Insight and Strategy: Domino’s Pizza Voice Ordering
This year, Domino’s Pizza integrated voice control into its app, creating a virtual assistant called Dom to help people with their order. Dom can be called on to help with every aspect of the pizza-ordering process, including creating personalised toppings, suggesting additional items for meals, and finding coupons to help customers get the best deal.
The platform is powered by Nuance Communications (the software tech company behind Siri), and was created with CP+B, Boulder. We spoke to Andrew Lincoln and Matt Talbot, both VP/creative directors at CP+B, to find out how making an efficient system more human and fun translated into sales.
Contagious: It seems that Domino’s is always striving to reach consumers on any tech touchpoint. Can you outline the thinking behind that strategy?
Talbot: We have an overall strategy to extend ordering to every platform possible so, rather than consumers having to come to us, which used to be the old paradigm of visiting dominos.com or using the app, we’re going to the platforms you are already on. We’ve delivered that recently with the launch of ordering on Android Wear and [smartwatch] Pebble.
With Dom, beyond just the technology story, we were able to tell an advertising story with a national TV campaign which would inspire people to download the app, whether or not they are ever going to use voice ordering. They can use it to order or not order — that’s moot because they will have a good experience with the brand and they like the character we brought to life. The difference is, now they have the app on that phone and they might order pizza more often.
How did you bring ‘Dom’ to life?
Lincoln: Voice ordering is all about creating a voice tone, so we created an actual ‘employee’ that we introduced to the audience. He is like your pizza assistant, this ordering robot that is trying to be the best employee we have.
We wanted to stop it feeling cold. When you look at Siri, it’s just a microphone icon and her disembodied voice. With Dom, we created some little animations which play out when he is thinking, sleeping, talking or smiling. We added these very personable cues so you start to feel like you are interacting with the best of Domino’s employees.
What have the results been like so far?
Talbot: The quarter was recently announced, where the campaign was the primary marketing on television at that time [the campaign ran from October to January], and it was really strong, with an 11% increase in same store sales year over year. Which is interesting compared with the category. Growth in pizza sales was at 0% in that quarter and [competitor] Papa John’s was maybe at 1%. An ad about voice ordering, which could seem miniscule in the whole scheme of pizza, really drove people to want to order and interact with the brand.
Lincoln: We had half a million orders placed with Dom in that period by the end of December.
Talbot: The adoption rate was much higher than the goal we had set. We were shooting for 3% of app users trying out Dom and I think we ended up hitting 5 or 6 %. The results were really compelling and that was very eye-opening for us, because you have something that seems like a fringe technology, which turned into a story worth telling for an entire quarter of the year.
We are on the same plane as any other brand now. Whether it’s Amazon or anybody else trying to sell technology stories. We are trying to be a technology company while being a pizza company. The results were pretty clear that it resonated with people.
What are the brand’s plans for the future?
Lincoln: We have the goal to bring ordering to where you are. That’s just recently started coming to fruition for us. That’s going to be a lot more apparent as this year goes on with more things we’re launching.
That is a big driving goal because it’s good for Domino’s. When people order online, they have a better experience — based on reviews, online scores much higher than phone ordering. Culture is just trending that way anyway. We want to help fire that transition.
Four years ago, we were at 17% orders online. We closed 50% online orders just a few months ago. That’s a massive transition for the brand. We’ve become a technology brand to meet that. That is a goal of ours, to constantly fuel that fire by improving the platforms we have and creating new platforms to order.
(This article was originally published on contagious.com, 12/10/15. This is an excerpt of a piece published on the Contagious I/O research platform).