The dynamic development of the modern market has significantly contributed to increased competition between enterprises. Companies outdo each other to acquire each consumer. Varied loyalty programs, modern applications and personalised special offers are just some of the tools used by brands to ensure a large volume of customers. As a result of these actions, we, the consumers, can witness the implementation of innovative solutions. A great example which supports the above-mentioned idea is the introduction of a new click&collect feature for the customers of Green Caffè Nero, a popular café chain.
This text is a guest article by Katarzyna Bielawska, written with Jan Pobocha – i360 researchers.
Nobody is surprised by the fact that click&collect debuted a few years earlier across the Atlantic. In 2015, Starbucks launched mobile orders and payments. The café chain reveals that almost ¼ of all payment transactions are made through their original application. The popularity of this feature grew from month to month, reaching its peak in 2020. Therefore, it is easy to conclude that it was mainly the pandemic that sparked consumers’ interest in this feature.
The application developed by Starbucks is similar to the Polish version launched by Green Caffè Nero. The user makes an order and pays for it in the application. When the purchase is completed, the user is given loyalty points in the form of stars. The application automatically updates the status of the order. However, the ways of collecting the order are much more varied. The consumer may pick up their coffee in a cafe, at a drive-thru window, or in their car parked in a designated parking space. The company is also expanding the ways of making the order, which the consumer may place using a smartphone, Fitbit, Apple watch, Garmin or even Siri. The technological gap between Poland and the United States is huge. The only thing that surprises us is that Starbucks has not decided to introduce mobile payments in Poland after more than 6 years.
Polish version of click&collect
In the time of the pandemic, every enterprise tried to face new restrictions and at the same time meet the current expectations of consumers. At the end of April 2021, Green Caffè Nero decided to add a new click&collect feature to its mobile application. Every member of the brand’s loyalty program can now place an order and pay for it on their smartphone and then collect the order in a selected café. Unfortunately, so far the click&collect feature is only available in three Polish cities: Warsaw, Kraków and Wrocław. These new possibilities offered by Green Caffè Nero seem to be perfect not only due to sanitary restrictions. Contactless payments and no waiting in lines are solutions we were all waiting for.
‘We are one of the first café chains to offer a service like that. Now every person who has the Green Caffè Nero application on their smartphone can order their favourite coffee, snacks and cakes without waiting in line. Other advantages include contactless payments and quick pick-up’, says the representative of Green Caffè Nero.
How it works – step by step
1. First, you need to download the Caffè Nero application, which is available on Google Play and App Store. When the application is opened, you can log in (if you already have an account) or sign up as a new user.
2. When you sign up, you can add your loyalty card with the stamps you have already collected. They will be automatically transferred to the application.
3. Signing up – there are four ways in which the user can join the café club (Apple, Facebook, Yoyo, self-registration).
4. When you choose the sign-up method, you need to enter your phone number, so that a verification code can be sent to it. The code needs to be entered into the application.
5. When you sign up correctly, the application displays welcome and informative notifications.
6. When you accept the information shown to you, you will see a new message about verifying your student status. When the verification is completed, the user can use additional discounts.
7. In order to use the click&collect feature, you need to add your payment card to the application (you can scan the card or enter the required data manually).
8. In order to place an order, you need to tap the Click&Collect button and choose the café in which you will collect your order. When you enter the post code or share the current location of your device, the application shows nearby cafés.
9. When you choose a café, you can see its menu. When you choose coffee, you can see a range of options that can be personalised.
10. When you choose products and add them to the cart, you can complete your order. In the bottom corner, you can enter company data if you want to get an invoice.
11. When you make the payment, the café needs to confirm the order, which takes about 2–3 minutes. Then the application updates the current status of the order. A virtual stamp is automatically added to the loyalty card. You can also view a virtual receipt.
12. When the order is ready, you need to go to the chosen café and collect the order in a designated place. On collection, you get a receipt and payment confirmation. When the order is collected, its status in the application is changed to completed. The cash register receipt contains information that the payment was made through the click&collect feature. The order number on the receipt is not the same as the one in the application.
What is it like in practice?
For the purposes of this article, we visited a few cafés in Warsaw to test the new click&collect feature. The process of ordering and paying online is really simple and pleasant. And then problems started… 5 minutes after placing the order, we received a message from café A, saying that the order was rejected because the payment was unsuccessful. Well, it happens. A moment later, we placed another order in nearby café B, which accepted it. However, when we wanted to check the status of the new order, we received another message from café A (order rejected), so initially we could have thought that the second order was cancelled as well. The status of the order from café B did not appear until the order was ready for collection. This means that the application has a serious flaw, because it misleads the user, who could ultimately fail to collect the order, thinking that it was rejected once again. When we tried again, the order acceptance time significantly exceeded the above-mentioned 2–3 minutes and when we collected the order, we did not get sugar for our coffee, despite the fact that we checked this option in the application…
Order collection in a café is really simple. When you go inside, it is impossible to miss the large information board that points to the spot where you can collect orders placed in the application. When we visited the cafés, we did not have to wait in line. However, we were surprised that the identity of the person collecting the order is not verified. An employee only asked us whether we had made the order in the application and that was it…
Apart from physical problems, we also had a technical problem. It is impossible to view a virtual receipt on a phone running iOS as soon as the order is ready. You can only do it a few minutes later by going to the ‘Activity’ tab. This problem does not occur on devices running Android.
Mobile payments available in applications for cafés
The leaders of mobile applications for cafés are three brands: Green Caffè Nero, Starbucks and Costa Coffee.
Starbucks enables users to pay with the Starbucks electronic card available in the original application. However, prior to making a transaction, the consumer needs to top up the card. It can be done in two ways: by transferring money via PayU or by adding their payment card, which will be debited. The minimum top-up amount is PLN 1. When the account is topped up, it is possible to make a payment by showing the barcode of the virtual card to the cashier. It is worth mentioning that when a transaction is successfully completed, membership points (stars) are automatically added to the club member’s account.
The above-described Green Caffè Nero enables the user to add their payment card to the café’s mobile application. Apart from online payments via the click&collect feature, consumers may also complete the transaction in a café, using the application. In order to pay, you need to show the cashier the QR code of the payment card linked to your account. As in the case of Starbucks, when you make a mobile payment, stamps are immediately added to your virtual loyalty card. The stamps can then be redeemed for a free coffee.
In the applications described above, access to the payment card does not require a PIN code or a biometric verification.
The application from this list which definitely does the worst is the one used by Costa Coffee, which does not offer mobile payments at all. Despite technological progress among competitors, this brand has not introduced any innovative solutions so far. The application has only a virtual membership card, which the user can show when making a purchase to receive points in the form of coffee beans.
Mobile payments in popular applications
Mobile payments can be found not only in applications used by cafés, but also those offered by entities from the food sector and petrol stations. Below, we present the most popular applications which enable consumers to make in-app payments.
In the food sector, the most popular applications seem to be Żappka, Lidl Plus and Mój Carrefour. All three of these companies enable the user to add their payment card to the relevant application. Differences can be observed when the transaction is about to be completed. Żappka and Mój Carrefour require payment authorisation by entering a PIN code, whereas viewing the virtual card is not secured in any way. In the case of Lidl Plus, the principles of verification are completely opposite. Here, viewing the card needs to be authorised (PIN, FaceID, fingerprint), whereas the payment is not secured in any way.
The petrol sector is dominated by the following applications: Orlen Pay, Lotos Pay&Go and Circle K.
Orlen Pay enables the user to make mobile transactions using a payment card, Apple Pay and BLIK. A wide range of available payment methods definitely makes this application stand out from its competitors. However, a huge disadvantage is the fact that the application does not automatically download data from the VITAY loyalty card. Users need to add cards to their accounts on their own. The transaction needs to be authorised in Orlen Pay and then the user gets a text message with a confirmation of their payment.
Lotos Pay&Go was developed in December 2020 and allows for contactless payments only when you use BLIK. It is a surprising solution, because the previously mentioned brands offered mainly payment by card. When the transaction is completed, the user gets a notification in the Lotos application.
Circle K did not enable its consumers to make contactless payments until April 2021. Payment is possible when you use a credit or debit card, whose data needs to be entered into the application. In order to make a payment, you need to pre-authorise the card. Then Circle K temporarily blocks the funds needed to complete the transaction and the payment card is debited with the relevant amount by the end of the day.
For more information on mobile payments, visit the i360 blog. Have a good read!