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Taco Bell ramps up secret product launch through mobile pre-order

The fast food chain is hoping to increase its mobile ordering platforms as well as drive sales for a new secret product, which will launch to the public on Feb. 8 through a digital pre-order program. Taco Bell will be announcing the product during its anticipated Super Bowl ad, but is ramping up awareness for the classified item through social media platforms such as a YouTube video and allowing early access for those who pre-order it online.

“Digital ordering and payments is increasingly becoming an expected capability with nearly every business, Taco Bell should know since they’re leading the pack, along with Starbucks, Pizza Hut, Domino’s, Dairy Queen, Chipotle and others,” said Michael Becker, managing partner at mCordis. “In July ’15 BI Intelligence reported that Taco Bell’s mobile app has a 20 percent higher order value than in-store orders.

“Clearly, however, the Taco Bell program is more than just about enabling digital pre-orders though,” he said.

Mobile pre-ordering
Users that visit Taco Bell’s mobile-optimized Web site will have the option to pre-order its highly confidential new product, which it is deeming its “biggest launch to date.” At the Web address, the top of the page reads “biggest idea ever?” along with an image of mystery box with a link to pre-order.

Customers will need to log into their mobile ordering account, or create a new one through Facebook, Twitter or email integration. Once logged in, users can click pre-order now to be placed on the list for early access to the item on Feb. 6.

Taco Bell will send out a reminder via email on that date, in which users will have to choose a pickup location and payment method. The fast food retailer is not just hoping to drives sales that day but leading up to it as well by including an ad within pre-order confirmation emails.

Those who have signed up for the pre-order will receive an email with directions, as well as a 25 percent discount for ordering online in the meantime. The advertisement reads “all this excitement made you hungry? Get 25 percent off your online order today,” along with a link to order.

The email also includes a personal video which includes the user’s name along with the directions for pickup.

While the fast food chain will announce the product through a television and streaming spot during the Super Bowl, Taco Bell is also sharing a fabricated “behind-the-scenes” video of shooting the commercial. NBA player James Harden is featured attempting to film while holding a green box in place of the actual product, which will be photo-shopped in later.

The player expresses his frustrations while an announcer explains that the new item is so secret, not even those featured in the advertisement can know about it.

Customers who signed up for the pre-order will be able to pick up their purchases between 2 and 4pm on Feb. 6 at their local Taco Bell locations.

Taco Bell mobile strategy
With Taco Bell’s mobile ordering app 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 more).

Taco Bell also introduced an in-app loyalty program with a gamification-heavy focus on rewarding customers for repeat ordering and engaging on social media, a move that is likely to appeal to younger consumers (see more).

“Taco Bell is tapping into people’s desire for entertainment, to feel special and participate, all with the convenience of whatever screen they may have at hand,” Mr. Becker said. “Also, this program is training people to embrace last minute, last mile, access of offers for locations near them. There are so many elements about the program that I find really exciting.”