Domino's on how robots, a subscription service and IoT will drive 95% of its orders online

Domino's is mulling a subscription service, in-car voice activated ordering, and a wider roll out of a delivery robot among some 50 other digital innovations it has in the pipeline.

It comes as the pizza company predicts it will be serving an increasingly digital customer. Currently, around 85 per cent of orders to Domino's come through digital channels but it expects that figure to hit 95 per cent in the next few years. The only way it believes it can get there, however, is by taking the initiative, and a few risks.

Speaking at DMWF Amsterdam yesterday (13 April), Nicky Claeys, marketing chief for the Netherlands & Belgium revealed that its “big bets” on the future are now in place, following an annual executive trip to Silicon Valley where it got to grips with the latest tech emerging from the start-up scene.

Among one of the products to come out of this has been the 'Domino's 'Robotic Unit' (DRU). Its unveiling last month garnered much publicity, with many at the time marking the DRU as a bit of a stunt. However, the small scale trial has proven successful and the pizza chain believes it will become a core part of the business in the next two years.

“It won’t replace our couriers,” said Claeys. “But one of our biggest challenges is having enough couriers and making sure we deliver well at all times. So for short distances or difficult locations we need to be able to rely on a fleet.”

Currently, Domino's can only deliver to specific addresses but it has noted that people sometimes want pizza delivered to obscurer locations, such as the beach, which a DRU might also allow for.

“Why shouldn’t you be able to get a pizza wherever your phone is,” she said.

Using the narrow streets of Amsterdam as another example of a city where DRUs might work, Claeys revealed that a trial in Holland is expected in the coming months.

The marketer also said connected cars are an untapped opportunity the chain will look to exploit with a voice activated ordering system. Domino's envisions a time when a customer doesn’t even need to touch a screen to make their order.

Finally, a subscription service is another idea that looks set to become a reality in the near-future. It would allow people to have an order delivered on repeat at whatever time interval they want, for example a group of friends could arrange for a pizza to be dropped off just before the football starts every Saturday.

This is just a handful of the 50 digital initiatives Dominos is working on for the next 6 months.

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Jennifer Faull

Jen Faull is deputy news editor at The Drum with a remit to cover the latest developments in the retail and FMCG sectors. Based in London, she has interviewed major business figures including top marketers from Mondelez, Unilever, Tesco, and Lidl.

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