The big burger chains were late to the party to offer mobile app order and pay, but now McDonald’s is trying to make up for lost time. Taking a page from the playbooks of Starbucks and Dunkin’, McDonald’s is using customer personalization as a key feature of the ordering experience. Part contextual commerce and part predictive analytics, the burger chain’s technology will look at a customer’s location, weather conditions, and past buying behavior to suggest food and beverage items. When ordering from the mobile app, customers can choose to get their selection in-store, drive-through, or curbside pickup. Large self-service kiosks are also being installed as a way to connect with customers that want to avoid lines at the counter. QSRs (quick service restaurants) and fast casual cafes are ideal for these customization strategies since customers are typically looking for convenience and immediacy. Hungry customers vote with their feet and will ultimately decide which customized order and pay systems will earn their repeat business.
A Wall Street Journal article discusses more on this topic which is excerpted below.
McDonald’s Corp. is pushing to make ordering at its restaurants feel like shopping on Amazon.com Inc., with nudges and prompts about what to buy.
In March, the Chicago-based fast-food giant announced it would spend more than $300 million to purchase Dynamic Yield Ltd., a technology firm that specializes in helping companies personalize their sales pitch to consumers. McDonald’s will use Dynamic Yield’s technology to, for example, shift in real time what it offers diners on its drive-through menus.
If it’s hot out, those menus might feature more cold drinks. The technology could highlight items that other consumers are buying. If diners agree to let McDonald’s know who they are, menus could offer food based on their past orders.
McDonald’s plans to integrate this technology with its other digital initiatives, such as its mobile app and the self-order kiosks it is installing across its restaurants. The broader goal is a more personalized experience for consumers.
Overview by Raymond Pucci, Director, Merchant Services at Mercator Advisory Group