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Domino’s promotes iPad app’s features to drive digital orders

Domino’s is touting the iPad’s potential to drive mobile ordering in a new campaign that highlights the tablet-optimized features in its app and encourages users to return every day for a chance at free pizza.

Digital ordering accounts for approximately 40 percent of Domino’s sales in the United States and the new iPad app has hopes of growing that share through features such as access to the chain’s digital order tracker and quick reordering.   When customers complete an order on the app now through Sept. 30, they will automatically be entered for a chance to win free pizza for a year, with iPad customers having the opportunity to enter once per day.

“A smartphone app should be more icon-driven and task-based versus a tablet app that should be more visually engaging and experience-based. But it varies from one situation to the next,” said Craig Kallin, senior vice president of business development and marketing at digital agency Primacy.

“That’s why it’s important to have a really solid understanding of your target audience and their journey along the decision-making continuum. What does that journey look like? What tasks does the customer need to complete at each stage? Where will the customer likely be when they’re in each stage? What’s their device preference given that context?”

“Don’t forget that cross device/channel consistency is huge. Are you asking customers to re-orientate and re-learn an entirely new experience as they move from desktop, to tablet, to mobile?”

Mr. Kallin commented based on his expertise on the subject and is not affiliated with Domino’s.

Domino’s new app offers users access to the full national menu, coupon search and location-based store locator, like in its other tablet and smartphone ordering apps. It also allows direct access to track an order using Domino’s Tracker, the company’s innovative digital order tracker, and Pizza Profiles, which allows customers the ability to save information and reorder their favorite order within 30 seconds.

However, when placing an order in-app or online, there is no promotional material that makes the user aware of the campaign.

Addition to self-service
In the early days of the iPad, techies debated if the device would have a place in the fast-casual segment, though its potential lies in being a consumer product with commercial applications.

Despite advancements, there is still skepticism that the handheld can appear as a contradiction to friendly customer service, which the industry prides itself on.

While restaurants of all sizes are embracing mobile ordering, most of these strategies fall short in many cases of leveraging mobile’s full potential for social, entertainment and utility-based offerings that can drive engagement and loyalty with customers.

There has been no shortage of brands taking to the iPad to leverage its power as a portable order-taking tool such as Taco Bell and Panera. However, restaurants should think outside of the box for their apps and integrate fun and unique features that go beyond mobile ordering.

As far as graphical interaction goes, the Domino’s app will definitely influence existing iPad technology. Moreover its features are smart as they are not just there to provide a cool factor, and are an appropriate addition to personal service, not a replacement.

The app gives marketers a much-needed example of how to create compelling mobile ordering apps with 3D technology and touch-based features. Despite the fact that pizza chains have had an early advantage in mobile compared to other quick-service chains, many of the brands in this vertical have focused their mobile initiatives solely around driving incremental revenue. However, Domino’s new app suggests that there is a bigger opportunity for pizza chains on tablets that not only have bigger screens, but are also used in significantly different ways.

3D technology and graphics in particular make a lot of sense on iPads when consumers presumably have more time and want a different experience than the basic ordering features that are already available via the smartphone app. Additionally, last month Dominos debuted its version of a Siri-like digital assistant that identifies itself as “Dom,” which talks customers through the ordering process and attempts to upsell the user on additional toppings or complementing items.

In Australia, Domino’s has also just rolled out a new digital crowdsourcing effort  called Pizza Mogul which allows fans to generate a small fortune— between $.25 and $4.50 per recipe—off if other patrons order their personalized creations.

These features evidence Domino’s mobile success is built in tech that increases customer enjoyment and experience, and bets on the fact that once customers try self-service, they will find the accuracy and speed is unrivaled. The average check from self-service ordering also increases, as customers see a greater menu variety and check builders such as desserts and limited-time items which make the iPad specifically have the greatest potential as a portable POS.

“Developing an iPad app will allow companies to leverage technology and displays that aren’t available via web browsers,” Mr Kallin said. “That will deliver incremental value versus creating an optimized website experience that has the same functionality, but a ‘less cool’ display.”

Final Take
Michelle is editorial assistant on Mobile Commerce Daily, New York