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McDonald’s doubles down on mobile couponing via branded app

January 22, 2014

McDonald's expands loyalty app

McDonald’s is expanding its mobile couponing effort through a branded application by rolling out a new round of pilot programs in California and Nevada.

The new California and Nevada markets are the latest areas where McDonald’s is testing mobile coupons through its McD app. The goal behind the app is to test how consumers in different markets within the United States  respond to mobile coupons, which presumably will be rolled out as a larger mobile program in the near future.

“We are still early in our work with McD App, and it would be too early to provide initial learnings,” said David Martinelli, digital marketing manager at McDonald’s, Oak Brook, IL.

“We continue to monitor how particular offers perform based on geography to insure we are delivering relevant offers to our customers,” he said.

Loyalty-building app
McDonald’s has rolled out the McD app to two new markets in northern Nevada in the Lake Tahoe and Truckee areas.

Additionally, the app is available within the Sacramento, CA, area.

The app offers consumers deals and coupons on food that franchises can then tailor around users’ preferences.

As an incentive to download the app, consumers can initially receive a free medium-sized Extra Value Meal.

The McD app

Additional offers include free breakfast sandwiches, coffee or fries with a purchase.

The app also lets consumers view menus and find nearby locations on a map.

The McD app is available for free download from Apple’s App Store and Google Play.

Similar to other markets, consumers can download the app by scanning an in-store QR code.

Beefing up on mobile
McDonald’s has steadily been rolling out the McD app to markets across the United States in the past year.

Most recently, the app was launched in three New England areas and in Albany, NY (see story).

The app has also been tested in the San Francisco and St. Louis markets.

The coupon-dealing app is only one part of McDonald’s bigger mobile strategy within the U.S.

The brand is also testing mobile payments with Isis in locations including Austin, TX (see story).

Internationally, McDonald’s has been building up mobile payments in France for a couple of years.

Mobile payments continue to gain steam for the quick-service restaurant industry in particular as a way to streamline ordering. Wendy’s, Chick-Fil-A and KFC are a handful of other brands testing mobile payments within certain markets in the United States.

Although McDonald’s has not rolled out the McD app or mobile payments nationally, the QSR’s interest in both loyalty and payments could put McDonald’s a step ahead of competitors.

Mobile-driven transactions continue to increase from marketers, but it is the combination of payments with value-added coupons and loyalty payments that will ultimately push mobile payments ahead for marketers.

“We’re always looking at new technologies to make the McDonald’s experience better for our customers and this includes the use of new technologies,” Mr. Martinelli said. “It would be premature to speculate on any decisions or outcomes.”

Final Take
Lauren Johnson is associate reporter on Mobile Commerce Daily, New York 

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