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Domino’s joins chatbot movement, unveils Facebook Messenger ordering

In an effort to cash in on the chatbot craze and expand its own digital ordering service, Domino’s is now allowing customers to order pizza through a Facebook Messenger chatbot.

Any customer who has an existing Pizza Profile created through one of Domino’s digital channels will be able to order whichever item was the last thing they ordered through their account by sending a message to the bot. Users can also choose their Easy Order, a preferred item that can be saved for quicker ordering.

“We want to be where our customers are, our goal is to make ordering as convenient for them as possible,” said a spokesperson for Domino’s. “We know that customers spend a lot of time on messaging apps and that messaging is an important place for ordering to be offered.”

Mobile pizza ordering
Domino’s in-house team, responsible for its Apple Watch application and Amazon Echo ordering capabilities, has streamlined the process of ordering a pizza through a Messenger bot.

Users can either click the message button on Domino’s Facebook page or search Domino’s on the Messenger application itself. Once there, three options will be displayed – recent order, Easy Order and track.

Recent order and Easy Order will place an order for whichever dish the customer most recently ordered or their saved preferred order, respectively. Users can also reply with a pizza emoji to order their Easy Order immediately.

The track feature, similar to the one used on Domino’s desktop site, allows users to follow where in the process their pizza is and when it will arrive.

The chatbot is a part of Domino’s “Anyware” initiative that provides customers with a host of ordering options from mobile to smartwatches. As a part of Anyware, users can even order a pizza through a smart TV or smart car.

“Messaging apps are on every single mobile device, globally,” said Christian Brucculeri, CEO of Snaps. “If a brand is looking for a communication channel that is universal, deploying an execution in mobile messaging puts you instantly in the hands of nearly every consumer on the planet.

“Additionally, brands can offer a relatively consistent experience across different apps. Between Messenger, Kik, Viber, Skype and other messaging apps that support bots, gaining access to over two billion consumers, and providing a consistent experience, is fairly doable, and all with almost zero design work.”

Chatbot boom
Chatbots are rapidly becoming the latest channel for brands to connect to their consumers. As mobile becomes far and away the most popular digital channel for customers in the U.S., brands and marketers need to meet them at every angle.

Retale unveiled its newest chatbot, RetaleBot last week. The bot let users search for deals, promotions and coupons at nearby retailers based on search parameters and preferences (see story).

That bot was a bit more feature-packed than Domino’s, which seems to be starting small with only two ways to order. Based on Domino’s comprehensive online ordering capabilities in other channels, it seems likely that its chatbot will grow in usability in the coming months.

On the other hand, brands such as Starbucks have been using chatbots for less logistical purposes. The coffee chain used a pumpkin-spice-latte-personified chatbot to engage with customers and offer autumn-themed quizzes and games (see story).

The Starbucks bot did not have as much functionality behind it as Retale’s or Domino’s, but it does offer another way for the brand to connect with the consumer. If Domino’s wants to succeed in the chatbot world, it could benefit from the expanded features of Retale and the added layer of fun of Starbucks.

“There isn’t a fixed amount of places that a brand can exist and accept transactions,” Mr. Brucculeri said. “Ultimately, brands want to transact in a place that is most convenient for a customer. 

“If that’s on the phone, on a Web site, in an app or through a bot, brands are going to want to be there. Traditional app features will only fade if and when consumers decide to stop using them, and I believe that’s going to take a while.”