If you want to use the McDonald’s mobile app, you have to agree to join the company’s rewards program, MyMcDonald’s Rewards. There is literally no way to get past it. As soon as you launch the app, the rewards sign-up takes over.
There’s no “join later,” “skip,” or “no thanks” option available. Either you join, or the app is useless. Actually, it’s worse than useless because it just sits on the screen taunting you with a reminder that you could use the app if you’d just sign up.
I get why the company wants to force you to use the rewards program. It allows McDonald’s to track your ordering habits and show you offers. As a marketing strategy, that’s very smart. Those customized offers, based on your order history, work to generate future visits.
The only reason any company has a rewards program is that it knows that the end result is that you’ll end up spending more money with them than you would otherwise. Rewards programs seem like a good deal for the customer, but they’re an even better deal for the company. No rewards program is actually free.
The other problem is that the user experience of being required to join something, without any other option, is really bad. If your primary brand position is that you’re the convenient option, forcing a user to “join” something is not a very customer-friendly design choice.
I imagine there are a lot of people who might read this and think, “It’s just a rewards program. It’s not that big of a deal.” On the surface, I agree. Except, the fact that we can agree to that is simply another sign that we’ve grown far too accustomed to handing over our personal information in exchange for “free.”
It shouldn’t be the requirement of any app or business that we must agree to targeted marketing in order to hand over our money for something. In fact, I’d argue that violates the most important rule in running a business.