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Dunkin’ Donuts elevates QSR competition with updated app, loyalty promotion

Dunkin’ Donuts caffeinated its mobile strategy with an updated application featuring enticing imagery and a touch-friendly interface, a loyalty promotion giving away 125 points and an app pilot for Baskin-Robbins, heating up competition with Starbucks.

Dunkin’ Donuts app users can now access the refreshed app and also partake in the latest week-long promotion for DD Perks members, which begins today. The chain’s dedication to continuously updating its mobile initiatives is evident, especially with the announcement that sister brand Baskin-Robbins is beginning to test a new mobile app and delivery service this week.

“We have unveiled an exciting new version of our popular Dunkin’ mobile app for payment and gifting,” said Sherrill Kaplan, vice president of digital marketing and innovation at Dunkin’ Donuts. “The new app features a fresh, contemporary touch-friendly design and layout with enhanced imagery to showcase the brand’s broad menu.

“The app will have numerous product and lifestyle images as well as user-generated content that will showcase the passion our guests have for their favorite Dunkin’ Donuts menu items.”

Pouring out mobile enhancements
This week, Dunkin’ Donuts unveiled the latest version of its iOS app, which allows users to make easy payments, order while on-the-go, send gift cards to friends and access DD Perks rewards. The revamped app offers a new touch-friendly design that will better showcase the brand’s products with the help of enticing imagery.

Additionally, customers will be able to buy or load existing Dunkin’ Donuts cards using Apple Pay. This new capability could prompt the donut chain to experience an uptick in gift card purchases, since users will not be forced to enter their credit card details during checkout if they already have that information saved within Apple Pay.

Providing consumers with frequent app updates and enhancements is a top goal for Dunkin’ Donuts, which now faces even stiffer competition from fellow mobile innovator Starbucks.

To supplement the launch of its revamped rewards program – which enables members to redeem deals via the Mobile Order & Pay platform – Starbucks is rolling out a redesigned app that showcases content personalized to each user, a first for the digitally savvy brand (see story).

However, the launch has been plagued with several woes, due to customers’ complaints that the update has caused already-earned Stars to disappear. Starbucks is attempting to rectify the situation by offering Gold loyalty status to any consumer who buys a beverage over the next few weeks, highlighting the importance of quickly combating app issues.

“As we’ve done in the past, we will enhance our app to provide our guests with even more speed and convenience,” Ms. Kaplan said. “For instance, since the launch of the original Dunkin’ Donuts app in 2012, we have continued to update our features with mobile offers, push notifications, and the integration of DD Perks rewards program.”

Dunkin’ Donuts’ sister brand, Baskin-Robbins, is also foraying into the mobile ordering sector by starting to test a new app in select markets this week. Twelve Baskin-Robbins stores in Atlanta, GA, Wellesley, MA and southern California will give their customers the ability to use their smartphones to purchase menu items, redeem digital coupons and gift virtual cards to friends or family.

The chain is also ramping up to test home delivery of items such as ice cream cakes later this year. While that pilot has not been confirmed to include mobile elements, Baskin-Robbins would be well-poised to offer mobile ordering options for consumers wanting to have products delivered to their homes.

Therefore, individuals planning parties or get-togethers would have the option of purchasing an ice cream cake on their smartphones and not having to pick it up in-store.

As more quick service restaurant chains perfect their existing mobile ordering apps, delivery pilots will likely become more prevalent as the year progresses.

Icing up loyalty
Dunkin’ Donuts is placing an even bigger focus on its DD Perks loyalty program this month, thanks to a new promotion that begins today and runs through April 21. Consumers who decide to join the program during this time period can enter the code “STARS” during the sign-up process to automatically receive 125 points, redeemable toward any size beverage.

Another 125 points will be added to their account balances when they purchase items with a Dunkin’ Donuts card for the second and third time.

These subsequent store visits must be completed by May 31 to be eligible for the promotion.

The promotional code’s name may ring a bell with frequent coffee drinkers, as Stars are the currency of Starbucks’ loyalty program.

First-time DD Perks users also earn a free drink upon enrollment, as well as any time they accumulate 200 loyalty points. Consequently, this limited-time offer puts guests on the fast track to receiving a total of three complimentary beverages.

The chain is also preparing itself for a surge in rewards membership sign-ups following the expansion of its mobile ordering pilot to select locations in Massachusetts and Rhode Island, as only DD Perks members can take advantage of the brand’s VIP app (see story).

“We’re always looking for new and innovative ways to grow our DD Perks community and maintain the momentum we’ve seen over the past several years,” Ms. Kaplan said. “We believe this promotion will act as another great incentive to join the popular program.”