When companies just don't get it

I have a two years old Symbian cell phone and a second generation iTouch. I guess that’s enough to explain that until very recently I didn’t pay any attention at all to mobiles apps ads. Companies regularly announced new apps for the Apple Store (or the Android one), and I didn’t even read the announce.

More recently I’ve started with mobile development. I have paid the Android and Apple fee, I have developed my own apps with PhoneGap and Appcelerator Titanium (games for my daughters, but nothing too serious). And at work we’re starting to thing about possible Apps.

And I’m starting to pay attention to the Apps announced.

Today I received an ad of a new App from Club Vips. Club Vips is a popular chain of restaurants here in Spain. I read the description:

Encuentra tu establecimiento más cercano del Grupo Vips, calcula tu ruta más rápida hasta nuestros locales, infórmate de nuestros horarios, reserva mesa por teléfono o envíanos un e-mail.<

My own translation:

Find the nearest restaurant from Club Vips, find the shortest route, look up the timetable, reserve a table on the phone o send us an email.

Not too exciting. Anyway, let’s give it a look. Oh. I cannot install it because I don’t have iOS 5. “Are you kidding me?” No. I’m not kidding you.

I still remember when the web was THE THING. Every company had to have a web page or else risk to be not cool enough. And companies made horrible pages with no information, or a wonderful Flash animation (again with no information). They didn’t get it.

And now social networks and mobile development are THE NEW THING. They’ve read in the headline of a report from Gartner, Forrester and the like. But they didn’t bother to read the whole report. Or they didn’t think too much about it. Or maybe they didn’t have too much money and they wanted to get something out as quickly as possible.

Mobile is very powerful, and I feel disappointed when people just don’t get it.

Hey. Just because it’s the end of Christmas season, and because I’m a client of them, here goes my free piece of advice for them. First the easy part:

  • Not everyone has iOS 5 installed. Unless you really need that version, stay lower.

  • Include a menu with dishes and quotes at each restaurant. Include the weekly menu.

Now another step:

  • Give a free wifi key of each restaurant to those with the app.

  • Offer special discounts, promotions and draws for those with the app.

  • Order from the app. Call the waiter from the app. Tricky part: lock the actual table to the app and user. Possible solutions 1.-Bluetooth proximity 2.-Table selection from the app, and locking confirmation through the waiter.

And then try to combine the app with your registered customer program (Tarjeta Club Vips):

  • Reserve a table through the app.

  • Personalized promotions.

  • Some of your restaurants offer the ability to order the food, wait for it to be prepared and take it away. Be able to order the food through the app and get a estimated time for taking it.

  • Rating of specific meal experience.

First published here