The rise of digital ordering is shifting competition among QSRs online. The question now: How can one brand stand out amid crowded cyberspace?
The competition for views, clicks, and likes online is testing the creativity of QSRs. Whether it’s through tried-and-tested combo meals, special discounts, online contests, or daily specials, brands are finding new and more innovative ways to draw the attention of their scroll-happy market.
One method recently unveiled by Krispy Kreme is to have a literal beacon light up to guide customers to their website, not unlike the Hotlight outside the brand’s bakeries. The popular doughnut chain’s new Doughnut Delivery beacon aims to give customers the opportunity to get their doughnuts delivered to their doors for free.
“The Hotlight outside all of our manufacturing stores is the signal that we’re making hot doughnuts, making their way through the iconic glaze waterfall,” Russell Schulman, Krispy Kreme Australia Head of Marketing & eCommerce, told QSR Media. “With the advent of the convenience age and the growth in delivery we wanted to continue our history of innovation and created the Doughnut Delivery Light.”
The Delivery Light, when illuminated at any time during the week, will notify customers through social live events and on the Krispy Kreme website. It continues a string of digital innovations by the doughnut chain, such as its virtual, ‘lickable’ doughnut ads for its “Decadent Desserts” range in 2015, and the world’s first ‘Virtual Pop-up’ Krispy Kreme store for Hobart, Tasmania, wherein the brand held a limited time pop-up store on its website where customers can preorder products.
As digital ordering keeps building momentum, Schulman said that the brand is aiming to build on its delivery capabilities to keep up with the demand.
“Definitely, we are very focused on matching our customer’s needs and there is a clear demand for delivery. We have been offering delivery for over three years and each year have seen significant growth. The majority of our delivery service over the last three years has catered to planned occasions like parties, office and meeting catering and sending the ultimate ‘Thank You’,” he said.
“With the advent of on-demand food delivery we immediately partnered with Uber Eats to further enhance our offering and have been blown away with the growth. Our on-demand offering with Uber Eats caters to consumers who are looking for sweet treats delivered straight away and so is very complimentary to our more planned occasion based delivery service.”
Maximizing the opportunities of digital
Moving forward, Krispy Kreme aims to fully capitalize on the opportunities brought about by online delivery, with it now being a key consideration in planning its store expansion, design and new locations. The brand is factoring in both increasing reach and designing its stores for customer and courier collections.
“Each week, we are creating a new record in delivery sales numbers and foresee this to continue to grow as more people join the on-demand food delivery platforms and discover that they can get the world’s best doughnuts delivered,” Schulman said. “We have embraced digital technology as a modern tool in every department across the business to generate efficiency and a better customer experience across all channels.”
Part of this integration with digital technology includes customer-facing implementations, like the brand’s ‘Choose your own dozen’ facility on its website, web-based booking for its doughnut decorating sessions and introducing artificial intelligence into its customer service platform, which gives customers answers to the their questions in real time, allows Krispy Kreme to learn and improve answers based on the questions asked and real time feedback from customers.
Krispy Kreme has also rolled out digital menu boards across all its stores in the country, which are centrally controlled, which allows the brand to showcase to customers the best offering for their needs at the time they need it.
“In our backend systems we are tracking speed of service and wait times in drive-thru to help improve efficiency and have centralised monitoring of our iconic doughnut making ‘rollercoasters’ to ensure we minimise downtime and can always offer the freshest doughnuts everyday,” Schulman said.
Striking the effective balance
Through such investments, the doughnut chain is embodying a philosophy of openness to innovation and forward-thinking. The challenge does not lie in the number of technologies available, but in finding the right ones to use.
“As with most modern businesses we are constantly faced with a plethora of the latest technology and platforms and what these can offer our business and our customers. One of our biggest challenges is defining which technologies are truly going to make a difference and trying to find the right balance between utilising all the data and systems available to us these days with all the new digital communication platforms while ensuring we are offering a personal touch and the best experience, in the real world,” Schulman said.
“It is very easy to get caught up in the numerous features and implementation of new technology and systems and lose sight of what the customer actually wants or needs in order to have the best experience with your brand.”
Krispy Kreme also said that they will continue to invest in creating the ultimate customer experience whilst expanding its reach with new stores, new delivery capabilities and new format products which can help reach new audiences.
“Our challenge is to match the supply with the demand and reach the widest audience possible, which isn’t easy with a made fresh daily product. We have opened 4 new stores in the last 6 months and expanded into New Zealand, so are investing heavily into our supply chain, manufacturing and logistics to ensure we can continue to bring smiles to more parts of Australia and New Zealand.”
“Our long term goal is to offer customers the best possible experience at the time they want to interact with us, this may change on each occasion based on the customers’ needs, so we are developing an agile, customer-first culture,” he added.
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