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Get buzzed faster: Dunkin’ Donuts launches mobile payment and gift app

A daily fix of chocolate donuts and coffee can now be purchased with a quick scan of a mobile phone screen. Dunkin’ Donuts has marked its first foray into mobile payments with a custom, branded app built around not only making purchases at the register, but providing a convenient conduit for customers to deliver gift cards to others.

Dunkin’ was impressed by the surging adoption of mobile devices and mobile payment systems and decided the time was right to strike. “This really enables a new level of speed and convenience for our guests,” says Scott Hudler, VP of global consumer engagement at Dunkin’ Brands. “Consumers love going out with just their phone—even a wallet is too much of an appendage for some, so we’ve answered that call.”

The app, available for iOS and Android devices, can aggregate multiple stored-value gift card accounts, as well as multiple merchant card and PayPal accounts. Customers will be able to pay by presenting a barcode displayed on their phone’s screen, which can be quickly scanned at the point of sale. The Dunkin’ app also provides at-a-glance menu data, store location and hours, and in-store feature availability such as Wi-Fi and drive-through access. At present, the app does not support ordering ahead for carryout, an area the company says it will monitor.

The company is monitoring general-purpose mobile payment networks for further developments but felt the time was right to proceed with a proprietary model to meet demand. Internal targets for adoption and mobile commerce revenues were not disclosed, but Hudler says that stores have made the technology infrastructure upgrades to power the solution at each of the brand’s approximately 6,000 locations. “Our franchisees have done a tremendous job investing in the business over the years to update their technology, and this is the first consumer-facing element of that,” he says.

Dunkin’ plans to encourage adoption through mobile advertising, Facebook and Twitter outreach, and in-store displays. The gift-giving aspect provides further exposure, and customers can elect to notify their friends through email, text, or Facebook message. While the company hopes recipients of gifts made through the app will in turn install the app, doing so is not required for redemption. Dunkin’ also expects organic adoption as customers watch the app in action. “We think there will be a lot of peer-sharing—one guest pays with a mobile device, the person behind asks, ‘What’s that?'” Hudler says.

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