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Tim Hortons targets younger diners with mobile scan-to-pay alternative

May 23, 2014

The new wallet feature is expected to boost purchase quanity

The new wallet feature is expected to boost purchase quantity

Tim Hortons announced the launch of its successfully piloted scan-to-pay bar code technology that makes grabbing a quick bite to eat mobile efficient.

The software integrates with the TimmyMe app once a prepared Tim Card has been registered and promises to be a secure and easy payment alternative for customers.

“We believe this new payment option will improve speed of service for our guests, which is always a key concern for us in locations where capacity is stretched,” said Marc Caira, CEO of Tim Hortons, Oakville, Ontario.

“We expect this to have particular appeal to the younger demographic group that is increasingly becoming more important to us.”

Improving speed of service
Turning 50 this year, the fast casual is defending its category leadership by broadening its offerings both in product innovation and technology.

The new payment system is a measure which hopes to increase the amount of items customers purchase per transaction. The chain has found some difficulty in implementing a strategy to drive higher purchase quantities, mostly because of its large role in the breakfast and snack item sector, a segment known for low-cost and single digit item purchases.

In an attempt to convince even a small number of guests only ordering one item to order more, Tim Horton’s focus lies on convenience and simplification as part of the brand’s ongoing commitment to operation excellence and customer satisfaction in-restaurant and on mobile.

The scan-to-pay feature

The scan-to-pay feature

The TimmyMe App also offers guests a number of other features to help stay connected inclusive of near-location navigation, nutritional information and the option to reload Tim Cards onto a handheld device.

Loyalty-based interface
Smartphones are enabling a greater range of use-cases as bar codes can be generated in real-time and displayed on individual devices.

Mobile wallet use is becoming more popular and bar code-based payment features are the number one applications according to a report in January by Parks Associates.

By 2017, 43 percent of all U.S. smartphone users are predicted to use mobile wallet, a 20 percent increase compared to last year. Although the tech remains somewhat ambiguous, it possesses potential to satiate consumer demands, as demonstrated by some big vendors.

The best known application of bar codes in mobile payment is by Starbucks, which offers two mobile payment methods through scan and go capabilities: its branded mobile app which allows for purchase through a prepaid Starbucks account, and the option to use the Square Wallet app linked to a customer’s credit or debit card.

Starbucks' popular mobile wallet option

Starbucks’ popular mobile wallet option

To purchase products, a user accesses the app, navigates the menu to generate a code and presents the screen to be scanned by an associate. In addition, loyalty benefits, personalization and a rich user experience account for the exponential acceptance of this service.

Bar codes remain an enabler for payment, and do not stand alone while other competing technologies offer more developed advantages and tighter security measures. Moreover, different wallet breeds will serve varied demands as no current wallet functionality serves all purposes yet.

Bar code payments also offer the ability to collect consumer information, and deliver content, if desired, from a redistribution standpoint to help companies deliver more personalized and timely content which typically results in higher response rates.

Tim Hortons announced in early February plans to launch a co-branded credit card, which will offer instant Tim Hortons loyalty rewards to CIBC clients on their everyday spending.

The initiative is scheduled for availability this month and will allow cardholders to accumulate Tim Cash rewards for all purchases made on the card. That Tim Cash can then be redeemed instantly using the same card at participating locations to purchase coffee, baked goods, or any other Tim Hortons offerings.

“This will enable us to gain new consumer insights on an aggregated, anonymous basis that we can leverage for competitive advantage,” Mr. Caira said.

“We want to have an in-depth and data-driven understanding of our guests. We are aiming to become one of the most consumer-centric companies in the industry. These insights and capabilities are essential to achieving differentiated innovation that will allow us to compete and win in this new era.”

Final Take:
Michelle is editorial assistant on Mobile Commerce Daily, New York

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Michelle Saettler is editorial assistant on Mobile Commerce Daily and Mobile Marketer, New York. Reach her at

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