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Visual communication will be key to 2016 consumers

From emoji ordering to Snapchat stories, a number of restaurant brands have recently invested in amplifying their visual-technology arsenals. And that’s a smart move, implies a new report from market-researcher Mintel, which avers that visual communication will become even more important to consumers in the coming year.

“In 2016 and beyond, we will see a rapid development in the new ways in which people are able to communicate and interact through visuals,” says Stacy Glasgow, consumer trends consultant at Mintel, adding that brands that fail to leverage “universally quick and comprehensible” visuals risk falling behind.

Consumers’ growing reliance on visual media is rooted in their desire for speed and convenience, Mintel says. The fast pace enabled by mobile-payment systems such as Google Wallet and Apple Pay has accelerated consumer interest in saving time, the researcher notes.

Playing into customers’ visual predilection, Domino’s debuted emoji ordering earlier this year, allowing frequent customers to place their usual pizza orders by texting a pizza slice emoji. To support this new capability, the chain even launched a PSA-style emoji campaign for the emoji illiterate, which included videos and printable flashcards for customers to reference.

In addition, Starbucks last week announced that it will add video screens to 2,400 of its U.S. drive-thrus, enabling customers to see streaming footage of the barista taking their orders. 

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