Mobile Order Ahead

Retailers Are Looking To The Future With Mobile Order-Ahead

Order Ahead

In this fast-paced digital world, customers don’t want to wait in line for their food – or their morning coffee. They want to order ahead, and retailers are designing their stores with this preference in mind.

Dunkin’ Donuts recently redesigned its next generation concept stores with mobile order-ahead in mind. According to the PYMNTS Mobile Order-Ahead Tracker, other retailers across the U.S. – from discount department stores to quick-service restaurants (QSRs) – are also helping their customers ditch the line and order ahead. Here is how mobile order-ahead technology has impacted five major retailers.

TargetThe retailer saw a 10 percent increase in orders during testing of its curbside pick-up service. Following a beta test in Minnesota, Target is expanding its Drive Up curbside pickup service. By the end of 2018, Target plans to introduce the service to nearly 1,000 of its brick-and-mortar stores, TechCrunch reported. Through the service, customers order products through Target’s app and drive to the store. When they arrive, employees deliver the goods to customers’ cars. Orders are usually ready within an hour after customers place them. The mobile app is available to iOS users and may be available to those with Android-powered devices in April.

TD BankAlmost 60 percent of surveyed QSR franchise owners plan to integrate mobile apps/ordering into their businesses or develop an app in 2018. According a survey by TD Bank, these owners believe that mobile ordering can help grow their business and make their operations more efficient. Fifty-five percent said mobile ordering could help them expand their customer base, while 16 percent said mobile ordering could eliminate the need for them to hire more staff. And 15 percent said mobile ordering could help speed up food preparation, cooking and delivery processes.

Dunkin’ DonutsThe chain plans to build 50 on-the-go-focused storefronts by 2018. Dunkin’ recently opened its first “NextGen restaurant” outside of Boston in Quincy, Mass  according to an announcement from the company. The concept stores rolling out this year have two drive-through lanes, making it easier for mobile customers to cruise through. The stores’ interior mirrors that design, with a separate order-ahead queuing area. The design also goes one step further through a series of self-service kiosks, where people can order without the help of a staff member, as well as a grab-and-go section with simple, pre-packaged items like yogurt, apple sauce and beef jerky.

StarbucksThe stores operated by the company in the U.S. saw 11 percent of transactions as mobile orders by the end of 2017. And users of Starbucks loyalty cards represented 37 percent of the chain’s revenue, Reuters reported. Beyond a simple mobile-pay option, Starbucks said it would open a dedicated mobile-order-and-pay store in its Seattle headquarters building in 2017. The new store model was a test run for how to best serve customer needs, and a new variation on busting up lines and breaking bottlenecks at the drink delivery station. Starbucks HQ had two separate locations to serve the 5,000 or so employees at HQ — one of the locations is only for employees, and it is number one on the chain’s top-three stores for mobile ordering.

Panera BreadSeventy-five percent of Panera’s digital orders are made by a mobile device. In 2017, Panera introduced a feature that allows customers to order directly through the company’s mobile app while sitting anywhere in the restaurant and Panera employees will bring the meals to their tables. By August of 2018, ordering via mobile at one of the restaurant’s tables was projected to be available across all stores. “For us, it’s not about rolling out new technology services, it is about owning the customer experience,” said Panera Bread’s Vice President of Digital, Mark Berinato. “We choose programs that solve a [customer] problem, and in the end, can maximize their experience with our brand.”

As for Dunkin’s mobile order-ahead efforts? It’s helping the customer get their morning joe just a little bit faster – and, well, maybe making those people waiting in line for their coffee a little bit jealous.

“Customers can now pull into the mobile order area, say I’m here to pick up my order, give their first name and be on their way,” said Chris Fuqua, Senior Vice President Operations Strategy and Supply Chain at Dunkin’​ Brands. “They can opt to wave at the 12 cars still waiting in the drive-through if they want.”

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