ECOMMERCE

Quick-service giant’s app adds more options for customers

BY Deena M. Amato-McCoy

Dunkin’ Brands is giving mobile customers another way to fulfill their caffeine fix.

In a bid to add more convenience to their “Order on the Go” service, the quick service giant is adding curbside delivery to its menu of order fulfillment options. Once customers place their order via their mobile app, they can pick up their order in-store, at drive-thru, or pull into a dedicated parking spot where an associate will deliver it to their car.

The idea was launched as a proof of concept among “a handful” of locations without drive thru windows in December. Early successes pushed the chain to expand the service nationally. By the end of August, franchisees company-wide will have the option to add the service, Paul Murray, director, digital innovation, Dunkin’ Brands said at the eTail East conference this week.

“We continue to push the envelope when it comes to taking the friction out of on-the-go orders,” Murray said.

“By enabling our customers to ‘build’ their own orders, we are increasing our margins and order accuracy successes,” he added. “We are also reducing the time and labor needed to make an order, and we can redirect those associates’ efforts to converting more customers at store-level — an effort that helps our franchisees drive their sales, as well.”

Order on the Go is one of many services integrated into Dunkin’s mobile app. What began as a tool to streamline the way customers pay for orders however, has become a vehicle that is driving loyalty, according to Murray.

By adding a CRM tool to the app, Dunkin’ stays abreast of customer preferences, and uses information to create targeted campaigns among specific customer segments or operating regions. “The app now does both: it streamlines checkout and is also a promotional engine,” Murray added.

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DESIGN/CONSTRUCTION

Upcoming store will be a first for Wegmans

BY Marianne Wilson

Wegmans Food Markets is expanding its footprint with a new concept.

In a first for the 101-year-old grocer, Wegmans said it will open a two-level store, at Natick Mall, Natick, Mass., with direct access to the shopping center. The 134,000-sq.-ft. store will be located in a building that formerly housed one of the mall's anchors, J.C. Penney.

The new Wegmans, scheduled to open in spring 2018, will devote 12,500 sq. ft. on the second floor to two restaurant concepts. The grocer is seeking a complementary tenant for the 45,000-sq.-ft. third floor of the building.

The family-owned Wegmans operates 93-supermarkets across New York, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Virginia, Maryland, and Massachusetts. The Natick location will be Wegman's sixth location in Massachusetts. It is scheduled to open a store in Medford, Mass., at the beginning of November.

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INVENTORY

Discount giant’s inventory replenishment efforts are ‘top shelf’

BY Deena M. Amato-McCoy

Walmart is ensuring all in-store merchandise is ready for shoppers when they want to make a purchase.

The discount giant manages “millions” of items — making for a complex process behind the scenes. It's a process that requires constant monitoring, "and can sometimes take associates away from the sales floor where they would otherwise be helping customers,” Cristy Brooks, senior director – innovations development, Walmart U.S., wrote in a blog post on the company's website.

As a result, Walmart is experimenting with new processes to streamline in-store replenishment. Its “Top Stock” system moves back-stock inventory to the top shelves on the sales floor.

“By keeping additional merchandise closer to where it’s sold, we can maintain fuller shelves while keeping a better in-the-moment read on inventory,” Cristy explained.

The extra space now available in the back room is being leveraged in different ways. For example, some stores are using the space to support the retailer’s growing pickup service of online grocery orders — a program that requires adequate space for fulfillment and order storage.

Top Stock also reduces Walmart’s rental of temporary inventory trailers. Now the chain uses “a small fraction of what it was just a few years ago,” Brooks wrote.

Top Stock also frees up space that can be used for Walmart’s career-building education program. For example, the chain's store in Morrisville, North Carolina, reduced inventory in its back room by 75% within two months of implementing the system. With the available space, it was able to open an Academy for associate training.

“When we commit to coming up with unexpected ways to do the small things better, we not only become smarter and more efficient, but create a big win for our customers at the same time,” Brooks added.

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