In recent years, the fast-casual giant has innovated online as well as on the serving line—and it worked. In Q1 2019, digital sales were up 100 percent. Chipotle goes all in on ensuring a seamless digital experience, and it pays off.
The idea behind Chipotle’s digital-first experience is this: “We offer simple, easy-to-use experiences that give customers the ability to order exactly what they want, when they want it, to be delivered to them in the way that they choose,” said Nicole West, Chipotle’s VP of digital strategy, in an interview with Digital Magazine. “It’s all about beautiful, seamless simple experiences.”
Take a look at three examples of Chipotle’s commitment to digital and customer-first experiences:
1. Chipotle was one of the first to offer mobile ordering—but this year’s mobile innovation allows it to soar.
Chipotle introduced an “order on mobile/pick-up in store” model in 2008, about a decade ahead of the competition. Their mobile model remained fairly untouched until 2019 when, according to Wired, “Chipotle evolved its entire approach to managing digital products, shifting from a launch-and-support model to one of ongoing innovation.” As a result, they doubled mobile revenue between 2019 and 2020.
Mobile ordering goes hand-in-hand with Chipotle’s new drive-thru windows reserved for online order pickup, dubbed “Chipotlanes.” Of the 44 new locations they opened in Q3 2020, 26 of them included a Chipotlane.
2. Chipotle didn’t reinvent its digital marketing wheel—it just used technology to expand it.
Chipotle’s differentiator has always been its authentic ingredients. But by the early 2000s, other brands got up to snuff with the fresh food angle. So, Chipotle extended its authenticity past its food and onto its people.
Chipotle’s Behind the Foil campaign tells employee stories in “documentary-style digital and TV spots.” According to Chipotle, Behind the Foil features “unfiltered and emotional testimonials” meant to shine a light on the people behind the ingredients, including both farmers and employees. Behind the Foil is proof that a human-centered approach pays off ... literally.
3. Young consumers care about the environment, and so does Chipotle—so it launched a cutting-edge sustainability tracker.
At the heart of Chipotle’s digital transformation strategy is the adoption of marketing techniques that appeal to younger consumers. Those young consumers want brands to take real social responsibility, especially when it comes to environmental practices.
Chipotle tapped into the younger market and further into their existing mission for environmental responsibility with the debut of Real Foodprint. Real Foodprint is a first-of-its-kind sustainability tracker built within Chipotle’s mobile app. When you place an order in-app, Foodprint will track and report how much water you’ve saved, antibiotics you’ve avoided, organic land you’ve supported and more. Even better: It’s backed by Bill Nye the Science Guy. The announcement of Foodprint starring Nye made a splash on TikTok with more than one million likes.