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Afraid to Go Mobile? 5 Franchises That Are Winning Big with Mobile Apps

A homeowner summons a ride into the city with just a couple clicks, orders her groceries on the way, and has coolers full of fresh food waiting at the door when she’s dropped off at home again. That night, she orders a pizza from a popular franchise and watches with anticipation on her phone as the pizza goes from “ordered” to “ready for delivery.”

The next day, our homeowner goes to heat up the leftover pizza in the oven—and there’s no heat. So she schedules a repair visit with her home warranty company and tracks the technician while playing Ticket to Ride on her iPhone.

Thanks to experiences like these, homeowners are setting the bar high for brands they shop with.

When it comes to retaining customers, where does your franchise fall along the customer-pleasing technology-line? If you’re not even on the line, customers may be passing you up for a competitor who offers a better experience.

Why Mobile Is Key for Franchises

A great mobile experience is no longer a nice-to-have—it’s a necessity. Americans are viewing their smartphones an average of 52 times per day, and 65 percent of customers say they’d choose one brand over another based on their mobile app alone.

If you haven’t made the leap to a full mobile experience, we understand: For one-off brick and mortar stores, adopting mobile technology is a lot easier than for franchises like yours that have multiple locations.

Here are some franchises that have used their “customer-pleasing technology” to improve the customer experience, boost NPS, and reduce customer churn.

1. Burger King’s App Diverts Customers from Its Rivals

Burger King boasted close to 18,000 locations in 2018, and its app operates not only in the U.S., but also in countries like France, Denmark, and Mexico.

App users get access to mobile-only coupons and a restaurant locator, and at some locations they can even order with the app and skip the line. Even better, in 2018 Burger King used its app to send customers away from the competition right as they were at the rival’s door: The “Whopper Detour” promotion caused the app to unlock a 1-cent Whopper deal when it detected that customers were within 600 feet of a McDonald’s.

The app was downloaded over a million times within just a few days, making it the number-one free app in the Apple App Store. Now, almost a year later, the app boasts a 4.7-star rating with 47,300 ratings, with comments like “very convenient” and “the consistent deals are AMAZING; don’t order BK without this app.”

2. Domino’s App Lets Customers Track Their Pizzas

This popular pizza chain has close to 800 independent franchise owners in the U.S., operates stores from the U.S. to Australia to India—and offers customers an app that lets them order Domino’s food from anywhere, and track it from the instant they place the order until it’s ready for pickup or delivery. On the iPhone app, customers can use Dom, the company’s voice ordering assistant, to add items to the cart and select coupons.

Domino’s is constantly changing and adding to the app to keep customers interested. In 2016, for example, the company unveiled a “Zero Click” app that let customers order simply by opening the app. (Though it did give customers a 10-second countdown just to make sure it wasn’t an accidental order.) And in February 2019, Domino’s launched Points for Pies, where users could take a picture of any pizza—whether from Domino’s or somewhere else—to earn 10 points. After 60 points, users got a free medium two-topping pizza from Domino’s.

3. Merry Maids Boosts Customer Confidence with Its Mobile Experience

Hiring a cleaning service can feel risky to the average homeowner:

  1. They’re letting people they don’t know into their home to clean their personal belongings.
  2. When the cleaners run late, the homeowner worries that the cleaners have forgotten them.
  3. They fret that the cleaners won’t do a good job cleaning their home.

Merry Maids, a 40-year-old franchise with about 1,700 units, has overcome these sticking points with their dispatch service, Team Mobility, and an app provided by Dispatch that’s available at participating locations. Dispatch’s solution increases franchises’ Net Promoter Score by an average of 20%, and reduces time-to-schedule by 40%. Through the app, customers receive updates on arrival time plus information about the cleaning team, fostering a sense of transparency that puts customers at ease. Customers can also offer feedback right through the app, giving the company an opportunity to quickly handle customer complaints and promote positive ones.

4. RE/MAX’s App Helps Homeowners Find New Homes

Sometimes homeowners aren’t looking to deliver a pizza to their home or to have their home cleaned—they’re looking for a new home altogether, and they want to do it without having to leave their sofa or even call an agent.

Enter RE/MAX, the #1 franchise in the U.S., which has 3,700 franchisees inside the U.S. and 4,600 outside the U.S. In 2019 RE/MAX acquired booj, a real estate tech company, and created an agent-branded property search app.

RE/MAX’s mobile app lets home shoppers find nearby homes for sale based on their current location, use interactive maps to zoom in on and search neighborhoods, share property listings with friends, generate turn-by-turn driving directions to properties, and connect with a RE/MAX real estate professional when they’re ready for a showing.

5. Blaze Pizza Blazes a Path for Mobile

Blaze Pizza, which now has 173 franchise locations in 32 U.S. states and Canada, is an early adopter of mobile apps for ordering: They launched theirs soon after opening for business in 2011. The app lets customers order ahead, get deals, and track reward points.

In an article in QSR magazine, Jim Mizes, former CEO and president of Blaze Pizza, said, “We use mobile offers to surprise and delight our app users. We’ve made mobile a focus because we continue to see strong correlation between higher app usage and higher same-store sales.”

Are you ready to surprise and delight your customers with an amazing mobile experience? Reach out for a demo to see how Dispatch lets franchises offer bi-directional messaging, on-my-way tracking, instant customer reviews, digital invoices, and simple payments from the field.

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