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How to make sure your order and pay app doesn’t fail straight out the gates

Driving adoption and earning staying power of your app

Self-service solutions in general and mobile order and payment in particular, couldn’t be a more perfect antidote to the bustling and often stressful quick service dining environment. From moving customers through stores more efficiently and reducing staff costs to driving greater loyalty from guests, a mobile order and payment app has the potential to transform many areas of the business for the better.

Although the benefits of an app can’t be denied, they won’t be realized if no one is using it.  So how do you make that happen?  And once a customer has deemed your app worthy of some valuable space on their phone, how do you make sure it stays there and isn’t rashly deleted? 

Here we take a look at a couple of practical recommendations to boost adoption of your mobile order and pay app and how to ensure it has maximum staying power.

Digital Marketing

Digital signage
Shopping malls, high streets, airports and train stations abound with eye-catching, high definition and even audio capable digital signage.  These futuristic and often beautiful displays are the perfect place to promote a mobile app.  Imagine guests in a desperate to get to their departure gate or worried about the lunch-time rush then spotting an ad for your app on a digital screen nearby promising speedy, convenient pre-order and pay.  All they’d need to do when they get to your store is pick up their food and find somewhere to eat or head to their departure gate if travelling on.

Social media
Thanks to the very specific targeting social media channels such as Facebook affords, promoting your restaurant app via social media based on behavioral information is a great way to reach an audience that is most likely to be interested in what you’re offering.

As well as advertising, you can provide social channel incentives to help get more mileage out of your campaigns:

  • Offer free meals or drinks for liking and sharing information about the app
  • Offer a monetary reward for retweeting posts on Twitter and share reactions of the winners
  • Start a referral competition – the more friends you can refer the app to, the more rewards you win
  • Help make your app stickier by posting links to social media videos on how to make some of your brands’ most popular meals at home

The potential with social media is endless.  With a bit of imagination, you can build your social following, drive brand advocacy from that following and, importantly, get the word out about your new mobile services.   

3rd party websites
Shopping mall, airport or train station websites are highly relevant channels to promote your app.  Presenting the benefits of the app whilst customers are browsing these sites is a great time to capture their attention and encourage them to enjoy the convenience before they set foot near your stores.

Print Marketing

Get your staff involved by handing out flyers or vouchers encouraging guests to download the new app.  By targeting customers who are in lines or just entering eating areas, your staff can inform them that by using this app, they can quickly order and pay and then all they need to do is pick up their meal from an express counter without the need to queue.

En Route
The ROI of print advertising is notoriously difficult to determine but you could be successful in capturing the attention of guests as they enter a vicinity of your store or travel to and through airports and stations with this traditional channel.  By carefully selection poster positions at approach routes, train stations, bus stations, before security, along travellators and pathways etc, you can promote the app and its benefits before the customer gets onsite giving them plenty of time to click & collect.

Public Relations
Encourage journalists and editors to write about your new app by making sure you have high quality product images and a well written press release ready and waiting for them.  The beauty of this story is that it would be of interest to a number of audiences and publications:

Trade Magazines

  • Concession business
  • Coffee business
  • Restaurant Franchise publications
  • Airport magazines
  • Airline magazines
  • Technology (Mobile)
  • Restaurant (QSR, Fast Casual etc)

Consumer press

  • Local news
  • Technology news
  • Travel magazines
  • In-flight magazine

Onsite Promotion
One of the best places to advertize your app is in and around the store itself.  If a customer is in rush, they might be put off by even the smallest line so if they see an ad for an app to avoid these lines, they’d be compelled to use it.  Advertising on table talkers or even on the menu itself are also highly relevant places to catch customer at the point of decision.

Making it stick
We’ve mostly talked about how to promote your app but what about making it stick?  In order to keep your app on your customers’ phone, you need to be more than just ‘visible’.  You need to add value.  This could be in the form of usefulness, monetary value or even something less tangible like a sense of belonging or community.

In terms of usefulness, features such as upselling and cross selling and remembering preferences makes the ordering payment process that bit quicker and more convenient.  When providing monetary value, how about offering rewards or discounts for mobile only purchases or start a mobile-only loyalty program.  Finally community. By putting value on being part of something, customers often turn from passive consumers to active advocates of your brand.  In-app advertising of your social communities, your social activities and the benefits of being a part of your wider brand community will encourage customers to get involved.  The more they get involved and the more value they get out of being part of that community the less likely they are to sever ties and remove your app – the channel that connects them to your brand’s social activities and incentives. 

Final thoughts.
There might seem like a bewildering amount of options to choose from when it comes to app promotion and driving usage but one thing is for sure, without getting out there and actively promoting your application you are doing your business, the technology and customers a disservice.  You might be reluctant to invest in promotion in the short term but the pay-out in the long term will be worth it.  The more guests that use mobile, the more efficient your stores will be, the more customers will order and the better the interactions will be between staff that aren’t rushed off their feet and the guests they serve.

So go forth and get marketing!  There’s a whole world of time starved, digitally savvy, self-sufficient guests eager to make their lives more convenient with mobile.  

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