Industry News | January 24, 2009

No Waiting in Line at Manhattan Subway Stores

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In an attempt to break into the world of online and text message ordering, Subway has partnered with Go Mobo to implement its Subway Now pilot, which began earlier this month in Manhattan. According to GoMobo's Web site, Internet orders are on average of 15–20 percent larger than phone orders.

Subway’s pilot launched January 5 and was accompanied by New York City Subway system advertising, an American Express direct mail/e-mail campaign, and online ads, according to mediabistro.com blog MobileMarketingToday. Participating Subway stores have seen a “major increase in customer visit frequency” and “larger average order sizes” says a source close to the campaign.

Subway officials declined to comment on its Subway Now pilot.

To order through the site, users visit www.subwaynow.com and complete a free three-step process: They enter their zip code to find local Subway restaurants, place their customized order, then pick up their sandwich without waiting in line.

Users enter credit card information while placing their first order, and it's securely saved to their account after that. Subway Now customers never pay at the restaurant. After registering online, Subway Now users can order via text message using shortcode 466626. A menu and the customer's favorite customized orders are accessible by phone, and orders can be placed using as few as one character. The credit card account saved online is billed for each text message order. Standard text messaging rates apply, although Subway does not charge for its Subway Now program.

Other features include specifying a later pickup time or utilizing existing delivery service at select stores; both are available online and via text message.

Currently, daily soup specials and other items that change frequently aren't available through Subway Now.

To promote the pilot, Subway is offering a free $5 foot-long sub after customers order three $5 foot-longs. Additionally, American Express users get a complimentary $5 foot-long when placing their first order with their American Express card.

Users can also elect to receive—or opt out of—special offers from Subway via text message, giving Subway the opportunity to implement future interactive marketing.

By Robin Hilmantel