Here in the northeast U.S., we have been inundated with snow and pretty much confined to the indoors. In order to pass the time, we try to keep ourselves entertained by gazing into our crystal ball to see how marketing will change in the future.
While our crystal ball is getting a bit old and is in desperate need of calibration, it still occasionally makes entertaining predictions. For instance, it is predicting that in less than five years, the majority of customers placing fast food restaurant orders will do so before they are near the store. Why? Because mobile devices, such as smartphones, tablet computers, Google Glass or whatever mobile has evolved to in five years, will have matured to the point where customers, especially younger ones, will expect to have this ordering option available.
While orders through mobile apps have been used for some time by smaller restaurants, only a handful of the bigger fast food chains offer this option. But that is soon to change. As reported in this USA Today story, Taco Bell is now testing order placement via mobile app. While this app offers many customer-friendly options, such as menus that update depending on the time of day and maps displaying the closest store, this technology also offers a number of appealing features for Taco Bell, including the ability to suggest (i.e., upsell) customers on additional items and the use of GPS tracking that will alert the restaurant when the customer is getting close to the store.
While our crystal ball has a pretty good track record for being wrong, something tells us this prediction may be right on target.
Image by Mr. Muggles