In: Marketing, Strategy, Tech

Investing in the Bottom of the Funnel to Grow the Topline
What the Retail Industry Can Learn from Fast Food

When it comes to winning the customer, quite often brands will look to like-minded brands for best practices and innovative solutions. And while inspiration, storytelling and education are all key components in driving awareness to gain new customers, it’s the experience of the “final touchpoint” that opens the journey for the next chapter – what takes a brand and consumer from flirting to dating steady.

Shoppers today are busier than ever and value when they discover ways that make them more efficient and unlocks time. They ubiquitously value convenience, speed and customer service regardless of what they are shopping for. Backed by a recent study from the National Restaurant Association, operators are prioritizing investments in enhancing ordering efficiencies as part of their five year roadmap. That may seem like a no-brainer because they are, after all, quick-service providers, but what they look to achieve and deliver to their customers isn’t just isolated to the needs and demands of their industry.

When executed well, the strategies of the best-in-class quick-service providers unlock a lot more than just time – they create a new level of stickiness to their offerings, entrenching their customers in the possibilities of personalization. And, when brands can create an experience that keeps customers coming back through a personalized offering, what they can learn is endless.

Here are three strategies from the fast food world we can learn from:

1- Empower the Inner Creative: Gamifying the digital check out experience

As we have seen with apps like Instagram, if you can empower a consumers’ inner creator they will have an extremely loyal affinity to your brand. Additionally, you will trigger users that have longer engagement times, dive deeper in exploration and are organic brand evangelists. Chiptole was able to capture just this when they launched Savor.Wavs, a user-generated digital menu experience, designed in collaboration with the brand and multi-platinum grammy artist RZA.

The action: Customers were given the opportunity to create their own unique audio soundtrack for their orders based on interests.

The reward: Chiptole helped users develop an emotional connection to their value proposition of fresh ingredients with no artificial by-products through an immersive sound infusion and gain real-time insights to the desires and combination patterns of their customers.

2- Empower Independence with Autonomous Shopping

Frictionless convenience has been at the core of Amazon’s DNA since the brand’s inception. And their recent unveiling of AmazonGo furthers their push into delivering customers a seamless, expedited and highly convenient shopping experience. Powered by hundreds of cameras and sensors, AmazonGo is pushing the envelope in efficiency.

Courtesy: Benzinga

The action: Download or activate the Amazon Prime app and shop freely.

The reward: Data, data, data. Amazon has yet another touch point into understanding how their shopper interacts with the products they sell and identify both browsing and purchase patterns. With in-store purchases tied to one’s Prime account, Amazon will see its customer’s multi-channel journey.

3- Empower Customers to Win Back Time with Order Ahead

The current leader in the order-ahead game is Starbucks, powering 410K transactions per day in the United States alone, and planning to take its stores to mobile only in the years ahead due to its success. With 13 million monthly active app users they have a newfound visibility in the demands of their customers and can better merchandise their menu offerings, plan staffing schedules to meet peak demand times, and upsell food options based on beverage choices.


The action: Empower customers to have past orders and preferences saved at their fingertips and transact seamlessly without carrying their wallet.

The reward: Starbucks has built a coffee brand that knows much more than what we like to drink. They have insights to time of day patterns, when we splurge, how we gift others, etc – giving them visibility into productivity needs to meet customer demands.

While Starbucks was a first mover, they were also an inspiration to others, as we have seen the number of order-ahead offerings continue to expand across the food industry with brands like Burger King and Bobby’s Burger Palace. These log-in to order experiences are synonymous to what’s possible in triggering a personalized shopping experience in a retail storefront. It’s a key identifier to who’s planning on being in your space and empowering a brand to deliver a tailored experience with personalized recommendations.


Store floors can be data rich environments, just as online and mobile are. The key is keeping the customer at the core of the experience in order to capture data that is actionable and as Maya Angelou famously stated “people will always remember how you made them feel”, which is especially true at checkout. It’s the last impression that makes a lasting one.