Dunkin’ Donuts, Pita Pit Share Tips for Driving Mobile App Adoption, Use

By Judy Mottl, Retail Customer Experience

Retailers know there is no debate about the need for a mobile app these days, given consumer app use and increasing use of such apps within the retail store environment.

It’s a tool retailers are also increasingly turning to internally as well for marketing and customer loyalty efforts. New research from the OpenMarket Retail Mobile Report notes mobile apps as the top social marketing tool in play.

Those are just a few reasons retailers need a strategy to drive both new customer app adoption and loyal customer app use as consumers, specifically the millennial consumer, can be finicky and quick to dump an app that doesn’t deliver on expectations.

It’s a lesson being learned by both legacy retailers and retailers just embarking on a mobile app course.

For example, while Dunkin’ Donuts debuted its first mobile app nearly five years ago it remains focused on getting both loyal and new customers on board. It’s also aware a stagnant mobile app strategy is not a good thing.

“We know the app is not perfect and things that can always be improved,” said Dunkin’ Donuts Mobile Product Manager Tim Doherty, in a panel session at Networld Media Group’s CONNECT Mobile Innovation Summit held in Chicago Aug. 15 -17.

Doherty was joined on the panel by Matthew Townsend, program manager of strategy and new business development for HealthTrust and Pita Pit Digital Marketing Manager Jordy Patano. The session on driving app adoption was moderated by Kevin Sanders, chief marketing officer at Splick.it.

Pita Pit’s app philosophy is similar to Dunkin’s. Mobile orders now account for 25 percent of sales just one year into Pita Pit’s app lifespan. In evaluating its mobile app effort Pita Pit investigated if consumers were aware of its app and mobile ordering feature.

“Fifty percent of our customers didn’t know we had an app,” noted Patano. That revelation spurred a strong strategy to drive app adoption and use.

“We are heavily incentivized,” she said. “We are using social media to push app use and return use, to drive engagement and get more data,” she explained.

Down the road Pita is assessing the value of integrating its catering menu into the app experience, along with group ordering and fostering greater use of the app among employees and franchise organizations.

In an earlier session during the event, regarding mobile retail success, Tim Hackbardt, CEO, BrandTrip Advisors stated appadoption works really well when [consumers] utilize an app and the staff knows what to do.

“That’s the area where people are falling behind. We see everything falling down right there [with untrained staff]. Adoption isn’t going to happen unless that experience at the restaurant is good.”