Waze and Dunkin’ Donuts bring location-intelligent commerce to mobile navigation

Waze, the Google-owned traffic and navigation app, helps its users get from point A to point B in an efficient manner, but soon, it could be the app through which they order their next cup of coffee or meal.

Thanks to a newly-announced partnership that will see Waze launch a new “Order Ahead” feature with Dunkin’ Donuts, Waze users will soon be able to order their favorite drink or food item as they hit the road so that it’s ready to go when they arrive at Dunkin’ Donuts.

Jordan Grossman, Waze’s North American business partnerships chief, stated in an announcement:

“Our new Order Ahead feature expands Waze’s mission of saving time on the road by enabling consumers to now also save time in-store, while giving brands a new opportunity to engage with their customers.”

To take advantage of the new Order Ahead feature, Waze users will also have to have installed the Dunkin’ Donuts mobile app and be members of the company’s rewards program, DD Perks.

Once integrated, the Waze app will be able to identify the closest Dunkin’ Donuts location and submit the user’s drink or food order ahead of time so that it’s ready when they arrive. Ostensibly, Waze’s knowledge of the user’s location and traffic conditions could even be used to prioritize the preparation of orders.

Location-based commerce

Dunkin’ Donuts has been working with Waze since 2012 and it is being reported that instead of giving Waze a cut of the sales that are initiated through its app, Dunkin’ Donuts has committed to increase its Waze ad spend.

Waze says that it plans to expand its Order Ahead offering to include other retail partners in the future, offering yet another example of how location-aware apps are becoming an ubiquitous and important part of the mobile experience.

While the Dunkin’ Donuts-Waze integration currently requires that users have both Waze and the Dunkin’ Donuts mobile apps, it’s not hard to imagine a future in which Waze’s Order Ahead feature could allow users to place orders with retailers using the Waze app only.

With mobile users installing fewer and fewer apps, this would make it easier for brands like Dunkin’ Donuts to engage mobile consumers without trying to get them to install dedicated apps, which more casual customers might not be willing to do.

Additionally, by adding location awareness to mobile ordering, retailers will be in a position to improve the mobile ordering experience, which is increasingly popular but has created customer experience issues for some brands like Starbucks.

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