Feeding Diners a Mobile Feedback Loop

Creating an engaging feedback loop via mobile is incredibly important to Grubhub. Not only are we constantly working hard to delight our diners, but we also have a base of very sticky users: The longer they’ve been customers on our platform, the more frequently they tend to order. In fact, 90% of our orders come from existing diners. We keep these loyal users engaged by tailoring our feedback loop to deliver mobile experiences that impact the online and offline food worlds.

The value of the offline food world can’t be understated. Food is a powerful thing. In the offline world, it stimulates all of the senses: sight, sound, smell, touch, and taste. Eating is also deeply social and hardwired into us as humans. This social aspect applies to the online world, too. Food is one of the most pictured and shared items on the Internet. For some, posting pictures of food has actually become part of their mealtime ritual. So, it’s no wonder that the food category is exploding on social, and people are looking for more ways to satisfy their cravings for new cuisines right from their mobile devices.

At Grubhub, we believe that mobile technology can extend the analog food world, as well as deliver comfort, reassurance, and inspiration. This requires us to surround our diners with a feedback loop of engaging content and communication points for inspiration, discovery, ordering, delivery, and sharing.

Our social channels help us initiate conversations with diners and inspire them to order meals using Grubhub. We treat these channels as an extension of our platform and constantly A/B test content to help us move diners from inspiration to the purchasing funnel. 

Visual content has been particularly effective in moving diners down this funnel. Videos of chefs opening up their kitchens and sharing stories, for instance, provide the transparency and human touch needed to reduce anxiety about where food is coming from and provide a delightful connection to the story of the dish. Snapchat is another channel that’s proven to be particularly valuable in creating this type of connection, especially given its highly visual format.

Leveraging mobile messaging, an intimate and incredibly powerful channel, is another way we engage people about food. We rolled out an emoji—or mmmoji—keyboard that embeds our brand into these passionate conversations about food. The keyboard helps diners express the emotions they feel when talking about food in all of the moments that matter in their lives.

Being a part of diners’ conversations is just the beginning. When customers move into the purchasing funnel within the feedback loop, we aim to make the experience as positive and life-enhancing as possible. This means engaging diners with compelling content on the Grubhub homepage, curating dining options to match users’ preferences, and providing features that make the ordering process as easy as possible. For instance, one convenient feature is the ability to schedule an order ahead of time so that diners can better plan meals around their busy lives.

But the feedback loop doesn’t end once diners place an order. Once they do, we extend the feedback loop with another delightful step to drive loyalty—a game we developed called Yummy Rummy. Designed as a way to say “thank you” to our diners after they order, Yummy Rummy rewards customers who get five “punches” in a month with free food or discounts. The game was incredibly well-received. In fact, 60% of diners that played Yummy Rummy decided to play it a second time.

The feedback loop even continues after a diner’s food arrives. We prioritize making our users’ voices heard to learn about their experiences and remedy any issues. For instance, diners can answer a series of yes or no questions via text message exchanges shortly after their order arrives to provide feedback on their experience. This exchange was designed to resemble the way one friend would speak to another about their experience, and testing has proven it to be a winning strategy.

Once this feedback loop is complete, it becomes our priority to create a new one. We use our arsenal of order data to be thoughtful about when to communicate next. For instance, we can determine which diners are sensitive to weather conditions and generate an alert when tough weather is approaching the area where he or she lives. These unique data capabilities allow us to capitalize on the moments when people are compelled to order food. Our hope is that with such communications, we’ll start a positive feedback loop with a diner all over again. 

We continually strive to make the Grubhub experience a better one, engaging with diners on mobile to help them celebrate the moments that matter. We bring users into the process to inspire them, help them discover new cuisine, order, enjoy the delivery, and share the universal experience of food—providing moments of beauty, delight, and emotion in a busy world. 

Technology shouldn’t just be a shortcut; it should extend the experience and deliver comfort, reassurance, and inspiration to diners.

About the author:

As CMO of Grubhub, Barbara Martin Coppola fuses her engineering educational background with her marketing expertise to break down complex technologies in a clear, emotionally appealing manner. Barbara moved to Grubhub last year after a seven-year career at Google, where she led marketing for the company’s Chromecast product and Google Express and then served as YouTube’s global head of marketing. Prior to Google, Barbara worked for Texas Instruments in the U.S. and Japan, as well as for Samsung in South Korea. 

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