Hey Siri, Get Me My Usual!

Aramark launches brew2you on Apple Business Chat

On today’s earnings call, Apple called out Aramark’s “brew2you” initiative, a pilot program that allows Phillies fans to order drinks for in-seat delivery via Business Chat. Aramark partnered with Assist to build the experience, which used Apple Pay for a seamless checkout.

This initiative is my favorite Assist project to date, simply because it improves the in-stadium ordering experience for all parties. Fans can place orders without getting up from their seats. There’s no need to wait in line, or pass your credit card down a row of strangers to pay — no need for your wallet at all, in fact. Servers can deliver more efficiently, Aramark can sell more drinks per game, and the time between my deciding I want a beer to holding it in my hand is drastically reduced. Business Insider noted “Apple has announced a handful of Business Chat partners…but the Aramark partnership is one of the first applications that I can see using” and it’s easy to see why.

The pilot was a long time in the making. In July of 2016, over 2 years before brew2you debuted in Citizens Bank Park, Shane’s post “Money from Messaging: The Impact of Brands in the Messaging Ecosystem” spoke to the potential for sports teams to connect with fans via messaging:

We went to a Warrior’s game this past season, but we didn’t buy tickets to the game. We were invited by a mutual friend. As a result, the Warriors had no way to speak to us after we left Oracle Arena. The opportunity to reach out with a promotion to buy tickets to a game or apparel from any one of our favorite players was left sitting like dried up sweat on the hardwood floor.
…What if you could instantly jump into a conversation with a brand or a business? That sending a message would allow you to order food to your seat, check stats, buy tickets and much, much more. That’s where the power of bots can be fully realized and appreciated. At scale, only a bot stands a chance of handling the load of so many concurrent conversations.

Similarly, 3 years ago, Peter Czimback, Aramark’s Sr. Director of Global Consumer Innovation, had envisioned a future where fans could connect with stadiums and teams via a single message thread. With the right technology, Aramark could help fans buy tickets, navigate to the stadium, order drinks for in-seat delivery, and stay updated post-game with information about special offers and promotions. The launch of Business Chat with its Apple Pay integration presented the perfect opportunity to bring that vision to life.

Stadium visitors access the experience by scanning a QR code with the iOS Camera. That deep-links them into a conversation with brew2you via the native Messages app. There’s no application to download or account to create — crucial in a crowded stadium where connectivity can be a challenge. And after a few taps and key strokes, they’ve placed their orders, added tips, and purchased using Apple Pay.

In scoping the experience, the Aramark and Assist teams agreed that 1-touch reordering would be a crucial component of the experience. Once you’ve placed your first order, your payment confirmation includes a prompt that allows you to place the same order again simply by confirming your purchase via Apple Pay.

Not only does this remove friction from the ordering experience, it hints at future opportunities for Aramark to “remember” visitors across multiple games or stadiums, learn their preferences, and quickly serve up habitual orders. It’s easy to contemplate a not-too-distant future where I arrive at a stadium (or restaurant, or bar), find my seat, ask Siri to “get me my usual” and receive my drink moments later.

Back in 2011, Assist’s cofounder Robert Stephens wrote about a “Hierarchy of Anticipation,” identifiable via repeated user behavior:

Once is a hint
Twice is a pattern
Three times is a preference
Four times is a habit

The idea that Siri and Aramark would know “my usual” speaks to an underlying recognition of my preferences, driven by past behavior. This pattern recognition offers opportunities for brands to be even more proactive with customer engagement. The next time I visited the stadium, what if Aramark pushed a message to me rather than wait for me to place my order? That message could prompt me to order my usual — or tell me it was already on its way to my seat.

As Robert said back in 2011:

Customers are giving us hints. Repeated hints are patterns. Repeating patterns are preferences. If those preferences are acknowledged, they become habits. Customers with habits are profitable.

This isn’t, and really never was, about automation. It’s about leveraging patterns of behavior to anticipate your customers’ needs.

Assist is the leading platform powering automation for businesses on messaging and voice. We power great brands like Sephora, Hyatt, Fandango, 1800Flowers, Lonely Planet, and more. Say hello hi@assi.st or learn more about us here http://assi.st.