Case Study

Delighting the World’s Most Devoted Fans.

An iconic brand’s digital portfolio, reimagined.

The DQ® brand is beloved by its deeply loyal “fans,” who are quick to name their go-to orders. Blizzard® Treats. A range of delicious burgers on the Signature Stackburgers™ Menu. Custom DQ® Cakes with those signature fudge and crunch centers. Fan-favorite Chicken Strip Baskets.

But the company’s former processes and platforms were inconsistent across the U.S. and Canada. Point-of-sale systems and other software varied by restaurant, and the DQ® system’s digital offerings left opportunities to meet fans anytime, anywhere.

Enter WillowTree. We teamed up with American Dairy Queen Corporation (ADQ) to recreate the DQ® brand’s flagship digital products and eCommerce capabilities.

Together, we’ve executed a multi-year digital roadmap that re-envisions the Dairy Queen® brand’s native mobile ordering and pickup processes, and DQ® Cakes websites, and MarTech infrastructure.

Our award-winning approach to end-to-end product development.
Best Restaurant Website
Web Marketing Association WebAwards, DQ® App
Webby Honoree
The Webby Awards
DQ® rewards
Best Loyalty Program
Newsweek, DQ® App
Winner in Six Categories
The Communicator Awards

Across the DQ® brand’s former app, web, and email experiences, there were opportunities to gain greater consistency. Visual design and branding differed throughout the brand’s digital portfolio. Moreover, client teams needed to customize content to accommodate time-sensitive or personalized promotions.

Today, WillowTree’s solutions deliver a unified brand experience from the moment a fan opens the DQ® website or app to that satisfying first taste of the Blizzard® Treat they ordered.

Stacking up success.

Loyalty accounts created
(35% increase YoY 2021 vs. 2022)
Increase in purchase conversion rate (Q1 2022 vs. Q1 2023)
Increase in organic search
terms year-over-year
(Q1 2022 vs. Q1 2023)
Average mobile availability and performance since mobile app launch in March 2022
“WillowTree created an elegant suite of digital products that consistently delivers memorable experiences for our fans and meaningful business outcomes for us and our franchise owners. They are a terrific partner and a strong advocate for our shared successes.”
Susie Moschkau
American Dairy Queen Corporation, Director, Digital Marketing

Ensuring that web experiences are a treat, too.

Building two custom online experiences that truly take the cake

WillowTree modernized branding, security, accessibility, and the tech stack for and the DQ® Cakes microsite. With cross-disciplinary insights from our research, design, engineering, analytics, SEO, and growth marketing teams, WillowTree’s work drove substantial gains in order conversion, click-through rates, Google search rankings, and overall site performance and speed.

Improving the experience for ADQ employees and franchise owners

Equally important was enhancing the experience for ADQ employees and franchise owners in the U.S. and Canada. As partners, we ensured that all our enhancements drove efficiencies and could be sustained and expanded by ADQ employees. By implementing a new CMS, ADQ more efficiently created new content, such as product-specific pages with branded photography and promotional landing pages.

“The DQ® brand has such a celebrated legacy and deep brand awareness. The opportunity to partner with a brand of this stature and on such a massive, end-to-end scale for tens of millions of customers and thousands of franchisees and their employees? Absolutely unparalleled.”
Dave Shaw
VP, Business Development

Developing a custom app that delivers on every craving.

Empowering quick behind-the-scenes development

Through a personalized mobile app, WillowTree reduced the DQ® brand’s cycle for new development releases from three months to two weeks. We also created more opportunities for targeted personalization through weekly and monthly in-app promotions.

Boosting “stickiness” to drive deep customer loyalty

Powered by the DQ® brand’s goal to drive purchases, we redesigned the in-app ordering experience to clarify and simplify the customer or fan journey path — drawing on insights gleaned through extensive user research, testing, and collaboration with client teams.

Added bonus? Omnichannel consistency

WillowTree reduced the DQ® brand’s software fragmentation and unified end-to-end consumer experiences. Customers receive hyperlocal, franchise-specific content according to restaurant location and menu data. Geofencing ensures every mobile Blizzard® Treat order arrives in fans’ hands at the right time and temperature.

We helped power the award-winning DQ® Rewards loyalty and engagement program and, in doing so, delivered a consistent branded experience across channels and customer segments.

Together, these enhancements drove higher conversion rates and propelled the DQ® app to a Top 20 ranking among all QSR apps.

“When we released the new mobile app, the DQ® brand could finally implement its distinct brand voice. The product also incorporates much tighter integrations with highly segmented marketing emails and specific, time-sensitive promotions. Plus, we’re releasing new versions in an extremely rapid timeframe. Those are impressive, integral updates for our client’s expansive userbase.”
Greg Ciolli
Willowtree product architecture director
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