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Pizza Hut overhauls mobile ordering to support skyrocketing volume

Faster is better, at least when it comes to mobile ordering, hence Pizza Hut’s focus on enabling mobile users to place an order in seconds with its newly overhauled mobile applications and site.

Increasingly, mobile is proving to be an important way for pizza chains to build loyalty with customers, drive sales and differentiate themselves in an extremely competitive category. Pizza Hut’s refreshed mobile apps and site are GPS-enabled so users can easily find the nearest restaurant and discover location-based offers.

“We want to offer the most complete user experience, but in a way that is fast and convenient,” said Kurt Kane, chief marketing officer at Pizza Hut, Plano, TX. “For our most frequent customers, we think the speed of order is very important, and we worked hard to make that a major advantage of our new mobile site.

“We were the first to move into this space, so we had a head start but others continue to focus on this area as well,” he said. “Our approach is to give the mobile consumer the best experience in the category, and we think our new mobile Apps and Web site do just that.”

Streamlined ordering
The chain launched its iPhone mobile ordering app in 2009 at the same time that other pizza chains began experimenting with mobile ordering.

Mobile ordering has proven to be a successful strategy for pizza chains.

Pizza Hut says digital ordering accounts for about 30 percent of deliveries and carryout traffic for Pizza Hut nationwide, with nearly half of digital orders coming from mobile devices. This is a 4,000 percent increase in Pizza Hut mobile ordering since 2010, making mobile the company’s fastest growing area of business.

Based on this success, Pizza Hut has been ramping up its mobile strategy over the past few years.

In the latest update, Pizza Hut focused on leveraging technology to improve the ordering experience for customers by making it more convenient.

For example, Pizza Hut worked with mobile designers and developers to produce a simplified ordering flow based on best-practice mobile navigation and user experience.

The company will add a reordering feature in the near future that will save orders enabling users to place an order in ten seconds.

Location-based offers
Pizza Hut has also added an “Inbox” and application badges for delivering deal messages to app users.

Deals will be offered based on location, making Pizza Hut’s apps the first in pizza category with this capability, according to the company.

Push notifications will be added to let customers know when their delivery order is on its way.

Additionally, the app will update in real-time so users can have instant access without downloading updates.

“[Push messaging] not only enables us to share our best deals and newest offers more directly with our customers, but it also enables us to communicate with them on a one-to-one basis about their order if need be,” Mr. Kane said.

“It’s new functionality,” he said. “We will only use it in a way that benefits our customer experience.”

Final Take
Chantal Tode is associate editor on Mobile Commerce Daily, New York