Chipotle this week updated its popular mobile app, which hosts about 30 million Rewards members. The updates are certainly not bells or whistles, but rather the addition of simple new features meant to reduce friction for loyal consumers, who have proven they visit more frequently and spend more money with the brand, executives have noted.
Specifically, users can now enable push notifications that provide updates on their order status, alert them if they’re at the wrong pick-up location and remind them to scan for Rewards points when they arrive at a Chipotle restaurant. These new features are facilitated through GPS-enabled technology and are part of the company’s “Contextual Restaurant Experience” program first announced in September. Chipotle’s features are facilitated by Radius Networks’ technology platform Flybuy and were tested at 73 restaurants in Cleveland before this week’s broader rollout.
In a statement emailed to Nation’s Restaurant News, Nicole West, vice president of Digital Strategy and Product, said, “We are currently leveraging advanced location-based technology to enhance app functionality and provide a convenient experience for guests. The Contextual Restaurant Experience, which Flybuy powers, identifies loyalty members’ intent upon arrival and utilizes data to enhance their experience with order readiness messaging, reminders to scan the Chipotle Rewards QR code at checkout, wrong location detection and more.”
Such “enhanced experiences” are quickly becoming a necessity, according to Nick Patrick, CEO of geofencing platform Radar. During a recent Create webinar hosted by Nation’s Restaurant News, Patrick said consumers have higher expectations than ever because of “the Amazon or Uber effect we’re used to.”
“Ordering something and having it show up the next day and knowing where it is in transit – we expect these types of seamless, frictionless experiences from all the apps we use,” he said. “What’s going to get folks to download and use your app? It’s a big challenge, but a big opportunity to deliver frictionless experiences.”
The benefits here extend beyond customer experience and expectation, however. Such real-time communication and geotracking allows the kitchen crew to better sequence and prepare orders, so when customers arrive, they can receive their food quickly and – theoretically – it’s higher quality. That means we’re very likely see more of these types of location-based features added to apps as loyalty programs continue to evolve. According to MarketsandMarkets Analysis, location-based intelligence is projected to grow by 90% in the next three years.
“At the end of the day, all this ladders up to really seamless, great customer experiences that keep customers coming back,” Patrick said. “And all of that ladders up to loyalty.”
According to a company spokesperson, Chipotle intends on sharing more information about its Contextual Restaurant Experience program during its Q4 and full-year earnings call Feb. 7.
Contact Alicia Kelso at [email protected]