1) Ability to Scale
“Just because you’re working with a cloud technology partner doesn’t mean they’re the right fit,” Notte cautions. “Because of MOD’s growth trajectory, our ability to scale is key and that goes for our cloud platform as well. We can’t find out that systems are crawling because the cloud platform can’t keep up.”
2) Offers Access to Data
As an insights-focused business, a technology partner must make it easy for MOD to get to important insights from back-office (inventory and labor data) to customer insights. As part of its business intelligence strategy, Notte calls out the importance of adding a consumer data platform (CDP) to be able to look at consumer purchasing behaviors including: when and how often they are visiting; what they are buying; what promotions they are taking advantage of and then being able to critically analyze that information to leverage opportunities.
3) Innovation & Collaboration
“We’re looking for strategic partnerships, not just transactional partnerships,” says Notte. “We want partners that are willing to put skin in the game and that will offer a spirit of collaboration that will maximize value and benefits for both parties. We are Interested in what they have to offer in the field of innovation as we are always looking for that next new thing. We want partners that will provide us the competitive edge and elevate the consumer experience at MOD.”
4) Strong Vendor Roadmap
Notte advises making sure potential tech partners have a cohesive plan for growth – both their own and for your company. “Look at their current customers. What companies do they have as customers that are bigger than you? It’s not necessarily a deal breaker, but I might have concerns if we were the biggest fish in their pond.”
enhancing digital customer engagement
MOD launched a loyalty program with its mobile app earlier in 2019. Notte expresses that the digital footprint of the brand is an extension of the in-store experience. The loyalty app is used to deepen engagement with guests through surprise and delight offers, gamification and opportunities for philanthropy. In the case of the latter, customers can choose to donate rewards to MOD’s charity partner, Generosity Feeds, a nonprofit organization that helps feed hungry children.
Examples of surprise and delight offers for loyalty members include sending messages to app users who regularly order a particular item and invite them to enjoy an order on MOD or regular patrons will be randomly incentivized to try an item they’ve never ordered before.
“It always starts with data,” Notte admits. “We need data and the right tools to understand consumer behavior and shopping patterns. Having a loyalty program and mobile app allows us to access guest action data, enabling us to better understand behavior and deepen our relationship with guests.”
Its recent loyalty deployment has given MOD access to data it didn’t have before. Now the brand can marry that loyalty data with insights from the POS, demographic and psychographic data to get a more meaningful picture.
Notte believes that the lines between in-store and online should be blurred so that the two experiences are as similar and as seamless as possible. As the company works to streamline ordering across channels, the brand is testing a number of different delivery options. MOD continues to look for ways to automate the complete journey from ordering to delivery, while capturing key data metrics along the way. By making specific operational aspects digital-first, Notte hopes to reduce friction, ultimately saving time and giving “MOD Squad” members more time to put attention on guests.
The focus on digital is paying off; in the last 18 months, the brand has seen online ordering almost double in growth as a percentage of sales. Notte attributes this partially to the steady improvement and reliability of the platform as well as the improved guest digital ordering experience.
“Our vision in IT is delivering a better experience,” Notte says. “This also applies to employees. Anything we can do to make their lives simpler, so they can focus more on guests, is important.”