McDonald’s to launch global mobile app as part of mass personalisation strategy

McDonald’s have announced the launch of a mobile app worldwide that will offer promotions and payments as they work to enhance the customer experience.

Speaking at an event hosted by Morgan Stanley Wednesday (19 November) in New York, senior chief brand officer Steve Easterbrook said this is part of the company’s wider efforts to boost sales by shifting from mass marketing to mass personalisation.

The global mobile 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.

“We’re truly excited by what lies ahead for us in digital and our overall McDonald’s experience in the future,” Easterbrook says.

“We have markets moving on this journey at different speeds and we’ll be sharing, scaling and aligning our efforts,” he said, adding that France is doing leading edge work on transforming the customer experience.

McDonald’s are using learnings from trials in the US and Europe where they launched a mobile couponing app earlier this year.

The 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.

“This was a huge win for our customers and makes it incredibly easy for them to engage with our brand,” Easterbrook says about the Apple tie-up.

News of the global app comes as the company gets set to host its first hackathon in London this weekend, tasking participants to “build the restaurant experience for the next generation”.

The company is looking to technology start-ups for help with digitising its restaurant experience across Europe, hoping to leverage social media and mobile marketing.

“The area of digital commerce holds huge potential for us with a myriad of ways to make our brand easier to use, build greater loyalty and drive more transactions,” Easterbrook says.

“Using mobile technology, we can offer advance ordering to our customers and introduce pick-up as a whole new service option or encourage add-on orders at the restaurant level.”

Easterbrook adds that in the future, most of the ordering process will be delivered through technology, such as an intuitive iPad-like self-order kiosk.

The brand also plans to leverage digital to deliver new levels of music and entertainment, social media content and more modern ways to engage kids.

Meanwhile, the company is preparing the Quarter Pounder in a new way, letting customers chose their own soft drinks and experimenting with table service.

“We’re meeting the large societal trend for customisation and personalisation to be in step with how our customers live and what they want from McDonald’s,” he says.

Pete Bensen, senior chief financial officer also says the company is taking a hard look at their pricing structure, which currently features price disparities due to commodity and labour cost increases.

This is all part of building greater trust in the brand, Bensen says.

“We’re continuing to evolve our menu in recipe and ingredient changes our customers care about, and we’re engaging in a more transparent way with consumers.”


McDonald’s taps startups to bring urgency to plans to digitise stores

Seb Joseph

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