Mobile Apps, Learn from Firestone, Smoothie King & Dunkin Donuts

Michael Beauchemin —  March 18, 2014

Mobile Apps and Marketing, If You Don’t Have a Plan You’ll be Left Eating Dust

Everyday, consumers are using smartphones to make purchases, find store and restaurant locations, looking for current offers or coupons, reading reviews and making decisions on what to and where to purchase goods and services.


  • In the 2nd quarter of last year smartphone sales exceeded feature cell phone sales.
  • 75% percent of recent acquirers of mobile phones have selected a smartphone
  • 81% of users between the age of 25 and 34 have elected to use a smartphone rather than a feature based cell phone.

Businesses not taking advantage of leveraging a mobile phone app for their business are loosing sales.

For businesses, deploying a mobile app has never been simpler and more affordable.  In this post I review the mobile apps for three companies, Dunkin Donuts, Smoothie King and Firestone.  Although each is different they all share common goals:

  • Bring in new customers by making it easy to be found on mobile and lookup information about services or products
  • Improve customer loyalty
  • Promote products, services or specials

They also each have some shortcomings.

Firestone Firestone-Mobile App

What I like about Firestone’s Mobile Apps

It allows me to download and track my service records on all my vehicles.  Now I know when my vehicle needs an oil change or if I have a part that was repaired and is still under warranty.  For example, did you ever pay for a lifetime wheel alignment service but can’t remember what vehicle is covered for that service?

Other features I like about the mobile app include:

  • A cheap gas locator that shows me all the current prices of gas in the area I’m in.
  • The Parking Locator that allows me to enter where I park my car and is useful for when I go out of town for a few days.
  • Special offers that shows me any current deals or coupons

What I don’t like about their Mobile Apps.

Firestone just launched a rewards membership program with different levels that provide you with discounts.  I have not found a way to tie the membership discounts with the mobile app.  It would be beneficial to view the benefits and discounts associated with my loyalty membership level.

Go to Firestone’s Mobile App page to find out more.

Smoothie King Smoothie-king-mobile-app

Smoothie King has its rewards program tied directly to its Mobile App. When purchasing your smoothie, the cashier simply scans in a QR code on your phone that is linked to your rewards account.  On their mobile app you can view how often you checked into a store and the total number of points you’ve accrued and what the rewards are for free stuff.

There is also a store locator that makes it convenient if you are traveling and are interested in finding a Smoothie King.   It saves you the time from Googling a location and seeing if there are any in the area.  Great for when on a road trip and locating a Smoothie King off a highway exit.  After all, as parents don’t we get sick of the fast food road trip binge?

Beyond the store locator I haven’t found too many uses for the other features on their mobile app.

What I don’t like about their Mobile Apps.

They have a coupons feature on the app menu item coupons but I cannot recall ever seeing a single coupon available for use. Why have that feature if you are not going to push out coupons to get people into your location?

Go to Smoothie Kings Mobile App page to find out more information.

Dunkin Donuts Dunkin Donuts Mobile App

For the purpose of full disclosure, I am a Dunkin Donuts junkie.  My favorite feature of their mobile app is the store locator.  Living in North Carolina and having family in Massachusetts and Wisconsin it is not uncommon for us to do a couple long road trips during the year. The mobile app allows us to locate Dunkin Donuts along the way and know how close or how far we are from a Dunkin Donuts.  You can filter the locations by amenities such as a drive-thru, wireless or those with 24 hour service.

They recently replaced the loyalty beverage card in our area with the nationwide Dunkin Donut Perks program that I cover in detail below.

The Jury’s Out on the New DD Perks Program

Dunkin Donuts recently launched its DD Perks program.   Not sure it will fly with many of their customers.  To participate you must purchase a Dunkin Donuts card and have money on the card to earn rewards.

It is one marketing consultant’s opinion – mine, that this is a mistake.  I’m not sure the philosophy behind forcing your customers to maintain a balance on a prepaid card to participate.  It is simply a barrier for customers to join the Dunkin Donuts Perks program.

I don’t believe that many of their loyal customers will bother signing up and participating.  I don’t blame them.  Let’s see, first I have to take the time to register the card, then I have to prepay for my future purchases and if I don’t have a balance on my card I can’t get any rewards points.  Really?

The reward – for prepaying for future purchases and signing up is a medium cup of coffee, another on your birthday and one after spending about $40 on food and beverages.  This equates to buying about 20 large cups of coffee to get a fee medium cup of coffee.  I just don’t think the rewards are significant enough for many of their customers to go through the hurdles of participating.

If they had wanted to do this, they should have considered a two tiered loyalty program.

An all-inclusive tier that doesn’t force customer into prepaying to earn Perk Points and a premium member tier that increases the points or rewards for the customers that choose to prepay.

Go to Dunkin Donuts Perks page to find out more.

A Couple Final Thoughts About Developing a Mobile App:

  • A mobile app is a great way to improve customer loyalty and bring new customers through the door. You do not have to be a large multi-national corporation to have a mobile app.  They are great for single location restaurants, independent garages, gyms, salons, restaurants, any retail location, hotels, dentists, doctors, etc.
  • Mobile apps are more affordable than ever and you do not have to break the bank to get a great mobile app.
  • Consider what the features you want to include.  Do not load it up with menu items that will not be used.
  • Make sure your loyalty rewards program is part of the mobile app so customers can quickly view how many points they have, the discounts or freebies that your loyalty rewards programs offers.

If you have considered or are considering a mobile app, don’t hesitate to reach out to us for guidance on helping you develop a mobile app.

Michael Beauchemin

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Certified Inbound Marketing Consultant committed to helping businesses grow sales through measurable, accountable marketing metrics.
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