The Secret Sauce: How to Implement a Strategic Food Delivery App Strategy

Aug 13, 2019

Alexandra Matthews

Food delivery apps are changing the culture of the American dining experience. Currently, 81% of Americans have a smartphone, with the demand for connectivity and convenience continuing to rise. Due to the ease and accessibility of delivery apps, they are quickly growing in popularity. As a result, digital ordering has grown 300 percent faster than dine-in traffic since 2014. 

Despite the growing opportunity, the delivery app industry is becoming increasingly saturated, with UberEats, DoorDash, Postmates, and GrubHub taking up 94 percent of market share. Remember the days when you used to call a single restaurant and ask if they delivered?

The growing use of food delivery apps is not only changing the dining experience, but it’s also changing the business structure of QSR brands. With all the apps available now, QSRs struggle to identify where they should align their business. And how these delivery apps are differentiated from one another. Is the DoorDash user a football fan? Do video streamers lean towards Seamless? To identify the delivery app user’s behavior and affinities, I took a look at Ogury’s consented first-party mobile journey data, which revealed three key findings:

1. Delivery App Users Aren’t Loyal

It is incredibly difficult to foster loyalty in the food delivery market because consumers are promotions-based, and are heavily influenced by speed, convenience and celebrity endorsements. Ogury’s first-party consented data shows that a whopping 62 percent of DoorDash’s userbase is shared among its direct competitors, many of which use other delivery apps on the same day, as seen below.

This data heavily mimics my own user behavior: unless I know EXACTLY what I want and where I want it from, I bounce between apps to find out which restaurants are featured and what the best delivery times are, i.e. no loyalty.

In an effort to get ahead of deal chasers, Postmates focused on building a brand presence. The celebrity endorsement phenomenon also affects the delivery app space. On January 30th, Postmates released a blog post titled, “The Receipt: Kylie Jenner.” The article explains how Postmates is Kylie’s personal assistant, whether it be for ordering a cream cheese bagel or 3 cozy blankets from Target. This proved to be effective for Postmates (and entertaining for us), with Ogury’s data revealing an increase in active usage of the Postmates app. 

2. The Market is Shifting

Another key finding is the unique nature of the delivery app competitive landscape. This space is unlike any other. Typically, apps that are first to market have a large advantage over their competitors. Seamless was first-to-market in 1999, beginning on desktop. But now, with the proliferation of mobile, app-first delivery brands like DoorDash and Uber Eats are leading the pack, proving the success of app-based platforms. 

Below you can see how the delivery app market is indeed shifting, with four big app-first players dominating market share and audience rankings.

3. Mobile Journey Data Informs Investment Decisions

So, how can this mobile journey data inform a QSR brand’s investment decisions? QSRs are NOT logistics companies, so they need to align with the most efficient partners. QSRs can leverage mobile journey data to reveal which apps they should make strategic investments and alignments with, and form a partnership to ease logistical limitations. Once this partnership is formed, QSRs should leverage mobile journey data to:

  • Create relevant offer-based messaging to drive efficiency based on a combination of mobile browsing and app user behavior.
  •  Identify behavioral trends to discover the consumer’s current circumstances. For example, mobile behavior can reveal if a user is engaging with sports or entertainment content, and whether they’re likely ordering for large groups. Or they could be engaging with streaming content on Netflix or Hulu, preparing for a night in or date night. Understanding this will enable QSRs to adjust product promotions.
  • Mobile journey data also allows QSRs to stay active. While most QSRs align strategy to a 4-6 week promo calendar, your delivery based promos should keep up with the in-the-moment economy — flash promos and quick-hit tactics. With any app strategy, you need to continue to drill for oil. When something works, keep going until it doesn’t and then adjust accordingly. It’s all about learning and iterating along the way, in order to continue driving orders and delivery for your brand.

With the delivery app market continuing to evolve, it’s time for QSRs to make the right data-informed decisions on which apps they enter into a strategic partnership with. Ogury’s consented first-party mobile journey data can reveal which app’s user best aligns with your QSR brand, enabling you to reach your consumers with messaging that resonates.

Want to learn more about how you can reach consumers through food delivery apps? Reach out to me at stephanie@ogury.co

Stephanie Sollers, Head of Brand Partnerships, US