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Dunkin’ Donuts cracks the formula on loyalty with mobile’s help

A Dunkin’ Donuts executive said the company is “all in” on mobile following the success of its one-year-old DD Perks Rewards program as well as promising initial results from a mobile ordering test.

The donut bakery chain is celebrating the one-year anniversary of its mobile-driven loyalty program, DD Perks Rewards, with special offers for members. Looking ahead, the company is exploring ways to leverage mobile in-store, including exploring beacons.

“We are incredibly excited and pleased with the results of Perks in year one and what we’ve seen with how it not only drives engagement but drives mobile and we see that this isn’t a fad,” said Scott Hudler, vice president of global consumer engagement at Dunkin’ Brands, Canton, MA.

“This is the future of how we engage our consumers and we are all in to drive in these channels,” he said.

To celebrate DD Perks’ anniversary, from Jan. 27 through Feb. 1, Dunkin’ Donuts is offering DD Perks members a bonus 200 points good for a free, any-size beverage with purchase. Additionally, anyone who enrolls in DD Perks via the Dunkin’ mobile application between Jan. 27 and Feb. 6 using the promo code “BONUS” will receive a free $5 Dunkin’ Donuts Card and a free beverage.

This is just one of the ways that Dunkin’ Donuts continues to ramp up its mobile strategy.

In an interview with Mobile Commerce Daily, Mr. Hudler discusses what worked and what did not in the first year of the loyalty program and what is on the company’s mobile wish list for 2015.

What was Dunkin’s Donuts’ biggest mobile win in 2015?
On the Perks side, it was all about launching the program, letting consumers know that it was there, driving acquisition and having a loyalty program for the first time.

We have had some fits and starts historically in loyalty that didn’t resonate as well as this one. We’ve been really pleased with what we’ve seen in the first year.

As a thank you, we are rewarding any member with a free beverage. It is a program designed for our guests. There are obviously a host of business objectives tied to that.

DD Perks and mobile, while separate are very interconnected. Two wins form a mobile perspective are surpassing 2 million Perks members and over 10 million downloads for the app.

Beyond loyalty, how else is mobile supporting Dunkin’ Donuts’ marketing?
The usage of mobile continues to grow. Some of our wins include leveraging some of our existing partnerships with sports teams, other organizations and driving offers and coupons that are exclusively in the mobile app.

If the Eagles win a game on a Sunday, on that Monday, a coupon is made available for a free coffee that is only available that day in the app. It drives a change in behavior.

We have great metrics. That program has now been expanded to Phoenix, Baltimore and now to Boston.

It is sort of an old school marketing idea that we have put into the digital age. We have seen great engagement from customers and then they are in our system and we can message Perks to them and keep engaging them.

What was one of the key takeaways from the first year of Perks in terms of what did not work?
One of the biggest changes we made to Perks – when we launched it, the focus was on offers for a medium beverage. From day one, customers were saying, this is great, but I get a large everyday, or a small everyday. We quickly made the change to open it up to any size beverage.

We constantly are looking at the analytics of the app, what’s working, are there technical issues we want to improve.

What opportunities and challenges does mobile ordering open up for Dunkin’ Donuts?
As we look forward to 2015, another big win was the initial stage of launching mobile ordering. We are continuing to test and refine that. We will expand it to more markets in 2015. We think that is a huge opportunity for our brand. We are very excited about it.

This is one where although it is an initiative that has a very strong guest-facing technology, what will make or break the mobile ordering concept will be the operations piece.

For us, and this seems to be a similar refrain across other brands, this is a very methodical testing process, because you have got to make sure the operations work. The last three feet at the counter, that is what the consumer will take away, and if that doesn’t work, then it is all not working not matter what the app can do.

What is on Dunkin’s Donuts’ mobile wish list for 2015?
We have our get it done list – mobile ordering, the expansion of that test. How do we make sure that we are meeting our guests’ expectations through the mobile channel, as well as making sure it is integrated with the last three feet in the store?

We are constantly evaluating. We see the benefit, the value, how it can move our business. We want to be out in front of it and really driving and leading it. There are refinements to the app, new features, campaigns, different partnership we want to engage in.

We are looking at ways not only to leverage mobile to drive traffic to the store but how do we improve the experience in the restaurant. Beacons are one of the technologies we are looking at.

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