Product I Love: Tim Hortons
May 10, 2023
Tim Hortons, the heart and soul of Canadian coffee culture, has been serving up delicious donuts, sandwiches, and warm cups of joe for decades. With a presence in over 3,500 locations, it’s no wonder Tims is a household name. The Tim Hortons mobile app is bringing the brand even closer to the hearts of Canadians, offering a convenient way to order, pay, and interact with Tims on the go. That’s why we sat down with our Director of Product, Ivana Ciric to get her thoughts on a Canadian icon’s flagship digital product in this edition of Product I Love.
What’s so great the Tim Hortons app?
In my role, I have the opportunity to build B2C products that delight users, and advise clients on improving their products by elevating the user experience and technology. This has given me an appreciation for the enormous number of considerations that goes into even the simplest app.
I can’t help but notice that Tim Hortons has employed behavioural design to make the app more engaging. The latest version (at the time of this article, it would be Android version 7.1.110) has improved the user experience by putting everything I need right on the home screen. It reduces friction by making ordering, checking points, and engaging with the brand more convenient. I also love seeing my rewards displayed on the home page—it gives me a sense of achievement and motivates me to keep ordering. Plus, the app’s integration of loyalty points and payments through QR code scanning is brilliant. It eliminates the need for physical cards and simplifies the payment process.
What are some of your favourite features?
I don’t need too much advanced functionality from the Tim Horton’s app – I just need it to make ordering faster and easier – so I appreciate that I can navigate to the right page with just a single click. I usually visit the same store location and buy the same items, so I really appreciate the Order Again feature.
How could the Tim Hortons app be improved?
With an ordering app, I want to minimize the amount of time I spend on the app, so responsiveness is very important. I noticed recent performance improvements on Android, but I still experience issues – for example, when loading the Nutrition Explorer and Manage My Account. As someone with dietary considerations, I love the purpose and value behind Nutrition Explorer but I don’t love the long load time or the limited filters. I’d love to be able to filter by ingredients instead of only by calories, sodium and sugar. I can’t help but put my product hat on and hope that this is just the MVP release of this feature, and we’ll see a faster, more functional, and more discoverable version in future updates. I have also experienced delays navigating between “Home”, “Scan” and “Discover” on the home screen, and occasionally have to kill the app because I’m no longer able to navigate between screens. This additional friction can lead to customer churn, both in the short term and the long term.
Another aspect of the Tims brand that I value is the emphasis on giving, either through donations or sending gifts to loved ones. I only wish that the ‘Gift a Tim Card’ process had a flow to enable this even more. Right now, users who want to send a gift card are redirected to their mobile browser, which feels clunky and disjointed. Integrating this feature into the app (similar to Tims it Forward) and using saved payment methods would create a smoother and more connected experience.
Currently, the Order Again feature helps to fast track orders that a customer is repeating. To truly delight users and reduce friction in the ordering process, Tim Hortons could address the cognitive load of scrolling through a large menu by streamlining item discovery. This can be a feature that recommends food and drink options based on users’ moods, ordering patterns, and dietary restrictions.
Adding a community aspect to the app by allowing users to add family members or friends as favourites for faster point sharing would make the app more engaging and personal, and emphasize Tim Horton’s deep connection to its communities. Currently, I have to enter the recipient’s email every time but it would be convenient to set-up an individual only once and easily share again and again without any extra effort. There’s actually some inspiration that can be taken from their Order Again feature to mimic this repeatability.
The Tim Hortons app exemplifies how a beloved brand can harness technology to enhance the customer experience. However, to stay ahead of the curve, Tim Hortons must continue to innovate and evolve the app both in response to and in anticipation of shifting user expectations and new technological capabilities.
Click here to enjoy more Products We Love, including PC Optimum, Poshmark, Wealthsimple, 1Password and more.
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