05 Mar 2009View Comments
Ten years after the launch of its e-commerce operation, Domino’s Pizza is still showing other high-street brands how to use technology to combine web and in-store success.
Online sales now represent nearly a quarter of all home pizza delivery sales, with a 74 per cent increase in web revenue during 2008. And the company is gearing up to support an unprecedented surge in customers looking to spend less to eat out.
The internet has taken centre stage in the firm’s IT agenda, according to Domino’s Pizza IT director Jane Kimberlin.
“The web site is, without a doubt, the most important thing we do – if something is taking up such a significant part of your delivered sales, you cannot afford for it to be down or not running properly,” she says.
Much of the online success of Domino’s is down to ease of use, reliability and a robust infrastructure, says Kimberlin. The company has a dedicated infrastructure team that monitors the site, especially during critical ordering times on Friday and Saturday night.
“In the past, we may have thought that if we lost business online it would upset some customers, but now that part of the operation is so critical we know that every single second is important,” she says.
Domino’s has already registered a 30 per cent increase in customers and further growth is expected as recession-hit consumers spend more nights at home, so improvements in infrastructure will accommodate the predicted rise in demand.
This year will see a review of the company’s disaster recovery set-up, as well as the continued roll out of virtualisation. The pizza chain already uses virtual servers for its test environment and intends to apply the technology to its Dell systems for live production loads.
Domino’s will also revamp its core e-commerce platform, which has been in place for the past five years. “We will give the web site a good lick of paint. That will involve looking at the coding behind the scenes and moving to a more m odern language that is easy to maintain, as well as screen sizing, but the customer experience will remain unchanged,” says Kimberlin.
The company is also working on a series of customer-facing projects to add to its portfolio of 17 digital multi-channel retail platforms, which include SMS ordering and a virtual store on Second Life.
“We will always be looking at other ways for customers to buy our products. Some of them come and go, some are very different and wacky,” says Kimberlin.
“We want customers to see Domino’s as a company that is always trying to understand the way they wish to order. There is a huge appeal in social networking and that is something we recognise. I think that omnipresence online allows customers to feel that they have a relationship with Domino’s and that we are part of their lifestyle.”
Mobile computing is also high on the agenda as a way to extend choice and to offer new services such as a nearest-store finder.
“We will be looking at the explosion of mobile internet this year and how we can adapt the customer journey to new models,” says Kimberlin.
“The real challenge in the mobile front is making sure that we invest in the right technology. There are so many different mobile devices and platforms around, but we will be interested in seeing which ones are going to survive.”
In-store technology such as kiosks has also been rolled out as part of a plan to speed up ordering and improve service.
“In a recession, it is essential that you are sensitive to what is going on around you and respond to the pressures. At Domino’s, technology has enabled us to improve the experience to our customers, who are looking to get value as well as a good service,” says Kimberlin.
“People’s ability to connect has changed and we need to move with the times and make sure that we respond to that. The intention is to keep evolving and changing.”
Resilient systems that keep Domino's in the game
Domino’s Pizza claims to be the world’s first pizza delivery company to offer nationwide internet and interactive TV ordering. With the help of technology, its average delivery time was reduced from 17 minutes in 2005 to 13 minutes in 2008. Last year, Saturday 13 December became the firm’s busiest night online - because of the X Factor final on TV.
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