The road to offering mobile order ahead has been traveled by many restaurants of late. The methods vary, but the motivations are usually similar: the desire to offer a better customer experience, the hope of incenting more repeat visits, the promise of a bigger ticket size and, of course, the fear of missing out on the next big thing in quick service dining (and being left in the dust as a result).
For the team at Wawa all of those considerations went into their launch of mobile order ahead this year as it became obvious by the numbers that it was the right move for the firm.
According to a recent survey of Wawa Rewards members, more than 2/3 of respondents (67 percent) said they have ordered or purchased food using their phone within the last month – which made the imperative to bring the service in more accute.
“We are thrilled to offer this exciting new enhancement as an added convenience to our Wawa Rewards members at all of our stores,” said Jim Morey, Wawa’s executive vice president. “At Wawa, we exist to go beyond filling customer orders, to fulfill customers’ lives every day. This new mobile ordering enhancement takes that commitment to the next level. We recognize that our customers are increasingly busy and constantly on-the-go, and by offering mobile ordering, we will be able to offer a convenience that allows our customers to order wherever they are, at any time they want.”
Meeting the Need
Earlier this year, Wawa first started trying to meet the need with a limited pilot of an order ahead service for its Rewards members in a few counties in Pennsylvania and eventually most of its Florida locations. That pilot has now gone live in all six states Wawa services (New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Maryland and Delaware being the other five) — and is open to anyone who has signed on for Wawa’s free rewards program.
To use the app, users must download it and purchase a Wawa gift card that they register to their account. After making a first purchase, the mobile ordering feature fork-and-spoon icon appears in the users’ account, and they are now free to get their order in ahead of time.
“Obviously we wanted to find a better way to fulfilling our customer’s order, but we actually also want to make our customer’s every day lives more fulfilling. This new mobile ordering enhancement takes that commitment to the next level,” a spokesperson noted
Wawa is also a gas station which means its customers are “on-the-go” even by normal standards, and that it is just a normal extension of their business objectives to find any way in which they can make their customers’ journey that much more efficient.
“Ten minutes is an unimportant amount of time until someone is running late, hungry and out of gas all at once. We can’t stop those mornings from happening — we can make those mornings a lot more manageable, so that at least you can be eating an egg sandwich while you are pumping your gas.”
The service is also primed to take user location into account in preparation — as long as app users turn on location services. Orders won’t be filled until they are close to a Wawa.
The goal, according to one worker we spoke to, is to have every order ready to serve within one minute of a guest entering the store if they’ve ordered ahead.
Wawa’s expansion into mobile order ahead comes as part of their growing development of their loyalty program, first launched last year, Expanding enrollment continues to be the priority.
Wawa continues to perfect the logistics of mobile order ahead to make sure that customers who are moving in and out of the store to grab pick-ups can do so easily without disrupting consumers who are waiting in line.