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Krispy Kreme sprinkles on mobile loyalty rewards and donut alerts

Krispy Kreme is foraying into mobile loyalty for the first time by implementing a rewards program in its application, enabling customers to receive points for each visit as well as notifications when fresh donuts are available at nearby locations.

The donut chain has teamed up with NCR Corporation to roll out the updated mobile application, which also taps into users’ location-based settings to recommend Krispy Kreme stores in the vicinity. As other major quick service restaurant brands continue reaping the benefits of mobile loyalty, Krispy Kreme will likely experience a surge in sales following the nationwide introduction of its rewards program.

“Guests are increasingly expecting to receive something for their decision to select a brand or use a service,” said Jon Lawrence, senior director of solutions marketing at NCR Corporation, Alpharetta, GA. “That expectation could be filled by a more personalized experience, by rewards from the restaurant, or even by special invitations and offers.

“In parallel with this trend, more and more guests are using mobile technology as part of their daily lives,” he said. “When a brand can find a way to engage guests and create a frictionless experience to earn and redeem awards, it can increase the probability of that guest visiting the brand more frequently.

“What we see in the industry is a trend towards a more closed-loop approach to consumer engagement. Guests can earn rewards that are relevant to their specific preferences and in turn, brands are able to continuously learn more about their guests, their preferences, and ultimately create a stronger value between the brand and the guest. Moreover, having an integrated rewards platform that can be extended to other areas of mobile consumer engagement, such as order-ahead or pay-ahead, will increase the value of the rewards program itself.”

Glazing up mobile strategy
Krispy Kreme is seeking to surprise and delight its customers with this new offering, especially as the QSR industry becomes even more dependent on mobile to drive future sales. Consumers have been proven to appreciate receiving exclusive bonuses and coupons as thanks for repeat visits, particularly when these deals are easily accessible within an app.

Fans will be able to download the Krispy Kreme Rewards app for their Android or iOS devices to access a slew of new features, including the ability to find nearby bricks-and-mortar stores and save them as favorite locations.

Consumers may opt to receive notifications on their smartphones whenever a nearby Krispy Kreme “Hot Light” is switched on, indicating that donuts have just been whisked out of the oven and are available for purchase. Donut fans may flock to this tool if they enjoy being among the first to choose from a batch of freshly-made treats.

Additionally, customers can use the newly-input rewards system to collect points for each visit, which may be redeemed for complimentary coffee and pastries. Any individual who registers for Krispy Kreme Rewards will earn points for each dollar he or she spends at the brand’s stores.

He or she will also be eligible for surprise promotions that will be rolled out sporadically over the year, such as birthday treats and exclusive access to offers.

Members can pay for their donuts and beverages in the app as well, thanks to its stored-value function.

Krispy Kreme plans to add more features to the rewards app as time progresses, some of which include the option to gift loyalty points to other members.

Frictionless mobile experiences
QSR marketers that do not offer frictionless experiences for smartphone users suffer a severe disadvantage for alienating customers. Furthermore, the employment of mobile rewards platforms also enables brands to garner valuable consumer feedback and insights into purchasing behavior.

Krispy Kreme’s strong push for mobile-enhanced sales has been especially evident over the last several months.

In September, Krispy Kreme boosted in-store Saturday traffic with a limited-time mobile site, called the ArrPhone, that offered virtual accessories for dressing up on International Talk Like a Pirate Day and simultaneously drove interest in the Kreme Filled Pirate donut (see story).

Earlier in the summer, the quick service marketer found the right ingredients in a branded Facebook app game as it attempted to ramp up awareness among customers in Korea and advertise its new strawberry donuts, resulting in an 88 percent engagement on the social network platform (see story).

“Traditionally, the overall value proposition for a loyalty solution within any restaurant has been fairly straightforward,” Mr. Lawrence said. “Brands were seeking ways to incentivize more guests to visit more frequently and when they visit, spend more.

“Hospitality (hotel) and travel rewards programs have been attempting to drive sales using this approach for some time,” he said. “A seamless rewards program can help brands find the right combination of offers, rewards, and opportunities to redeem those awards.

“When you combine this opportunity with data that shows that guests will often spend more than required to earn a given reward, the result can help drive a more sustainable growth over time and an increase in the value of each guest who has connected with a brand using a mobile app experience.”

Final Take
Alex Samuely, staff writer on Mobile Commerce Daily, New York