Drive-thru IoT concept - Connected Corners

Spotlight on drive-thru IoT button’s simplified customer journey (Part 3)

This topic focuses on the simplified customer journey value proposition aspect of an IoT button powered drive-thru solution; including key user QSR/user interactions

Continuing from Part 1 & Part 2; this topic aims to briefly focus on the simplified customer journey value proposition aspect of an IoT button powered drive-thru solution; including some of the key QSR/user interactions (journey waypoints)

As introduced in Part 1; an IoT button type of drive-thru solution may have the potential to streamline the traditional ordering process down to just a simple click (simplicity) whilst enabling customers to bypass queues entirely (save time) and even offer them relevant personalized offers (customer engagement)

Lets say that in this instance the primary role of the IoT button is to act as a companion device i.e an extension of a full featured smartphone app / online portal that enables quick ordering & pickup experience from within a vehicular environment

Quick Note: Despite certain similarities inherent to the broader industry; each QSR business is unique; defined by a multitude of factors (geography of operation, food/drinks menu diversity, technological capabilities, industry partnerships, et al.) and as such would have distinct goals in building digital & IoT solutions that aptly supports their individual long term operational, ROI & CX goals

Drive-thru IoT button… all about simplified customer journey

To maximize user engagement; the IoT button would need to be intuitive enough to operate, requiring no more than a couple of clicks (read: user input/device interaction) throughout the entire customer journey (order -> pickup)

IoT button UX: less device interaction = better user engagement

In the following scenario; there are no more than 2 actual user inputs/device interactions throughout the customer’s IoT button powered drive-thru journey

IoT button concept drive-thru customer journey - Connected Corners

Step 0.5 – Preliminary account setup

As a preliminary step (typically one time); users would first need to setup their account (think: digital profile), including any personal information, menu preferences, payment choices, loyalty/reward program details, T&C/privacy settings, et al. required to access the QSR brand’s digital services

Users need to then link their IoT button to their digital profile and customize with any additional information such as the default menu item/s associated with the button press, corresponding payment method, QSR geo-fence, store discovery & navigation settings, privacy, et al.

Users could be given the option to complete this preliminary step as well as manage their profile & settings through the QSR brand’s online portal and/or companion smartphone app

Step 1 – Push IoT button to order

In ‘rest state’ the IoT button could be programmed to passively keep displaying time to nearest QSR store defined by the user’s geo-fence criteria (e.g. 10min / 3km drive radius)

The first true user input (device interaction) in the customer’s order journey would be for the customer to push the IoT button to place an order with the nearest QSR store

Subsequently upon confirmation; the IoT button only displays key notifications such as order/payment confirmations, personalized offers, navigational directions to the QSR store. et al…

…that could concurrently be mirrored onto the companion smartphone app and/or even the connected vehicle’s infotainment display system (Android Auto, Apple CarPlay, etc.)

Step 2 – Accept / decline QSR offer (optional)

At some point through the customer’s journey (say the halfway point); the QSR store may choose to push a timed personalized offer notification (think: drink upgrade) based on a myriad of variables

This optional user input step would require nothing more than a press of an IoT button to accept the QSR store’s impromptu offerOR… the user could simply choose to ignore the notification i.e let the timed offer lapse

In this scenario, the IoT solution has in effect helped the QSR brand distill an otherwise complex (data driven) up-sell / cross-sell customer value proposition into a simple button push

…thereby not only increasing the potential to grow their revenue per customer, overall bottom lines & ‘car traffic’ through their stores… but also efficiently distribute this traffic across their hours of operations

For example; all things being equal the QSR stores may push more lucrative up-sell/cross-sell offers during their traditionally ‘lull operational periods’ to boost car traffic through their drive-thrus whilst offering no offers at all during peak periods (factors determined through data science)

Streamlining QSR/customer interactions

Another key attribute of the IoT button would be to streamline the number of times the QSR brand interacts with the customer through their drive-thru journey (read: focus on distraction-free operation); particularly if the device is primarily intended & marketed for use in a vehicular environment

In the aforementioned scenario; there are no more than 5 key QSR/customer interaction points throughout the customer’s IoT button powered drive-thru journey

Drive-thru IoT button concept QSR:customer interactions - Connected Corners

Order confirmation notification

At this first user interaction point, the QSR store sends a notification to the customer’s IoT button confirming that an order has been placed as well as estimated time to completion… and perhaps… even allowing some time for the user to cancel the order; particularly useful it was placed erroneously

Personalized offer notification

The next optional user interaction point (say around halfway in the drive-thru journey), the QSR store could choose to send a personalized offer to the customer’s IoT button. The user could simply push the (IoT) button to accept OR do nothing to let the timed offer lapse

Order preparation notification

At this user interaction point, the QSR store sends a notification to the customer’s IoT button confirming their order is being prepared as well as estimated time to pickup

Drive-thru lane assignment notification

Closer to the pickup time; the QSR store send out a notification to customer’s IoT button with a pre-assigned drive-thru lane #

Transaction completion notification

The final user interaction could entail the QSR store sending out a quick notification confirming the completion of transaction with additional details reserved for the app/web portal platforms

Role of VUI in the IoT button solution

Owing to some of the inherent limitations; existing consumer grade voice user interface (VUI) platforms aren’t poised to entirely replace a physical IoT button type of a in-vehicle ordering & drive-thru solution just yet (as briefly discussed in Part 2)

…although voice could still have some level of integration within the current solution framework; particularly in augmenting visual feedback, notifications & confirmation actions…

…but as VUI platforms continue to evolve with technological improvements such as edge/on-device voice analyses helping overcome some of its challenges (feedback lag, lingual accuracy, et al.)

…they may very well supplant IoT buttons to become the next default smart ordering & drive-thru solutions for QSR brands

Extended benefits of simplified customer journey value proposition

For the QSR brand, the IoT button’s ‘simplified customer journey’ value proposition could go beyond just enhancing CX; with extended opportunities through B2B partnerships

For example; what if connected vehicles shipped with such an IoT button functionality that enabled consumers to order from their favorite drive-thru restaurants right from the infotainment screen… and right out of the showroom?

The QSR brand could work directly with consumer vehicle manufacturers (or perhaps even long haul truck manufacturers) to integrate such a drive-thru ordering capability via a commercial B2B partnership deal that mutually benefits both the parties in more ways than one…


If the one marketable value proposition of an IoT button powered drive-thru solution is it’s distraction-free operation then the minimalist device should be accompanied by a simplified customer journey… that requires no more than a few clicks (user input/device interaction) throughout the customer’s drive-thru journey

Simply put; when it comes to an IoT button solution – lesser users have to interact with the device… the higher their engagement levels would be in the long run (with the device, overall solution & QSR brand)

Additionally; QSR brands could also find extended benefits for their IoT button solutions through a myriad of B2B partnerships and related commercial models

Forthcoming segments will aim to explore some of the key back-end technologies, platforms & processes that power this type of an IoT button solution concept…

…particularly in facilitating seamless transactions (user authentication, payment, geo-fence push notifications, ‘grab-n-drive’ logistics, et al.) across the customer’s drive-thru journey

Stay tuned!