None of us needs a technology worthy or a digital consultant on £100 an hour to understand the importance of mobile devices. Cast a glance down any high street and you’ll soon get an idea for how inseparable we all are from our phones. Even Google tells us now that more searches are made via mobile or tablet device than via desktop.
Why then have so many businesses failed to create dedicated mobile sites or build specialist optimisation into their existing digital platforms? Do they think – unlike them – everyone else is happy to endlessly scroll, searching for a button or link that’s impossible to press?
Well, not so Domino’s Pizza. A couple of years ago the fast food chain took the decision to use mobile – on its own terms – as the venue to drive for competitive advantage.
Nick Dutch, head of digital at Domino’s UK, told the Smart Insight’s Digital Impact conference, in London earlier this week, how his firm had adopted a mobile-first strategy and sought to grow sales by focusing on this channel.
Mobile isn’t just a nice add on, he said as he ran through a case study on using mobile for retail. Mobile is unique proposition in itself, he added. As multi-channel customers are so valuable to the company, it couldn’t afford to ignore those that wanted to order pizza through their phones.
The key to driving performance, he said, was to get the fundamentals right – focus on what the users really want, rather than gimmicks that developers think are cool. Primarily, that means an ordering experience that is quick and easy.
Domino’s was the first pizza brand to launch mobile ordering in the UK in 2009 when its sites were optimised for mobile use. In 2010, it launched an iPhone app, which has since been through three updates, and it has also subsequently unveiled Android and tablet apps, each of which have been though two iterations.
Sales and mobile marketing
From 2009 to this year, Dutch said, digital sales had grown markedly as the firm took the transition from a bricks and mortar delivery business to a digital firm where service innovation was seen as a key marketing strategy.
Mobile was now the firm’s primary platform for content consumption, Dutch said, and last year its digital services were highlighted for the first time as feature in an above-the-line advertising campaign.
This was a big change, he added, as those ads didn’t talk about flavours, pizza innovation, deals or offers, but instead focused on selling the service aspect and highlighting how customers could connect digitally with the brand.
Android or iPhone?
By the end of the third quarter this year, Dutch said, sales share generated through apps would represent 53% of all digital sales, and ordering through mobile in general was likely to surpass desktop ordering to become the firm’s biggest retail channel by the end of the year.
Apple products – iPhone and iPad – were the dominant mobile technologies. Users of these devices accounted for almost three-and-a-half times more sales that users of Android technologies – and that only after a significant redevelopment of its Android app so that it worked more efficiently. Prior to this redevelopment, he added, 28 times more sales were done through Apple devices than Android.
Behaviour shift and personalisation
The rising importance of mobile, Dutch said, had forced the company to come to terms with a shift in customer behaviour. Mobile users are far more likely to collect pizzas, a shift away from the firm’s traditional home delivery service.
Because customers were now more likely to order over mobile and collect their pizzas, Dutch added, the firm had to adapt its marketing and service offering accordingly.
As such, Domino’s harmonised the user-experience across all its apps and looked at brand building through a programme of producing engaging content with its partner Arena Media.
Mark Holden, from Arena Media, told delegates one of the ways they would continue to build engagement would be through bringing popular desktop features to mobile. The desktop Pizza Tracker (which sets customer expectation about deliver and preparation times) was being developed as an app add-on, he said.
In addition, better use of data meant Domino’s may soon be able to offer a level of personalisation through its apps by asking for a simple registration. This would also allow the firm to develop features away from the core ordering process and instead focus on building up the delivery service through mobile – such things as immediately knowing where a customer lived, where the nearest store was, and what type of food they favoured, would help build the delivery aspect, he added.
Brand building and new platforms
Holden admitted that mobile wasn’t always a great way to deliver content, so it was important to choose the right features and collaborations to build the brand.
The key for engagement on mobile, delegates were told, was to tap into ‘passion points’ with high-quality creative content. Domino’s chose to focus on entertainment, gaming and football.
As such, Domino’s became X-Factor’s mobile partner, allowing it to build related games in to its apps so that they sync with the show’s ad breaks. The partnership also allowed Domino’s to offer vouchers through its mobile service in a timely way for those watching the show.
A further example of the kind of content Domino’s uses to drive its mobile business was how the pizza brand approached this summer’s Brazilian World Cup. The brand launched a ‘Domigoals’ app so that every time a goal was scored a money-off voucher was pushed out to users.
As has already been mentioned, personalisation and location intelligence will form a big part of Domino’s future mobile strategy. It’s also looking at building brand loyalty and developing a mobile payment system, but perhaps the most compelling future project is its plan to look at the use of voice recognition across mobile devices, VOIP, and even possibly to allow ordering from in-car.
In-car ordering via an app? Having your voice recognised and responded to by an in-car application? The most remarkable thing about is that it doesn’t even seem that far-fetched.
The future is here…