Alyssa Clementi discusses Domino’s Pizza’s mobile-centric digital strategy with Domino’s head of digital product, Rob Beattie (pictured, below) and Adam Croxen, managing director of its development partner, Future Platforms.
Domino’s Pizza broke out as a key player in mobile and digital innovation in the UK and Ireland in November 2009, when it became one of the first fast food delivery chains to implement a convenient online ordering process for desktop computers. A few years later, in September 2010, the chain launched its debut iPhone app, which accumulated 14.2m downloads by 2016, and has won multiple awards since. One of the most appealing draws for repeat customers is the Domino’s Pizza Tracker, which is now available on desktop, mobile, and even Apple Watches.
Over the past decade, Domino’s has risen to become one of the most popular fast food restaurants chain in the world and continues to keep mobile at the forefront of the business. A key ally in its impressive digital strategy is its development partner, Future Platforms.
“Future Platforms aims to create utility, so we design digital tools and products with the view that they drive efficiency, build loyalty and create insights,” says Future Platforms managing director, Adam Croxen. “When it comes to Domino’s UK, the efficiency aspect is how easy it is to order a pizza. If you can create efficiency and make processes easier, people will use it again and again, and more frequently, which in turn builds loyalty. When you’ve got loyalty and people coming back, you can collect a lot of data, which can drive insights and create better services for those customers. We try to do that for all our clients, but it’s specifically apparent with Domino’s, who we’ve been working with for 13 years across both online web and mobile web, and over the last six years, building out their mobile app capabilities.”
“Future Platforms have been a fantastic and long-standing partner to Domino’s, and with their support we’ve achieved more than we ever imagined on mobile,” says Rob Beattie, head of digital product at Domino’s UK. “Right now, we’re working with Future Platforms to develop our current consumer-facing app and our driver-facing GPS app.”
During the past decade, Domino’s has been a strong example of what a household name can do to continuously dominate in digital and, specifically mobile. Experts have predicted that by the year 2022, the food industry will experience an annual growth rate of 17 per cent [source: Redbytes], and mobile delivery apps must keep up.
“In 2019, we made a big switch in mindset, ensuring that all our visit-generating creative is truly mobile/social first,” says Beattie. “Given that the average view-through rates are a little over a second, we’ve also continued to tighten our messaging and CTAs to ensure that they jump out from the news feed. We’ve increased our efforts on real-time channels like Instagram and Snapchat to ensure we engage customers in the hours and minutes before they order. We’ve also revised our PPC strategy to optimise for mobile, while further refining our positioning on desktop.
“Additionally, we’ve seen further differentiation in intent and behaviour between desktop/tablet and mobile, which has opened up opportunities for us to optimise spend further. We’ve improved the targeting of push and SMS to activate content that better reflects today’s purchase behaviour.”
Croxen adds: “The past year has just been a continuation of the work we’ve been doing on the Domino’s app for the last seven years. We’ve had to really look at the changing landscape in UK food delivery. With the entrance of Deliveroo, Uber Eats, and Just Eat – who recently went public – it’s about understanding this mobile landscape and how we need to adapt, compete and hold that market leadership position within this specific market. We have to look at customer trends against those competitors, but also how people are changing their use of digital and mobile.
“Then we begin specific research into existing and potential Domino’s customers, to study how they’re responding to the mobile app. We also study what features and functionality we could introduce to the app that would better meet their user needs.
“After having done all that research, we start to implement new features. We sometimes do A/B testing on new features or changes to the app, and we measure functionality. Once we’ve made sure that those features are tested and validated, we roll them out to develop solutions into the app,” Croxen explains.
In 2019, Domino’s and Future Platforms exceeded expectations when it came to their mobile strategy and development. Much of the effort both teams had put into the Domino’s UK mobile app resulted in a clear and obvious growth in its mobile customer base. Not only did Domino’s see an increase in mobile order sales through the app, the Domino’s UK office also took home the “Brand of the Decade” Award at the 2019 Effective Mobile Marketing Awards in London.
“Domino’s has always been an early adopter in mobile trends, and we realised very early on that investing in a great app and mobile web experience would help us to hold on to more customers and build better relationships with them. This has proved to be absolutely true,” says Beattie. “In 2019, the vast majority of our sales took place on phones, resulting in our active app user base growing very substantially.
“Mobile channel growth, and the way we’ve harnessed it, has been a significant factor in our continued strong growth, and it’s one of the reasons why we’re a very clear number one in our market. Our app in particular performs very strongly. Our switch to mobile-first communications has seen social response rates increase by over a third, and revenue from social quadrupled versus 2017.”
Future Platforms attributes Domino’s success to a very simple concept: making sure the customer has a memorable and pleasant digital experience. In a market with so many food delivery apps, not all brands reflect a reliable and convenient mobile purchasing journey.
“I think there’s just a growing understanding of the importance of good digital experiences. We’ve seen a number of research pieces come out recently that are showing experiences landing very high on customer’s lists,” says Croxen. “People are prepared to pay more for better experiences, specifically in the digital space. That importance means that businesses have to work very hard on their digital platforms to make sure it’s delivering a great experience. It’s important to remember that digital experiences are a kind of reflection of their brand.”
On that topic, Beattie adds: “Eating pizza is fun and the whole experience around it needs to be fun, too, including the ordering experience. It’s not enough for our apps to just be usable, they need to be fun and engaging, too. We work hand in glove with our brand team to make sure that the Domino’s personality really comes through in everything we do. I don’t think our competitors really deliver on that in the same way that we do, and I think it does give us an edge.”
Some of the most popular features on the Domino’s UK mobile app include its safe and secure payment options, such as PayPal, credit card, cash on delivery etc. For customers who aren’t sure what they want to order, the app also features pizza suggestions which can be customized. The app, which is available on iOS and Android, has also been hailed for its easily accessible and available vouchers and promo codes.
The pizza delivery market is currently worth over £2.1bn [Statista] and an estimated 49 per cent of Brits eat pizza at least once a week, being led by the citizens of Oxford. With competition that is constantly growing due to an abundance of food delivery apps, Domino’s is already setting out a plan to ramp up its digital strategy in 2020.
“Currently, we’re building a new app – not going to say too much – but it will have some great new features on top of an even better core UX. We’ll also be implementing some upgrades to our much-loved pizza robot, Dom, as well as building on the voicework we’ve done to improve zero UI capability. Most importantly, we’ll continue to put the customer at the heart of everything we do, and we’ll level up on that in 2020,” Beattie concludes.