Domino’s Talks Up Voice-Activated Ordering in Race With Pizza Hut

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Domino's Google Home pizza ordering

While Pizza Hut is having fun with its high (top) concept “shoe ordering” campaign—a Bluetooth-connected ordering button in 64 pairs of high-top basketball shoes for influencers—ahead of March Madness starting next week in the U.S.—Domino’s is pressing ahead on broader digital innovation to help make ordering its pizza easier and more foolproof.

After all, if you can’t apply cutting-edge technology to pizza, what better industry? So in a nod to consumers’ (and brands’) fascination with voice-activated artificial intelligence systems in the home, Domino’s is emphasizing voice-based ordering in the U.S. and beyond.

The No. 2 pizza chain just updated its Google Home ordering capability that was announced in December so any customer can start a new order without the need for a Domino’s “Pizza Profile” online, for a custom-built pizza, as well as for any other item from the menu. “Domino’s is the first to offer voice-assistant ordering with this level of customization,” the company said in a press release.

“Our in-house technology team has created a simple and convenient ordering experience that is now open to everyone, not just those who have a saved account,” stated Dennis Maloney, Domino’s chief digital officer, of the Google Home capability in the U.S.

Anyone can place an order for Domino’s with the Google Assistant on Google Home by saying, “OK Google, order Domino’s.” At that point the customer is seamlessly handed off to Dom, Domino’s homegrown voice-activated virtual ordering assistant that was introduced in 2014, will guide the customer through the ordering process using natural-language ordering technology.

Customers can monitor their order progress with Domino’s Tracker®. To find more information about Google Home ordering, as well as details on all of the AnyWare ordering platforms, including Twitter, text, smart TV, Amazon Echo, Facebook Messenger and more, visit anyware.dominos.com.

Domino’s Australia also just announced a voice-activation advance: the debut of its own virtual-assistant engine, DRU Assist, “with a personality tailored to the Domino’s brand.” It was developed in conjunction with Nuance Communications, which helped Domino’s HQ launch Dom in 2014.

Domino’s is eager to be the leading pizza digital ordering front in its successful effort to enable orders from any device, ahead in the U.S. of No. 1 pizza seller Pizza Hut and No. 3 Papa John’s. These pioneering efforts range from giving customers the ability to order via texted emojis to a tie-in with the Sync system on-board Ford vehicles.

Still, when it comes to voice-ordering, as Domino’s CIO Kevin Vasconi noted in December, voice ordering is only as good as the voice doing the ordering.

The challenge, he told CIO.com, is that most people don’t place their orders clearly when speaking to Dom—”while ordering a pizza can hardly be compared to assembling a car in terms of difficulty, Vasconi says training Dom to recognize all of the different combinations with which people order pizza, wings and soda is no trivial task.”

Back in December, Pizza Hut also expanded its ordering capabilities to include Alexa Voice Service on Amazon Echo, Amazon Tap, Echo Dot, Amazon Fire TV and Fire tablets.

With a simple phrase, and not a single phone or laptop lifted, Pizza Hut’s new Alexa skill aims to bring ease and convenience to the ordering experience for pizza-loving homes across the US.

Today it also refreshed its Pie Top ad campaign with NBA pro Grant Hill to showcase (shoecase?) its high-concept March Madness special and shoe campaign.

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