10 behind-the-scenes insights into restaurant mobile app development from GAIL’s Bakery…
Don’t silence your phone: mobile apps are calling!
GAIL’s Bakery has been making headlines with the launch of their fresh-out-the-oven mobile app. From championing the GAIL’s brand to going to special lengths to ‘thank the customer’, the app is anything but underbaked.
Rosie Hill, Head of eCommerce at GAIL’s, sat down with Mark McCulloch for a special episode of the Supersonic Hospitality Marketing podcast. It was dedicated to the why and how behind the GAIL’s app.
Here are the top insights from the conversation that will help you drive your mobile app strategy forward …
How to develop your restaurant mobile app:
- Takeaway 1: Establish the foundational aims of the app before building it.
- Takeaway 2: Consider how your app fits into your wider tech stack.
- Takeaway 3: Simplify your omnichannel strategy.
- Takeaway 4: Make it meaningful for your customers.
- Takeaway 5: Make sure your app reflects your branding.
- Takeaway 6: Identify the wider measures of success outside of typical metrics.
- Takeaway 7: Ensure your long-term plan is built on customer behaviour.
- Takeaway 8: Get your teams excited!
- Takeaway 9: Balance digital with physical experience.
- Takeaway 10: Work with partners who really get your brand
Takeaway 1: Establish the aims of the app before building it
It might sound obvious, but it’s key to establish what you want to achieve before you invest time and money. For GAIL’s, this had a huge impact on how they chose to reward their customers.
“Until you figure out what you’re trying to achieve with an app, how do you know what you’re building? Nailing down that ‘why’ conversation is how you end up with an end product that looks and feels right for the brand.
We knew there was something genuinely special about GAIL’s that had to be cherished when we considered our goals.”
Takeaway 2: Consider how your app fits into your wider tech stack
A lot of operations rely on a patchwork tech stack made up of multiple providers depending on integrations. The GAIL’s team needed to find a way to fit a new app into their network of existing integrations
“Don’t underestimate how hard the integration work is when you’ve got existing partners. We looked at who could build us a great app, but trying to integrate that ecommerce journey into something that felt seamless? It felt like no one could do that well.
You have to decide how much internal resource you’re prepared to commit to managing multiple partners.
We selected Vita Mojo as our ecommerce partner bolted on with Acteol for loyalty. We ended up with systems that made perfect sense for us with the right level of integration.”
Takeaway 3: Simplify your omnichannel strategy
Ultimately, Rosie has opted to take GAIL’s on a journey from fragmented processes to a more centralised experience. This necessitated smart solutions for managing multiple channels in one space, including in menu management.
“We’re at the early steps of a long term omnichannel journey, including click and collect, delivery, corporate catering and Just Eat.
Lots of different pieces had to fit together, so we picked the fewest possible partners without compromising what we wanted.
For example, we wanted our teams to manage multiple live channels in one space, so we ended up using Vita Mojo’s aggregator hub for menu management as well.”
Takeaway 4: Make it meaningful for your customers
Operators need to make sure they find a meaningful angle for their mobile app to stand out in the market. The GAIL’s approach is to ensure the loyalty app rewards all customers, regardless of spend.
“We had a paper card loyalty programme limited to people who bought coffee and bread. We were excluding customers who weren’t buying those products.
When we thought about the principles of what the loyalty programme should be, it was fundamentally: how do you say thank you to all our customers?
Now, when you come to the tills, you’ll order whatever it is that makes you happy and scan your app. You get a digital stamp, and if you spend over £20, you get a second stamp. After nine visits, you get a free barista made drink, or a loaf of bread.
It’s a crowded market place and people choose us nonetheless. That angle of ‘gratitude’ is really important to us.”
Takeaway 5: Make sure your app reflects your branding
The best mobile apps are built to reflect the brand at every swipe. In the new app, the bold and beloved GAIL’s branding is brought to life at every stage of the customer journey.
“That aspect of the project was led by our head of digital marketing, who has a real personal passion for design.
It was quite challenging to have to go back and forth between our idealised version of what it would look like, and then consider what we could actually build.
We made a few compromises, but ended up with this really beautiful product.”
Takeaway 6: Identify the wider measures of success outside of typical metrics
Aside from tracking typical metrics like app downloads and loyalty sign-ups, consider bigger goals that reflect success. For example, GAIL’s aims to use the app as a tool to empower more value-led marketing:
“We set a goal to get to 10% of transactions that contain loyalty. And that’s where we’re at now.
But we also have this gap in our knowledge. I can see what customers choose to buy, but I have no indication of why.
The more we understand our customers, the better able we are to interact with them in a way that genuinely adds value to their day to day.
You don’t want endless texts and push and emails. I’d rather we spoke to you once a month, and it was genuinely useful rather than being peppered with stuff all the time.”
Takeaway 7: Ensure your long-term plan is built on customer behaviour
According to McKinsey, 76% of consumers get frustrated when they don’t receive personalised experiences. The long term plan for the GAIL’s app revolves around delivering meaningful personalisation based customer behaviour.
“We want your experience to be totally seamless, but also personal. For example logging on as Mark and seeing ‘Hey Mark, we know that you really love olive sourdough. Why not give our new olive bread sandwich a try, on us?’.
So it’s partly fueled by tech innovation, but it’s also in the hands of our customers. We want to see how people use it. We’d rather make the long-term strategy decision on the back of how our customers genuinely think and feel than our expectations of it.”
Takeaway 8: Get your teams excited!
Any new tech needs to be championed by the teams delivering and using it. An important part of the GAIL’s app launch was to get the bakery teams on-side by demonstrating the purpose and benefits of the app.
“The training and engagement piece was so important up front, so the teams genuinely felt excited about this next section of our journey, and excited to talk about it.
We had to take everyone on this journey where they stopped viewing tech with suspicion, and started seeing it as something that could really help us get out of our own way. It enables our people to be people, to be great at what they do, and remove pain points.”
Takeaway 9: Balance digital with physical experience
GAIL’s customers know and love the in-store experience of the brand, so the introduction of QR scanners for the new mobile app had to fit seamlessly into this.
“It was really about putting this in our bakeries in a way that didn’t feel disruptive, didn’t feel in your face. And trying to add a bit of beauty where possible.
We needed scanners on our counters. The team designed these beautiful cupboards so it feels like it’s there for a purpose and fits in a bit more seamlessly.”
Takeaway 10: Work with partners who really get your brand
If you don’t have an in-house team of digital strategists and engineers, working with expert partners is a great way to outsource the build process and offer fresh thinking.
“The most valuable part of the partnership was taking Vita Mojo’s product team into our bakeries to demonstrate the unique challenges of our bakery operation.
And they were really ready to have those conversations and understand the challenge to help us solve it, rather than pushing a white label solution.
They wanted to help us build something new. We’re genuinely proud of the fact that we’ve managed to end up with something that feels like us.”
We worked closely with GAIL’s Bakery to make their mobile app vision a reality.
Book a chat with one of our restaurant tech experts to discover how a partnership with Vita Mojo can deliver the mobile app you thought was impossible.
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