Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Text to Order: 1 $5 Ft. Long, Plz.

I recently blogged about how pizza chains, such as Pizza Hut, Domino’s and Papa Johns, are allowing customers to order food in innovative ways (via Facebook, TiVo and a text-to-order program, respectively). Now, Subway is jumping in on the action with its own text-to-order program currently being tested in Manhattan.

Judging by the long lines in various Subway locations during lunchtime in the Midtown area, I’m sure consumers will take advantage of the pilot so they can quickly grab lunch and get back to work. Although the program just launched a few weeks ago, mediabistro.com blog MobileMarketingToday said participating Subway stores have seen a "major increase in customer visit frequency" and "larger average order sizes.”

Subway also trialed a mobile coupon program through a single franchise location in Illinois, according to MobileMarketingToday. Subway said that the mobile coupon promotion specifically resonated with high school students, and as result, reported an increase in sales for the location. Read the blog entry here.

Consumers are already embracing these new mobile initiatives from fast food chains, but retailers are still struggling to reach shoppers with texting programs. Some companies have experienced with text-marketing campaigns in the past, but many companies are finding that shoppers don’t want to be bothered with ads on their phones.

Retailers need to give consumers a reason to use texts (or mobile in general) to interact with them. If consumers already feel comfortable cashing in coupons and ordering take-out on a handheld mobile device, there’s certainly room for retailers to get in on the action -- they just have to strategize out how.

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