Research Methods in Digital Communication takes us on an app-venture in the world of mobile marketing and analytics this week. Let’s take a tour of Ruby Tuesday’s mobile app to gain greater understanding through user experience.
As we know, many consumers are interested in discounts, coupons, and special promotions Therefore, this is where we begin our journey. Good job, Ruby Tuesday, for having this option in the menu bar at the bottom of the screen. Clicking on the “Offers” tab, we are taken to a screen which prompts us to enter our location to “see what offers are available.”
After entering my zip code, we see:
This likely leaves consumers feeling disappointed at not receiving any special offers for engaging with the company on its mobile platform. This negative sentiment might be enough to make some customers leave the app and perhaps even refuse to visit Ruby Tuesday the next time the opportunity arises. Incidentally, When I signed up for the “So Connected” email list through the mobile site, (to which I was redirected from inside the app), I still did not receive any immediate promotional offers or coupons. (However, I was assured I will receive a free burger on my birthday in nine months).
Next we move to the “Menu” area of the app. It is clean, aesthetically pleasing, simple, and intuitive. The menu is a great feature for placing To-Go orders, especially if one is on the go. However, there is not an option to place an order through the app. By clicking the picture of the house (HOME) in the upper left corner, one can view Ruby’s mobile website through the app, but there is still no option to place an order.
The RT Locations selection is self explanatory. Entering a zip code or city results in a list of Ruby Tuesday restaurants nearby. The “What’s Hot” tab simply returns the user to the welcome screen (featured at the top of this post). The bottom two of the three sections take the user out of the app to view Ruby Tuesday commercials on YouTube. This is fine for driving traffic across platforms, but one has to wonder about the purpose of the mobile platform if users continue to be referred out to other locations on the web for information.
Evaluating this app on its practical value and user experience, I admit there simply is not much to it. The purpose of mobile marketing is to engage and build relationships with consumers by offering them tools for convenience and connectivity. There is a certain level of perceived interactivity, but the experience feels a bit empty. It makes one wonder if there is really anyone at Ruby Tuesday on the other end of this app. (Even if there is not, it should appear that there is.)
There is not much perceived personalization either. Whereas a user can enter his zip code to find nearby locations, there is nothing automatically tailored to his specific needs or likes. Lastly, there is no sense of perceived sociability. Again, it feels like a ghost town inside this app with no evidence of any other customers, no product or service reviews, and no way to socialize or connect with anyone.
All in all, this app gives the impression of an abandoned effort. Below is a screenshot of the RT App Description in the iTunes App Store, and it suggests that this is likely the case. The company ironically promises, “The Ruby Tuesday® app, just like our food, will always have uncompromising freshness and quality…” Notice, however, that the “freshness” date is January 7, 2014 (nine months ago).
The description goes on to claim, “This isn’t a one and done app, this is a keeper…”