"It's an industrial engineering challenge," Allen says. "In the short term there will be some frustration but the organizations that are out in front that are experiencing failures are learning faster."
One company that obviated such pains is Panera, whose digital sales are on track to surpass $1 billion in 2017. In the run-up to its Panera 2.0 digital initiative in 2014, executives spent about 100 hours a week in a Massachusetts Panera location observing issues and refining the approach.
Shake Shack took a similarly cautious approach but focused on how the Shack App integrates with the physical retail experience and how it impacts its employees, says Applause CEO Doron Reuveni, whose testers sign non-disclosure agreements when they are assigned to work on client projects.
Through May 31 Shack App has been downloaded 350,000 times, as the software averaged 2,900 daily active users and processed 1,250 daily orders through the month. Now Crawford is busy working with Applause to launch an Android version of Shack App. He may also enlist the company's fleet of testers to probe a conversational bot that will allow customers to text orders. Starbucks and others are building bots, an effort to strengthen the connection between their brand and consumers.
“If you're not digitally savvy you're left behind,” Reuveni says.
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