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Baskin Robbins follows Dunkin’ Donuts into mobile loyalty

Baskin Robbins’ plan to launch a mobile loyalty program, including successful features from Dunkin’ Donuts’ mobile application, will build engagement by giving consumers a faster way to learn about time-sensitive events and offers, while making customers more likely to redeem promotions.

In a conference call to discuss Dunkin’ Brands’ first-quarter financial results, CEO Nigel Travis said the ice cream shop chain’s mobile loyalty program is planned for later this year and would take consumers deeper into mobile engagement on the heels of the company’s turnaround in the United States. Incorporating best practices of Dunkin’ Donuts, a fellow unit of Dunkin’ Brands, would import the coffee and doughnuts chain’s grasp of the growing importance of mobile loyalty to quick-serve restaurants, an understanding that has brought its loyalty program and its mobile payment and gifting application millions of members and downloads.

“There is no doubt that Baskin Robbins will benefit tremendously from a mobile loyalty program,” said Shuli Lowy, director for mobile of Ping Mobile. “Mobile loyalty programs provide several key benefits over other channels.

“Firstly, consumers have their mobile phones with them when they are on the go,” she said. “That makes it a faster route to inform them about time sensitive events as well as ensure that they’ll have their coupons with them while there out—making them more likely to redeem promotions. 

“Mobile would also empower Baskin Robbins to know when their club members are near their stores and send promotions accordingly,” she said. “Sending geographically relevant re-marketing messages lends to actionable communication and a better user experience.” 

Basic functionality
The Dunkin Donuts app provides all of the basic functionality one might expect from a food-store app, including the ability to add and manage gift cards, a store locator function, a coupon center, and rewards tracking.

A model for Baskin Robbins.

The app also provides access to nutrition facts, feedback forms, and social links.

“These features are fairly standard and lead to a solid app,” Ms. Lowy said. “If Baskin Robbins were to release a similar app, the brand should consider methods through which to gamify or uplift the rewards experience as well as ensure there is a sense of renewal within the app.

“These features prevent consumers from getting burnt out from an app,” she said.

Baskin Robbins’ move towards creating a mobile loyalty program comes after Dunkin’ Donuts last year initiated a revamp of its loyalty strategy with a bigger mobile focus.

The company continues to enhance its mobile strategy, including upgrading a typical reward from a free medium beverage to a free, any-size beverage as well as adding new features to the app such the ability to share rewards and to sign up for auto-recharge.

The DD Perks Rewards loyalty program, which was introduced nationwide in January 2014, is fully integrated into the app. Members earn five points for every dollar they spend on qualifying purchases at Dunkin’ Donuts when they pay using an enrolled Dunkin’ Donuts Card, either plastic or via the Dunkin’ Mobile App.

The DD Perks program was designed to provide customers with new levels of speed and convenience and the results suggest that customers are responding to the mobile strategy.

New enhancements to the program and app include the distribution of a coupon for a free any-size beverage upon enrollment into the DD Perks program, on a member’s birthday and once 200 reward points have been accumulated. Previously, members received a free medium beverage.

Additionally, members can now share their reward with anyone via email from the app while users can sign up for auto-recharge directly through the Dunkin’ Mobile App.

Baskin Robbins has used mobile loyalty programs in the past. A few years ago, several Baskin Robbins locations in the San Francisco area were among the local merchants rewarding customers with points that could be redeemed for products and services via a new loyalty application.

The app let users access multiple loyalty reward programs in their neighborhood via their smartphones.

The focus was on mom-and-pop shops as well as regional chains with a local presence.

Merchants benefited by being able to socially engage with loyal customers and reward them for purchases.

Mobile users
Baskin Robbins’ move towards creating a mobile loyalty program will undoubtedly resonate with its target audience, which is comprised of active mobile users.

Benefiting from a mobile strategy revamp.

“Mobile has become consumers’ preferred method of interacting with their favorite brands,” said Stephanie Trunzo, COO at PointSource. “Baskin Robbins’ initiative to establish a mobile loyalty program is a prime example of how brands can explore new methods and channels to reward their most loyal customers.”

Final Take
Michael Barris is staff reporter on Mobile Commerce Daily, New York