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McDonald’s launches global app as part of mass personalisation strategy

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Fast food chain McDonald’s is to globally roll out an app that seeks to bring total personalisation, ordering and a loyalty programme to its millions of consumers anywhere in the world, the company revealed in New York this week.

The app is set to fully launch in Australia by the end of this year and in the US and elsewhere next year, and will be followed by ordering and loyalty program capabilities.

McDonald’s is building on what it learned from trials in the US and Europe where they launched a mobile couponing app earlier this year, says the company. This app featured mobile-only offers and the option to favourite certain foods in order to personalise coupons, which were also targeted based on factors such as the user’s birthday, location and weather.

In Amsterdam, the app was downloaded a million times within its first week. The US app also ran a trial mobile click-and-collect service, while the company worked with Apple to include Apple Pay at all US restaurants.

McDonald’s senior chief brand officer Steve Easterbrook said of the plan: “We’re truly excited by what lies ahead for us in digital and our overall McDonald’s experience in the future. We have markets moving on this journey at different speeds and we’ll be sharing, scaling and aligning our efforts.” He added that France is doing leading edge work on transforming the customer experience.

John Fleming, Marketing Director, EMEA & APAC, Webtrends comments that: “Customers increasingly seek a personalised experience when they engage with brands. Traditionally companies have looked at one or two of the three key dimensions – who the consumer is, what they’ve purchased previously, and their current situation (time of day, location) when engaging with online customers. McDonald’s has made a strategic move to being closer to contextual personalisation, a combination of these dimensions. Using these rich insights, McDonalds can respond accordingly through the app to give the consumer exactly what they want at exactly the right time.”

As an example, by using real-time time data, such as the weather, McDonald’s could promote snacks, breakfast, lunch and dinner at relevant times of the day as well as food suited to the current climate. For example, targeting consumers at lunchtime on a cold day with a McFlurry ice cream would be less likely to be tempting than a promotion on a Big Mac or a warm apple pie at that moment in time.

The use of the app can be extended to the introduction of beacon technology to push promotions to consumers through their app. Webtrends recently undertook some research that looked at the consumer appetite for beacon technology and found that 42% of Brits said they would like to receive real-time information and offers from retailers when in the vicinity. And of these, 11% would like real-time reminders from their phone when in-store so they can be directed straight to the item previously searched for online.

“Using location, weather and historical data to promote offers within the fast food environment could see instant take up and quick incremental sales,” says Fleming.

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