Mobile Dining

More diners are satisfying their hunger cravings by ordering Domino’s pizza from their smartphones and other mobile devices. While the Domino’s app isn’t new, executives have taken notice of increased mobile usage among customers and have dedicated significant time and resources last year to expanding its digital efforts.

The pizza giant’s endeavors have proven successful in early Q1, and with March Madness there has been no slowing down. A recent survey from Kelton Global shows that 67% of consumers request pizza while watching the Big Dance, making it the number one meal choice for fans. And with an array of ways to order, whether via smart watch or TV, Amazon Echo integration orEasy Order via text or tweet, diners won’t miss a minute of play action.

It’s all part of how the brand is constantly innovating and creating new ways to reach its customers, one pie (and emoji!) at a time.

According to data on monthly active users in September 2015 fromComScore, Domino’s ranks in the top five of food and dining apps, alongside industry giants like Starbucks SBUX +0.77%. The pizza chain also finds value in partnerships with other mobile applications, helping to expand its reach through promotions.

With online orders accounting for more than half of sales, and an eye on increasing its mobile presence, Domino’s has quickly become a leader in how to successfully meet today’s consumer expectations.

I look forward to seeing what it comes up with next.

Super-Size Your Strategy

Launched nationally last October, the McDonald’s app already boasts more than 7 million downloads, and it offers features such as a restaurant locator, a menu and discounts and promotions. It also has plans to roll out a larger rewards program later this year, according to Nation’s Restaurant News.

Beyond wooing diners with an all-day breakfast menu, McDonald’s took additional steps—like the launch of its mobile app—to reconnect with its customer base. With digital driving its strategy, the brand looks to grow in areas like mobile and personalization.

So far, so good.

In 2016, the fast-food giant aims to do something that many brands haven’t been able to figure out yet: how to tie digital efforts to sales figures. On a conference call in January, Steve Easterbrook, the president and CEO of McDonald’s, said the chain has seen incremental business from the use of promotions via its mobile app.

“When people redeem an offer, we’re actually seeing higher average check[s] than we had expected to see,” he added, speaking to its average mobile user. This has enhanced the overall customer experience, and he emphasized that mobile promotions and loyalty have been a large driver in encouraging repeat visits.

While the benefits of developing a mature digital strategy go beyond just the cash register, brands that are able to link incremental results to their investment in technology and new tactics will go far.

What Can You Do?

Today, more than half (53%) of dining out occasions are unplanned or decided on impulse. Food and dining marketers can better reach consumers who are “eating on the fly” by creating a strategy that allows the brands to be where the consumer is, whenever that may be.

Here are five things that food and dining marketers should consider:

  1. Lead with the diner experience, even online: The best apps always start with the customer, and this is no different for food and dining brands. Create something online or on your mobile app that adds value to your customers’ day and to their experience with your restaurant. My biggest piece of advice? Don’t create an app that just mimics your desktop website. Think about ways it can go above and beyond to help your consumers and design with mobile-first in mind.
  2. Refine your focus: Is it to attract new customers, existing customers or both? Is your online experience meant to entertain customers and build brand awareness, or are you trying to create more loyalty and transactions? Be laser focused, especially when starting out, and make sure you track the key metrics to your success.
  1. Tap into a larger audience: There are many companies that have a large mobile reach. Think about how your company can partner with them in new ways to get in front of more potential customers. Remember, most consumers spend 84% of their time using only five apps, according to a recent Forrester study by Julia Ask. This makes it more important than ever to partner.
  1. Don’t be afraid to fail: The best mobile application companies are not afraid to fail. They are not afraid to test, either. Remember, this is a new paradigm, not only for you but for your consumers. If something doesn’t work, move on to the next solution. In our increasingly mobile world, it’s important to be able to move quickly, taking what we learn from both wins and losses and applying it to future strategies.
  1. Make it personal: How can you make the experience one that is unique for your consumer? Brands can utilize consumer spending habits, app interactions and order history to begin to make recommendations specific to their needs. Allowing diners to opt in to location services or leave menu reviews allows you to send them personalized content and deals when they are nearby a specific location.

Restaurants can (and should!) use mobile to enhance their end-to-end customer experience. Data-driven content and promotions will allow you to build a more personalized experience, which in the end will hopefully keep the customer coming back—one meal at a time.

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