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Caribou Coffee brews mobile Web site to meet consumer digital needs

March 20, 2013

Caribou Coffee’s mobile strategy is getting a jolt of caffeine thanks to the launch of a new mobile site that provides nutritional information for all beverage and food items.

The coffee house chain made its first move into mobile last year with the launch of an SMS program. The medium will play a larger role for the company going forward, with plans in place to introduce additional mobile programs throughout 2013.

“This new digital initiative is just one of many innovative projects that Caribou Coffee is committed to in 2013,” said Alfredo Martel, senior vice president of marketing and product management at Caribou Coffee, Brooklyn Center, MN.

“Our guests have expressed the desire for Caribou to enter into the mobile space and that is exactly what the company will continue to do,” he said.

Caribou Coffee is the second largest coffeehouse in the United States and operates 415 locations across 40 states.

Key initiative
The site is designed to provide on-the-go customers with better accessibility to the information they seek most, such as a location finder as well as menu and nutrition information.

The location finder provides detailed information on U.S. store addresses, phone numbers and amenities. The site also has a page displaying all of the current promotions and offers.

Additionally, users can sign up to receive news and offers via email and text and learn more about the range of coffees offered in retail locations.

In the menu and nutrition section, customers can customize a drink and view nutritional information for the specific drink they are interested in.

“Mobile is a key initiative for Caribou Coffee,” Carrie Chitsey, chief marketing officer of 3Seventy, Austin, TX.

“The Caribou customer is more of the luxury, really into their coffee and a very brand-loyal customer,” she said. “The whole menu and nutrition section plays a big role.

“You can go into the menu and you can say ‘I like coffee with caramel,’ and you can drop down to what you are looking to have and it populates the nutrition. We kind of took the idea further than the competition to give the customers what they are looking for.”

3Seventy is Caribou Coffee’s mobile agency of record.

Building a mobile database
The Caribou Coffee SMS program launched last fall and the chain has been working to build its database since then.

In December, Caribou Coffee ran a 20 Deals for 20 Days promotion leading up to Christmas that saw it sending a new special offer every day of the promotion to opted-in users.

The company will be introducing more mobile initiatives this summer, including enhancing the new mobile site and taking the chain’s first steps into other mobile channels.

“Thirty-five to 40 percent of their traffic is coming from mobile,” Ms. Chitsey said. “People are on the go and they are trying to find the nearest location or trying to find location with a drive thru, which is a big thing for moms with kids.

We are in a day and age when everyone is very cautious of calories and they want to be able to look at that information even while sitting in a drive through. It is something that we have been hearing form the consumer,” she said.

Final Take
Chantal Tode is associate editor on Mobile Commerce Daily, New York

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