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Dairy Queen makes store locator core of mobile strategy

Fueled by growth in traffic from WAP site users, burger-to-shakes restaurant chain Dairy Queen has further extended its mobile reach through the launch of an application for Apple?s iPhone.

The application was created by digital marketing agency space150. The user experience on the new mobile platform was intentionally simplified with the mobile user in mind.

?I think the strategy behind it really is that it comes down to being in the hands of your consumers always,? said Jamie Guse, Web site manager at Dairy Queen International, Minneapolis. ?It?s a store locator app that gives us an additional way of being in front of our consumers.

?We felt like everyone is building an app and that it?s time for Dairy Queen to jump on the bandwagon," he said. 

Dairy Queen plans to update the application based on user feedback.

Shop talk
Finding a Dairy Queen store is at the core of both the iPhone application and the mobile site experience.

The Dairy Queen mobile Web site also has simplified menu and nutritional information. The iPhone application uses GPS to find the closest store based on the user?s location.

Bringing the store locator to the front of the mobile experience was a decision based mostly on the actions of previous mobile users.

Mobile traffic to the site has more than tripled from last year, and the store locator page had more visits than any other page on the site ? including the home page.

Dairy Queen is proving itself a mobile-savvy brand.

The company is running a mobile rewards loyalty program using radio-frequency identification -- RFID tags -- to send coupons and offers to consumers' handsets.

Dairy Queen tapped NFC specialist Vivotech Inc. and Tetherball's new RFID-based mobile marketing platform to deliver targeted offers to mobile consumers.

The RFID service is opt-in at the point of sale. Dairy Queen markets the program with in-store signage, encouraging consumers to join its mobile rewards program.

Additionally, a recent Dairy Queen mobile ad campaign saw a click-through-rate of more than 22 percent, proving once again the effectiveness of the mobile medium to engage consumers.

Queen for women
With the new application, Dairy Queen?s target demographic is female heads of households.

Dairy Queen hopes to also attract the 18-plus iPhone demographic.

The application is being promoted on Facbook and via Twitter. It is also a mainstay on the Dairy Queen Web site.

?We chose mobile because we felt like we needed to stay in front of the consumers when they?re thinking of a place to eat for lunch or dinner,? Mr. Guse said. 

Dairy Queen's increased attention to mobile is a response to evolving consumer habits. Of the 85 percent of adult Americans who own a mobile phone, 81 percent admitted to using their phone for something other than making a voice call, per a Pew study.

Fifty-two percent of the study respondents said they used their mobile phone for a non-voice activity such as SMS, email, taking photos or playing a game on a regular basis.

For now, Dairy Queen is not taking the ultimate step with on-the-go offerings: a mobile commerce option.

?Mobile commerce is not something we have addressed yet,? Mr. Guse said. ?We?ve talked about it and we are still trying to figure out how to approach it.

?It is a complex, slippery slope for us and we need to figure out the best way to do it,? he said. ?It is something we?re looking at, but it?s just not in our plans right now.?