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Domenick Celentano

Dunkin App –Mobile Payments App BUT, Can It Also Know What You Want BEFORE You Get There?

By August 16, 2012

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Mobile gives brands the ability to interact with you at the time of purchase and isn't that really the value of adding an App?

Everyone is jumping into the mobile payments game, most recently Starbucks with Square, Burger King and Firethorn and now Dunkin Donuts. How soon will it be before McDonalds introduces a mobile payment app with social hooks built in?

The Dunkin' App, pay for food, beverages, and merchandise at Dunkin' Donuts restaurants.Dunkin Donuts brand positioning is "America Runs on Dunkin" so why slow up the customer with conventional cash or credit card payments? So today Dunkin' Donuts launched its first-ever mobile application for payment and gifting for iPhone, iPod touch and Android Smartphone's.

According to the company the Dunkin' App, paying is as simple as scanning your Smartphone using a mobile Dunkin' Donuts Card in-store or at the drive-thru. The App is somewhat "social" since    it enables an mGift. What's an mGift? It is a virtual gift card people send that is stored on your mobile phone... Dunkin enables this via text, email, and Facebook Connect.

Lower Transaction Costs Driving Mobile Payments at Dunkin Donuts?

My questions about mobile payment systems generally focus on the use of these payment systems migrating to shopper marketing tools powered by mobile Wi-Fi Tracking Systems, such as a Geo-fence.The Dunkin' App uses a QR code that is scanned completing your payment, all without cash card.

Starbucks will use Pay with Square and this system uses both 3G and WiFi to recognize a customer, with their photo and name, as they get to the cash register. So no need to do anything other than "show your mug (your face)" as verification of payment.  Can't you envision this scenario:

"I pull into the drive-thru of a Dunkin Donuts... their Wi-Fi detects I'm in the car and my picture and name already appears on the DD terminal in the store. The sales associate already has my favorite purchase history and figures out what I would typically get for that day/time combo. The "talking board" says good morning, you want your regular Dom?  I say "Yes" pull up to the window and take my order and go. Oh Yeah, didn't need to fumble with cash or credit card... the app works with the phones Near Field Communication so it knows I took my order and debited my Virtual Dunkin Card.

So is this really farfetched?

What is the Real Value of Mobile Payments? It Engaging the Digital Consumer!

Both Nigel Travis, Dunkin' Brands CEO and Dunkin' Donuts President, U.S. and John Costello, Dunkin' Brands Chief Global Marketing and Innovation Officer were on a conference call today showing off the Dunkin App features.

During the conference call I posed the question "Are there plans for the Dunkin App to be using location based services, both GPS and Wi-Fi, to engage the customer more directly on driving purchases? Mobile gives brands the ability to interact with you at the time of purchase and isn't that really the value of adding an App?

No surprise since I got the answer I expected (by the way these guys were clear and straight to the point... no corporate speak!)

Nigel said they look at the Dunkin App from the consumer view and the franchisee view. For consumers there are great benefits since it speeds up the transaction process, evidenced by the great success of the current Dunkin Card... so the virtual Dunkin App (card) goes a step further here. This also helps speed the process of ordering and paying at the drive thru. Regarding Franchisee economics, the Dunkin App cost $.02 per transaction vs. the average $.20 per transaction typical on credit and debit cards. This is about a 90% reduction in transaction costs for a franchisee so you don't need much more evidence this will greatly improve a Dunkin Donuts unit profits.

John said... I was  exactly right... that  this is a gateway to dramatically increase engagement with our passionate Dunkin fans. The app for example makes it easy to sign up for DD Perks loyalty card. The future could be increased loyalty programs and geo fencing and geo targeting schemes.

Is There a Real Consumer Problem that Mobile Payments Solve?

Do we want a slew of mobile payments apps cluttering our phone and is there enough value here? Will anyone really buy more of any brand due to mobile payment options? Does the customer REALLY want it? Customers really want quick in-and-out and want their food personalized more frequently.

Most consumer behavior is base on routine, Dunkin is a morning or afternoon ritual for millions of consumers and computers are great at recognizing our buying patterns, maybe even patterns we don't see. Target marketing is a thing of the past.

Our Smartphones are emblematic of us... the individual... and enable brands to personalize the brand experience. So they are going beyond Target Marketing and even beyond customer segmentation. Customer Delight means knowing you're the individual.

Mobile gives brands the ability to interact with you at the time of purchase and isn't that really the value of adding an App?

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