January 28, 2020

5 Benefits of Quality Engineering for 2020 and Beyond

With the increase in emerging technologies combined with the need to constantly enhance collaboration within project teams, a need for better testing methodologies and a tool kit that supports the advanced testing has emerged. Automation expertise went from a nice to have to a must have in recent years and testers that are able to troubleshoot alongside engineers became an expectation. All this requires a Quality Analyst with a unique mindset and a deep understanding of technical infrastructure. To ensure we are creating the best possible user experience for our client’s customers, both Quality Analysts and Quality Engineers are an important part of our teams. While there are many benefits gained with the addition of Quality Engineering, here are a few key benefits


Fixing bugs is expensive. Development time is costly, and time spent fixing issues is time that can’t be spent on things like feature implementation. Quality Engineers are proficient at identifying where issues live within a complex system which means your developers spend less time tracking down bugs during the development process. Quality Engineers can point developers in the right direction, thus saving time and money in the long run.

Delivering on quality before the build reaches production helps your team avoid costly bugs in production. By limiting revenue impacting bugs, teams can avoid costly hotfixes and keep their attention focused on delivering a quality experience for your customers


Time is always a concern in software development. There never seems to be enough of it. When the project comes down to the wire, teams are often faced with the difficult choice of sacrificing testing time to meet their deliverable date.

Testing is a time-consuming task, but Quality Engineers look for opportunities to save precious time by optimizing their testing approach. Automating time consuming tests, identifying tools that increase efficiency, and building infrastructure that can be leveraged across multiple projects are just some of the contributions Quality Engineers provide to the overall team.


Apps are becoming increasingly complex entities. Long gone are the days of apps driven by local data. The architecture has become more involved, and testing integration between the various layers is more critical than ever.

Traditional Black Box testing leaves much to be desired. Enter the Quality Engineer. Thorough understanding of the architecture combined with a gray box approach to testing allows for more thorough testing of the system as a whole.


Quality Analysts act primarily as a gatekeeper of code. When developers make changes, QAs test and determine whether the product is ready to go to market. However, what happens if QA identifies an issue that requires a significant rework to properly address? Re-architecting your application is time consuming and costly.

Quality Engineers are able to facilitate discussions during the planning phase of the project that provide additional insight and perspective that may help to recognize limitations around proposed implementations early on. They openly coordinate with developers to strategize the best approach to build and test. Catching potential pitfalls early can help us help our clients get to market quicker while still delivering with quality.


Quality Engineers operate in the gray box space. They test systems like an end user, but also have traceability into the underlying systems. This allows them to provide valuable insights into conversations, particularly those between technical and non-technical roles. Their unique perspective helps to highlight gaps from both a user and system perspective.

Quality Engineers are capable contributors to client or customer conversations. Their input and experience help to build trust and open new avenues of discussion in order to ensure the highest quality overall product is ultimately produced.

January 28, 2020

Who’s Doing QSR Right?

Many leading QSRs in the U.S. are already seeing benefits in productivity and profitability from digital ordering. It has become clear that mobile apps and ordering are a winning combination. The near-term financial and efficiency benefits of adopting a digital ordering system far outweigh the set-up costs and associated technological challenges.

However, the wider QSR industry has been slow when it comes to making investments into technology. For example, just 18% of operators offer the ability to place an order via a mobile app and one in three operators report that they're lagging in technology. (Source)

QSR brands are cognizant of this and are allocating more resources to this arena. Seventy percent of QSR operators plan to devote more resources this year to customer-facing, service-based technology like online or app ordering, mobile payments and delivery management. (Source)

When brands invest in a frictionless mobile ordering experience, they are able to understand their return on marketing and quickly see owned channels deliver the greatest increase in customer frequency at the lowest cost of acquisition. How does your brand stack up to others in the industry? Below is a list we’ve compiled of the Top 50 QSR and third-party delivery mobile apps as of January 2020:

While it could be assumed that any brand that is ranked high in the App and Google Play Store is doing something right, we’ve chosen to dig into three examples that highlight brands that are going above and beyond to deliver experiences that are delighting customers, creating deep loyalty, and garnering incremental revenue for the business.

Example 1: Chick-Fil-A

iOS Rank: 1
iOS Rating: 4.9
# of iOS reviews: 1,000,000
# of Android installs: 5,000,000
Android Rating: 4.6
# of Android Reviews: 78,223


In a recent interview with Business Insider, Chick-fil-A revealed that “digital now makes up almost 20% of its overall sales. That is a significant increase from 6% at the beginning of 2018 and 16% at the end of the year.” Chick-fil-A executives say the chain is “entering a new era in which mobile sales, delivery, and nontraditional formats like food trucks fuel growth.”  (Source)

Chick-fil-A boosted downloads of its mobile app by 14% in early 2019 by showing a QR code in its digital signage, according to an analysis by the brand's vendor on the campaign, UPshow, that was shared with Mobile Marketer. By scanning the code with a smartphone camera, customers were pointed to the relevant app store to immediately download Chick-fil-A's app, UPshow said. (Source)

The newest way Chick-fil-A is going above and beyond to delight users is via the release of its latest feature in the mobile app called “Mobile Dine in Ordering.” Customers can order food through the Chick-fil-A app and have it delivered directly to the table. Customers place an order and choose “dine-in” and, once ready, an employee will deliver the food directly to your table. The company said that 92% of customers who used the service found it “appealing” due to ease and convenience. The new technology offers busy customers more time together at the table, less time standing in line. (Source)


Additionally, Chick-fil-A continues to find new and innovative ways to engage app users through the Chick-Fil-A One loyalty program. One recent tactic includes publishing blog articles congratulating and recognizing customers who have reached Chick-Fil-A One Red status along with recognition in Twitter of their new status.  (Source)

Example 2: Dominos

iOS Rank: 8
iOS Rating: 4.8
# of iOS reviews: 3,900,000
# of Android installs: 10,000,000
Android Rating: 4.7
# of Android Reviews: 1,339,791

Domino’s is ahead of the curve compared to its competitors when it comes to embracing technology. Digital channels account for more than 60 percent of its U.S. sales, according to the company’s latest earnings release.

Domino’s released a new feature in 2019 that allows fans to earn a free pizza by buying pies from Pizza Hut, Papa John’s or other any other rivals. The pizza chain is using artificial intelligence software in its mobile app to give away points for eating pizza. The promotion is intended to drive downloads as well as increase digital sales as rival Pizza Hut turns its focus to delivery.

Members of Domino’s loyalty program just need to take a picture of any pizza using the company’s mobile app to earn 10 points. The pie can be from anywhere, even homemade, as long as the app’s artificial intelligence software recognizes that it has sauce, cheese and crust. The promotion is an extension of Domino’s Piece of the Pie Rewards loyalty program, which gives customers points for ordering Domino’s pizza that can be redeemed for a medium pizza.


Example 3: Burger King

iOS Rank: 12
iOS Rating: 4.6
# of iOS reviews: 58,000
# of Android installs: 10,000,000
Android Rating: 3.3
# of Android Reviews: 99,441


Burger King has a history of creating creative marketing campaigns linked to specific features in the mobile experience to drive major growth, and they didn’t disappoint in 2019.

In December of 2018, in the U.S., Burger King rewarded customers with one-cent Whoppers for using its mobile app while visiting its arch-rival, McDonald’s. Now in Brazil, Burger King has added an innovative augmented reality function to its mobile app that invites customers to “burn down” competitors’ advertising. By simply using the feature to zero in on a billboard for the Golden Arches, for example, the app will set it virtually aflame--and then provide the user a voucher for a free Whopper.

The idea was created by Burger King’s agency partner, David San Paulo, and promotes Burger King Express, a new concept that allows customers to pre-order meals digitally to avoid real-world lines. "Technology as a means to provide the best customer experience is one of our main investment targets in 2019,” explained Ariel Grunkraut, Burger King's marketing and sales director for Brazil in a statement. “With ‘Burn That Ad,’ we hacked the competition by leveraging our biggest advantage, which is fire,” says David San Paolo Creative VP, Rafael Donato.

The resulting numbers below speak for themselves.


Need help growing your QSR mobile app or want to flesh out your use cases with an expert?

January 21, 2020

Personalizing Experiences with Location Data

It’s no secret that consumers demand contextual, personalized mobile and web experiences. And in a crowded app marketplace, it is more important than ever to stand out. Adobe research uncovered that 60% of marketers struggle to personalize content in real time, yet 77% believe real-time personalization is crucial (source). To add a little more wood to this fire, Epsilon concluded that 80% of consumers are more likely to make a purchase when brands offer contextual experiences (source).

Traditionally, the holy grail of personalized mobile or web engagement is delivering the right content, to the right user, at the right time. In order to fully deliver on this, real-time context is everything. Understanding who your users are, how they behave and what their preferences are is critical.

The rise of location data infrastructure and geofencing technology has added another layer to the holy grail: delivering the right content, to the right user, at the right time, at the right location. Further, location data can provide increased capabilities in the other three categories.


Location data infrastructure should enable unlimited geofencing, allow you to tap into a place database, and generate machine-learned insights, and brands that are investing in enhancing their mobile app with infrastructure like this are gaining an advantage over brands that don’t. These platforms give product, marketing and engineering teams increased understanding of their users and added context that can be used to personalize engagement messages, in-app content, and product recommendations.

At Bottle Rocket, we use location data infrastructure to enhance the mobile experiences we build for organizations. This tool opens up many new opportunities for brands to increase customer engagement. Further, it enhances a brand’s ability to be more creative with their marketing campaigns. Burger King used location data to carry out their Whopper Detour campaign which sent a digital coupon to any app user who was within 50 feet of a McDonald’s location, for example.

It’s important to note that, in the same way that brands need to gain the trust of users to win their business, brands also need to gain the trust of their users by providing clear value to a user that shares their location. They can do this by only using infrastructure that is privacy-focused, ensuring that the software limits battery drain, and providing clear explanations as to how the user’s location will be used.

When brands have gained the trust of their users, users will opt into location tracking in exchange for an experience that contains dynamic, personalized content based upon this increased understanding.

A privacy-focused location data infrastructure like Radar allows brands to understand when a user has entered a place of interest, is at their home or office, and whether or not they are traveling between different regions. This understanding gives brands the ability to drive massive increases in their user engagement, leading to increased metrics that align to business goals.

Location data infrastructure allows brands to build the following:

  • Contextual app experiences
  • Personalized, relevant messaging
  • Location-driven user segmentation


Brands across travel, hospitality, retail, and media (just to name a few) are leveraging location data to create personalized journeys for their users.


In the travel industry, the OTA market is filled with companies offering the same prices on the same products, so the most advanced brands are leveraging location data to keep customers loyal to their platforms. As you can imagine, there are hundreds of ways that OTAs leverage their app users’ real-time location; it’s easy to envision Kayak using location to engage users by welcoming them when the customer checks in at their hotel and popping up their reservation details. They might also send timely reminds for flight check-ins and rental-car drop-offs when the user isn’t near the gate or lot, and offer recommendations for things to do in London, once the user hops in a cab from Heathrow airport to their hotel.

On the flip side, sending a spammy welcome message when someone’s flight is delayed or offering outdated recommendations based on last-known location are two surefire ways to make customers churn; location data can keep engagement and content personalized and relevant. Why would you need the “book a hotel” screen when you’re already at your hotel in a new city?


When it comes to hospitality, most hotel brands have their own loyalty apps. And a brand like Caesar’s has an extra incentive to know when you’re traveling near one of their locations, even if you’re not staying in their hotel. Obviously, some features and products available in the Caesar’s mobile app are not available in every corner of the country; location data can allow them to ‘gate’ certain features, and only send relevant notifications when a customer is in a certain region.


Using location data infrastructure in their mobile app, Target, with the 3rd-most-popular shopping app on the App Store, can deliver customized content and better app experiences to their customers. Knowing when a customer is inside a Target can also help Target promote features that only apply within the confines of the building, like a barcode scanner or an in-store promotion. When a customer shops at a competitor, walking into a Walmart will trigger a promotion or discount at the nearest Target via a push notification, or even an email.

As one of the most common uses for location data, nearby notifications are able to drive incremental foot traffic and revenue, but personalization can also be leveraged when it comes to in-app content; a recommendation engine powered by the zip code that someone lives in, as well as knowledge of what other products a customer might be searching for (based on where else they shop), can both help consumers find what they’re looking for more quickly.


In the media space, brands are focused on competing with a proliferation of media options for consumers. Personalization, relevance, and market share are three main focuses for every media brand. TuneIn Radio wants to know when a user begins their commute, and then prompt them to open the app to play music or listen to a podcast as soon as they walk out their front door. And if they know how long the commute lasts? Only recommend a podcast that can be finished within that time frame.

Personalized recommendations are how most media brands are helping their users sift through the hours of content on their platforms. If a user heads to a stadium, or always watches games at a local sports bar, they’re more apt to tune in to the game broadcast than someone who’s been to a symphony in the past two weeks. If a customer opens Spotify in the gym, they probably want a workout playlist to be one tap away.

Beyond retail, travel, and media, brands in food and beverage, delivery and on-demand, sports and entertainment, and social media are all looking to gain an edge when it comes to personalization and stickiness for their mobile audiences. The brands that we have seen win are the ones who truly understand who their users are, how they act, and the real-world context around how they’re using the app; brands without real-time location data are flying blind.


Below is a short guide showing you how to get started with Radar and how to leverage it within your mobile experience. Further, we’ll show you how you can gain buy-in from your leadership team without making a substantial monetary investment.

Note: If you are trying to gain buy-in from your leadership team, make sure you document these steps as you go along in a Keynote or PowerPoint presentation so that you have a record of what you did when it comes time to prepare your final presentation.

  1. Sign up for a free trial at radar.io/signup.
  2. Download the free Radar Toolkit app from the app store and paste in your publishable key within the settings.
  3. In the online dashboard, make a geofence around your work, or home, or favorite bar/restaurant/other social destination.
  4. Track yourself and spend some time learning the different parts of the platform.
  5. Define a use case that would add value to both your users and business. Two examples could be: A) More relevant messaging & B) More personalized in-app experiences.
  6. Understand the differentiators between Radar and other location data infrastructure: A) Developer friendly, lightweight SDKs, B) No data sharing or monetization, C) Unlimited geo-fencing and D) Enterprise ready with the ability to process large amounts of location data points.
  7. Prepare a short presentation to gain buy in from your immediate team members to run a POC on your live mobile app.
  8. Choose a segment of users to run the POC on and a length of time (5,000–10,000 would be a good number for 1 month).
  9. Implement the Radar SDK into your mobile app.
  10. Launch your campaign and start measuring.

If you need help with your POC or want to flesh out your use cases with an expert, feel free to send either of us an email and we would be happy to answer any questions you have. It’s the least we could do after you’ve read this far.

Tim Duncan — Bottle Rocket — [email protected]
Aidan Cleary — Radar — [email protected]

This piece was originally published at Medium.com/rocket-fuel.

January 21, 2020

The Digital Maturity of QSR Brands Revolves Around the Customer

In 2019, a notable change occurred that will continue to influence the success of QSR brands (and all others) moving forward. The Gen Z demographic officially surpassed Baby Boomers and Millennials as the largest population and the spending power of this newly minted demographic — estimated to be somewhere between $29 billion and $143 billion— easily surpassed that of the Millennial generation. (Source)

A recent study also found that smaller Millennial demographic are the generation that dines out most frequently, eating out an average of five times per week. Based on these buying habits and the rise of the Gen Z population, it’s imperative that restaurants adopt mobile ordering and/or invest in reward apps to remain relevant among tech-savvy Millennials and Gen Zers. (Source)

Raised using the internet, Gen Z is placing great pressure on organizations to provide digital experiences that exceed the last best one they had. Equally as important is recognizing your brand experience: how consumers are engaging with and experiencing your brand across digital platforms, must be delightful, consistent, seamless and familiar regardless of channel, need or result. Fundamentally, the way businesses interact with both customers and employees has been transformed in ways that leverage technology. Although deemed a difficult strategy to execute, 67 percent of consumers say they’ll pay more for a better experience, therefore there are great benefits to be reaped if businesses are willing to adapt. 

Mobile ordering applications represent an opportunity for restaurants to always be where their customers are, available whenever their customers want them. Sitting in the palm of their hand, your brand has a plethora of opportunities arise to engage with these users at a very low price point and drive them to make meal purchases while simultaneously delivering on your brand promise. More and more consumers are seeking choices in how and where they order and purchase food, making it essential for brands to offer a mobile experience that meets (and preferably exceeds) their expectations.


Given Bottle Rocket’s expertise in user research, experience design and industry-leading engineering, we’ve learned that the audience has several steadfast expectations from a QSR:

  • The mobile app needs to be easy to use, reflective of the brand itself and offer order ahead and delivery
  • The delivery charge should be free or close to free
  • A loyalty program should exist, be easy to use and offer results in consistent rewards
  • Fast and friendly service must exist throughout the entire experience
  • Ability to track orders and communicate with the QSR during delivery is key
  • Food needs to be hot and ready to eat when it’s delivered or picked up
  • Users want deals, coupons and a value meal program


QSR brands that maintain a frictionless, personalized and contextual mobile app generate more loyal customers that come back time and time again and freely share their experiences with friends and family, bringing in new customers free of charge. These mobile apps deliver both on the core promise of their brand and the core needs of their consumers by offering an experience that makes it simple to order food.

They also go above and beyond and implement creative mobile features linked to cross-channel messaging campaigns that make the customer’s experience enjoyable. All of this, while wrapping the experience in a design system that reflects your brand and connects it to all other channels.

Further, we see brands that maintain a strong mobile presence have a cross-functional team in place across marketing, product and engineering working together on top of a modern mobile marketing stack to understand behavior, orchestrate cross-channel messaging and deliver a personalized experience. Below outlines the modern marketing stack that these brands have in place to drive systematic growth.

When brands implement multiple components of a modern growth stack similar to the image a above, it offers your brand the ability to deliver more fully on the needs and wants of your customers through greater personalization, contextualization and frictionless experiences. Below, we’ve broken down some of the most important characteristics we see in a strong QSR mobile app experience that are often enabled through a modern growth stack.


  • Users can order without signing up for an account
  • Seamless and fast sign-up experience
  • Mobile app uses progressive disclosure when asking for permissions

Store Location

  • Easy to discover locations
  • Actionable and valuable information about the locations present
  • Ability to favorite or save the locations you frequent


  • Seamless and fast ordering experience
  • Order customization
  • Ability to pay with a variety of methods, i.e., Apple Pay
  • Quick access to favorite items and previous orders

Rewards / Loyalty / Promos

  • The value-add of joining the rewards program is apparent and undeniable
  • Ability to track loyalty progress/status
  • Promos to engage with that are appealing
  • Easy redemption
  • Ability to attain lost points/forgotten transactions by scanning or taking a picture


  • App delivers personalized engagement messages with relevant offers
  • Triggered push notifications giving status updates of mobile order and delivery

With audience expectations evolving almost as fast as the technology that serves drives them, it’s never been more important for QSRs to recognize this shift and adapt accordingly.

Gone are the days of simply delivering a traditional ordering/commerce experience to satisfy your audience. They want more. They expect more. And cutting through a sea of similarity requires more. Blending simple, useful and familiar utility with engaging and impactful experience — fueled by world-class tools for growth, engagement and acquisition — serve as the blueprint for exciting and sustainable QSR growth in the future.

Need help growing your QSR mobile app or want to flesh out your use cases with an expert?

January 21, 2020

2020 Trends: The Connected Lifestyle is Here, Are You Ready?

We've compiled our top 10 suggestions from Bottle Rocket's team of experts to keep your company competitive in 2020 and beyond.

In the past, it was sufficient to have a website for your business, or even better a mobile app. This alone was enough to differentiate you from others less digitally savvy. But in today’s fast-moving, always-on business environment, it takes more than just a mere digital presence to earn the loyalty and trust necessary to survive well into the future. We refer to this new reality as The Connected Lifestyle, and businesses that are embracing it are succeeding, while others are left behind. Case in point, an HBR report cites the number one reason more than half (52 percent) of the Fortune 500 have disappeared since the year 2000 is their failure to achieve digital change.

This new reality has spawned a new type of customer for your business as well. We call them Connected Customers. This term refers to those customers that interact with brands through digital means such as web sites, apps or Alexa skills. An overwhelmingly large percentage of the population falls into this category. And mobile devices are leading the charge as the most preferred channel of engagement. Connected Customers are everywhere and span every generation.

And what do these Connected Customers want? They want simple and convenient experiences that are both efficient and fun. They want brands to anticipate their wants and desires (without being creepy). They want to be surprised and delighted, and they expect brands to keep up. They want to do business with you when they want and on their terms. They want a personalized experience that feels like it was designed just for them.

This new type of customer isn’t just young people newly entering the marketplace. Forty percent of baby boomers, 57 percent of Gen Xers and 78 percent of Millennials say that a company must have a great digital experience to keep their business. And these numbers are growing every year. That’s essentially most of the people your business serves.

The bad news is that it’s hard. Especially for established businesses that don’t favor change. But the good news is there is a significant return on investment for businesses that deliver a tech-enabled experience that surprises and delights. In fact, 67 percent of consumers say they’ll pay more for a better experience. So, if you are interested in leveraging the power of The Connected Lifestyle to grow your business by better serving the Connected Customer, here are some suggestions to consider.

Wishing you a successful and innovative 2020.

Calvin Carter
Founder & CEO, Bottle Rocket

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