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McDonald’s is jumping into the app world, but with multiple motives?

(TECH NEWS) McDonald’s is following suit and will begin implementing different tech strategies to increase business but are there ulterior motives?

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McDonald's app

McDonald’s app

Customer loyalty programs are hardly anything novel, and many rely on information you willingly share to mine data about your browsing and shopping habits to then refine your customer experience. What is new, then?

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McDonald’s is jumping into the fray.

Self-serve

According to reporting by Samantha Bomkamp at the Chicago Tribune, a nationwide mobile ordering system will be in place by the end of the year at the fast-food giant which aims to customize your dining experience based on your choices. Faced with a continued pattern of declining customer traffic, this represents a large investment of both time and attention towards becoming competitive in digital innovation.

The plan is for McDonald’s to use the information to create a custom experience for diners, with the app providing personalized suggestions and coupons based on your previous ordering history.

They’ve had a smartphone app for the past few years, but there’s been no personalization involved, nor has it provided what they’ve been testing in international markets for some time: the ability to both order and pay through the app.

Not just for giggles

The ability to both order and pay through the app isn’t just a nicety. Their research has found that per customer sales have risen by an average of 35 percent in Japan.

Silvia Lagnado, McDonald’s Global Chief Marketing Officer, stated to the Chicago Tribune that customers return more frequently based on the ease of ordering through the app, and when customers take the app’s recommendations on adding other items to their order, those items are saved and then suggested to the customer on their next visit, driving spending higher.

In Singapore, a recently completed trial had McDonald’s using the app to use Google ads in places with lighter customer traffic, in an attempt to drive both in store sales and delivery orders.

Mostly unchartered waters

David Pierpont, an executive vice president at marketing firm Ansira, speaking to the Chicago Tribune, said that the ability to quickly and appropriately use data to improve the customer experience is largely unexplored territory with huge benefits.

“Consumers are willing to share data if the benefits are right,” he said. “I think you’re going to see more and more. [Millenials] say they don’t want to give everything away, but they’re on Facebook, they’re on Google…”

Measuring the difference

To track the impact of their digital efforts, McDonald’s is working with a new ad agency, We Are Unlimited, a spinoff of Omnicom, which recently won all of the national advertising business for the fast-food giant.

As a part of that work, they’re partnering with Facebook to track the effectiveness of their ad spend.

They can do that by taking Facebook’s location-tracking information and translating that to time it takes from when a customer sees a McDonald’s ad on Facebook and then walks into a restaurant. With approximately 90 percent of Facebook users utilizing location tracking services, this allows McDonald’s to have a relatively wide swath of data on the buying habits of potential customers.

Not without faults

Sometimes those buying habits are counter-intuitive. As we reported before, Starbucks had fantastic response to the unveiling of its app, which also allowed customers to place and pay for orders before ever entering the stores.

That convenience, however, also led to a reduction in impulse purchases, and thus revenue, leaving the coffee giant scratching its collective head.

When it comes to the bottom line, how much innovation and convenience can one reasonably afford?

Two birds, one stone

Some have posited that McDonald’s is really attempting to solve two problems at once with the roll out of the app: increasing store traffic and revenue and potentially using that data to decrease expenditures, such as labor costs. While McDonald’s is not publicly focusing on other avenues of use for granular data centered around customer purchasing habits, it does stand to reason that data analysis might also highlight menu items that are less popular, and can therefore be eliminated, or identify times that fewer staff simply aren’t needed, no matter the offers made, this eliminating jobs or hours worked for employees.

Brian Nienhaus, CEO of We Are Unlimited, is placing the agency’s focus squarely on improving customer experience for the present, however.

“What does the modern customer want?”, said Nienhaus, speaking to the Chicago Tribune. “They want to use technology to enable their convenience. They want to be able to pay with it. All those things that are going on, I think we’re just tapping into them.”

#McDonaldsApp

Roger is a Staff Writer at The American Genius and holds two Master's degrees, one in Education Leadership and another in Leadership Studies. In his spare time away from researching leadership retention and communication styles, he loves to watch baseball, especially the Red Sox!

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Tech News

Calendly just dropped an automated scheduling feature you NEED to try

(TECHNOLOGY) Calendly added a new automated scheduling feature, Routing Forms, with a twist. If typical scheduling hasn’t been your thing, try this.

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Calendly Routing Forms

Routing Forms, a new feature of Calendly, is a way to screen and qualify meeting participants to schedule customers with the right person.

Calendly is a popular scheduling system that has been getting rave reviews for quite some time. The American Genius promoted it in 2015 as a way to avoid email tags when setting appointments. Millions of people around the world use Calendly for business to streamline scheduling between customers, clients, and teams. A new feature, Routing Forms, can help get customers to get to the right person or resources.

How Routing Forms works

Routing Forms integrates with Calendly by asking screening questions of someone who wants to schedule a meeting with you or your team. Calendly uses that information to send the person to the right person to meet with or to the resources the person needs. This can help your business prioritize scheduling with qualified customers and by getting the customer to the right person the first time. It saves time for everyone and offers a better customer experience. According to Calendly’s website, Routing Forms eliminates missed opportunities and booking delays that are common with manual follow-up. Routing Forms can be embedded into your website for a streamlined customer experience.

Automated scheduling helps you connect – but is there a price?

Calendly bills itself as a way to “take the work out of connecting with others so you can accomplish more.” Routing Forms is a great way to integrate scheduling while qualifying customers to “get more business with less work.” But the debate over automated scheduling continues. There are opponents who believe that automated scheduling is rude. Keep in mind how your audience will perceive your scheduling questions. Not everyone likes automated scheduling and wants to use it. Always offer another way to get a meeting with a representative.

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Tech News

How to build apps without knowing how to code (it’s actually common!)

(TECHNOLOGY) No-code app-building tools are becoming more available to the everyday user, which could lead to more inventive and original apps.

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no-code website

“Learn to code” is a common, frustrating refrain often hurled at job-seekers, entrepreneurs, creative professionals, and others. Depending on who’s saying it, the intent could range from well-meaning to willfully hurtful.

It does, in a way, make sense. Computer programming is the foundational language that modern life is built on. And while many people use technology that they don’t understand every day—from microwaves to cars—there’s something a little different about programming. It’s omnipresent for just about anyone, just about everywhere, whether they use it for work or not. And more people use it for work than ever. It’s the single most sought-after skill in the job market.

But “learn to code” isn’t practical for everyone. Not everyone with an app idea has the time to learn how to build an app from scratch, or the money to hire people to do it for them. That’s where the low-code/no-code movement comes in. It’s all about giving the people the tools they need to execute on an idea without having to learn an entire new skill set. When you bake a cake, you probably don’t grind wheat into flour, and when you build an app, you don’t have to start with Python.

No-code isn’t really a new idea.

The fact that computers have menus and icons is the result of early programmers realizing that non-programmers would have to use a computer sometimes. You could look to tools like RPG Maker that let people build their own video games back in 1992. RPG Maker was like a Lego kit for making a video game. And not only is it still going strong, it proved itself prophetic. It turns out that giving people tools and a sand box is a great way to enable creativity.

This has been the long arc of the Internet, too. There was a time when participating in the World Wide Web in a meaningful way meant learning to program. Places like Geocities gave you real estate to set up a website. But you had to build that site yourself. We’ve moved away from that as the Internet commodified. Sites like Facebook and Twitter remove customization in the name of uniformity.

But creative tools persist. Consider “WYSIWYG,” or “What You See Is What You Get” web editors. These are tools like WordPress that reclaimed some of that Internet customization. They give you assets to build a website, and you plug them in where you want.

It’s a middle ground between building from scratch, and having everything handed to you. It’s the sweet spot of accessible creativity. (If you’ve never heard anyone say “WYSIWYG,” that’s probably because these web development tools are so common that they don’t really need a special name anymore.)

Right now, one of the biggest areas of no-code design is in app development. These app dev tools are similar to building a WordPress site. They give you the raw materials, and you customize and assemble them however you want to. Adalo, a no-code platform for building apps, lets your bring assets and ideas to the table, and gives you a framework to organize those ideas into an app.

They aren’t alone. AppOnboard, a no-code software development suite, purchased Buildbox, a leading no-code game development platform. Their combined resources represent a stunning library of assets, full of potential.

What does this mean for coders? Probably not much. Specialized skills are still in high demand. But for the rest of us, a slow democratization of development is taking place, and it’s exciting to watch it take shape.

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Tech News

Recall announced by Daily Harvest via aesthetic post, gets major backlash

(BUSINESS) Trendy meal delivery service, Daily Harvest, sticks to branding by announcing a serious food recall via Instagram, met with obvious backlash.

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Man looking up Daily Harvest recall on computer.

What NOT to do when things go south.

We can learn a lot from other businesses’ mistakes. Check out Daily Harvest, for example.

Daily Harvest is a trendy food home delivery service. They are under heavy backlash from their customers following a recall on their lentil and leek crumbles meal. Multiple customers have reported stomach issues after eating this meal.

Users across social media accounts such as Reddit, Twitter, and Instagram have complained about nausea, vomiting, and liver damage symptoms after consuming this dish. Several customers even reported hospitalization.

How did Daily Harvest react?

As entrepreneurs, we are all aware that things are going to go wrong from time to time. And as humans, we know that how we respond to these issues determines the future of our business.

Well, Daily Harvest’s social team didn’t get the memo as you’ll see by their response on social.

They issued a recall notice by using a vague aesthetic product image of the questionable lentil meal with a caption that read “UPDATE 6/19: An important message regarding our French Lentil + Leek Crumbles. Link in bio with details.” Daily Harvest’s inability to take control and react with clear communication to aid their customers shows us how NOT to handle an urgent situation. Their ambiguous caption provides no real information or help to their consumers and they have noticed.

They have since deleted the original post from Instagram, but we all know the internet never forgets. This is how they launched their product recall.

Daily Harvest Instagram Post

As of 10:58 – June 22, 2022 this is how the notice appears on the main page of their website:

Daily Harvest Main Page

Upon further examination, I can find hardly a mention of the recall other than the home page and the actual product listing itself. I did confirm that I was not able to purchase the product through their web-based system at this time. Maybe most of their traffic lands on the home page, but why not go ahead and put the banner at the top of every page until this gets resolved? Not to mention how it appears at the top of the home page. It’s barely noticeable.

Daily Harvest Best Sellers

If you click on the details, the notice on their website details the steps Daily Harvest claims to be taking to handle the sickness reports from the voluntary recall, to direct consumer communication, and the investigation with the FDA along with current results.

Daily Harvest Recall

What’s the takeaway?

Do better than Daily Harvest and you’ll already be a winner.

No, seriously you will!

But first, consider posting eye-catching imagery or text for your consumer. The text should be in the image posts themselves and in the captions. Pin it to the top of your social media accounts. Share it to stories. Make sure every page on your website has a banner and it’s noticeable. Over-communicate with your customers.

Do all of these and you’re already beating Daily Harvest.

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