May 28, 2008

Mobile junk mail from McDonald's

Dave Birch has done an insightful post on contactless, mobile payments and value added services.

He points out that contactless has marginal utility in the US, where all transactions are on-line anyway, which is something I have argued repeatedly as well. Dave and many other people that I have spoken to, feel that contactless is just a transition technology paving the way for mobile payments. If contactless results in lots of terminals being equipped with NFC readers, then indeed this could open the way for mobile payments. But if contactless never takes off in a significant way, then it might not be a mobile NFC facilitator after all.

The best part of the post describes how McDonald's is testing a mobile application that lets customers order their meal on their phone, tap it against a reader to place the order, then receive an e-receipt. McDonald's plans to use the application to send coupons to customers, targeted marketing obviously being the main reason they would be doing this. But apparently customers are resisting this, and avoiding technologies that lead to unwanted mobile marketing messages.

The conventional solution is simple: request the customer's permission. But I don't like conventional wisdom or conventional solutions. They're too boring and easy and rarely result in fantastic new products and services. In this case, permission based marketing would result in a massive number of customers opting out, making the solution much less useful to McDonald's. It would be simpler to trigger a paper coupon on the receipt printer, targeted based on whatever criteria McDonald's wants. A receipt in many cases is still going to be printed. In many countries it is even obligatory, even if it is in addition to an e-receipt. Since the customer usually expects a piece of paper anyway, this is non-obtrusive. If you don't want the coupon, just toss away the receipt, like you do today.

UPDATE: Click here for more information on the McDonald's mobile marketing solution.

1 comment:

blognfc said...

You're right, printing the coupon/promo on the paper receipt is problably the easiest and most effective way to trigger a recurrent usage of such mobile based services

More on the McDo Japan project and nfc based services for fast foods here: