Domino’s ‘doubling down’ on mobile site to tackle ‘embarrassing conversions’

Domino’s is pumping funds into cooking up a responsive mobile site that it hopes will kick-start what it claims are “embarrassing” conversion rates that have stunted online sales from hitting their maximum.

The pizza maker is racing to right the mobile marketing wrong it admits was made in its haste to give fans more ways to buy. Untapped conversions are a good problem to have given that over 44 per cent of Domino's orders came through a mobile device last year though a large portion of orders are coming from its app rather than the site.

Conversions on the mobile site are currently not enough, according to the brand, which is building a responsive design strategy to make it more convenient for people to place orders no matter what device they’re using. It serves as a microcosm of the company’s view of online, which dubs what most advertisers would call a mobile-first approach, “convenience-first” to ensure a channel-specific mentality is not encouraged.

Simon Wallis, sales and marketing director for Domino’s UK and Ireland, said it was “doubling down” on the mobile site after focusing primarily on the more profitable desktop version. The desktop site relaunched last year in what was Domino’s biggest marketing outlay, kicking off wider efforts to reduce the number of clicks it takes to order from any device.

The revamp of the mobile site as the so-called Google-invoked ‘mobilegeddon’ begins. From today (21 April), changes to the search giant’s ranking algorithm means those publishers with sites it deems mobile-friendly will be bumped up the search results.

Wallis said the investments to its mobile site, alongside other updates, would allow it to pare back spend on paid search. He reasoned that this approach would make it less reliant on paid search ads because more of its content would target the right person with the right message at the right time.

“The conversion rates we’re seeing on our mobile web site are nothing short of embarrassing,” revealed Wallis. “The thing about mobile is we certainly underestimated how much development work it would really require and also how complex a job it was.”

It is a surprising admission to make given the company has long been hailed as one of the pioneers in the mobile commerce space. However, its mobile offering was not as integrated as it would have liked in its rush to bring products to market and so a key challenge now is uniting the customer-facing aspects with its back of house operational platforms.

Demand for a more holistic customer offering is what’s shaping Domino’s app, which has been managed for several years without a clear strategy. Despite the lack of direction, the app has generated around 8.2 million downloads and the company sees it as a source of data insights on how people are shopping.

Wallis said: “We have a huge amount to do to try and understand the relationship of those people who shop via an app and how their digital journey drives that app purchase. We tend to look at it as if there’s an app world that exists on its own. As a consequence we perhaps don’t know as much about how people are shopping, researching and browsing online pre-purchase that can help further shape and optimise our digital marketing spend.”

Its mobile problems may be difficult to tackle but Domino’s is in a good place when it comes to performance. E-commerce represented 70.6 per cent of its delivered orders in 2014 with customers who shop online having a higher rate of conversion, spend per visit and visit more frequently.

The company's digital prowess is shown in the £1.3m it has generated in online donations to charity Pennies. The pizza chain was the first to partner with the online charity donating system back in 2010, giving customers the option to make a donation when they pay for an order.

“[The donations] demonstrate Domino’s commitment to innovation in digital and how generous a younger audience are,” added Wallis.

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