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IHOP satisfies mobile appetites with revamped apps, digital gift cards

The marketing efforts are meant to put IHOP’s guests at the center of it all. The company has also unveiled its newly redesigned Web site as part of its digital push.

“If you were to look at our digital footprint last year, we knew that we had to evolve in these communication channels, and trying to figure out the best way to do that was a challenge,” said Darrin Kellaris, senior manager of media marketing at IHOP.

“IHOP made a commitment to upgrade these channels and to push us forward,” he said. “First and foremost we needed to establish ourselves in these channels and build on that.

“As time goes on we’ll continually to evolve in every channel we have.”

Mobile hunger
The mobile and digital efforts are new virtual ways for IHOP to interact with its consumers and encourage them to further explore and interact with the brand.

As part of the new efforts, IHOP has rolled out two mobile applications for iPhone and Android devices.

The apps, which are available for free download in Apple’s App Store and Google Play, let consumers find the nearest location, along with contact information and driving directions.

Consumers can also explore the entire menu and share their favorites through  Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest.

Furthermore, consumers can sign-up for our Pancake Revolution eClub and receive custom deals and offers directly from their local IHOP via the mobile app.

“We’re definitely looking to enhance our mobile apps,” Mr. Kellaris said. “As you see it right now, it’s our first step forward.

“We’re going to evolve that and add a lot of functionality,” he said. “The strategy is to be centered around the guest.

“We want to provide them with functionality and we want the mobile experience to center around their needs.”

Ongoing efforts
In time for the holidays, IHOP is also letting consumers purchase digital gift cards and send them electronically, along with a customized message.

The company decided to go the digital route in addition to also letting consumers purchase the traditional gift cards.

Additionally, IHOP has a new mobile site that consumers can access by entering on their device’s browser.

Similar to the app, consumers can browse the menu, as well as find the nearest location.

“Mobile essentially enables our immediate lifestyle,” Mr. Kellaris said. “Mobile offers us a unique opportunity to reach our guests any time they want

“Mobile is going to become more critical and we’ll continue to see an influx of new apps and new ways to engage with consumers.”

Final Take
Rimma Kats is associate editor on Mobile Commerce  Daily, New York