Baskin-Robbins’ Branded App Aims To Close The Loop On Point-Of-Sale Data, Refresh Its Image

baskin-robbinsBaskin-Robbins launched a standalone app to help modernize its 70-year-old brand and connect with consumers via personalized messaging and offers.

In the two weeks since its launch, more than 10,000 customers have downloaded the app, which was created by DigitasLBi. The app is part of a larger effort for more personalized, one-to-one marketing and enhanced CRM that moves Baskin-Robbins beyond a simple loyalty birthday program that offered a free scoop in exchange for customers’ birth dates and email addresses.

“We’ve learned from customer research that they’d love to know everything from where the closest store is to when there’s an event happening that they can participate in with the brand,” said Carol Austin, VP of marketing at Baskin-Robbins/Dunkin Brands.

A Facebook login integration gives Baskin-Robbins insight into preferences and personal events when users may want to celebrate with a cone. DigitasLBi will eventually integrate the app with users’ iCalendars and other personalized apps to market around the more casual celebrations that draw Baskin Robbin customers to its stores. Eventually, geotargeting, purchase tracking and push notifications will help to close the loop on point-of-sale data.

To get more users to download the app, Baskin-Robbins will hit brand evangelists first with promotional emails sent to its birthday club members. It will then roll out features that entice users to share the app with friends and family, such as shareable coupons and special offers.

The app will also have an integrated mobile wallet, a customized cake ordering feature, a store locator and a menu that can be filtered by nutritional needs.

Baskin-Robbins, which has conservative marketing budget, reduced the app’s development costs with a quick go-to-market strategy, said Max Fresen, SVP creative director/experience design at DigitasLBi. Because the original version has limited functionality, getting brand evangelists to download will be enough to fund the first iteration.

Mobile app upkeep can be expensive, but DigitasLBi will continue to iterate on the app with small incremental tweaks rolled out over the course of a few weeks as more customers spread the word and download. The app’s final price tag will be determined by the number of iterations required.

“It’s an organic living thing that needs to be fed, watered and grown over time,” Austin said. “We want to make sure were actually engaging customers, that this app is viable enough to them that they want to keep it and keep using it.”

Standalone branded apps face low survival odds in today’s app ecosystem. Only 1% of branded apps are downloaded by users more than 1 million times, according to a study by Deloitte. Eighty percent have been downloaded less than 1,000 times.

Ongoing app engagement is also a challenge. Thirty-four percent of millennials abandon an app because they lose interest, and one in four downloaded apps are never even used, according to research from Appboy.

“What’s hard is that most of the time people are spending time on six or seven properties,” Fresen said. “People don’t want to add a ton of stuff to their phones, and if they add it the chance they’ll keep it on is relatively low.”

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