Domino’s Presses Its Advantage in Digital Arena (and Still Makes Pizzas, Too)

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Over the last few years, Domino’s has retooled its pizza crust, broadened its menu to include more non-pizza items and, most recently, rolled out a new pan-style fresh pizza to rave reviews—and strong sales.

Yet now Domino’s CEO J. Patrick Doyle says that the brand’s growth in the future will be less dependent on a steady flurry of new products and more reliant on another, perhaps surprising advantage that the company has gained over most of the pizza world: its digital prowess.

That includes recent innovations such as the creation of Domino’s “pizza profiles” online to facilitate ordering, and its experimentation with live cameras to show customers via web video their pizza as it is actually being made.[more]

“We’re running national television [ads] talking about the speed and ease of ordering digitally from Domino’s, which is not something we’ve taken head-on before,” Doyle said in a conference call with securities analysts. Competitors Papa John’s and Pizza Hut also are focusing more on mobile and web platforms, and all three are taking share from regional and independent pizzerias because of that.

“We’ve still got a very good pipeline out there, but we’re not in the ‘product of the month’ club anymore. We’re building momentum by focusing on fewer, bigger things that truly enhance the experience for the customers.”

Such innovations helped drive a 5 percent increase in Domino’s US same-store sales during the third quarter. Metrics of digital ordering, specifically, are all higher for Domino’s than phone orders, including customer retention and satisfaction levels, higher frequency and average check per order. “We’ve got a steady flow of innovation coming on the digital front,” Doyle recently told brandchannel.

Now Doyle is hoping to take Domino’s digital prowess to more international markets, where the chain already has experienced 79 consecutive quarters of overall sales growth. “We’ve been earlier on the curve on international [with digital tech] than we were on domestic, and it’s less developed in a lot of markets than it is in the US,” he said.

Sure, Doyle remains concerned about giving Domino’s customers more good-tasting stuff. He noted that Domino’s plans to introduce fewer but better menu items going forward rather than focusing on price promotion and limited-time offers. Domino’s will take its time to get big platform launches right, he said.

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