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McDonald’s app quickly serves 1.5M offer redemptions since launch

The McDonald’s Mobile application, which launched this summer, has seen more than 2 million downloads and 1.5 million offer redemptions, according to the company.

With these successes under its belt, McDonald’s told analysts last week that it will begin testing national advertising for app later this month. McDonald’s was late to the game with a loyalty app but has high hopes the strategy will boost sales, which saw a 4 percent increase in comparable sales for the third quarter ended Sept. 30

“Whilst we are still in the early phases, our turnaround plan is working,” said Steve Easterbrook, president and CEO of McDonald’s, during a conference call to discuss the company’s third quarter results.

“Customers are beginning to respond to the actions we are taking and this progress is reflected in our third quarter results,” he said.

An attractive offer
McDonald’s previously offered informational apps in several markets and the third-party McD app, which provided offers.

This summer’s launch of the McDonald’s Mobile app marks the first time that the chain has made offers available in its own branded app.

Some of the offers have included buy one, get one breakfast sandwiches, $1 off discounts for any premium burger and free large fries with the purchase of a premium sandwich.

Finding an audience
While McDonald’s has been an avid advertiser on mobile for some time, it is late to the game with a mobile app as Chipotle, Taco Bell and others already have a presence. This could hurt McDonald’s chances of success since consumers are only going to download so many apps on their phones.

Avid McDonald’s customers could quickly embrace the app but in terms of the app helping it attract new customers, the challenge will be bigger.

McDonald’s has been actively promoting its new app.

In September, the chain offered consumers in the Philadelphia region, one of the first areas to get the app ahead of its national rollout, a complimentary large sandwich upon registration to receive national offers.

Fountain of youth
The quick serve industry is embracing mobile, hoping it will help attract younger consumers in the face of softening sales.

Taco Bell recently reported that with its mobile ordering application showing check growth of 30 percent, the chain is bringing digital ordering to a newly overhauled Web site as it continues to ramp up digital innovation (see story).

This summer, Burger King announced plans to integrate MasterCard’s MasterPass into its app, hoping to streamline an experience that enables users to receive exclusive deals, find the nearest bricks-and-mortar restaurant, view menu options and pay for orders directly with their smartphones.

Other chains are paying closer attention to mobile ordering capabilities, viewing Starbucks’ success here.

In the spring, Wendy’s Company opened an innovation lab in Columbus, OH, to provide a collaborate environment for exploring digital enhancements, and to serve as a testing ground for the brand’s continuation of mobile innovations such as ordering and payment functionalities (see story).

“We also took a first step toward enhancing the customer experience digitally with the deployment of the mobile application,” Mr. Easterbrook said. “To date, there have been over 2 million downloads of the app and 1.5 million offers redeems.

“We will begin national advertising later this month,” he said.

Final Take
Chantal Tode is senior editor on Mobile Commerce Daily, New York