We all do it quite automatically. We download an app for this and for that. It has become central to our lives. It all started with those gaming apps that keep us glued to our mobiles but has moved on to include store and shopping apps and more recently food apps that give us access at our fingertips. There is no question that the purpose of apps is changing – instead of being a means of entertainment or a means to waste time playing games, they’re playing an active role in the consumer’s daily journey to purchase.
According to recent data from App Annie , consumers spent $101 billion on apps in 2018. There were 194 downloads and users who clocked roughly three hours per day on mobile devices. But the research found 30 percent higher engagement in non-gaming apps for Gen Z versus older demographics, opening the door for loyalty programmes and customer engagements that will keep them engaged and open to repeat visits. The fast food and restaurant sector is benefiting the most as it can generate almost daily activation of its apps as people need to eat but don’t want the hassle of physically visiting and queuing. Coupled with the surge in delivery apps, eating-in is the new trend and apps are its driving force.
Whilst there has been an increase in general online shopping using apps, it lags behind food ordering which is poised to gain the most in app activation. After all how many sweaters or scatter cushions can one order? Starbucks leads the field in engaging with their customers. Their Rewards programme has nearly 17 million members, whose members account for 41% of US sales. That’s an enormous figure for a chain that hit global revenues of $6.3 billion in the first quarter of fiscal 2019.
Internationally and locally, fast food brands use apps to reach and engage their customers constantly – with Americans spending 140% more time in food and drink apps in 2018 than two years prior. There is no question that consumers have bought into the ease and benefits of using food apps for buying everything from groceries to fast-food and even gourmet meals. But with so many food brands climbing on the app bandwagon, providing value for customers is crucial to being on top of the app list. Being able to customise food choices, giving value-for-money specials and giving great delivery options is crucial to the success of any food app as is the ability to segment customer information to create personalised marketing programmes and loyalty programmes. Having a first-class mobile strategy is a must for any fast-food or restaurant in 2019 or they face being relics of the past.
To protect, lobby, promote and develop ethical franchising across all sectors in South Africa with specific focus on transformation.