QSR marketing strategy: Embracing e-commerce & OTT influence on Gen Z consumers

qsr marketing strategy


  • Delve into the digital landscape of Generation Z, and the impact of E-commerce and OTT platforms on consumer behavior.
  • Get insights into the strategies employed by fashion brands in leveraging these platforms, presents challenges faced by QSRs, and suggests opportunities for them to enhance customer engagement and create immersive experiences.
  • Understand the need for QSRs to adapt to digital preferences and harness the untapped potential of E-commerce and OTT platforms in shaping memorable dining experiences for Gen Z.

In the dynamic landscape of consumer behavior, the influence of Generation Z cannot be overstated. Born into a world immersed in technology, Gen Z’s preferences and habits are significantly shaped by digital platforms. Among the digital powerhouses, e-commerce, and Over-The-Top (OTT) platforms stand tall, wielding substantial influence, particularly in the fashion and retail sectors. Surprisingly, the Quick Service Restaurant (QSR) industry has been slower to adopt these strategies. This blog explores the untapped potential of marketing strategies for QSRs in embracing e-commerce and OTT platforms to connect with Gen Z consumers.

The Gen Z digital landscape

Gen Z, born roughly between the mid-1990s and early 2010s, are true digital natives, having grown up in an era defined by smartphones, social media, and instant connectivity. E-commerce and OTT platforms are not just transactional mediums for Gen Z; they are social hubs where trends are set, influencers are discovered, and purchasing decisions are influenced.

The popularity of livestream shopping events on platforms like Instagram Live and TikTok showcases the blend of entertainment and commerce that appeals to Gen Z’s desire for unique experiences. Additionally, they are not just passive consumers; they actively contribute to the digital landscape through user-generated content. This includes product reviews, unboxing videos, and style inspiration shared on various platforms creating and consuming UGC (User-Generated Content).

OTT platforms: Beyond entertainment

OTT platforms have evolved into a holistic content ecosystem, offering not only entertainment but also lifestyle, fashion, and trends.

  • OTT platform premieres: Fashion brands leverage OTT platforms to host premieres or launch events for their new collections. These platforms provide a virtual space for brands to showcase their creations to a global audience.
  • Live streaming: Live streaming events on OTT platforms allow brands to connect with consumers in real-time. This interactive approach enables viewers to engage with the content, ask questions, and get a firsthand look at the fashion pieces. For instance, Dior innovated the livestreaming by utilizing Instagram Live for an interactive Q&A session with creative director Maria Grazia Chiuri. This live session allowed followers to engage directly with the brand and gain insights into the design process and sparked organic online brand growth.
  • Day-in-the-life content: OTT platforms enable fashion brands to create documentary-style content that follows the daily lives of designers, models, and other key figures in the industry. This type of content adds a human touch to the brand. Also, influencers often provide their followers with behind-the-scenes glimpses into the making of a fashion collection or the preparation for a runway show. For instance, in 2021, luxury brand Burberry partnered with TikTok for a unique fashion show. The event featured live performances, behind-the-scenes content, and exclusive looks at the latest collection.

E-commerce’s prowess in fashion and retail

  • Social media integration: E-commerce platforms seamlessly integrate with social media, allowing Gen Z consumers to discover products through influencers, friends, and curated feeds.
  • Rise of virtual try-ons and AR: E-commerce platforms, particularly in the retail industry, are incorporating virtual try-ons and augmented reality (AR) features which address the hesitation associated with online shopping by providing a simulated experience of trying on products. For example, furniture retailer, IKEA’s AR app allows users to visualize how furniture will look in their homes. Expanding on this concept, IKEA has experimented with AR in the fashion sector. Users can virtually place apparel items, such as curtains or rugs, in their living spaces using the same AR technology, providing a unique and immersive shopping experience.
  • Visual appeal and storytelling: Fashion brands leverage the visual appeal of E-commerce by showcasing products through high-quality images, immersive videos, and compelling storytelling. For instance, Zara’s E-commerce platform incorporates a lookbook section where curated outfits are presented through visually appealing images. The brand’s lookbooks often follow a theme or a style story. By presenting outfits in a cohesive and curated manner, the brand tells a visual story about fashion trends, allowing customers to envision themselves in the showcased looks.

Challenges in developing a QSR marketing strategy

  • Transaction vs. experience:
    • QSRs traditionally focus on fast and convenient transactions, but Gen Z seeks experiences.
    • E-commerce can elevate the ordering process, making it more engaging and personalized.
  • Underestimating digital storytelling:
    • Fashion brands excel in digital storytelling, creating narratives around their products.
    • QSRs can develop marketing strategies using storytelling to convey brand values, sourcing stories, and the uniqueness of their offerings.
  • Limited product visibility:
    • Compared to fashion items, QSR menus may seem straightforward, limiting visual appeal.
    • Utilizing E-commerce platforms can enhance menu visibility through visuals, descriptions, and customization options.

Opportunities for QSRs

  • Enhanced digital menus:
    • Develop visually appealing and interactive digital menus on E-commerce platforms.
    • Include high-quality images, detailed descriptions, and customization options to entice consumers.
  • Exclusive collaborations:
    • Collaborate with influencers or OTT platforms for exclusive menu items or limited-time promotions.
    • Create buzz and leverage the social influence of partnerships.
  • Personalized loyalty programs:
    • Use e-commerce platforms to implement personalized loyalty programs.
    • Reward customers with exclusive discounts, early access to promotions, and personalized recommendations.
  • Immersive content:
    • Create engaging content on OTT platforms, showcasing behind-the-scenes, chef stories, and the journey of QSR offerings.
    • Engage consumers with video content that goes beyond traditional advertising.
  • Mobile ordering enhancements:
    • Invest in user-friendly mobile apps with enhanced features for ordering, tracking, and customization.
    • Facilitate a seamless transition from E-commerce platforms to in-app experiences.

As Gen Z continues to shape market trends, QSRs must adapt their marketing strategy to their digital preferences. E-commerce and OTT platforms offer unparalleled opportunities for QSRs to enhance customer engagement, tell compelling stories, and create immersive experiences. By learning from successful case studies and embracing digital transformation, the QSR industry can bridge the gap and harness the potential of these powerful digital platforms. The time is ripe for QSRs to not just serve meals but to curate unforgettable digital dining experiences through effective marketing strategies.

Case Study 1: Domino’s Pizza – OTT integration for engaging content

Objective: Domino’s Pizza aimed to enhance its digital presence and engage customers through the integration of OTT platforms.

Strategy and Implementation

  • OTT Content Creation:
    • Domino’s collaborated with popular food and lifestyle content creators to produce engaging content related to pizza-making, behind-the-scenes glimpses, and unique recipes.
    • The content was tailored for OTT platforms, focusing on high production quality and a visually appealing presentation.
  • Branded OTT Channels:
    • Domino’s launched its branded channel on popular OTT platforms such as Amazon Prime Video, offering a dedicated space for pizza-related content.
    • The channel featured a mix of entertaining videos, customer testimonials, and promotions. With this launch, customers can now enjoy Domino’s content such as exclusive behind-the-scenes videos, cooking tips, and more.
  • Interactive Ordering via OTT:
    • Domino’s integrated its ordering system with certain OTT platforms, allowing users to place pizza orders directly through their smart TVs or streaming devices.
    • The integration was seamless, providing a convenient way for customers to order while watching pizza-related content.


The branded OTT channel gained a substantial following, reaching pizza enthusiasts and generating significant engagement. The interactive ordering feature through OTT platforms contributed to an increase in digital sales. Domino’s saw a boost in brand awareness and customer loyalty through entertaining and interactive content.

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