Domino’s Pizza Group has experienced success with online and mobile orders, providing an important lesson for other retailers.

Domino’s Pizza Group has experienced success with online and mobile orders, providing an important lesson for other retailers.

In February, I became interim chief executive of Domino’s Pizza Group, my first experience of the quick service restaurant sector.

“Ease-of-use is the best way of earning customer loyalty in the online world”

Domino’s has been very successful at navigating a transition in the relationship with its customers. In the first quarter of 2014, almost 70% of our deliveries were ordered online – triple the level of four years ago. Our first mobile order was taken in 2010 and that channel now represents more than a third of online transactions.

This dramatic change has been very positive for Domino’s. Our online customers shop more frequently and have a higher average ticket. We require fewer colleagues to receive telephone calls and get a more accurate order capture, directly to the make-line. There is a focus across the business on improving participation – it is not the job of a single department.

The transition has not been seamless and we have learnt several significant lessons. Most importantly, we have embraced it as positive for our business and have sought to accelerate, rather than maintain, the pace of change.

An example of this is our allocation of marketing investment. We now spend 48% of our national advertising budget on digital, up from 39% a year ago.

This gets more customers onto our site or downloading one of our apps. The added benefit is that we get ROI statistics from each component of activity and can adjust monies to maximise sales.

We make every pizza by hand, to order, so slick processes are critical. We have benefited from a global in-store PoS system that tracks the whole production activity from order receipt to customer receipt.

This is completely visible through our app, so anyone can see where their pizza is in its supply chain. We get great positive feedback from customers about the fact that they know when their food will arrive.

Ease-of-use is the best way of earning customer loyalty in the online world. I am impressed by the change in EasyJet, which has redefined the battleground on low-cost air travel beyond price competitiveness. This shift has now forced a response from Ryanair.

At Domino’s, we constantly challenge ourselves to make it as simple as possible for people to see our offer and execute an order.

Another business on whose board I sit, the consultancy Practicology, recently published a usability guide for mobile, full of practical suggestions from direct user experience of several prominent websites.

Domino’s is not standing still. We have a new site in beta testing that further improves our screen size optimisation. We are preparing for 80% smartphone ownership and the acceleration that 4G will bring. We are also investing in cross-platform analytics.

There are lots of lessons here. Make online participation a corporate not a departmental mission, focus on digital marketing with analytics to accelerate the transition, integrate back-of-house to maximise efficiency, cost-effectiveness and visibility and be relentless in the quest to make it easy for customers, especially on mobile.

  • David Wild is interim chief executive of Domino’s Pizza Group