EU and USA outlets now accept mobile in-store payments and are also developing e-commerce businesses that support mobile payment options in apps and on mobile websites. Whereas some would say this reduces the personal touch offered by humans, it is argued that personalization is actually easier achieved – at scale, in order to automate the upselling process.

Is this model suitable to your business? It depends on the product and location. The origin of app assisted checkout with personalization can be attributed to quick-service restaurants (QSRs) which is turning to mobile order-ahead apps to extract higher sales, intensify customer loyalty, and heighten foot traffic.Mobile order-ahead refers to a consumer-facing mobile payment platform that allows customers to order food remotely, pay for the items on their phone, and pick up their order at a specific restaurant location. Leading QSRs in the US are beginning to adopt these platforms at an accelerated pace and are benefiting from them. Taco Bell sees 30% higher average order values on mobile compared to in-store, and Starbucks’ Mobile Order & Pay already represents 10% of total transactions at high-volume stores, directly contributing to increased company sales.

Mobile order-ahead is still in its early days, but will be a $38 billion industry by 2020, accounting for 10.7% of total QSR industry sales. This will be driven by full adoption among the top QSRs in the US, the growth of mobile commerce, QSR adoption through aggregators like Grubhub, loyalty programs, higher average order values, and new buy buttons.

We view this as a channel that does not integrate completely with online, but rather an additional in-store channel, which can automate large parts of in-store customer service and boost the upsell process. I am currently talking to clients who would like to pilot this technology in luxury sales, who feel that the installation of an app will also enhance the lead-generation process, since many high profile clients escape the venue without at least joining the mailing list. We are working with generic app providers, since going completely custom for a business which does not function at scale, could be prohibitive. The biggest opportunity we see in the early stages is for brands with multiple locations who can roll out innovation and experience the benefits at scale.


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