Avanti Commerce Allows Big Appetite Customers to Order Meals Through Mobile Devices

Merchants are set to enhance their customer service efficiency and practice, and consumers are prepared for a more convenient and satisfying solution to long line-ups. Avanti Commerce sees this new attitude in mobile users and knows that the Quick Service Restaurants (QSR) industry is ready to take the next leap in mobile integration.

Anytime and anywhere, restaurants using the Avanti platform will be able to receive orders and payment from their guests moments before arrival. And guests are now able to have a saved database of favourite customized orders, access to handy all-in-one payment and chances to earn loyalty rewards over time. It’s not just a web interface like Amazon or Ebay—it’s a complete order, pay and fulfillment kind of mobile platform or Real Mobile Commerce.

“Just because you can do something on your mobile phone doesn’t mean it’s helping you with your mobility,” said Jason Strashek, founder and CEO of Avanti Commerce. “It’s supposed to be all about the convenience. It’s supposed to be about ‘I don’t have to wait at home to take a phone call. So why should I be waiting in line inside a store if I can just order something off my phone when I’m walking?’”

Flashback to the ‘80s: It was a time when bank patrons would wait in line patiently to withdraw money, and an age where if you miss the ridiculous bank hours there is simply nothing you can do. Technology changed all that. Online banking, ATM and other convenient solutions changed the culture of banking forever. And Avanti Commerce knows that it’s only a matter of time before consumers demand the same from QSR favourites: Starbucks, McDonald’s, Tim Hortons and Subway.

“A lot of the restaurant industry are laggards, they don’t buy technology unless they have to,” said Strashek. “We saw them get into that area with near field communication and tap and pay. But tapping my credit card is not so different from tapping my phone, so why should venders go and invest so much money in it?”

Customer value and profit margin are two important aspects that dining companies take into consideration when purchasing new technology. What Avanti Commerce is going to add is the immediacy of fulfillment (measured in minutes) and options in priced and not-priced modifications (shaken, extra hot, etc.).

“Take your loyal customers and offer them a VIP service,” said Strashek, “that is basically like will call. Come in. Come out. You got your product. You’re gone. And [the restaurant] rewards you.”

Long lineups are always a challenge for employees and an annoyance for customers. While some companies demand that workers serve their guest faster, others believe that quality is still paramount. Regardless of the restaurant’s work ethics, Avanti Commerce believes that gradual steps away from the point-of-sales culture needs to be made.

The appetite is there for an alternative that works—fast. In July 2014, selected Subway restaurants will be teaming up with Avanti to bring customers the ultimate mobile service and satisfaction.

It’s as simple as it sounds. Log on. Order. Save. Pick up. And do it all over again when you’re hungry. Technology has changed banking, public parking and communication forever, now it’s time to see what it can do to the way we order lunch.

Foko Promotes Photo Taking at Work To Strengthen Communication and Solve Problems

Ottawa-based Foko understands that photographs are the new quick, text-free way to communicate.

Whether it’s sharing our vacation photos, showcasing our accomplishments or taking a quick pic of our afternoon snack, our pictures can tell a story worth a thousand—maybe—more words. And that experience should not be withheld in the workplace.

Communication within an organization is paramount to the workforce, but recent trends have shown that internal communication platforms such as Intranets garner little traction. “There is around 10% [of employees at a given company using Intranets],” said Foko’s cofounder and CEO, Eric Sauve. “If you get 20% you are a hero. I came to a conclusion that companies are really missing out on connecting their employees.”

Simplicity became Foko’s focus as they tried to understand the barriers of communication in an enterprise environment. The result is a familiar Instagram-like app that enables workers, employers and all other members of the company to recognize each other through a medium that is easy to use.

“We came to photos,” said Sauve, “because you don’t need to know English and you don’t need to be a good writer; you just need a [camera] phone and you can participate. Photo sharing is the consumer Internet, from web apps (Pintrest and Imgur) to social networks to new services—the ones that are growing the most are photo centric—like Instagram and SnapChat. So let’s bring it to companies in a way that they can get everyone involved.”

Entering an ecosystem with so many different photo-sharing platforms, Foko finds its uniqueness in terms of privacy, security, and exclusivity. In another words, Foko caters to a corporate-audience. Ones that understands that when dealing with the behind the scenes photography of Fortune 100 companies, a few potential problems need to be addressed, such as HR problems, IT leaks issues, etc. Foko builds the community around the workers; only allowing those associated with the company the ability to view activities within.

This internal communication enables stores and offices in different geographical areas to work together to strengthen merchandise sales, etc., and colleagues with different schedules to catch up and discuss the happenings at work. In addition, Foko also helps enterprises share and promote events and occasions that stems from the workplace, such as charity events, volunteer opportunities, conferences and company parties. Photos are also a friendly way of introduction and acknowledgement, especially in big companies where workers seldom see each other. The ability to welcome a new employee or to acknowledge an old one is something every company, large or small, should have the capability to do.

The use of social media and other consumer platforms are often frowned upon at workplace. If you spend your time posting pictures on Instagram at work, you are probably wasting time, but if you post something on Foko while working, you are building workplace cohesion.

“It’s all in how you used the social media,” said Sauve. “It’s the fact that it’s private that makes all the difference. If you take a picture at work and share it on Instagram: are you sharing secrets, are you sharing embarrassing stuff about the store and does it meet with the branding guidelines of how we interact with the public? But if you share it internally, nobody cares about that stuff.” Sauve added, “Sharing within a constrained group really changes the nature of social media.”

In the upcoming week, Foko is also introducing the private messaging feature to their application, enabling workers to communicate with individuals in the company. Instead of sending a photo to the entire company, you can select the co-workers you would like to receive the picture and reach out to them privately. Say, they forgot their mints at work, well what better way to notify and reassure them that it’s still there—untouched— than with a fresh picture of it?

Vancouver’s Mobile Community Discusses Future of Marketing at DigiBC’s MoMoVan

There was once a time when we would roll out of bed and flick on the television and digest the morning news with a fresh cup of coffee.

Now many people admit that they start the day off by reaching for their mobile devices and routinely checking each of their apps and sites for current events, social and business correspondences and progression in their Clash of Clans economy. Mobile devices have changed every little thing we do, but it is still a relatively new technology and businesses are only starting to understand how to harness its full potential.

On Monday July 8, 2013, DigiBC presented MoMoVan, a digital marketing event that addressed businesses’ shift to become mobile first. Whether it is promoting a new product or supplying news, companies recognized that mobile is the media format of the future. But which platform should a company choose is still to be determined, mobile sites versus apps? That was a major question the panel at MoMoVan tried to tackle.

“It depends on what you are trying to accomplish,” said Johann Starke, president of FCV, an interactive and digital marketing agency. “Apps work great, but if you are building an app for a political party with a campaign where the content has to change, it depends on how it is structured. What if there is a problem? What if you need to update it? You are totally at their [App Store approval] mercy. I think the things that have time constraints, you are better off doing a mobile site and use apps for things that are product based.”

“Apps are a bit of a gamble,” Starke added. “You got to be careful that you time it right. I’ve heard horror stories about stuff taking 90 days from the time you send it in for approval and if they reject anything you’ll have to fix it. So it is tricky.”

Apps are a big commitment for companies, but for users they tend to be nothing more than a short-term fling, a impulse download followed by neglect and then deletion. There are only a handful of apps that have sustainable relevance and remain a permanent fixture on my iPhone.

Apps are a premium experience and it comes with a price. A quality app with a poorly planned purpose will result in lost of time and money. “The reality is,” said Sandy Fleischer, Managing Partner at Pound & Grain, “apps are going to break. It depends on the complexity, but ultimately apps are software, while websites can sometimes be brochure-ware. In general, the maintenance requirement for an internal app is going to be more so than on a website.”

Despite all that, new apps are being produced. Apple announced that in June that there are now over 900,000 apps in the App Store. That is a 28% increase from one year ago.

In terms of user data, people spend a lot more time on apps than browsing mobile site. But some believe the market is now saturated and it is about time we see a decline in app productions. We don’t need another weather forecast, currency converter or food review app. We have reached a point where only the best apps should survive.

After all, what is the point of spending money and time creating something that will only be lost in the desolate sea of icons?