Technology keeps advancing and customer expectations continue to rise. Domino’s Chief Digital Officer Dennis Maloney explains how the pizza company plans to keep up.
Domino’s started its pizza business fifty-seven years ago. Ordering back then was simple. You walked into your favorite local restaurant, told them your name and asked for “the usual.” It was quick. It was easy. And it was personal.
We still like that approach, and Domino’s has spent a large chunk of the last five years trying to find ways of using technology to recreate that experience on a global scale.
As technology changes, so do consumer expectations. Customers today are impatient, and their standards are unforgiving. Increasingly, consumers expect brands to intuitively know what they need, when they need it, and deliver it instantly. Tackling those challenges has meant rethinking the way our business operates. It certainly hasn’t been easy as pie, but here are the top three takeaways we’ve learned along the way.
As technology changes, so do consumer expectations. Customers today are impatient and their standards are unforgiving.
Friction burns customers
Five years ago, our web-based ordering was a cumbersome process. From the time people landed on our homepage to placing an order, it often took more than 25 steps. That was way too long and complicated. We lost a lot of people. So we realized the need for less friction in the customer journey. We introduced customer profiles, which allowed auto-filling much of the information we’d previously required customers to enter themselves. That brought the number of steps down to five. Once people could order faster, our conversion rates went up.
Today, we receive more than 60% of our orders online, with more than half of those coming through mobile. But as mobile use exploded, our customers began to expect faster, even more frictionless ways to place their orders.
We continued to challenge ourselves to remove more and more friction, and eventually we worked out a way to offer a mobile experience that involved a zero-click ordering process. We now have an app that holds a customer’s regular order details. The customer opens it and after 10 seconds his order is automatically placed—zero clicks, zero friction.
This kind of innovation can revamp people’s perception of your brand, and more importantly, provide your most loyal customers with what they need—instantly.
Build, test, learn. Repeat.
As marketers, trying to build the ultimate consumer experience from scratch can be a scary proposition. It can take a lot of time, a lot of effort, and a whole lot of money. But innovation doesn’t have to happen like that. For us, the key has been running lots of small-scale projects and learning along the way how to make better customer experiences. We’d rather launch 50 small innovations over two years than spend the same time developing one big project.
As a 57-year-old legacy pizza company used to doing everything a certain way, the shift to a mentality of “test and learn” wasn’t easy. But we’ve developed into a company where iteration and experimentation are the norm.
Working on small innovations can help your company move quickly when new technology comes along. The improvements we made around web ordering and profiles informed our mobile work, an iterative process that ultimately resulted in several of our new ordering platforms, including the zero-click app.
Shoot for shared goals
We’re an omnichannel business. Our customers are free to flip between interacting with us digitally or physically, depending on where they are and what they’re doing. Regardless of which channel they’re using, we need to continue to make sure their experience is seamless and consistent. To achieve this, we have to make sure everyone at every level of our business—from IT to retail—is working toward the common goal of removing friction from the customer experience.
We have to make sure everyone at every level of our business—from IT to retail—is working toward the common goal of removing friction from the customer experience.
For us, that’s meant getting rid of the silo mentality and establishing cross-functional groups so online, offline, research, and IT are all working closely together. This also makes taking risks easier. We win together and we fail together. And with everyone from the CEO to our CMO, chief information officer, chief development officer, and senior VP of insights and research all working closely together, this mentality comes from the top down. Building that kind of company culture takes time, but the change in the way we think about ourselves, and the creativity we’re able to bring to our work, has paid dividends.
Relentless forward progress
Domino’s customers once had two choices for ordering: calling a store or walking into one. Because customers have changed, we’ve changed—more in the last five years than in the last half century. There are now over 15 ways to order pizza from us—from sending a pizza emoji over social media to voice command on Google Home—personalizing the experience for each individual customer and empowering them to order the way they want to.
Today, we ask ourselves: Are we a pizza company that uses technology, or a technology company that delivers pizza? The answer is probably both.
The big challenge we’re embracing next—the challenge all companies should be embracing—is continuing to deliver on mobile while also translating that seamless experience to the new technologies consumers are flocking to. Things like voice and AI are only going to make customers even more demanding.
If you’re staying one step ahead of the game, these questions should sound familiar to you. And the answers should always lead you back to the same place: A customer-centric approach that gives people a seamless experience on whichever platform they choose.