Track the Pizza (Business Brilliance #5)

8 February 2018

Domino’s Pizza recently taught me something about what customers want.

Last year, Domino’s added a functionality to their mobile app that informs customers of the current status of their order. It looks like this:

The app currently has a 4.8/5.0 rating (over 1 million ratings) on Apple’s app store. It would appear that people are happy with it.

I was trying to put my finger on exactly why this tracking element matters, and this article sums it up well:

“One reason the Domino’s app works so well is it opens up a process of their business that used to be closed. Before you’d wait at home hungry, wondering when food might arrive. Now you might at least have some satisfaction knowing it’s being made or on the way. It’s transparent. We know what’s going on. It establishes trust.”

Does anyone really need to know exactly where there pizza is? It doesn’t speed up the process or give you any more control than you had before. Yet it’s reassuring to see that progress is being made. It removes uncertainty (or, at least, the perception of uncertainty–the app may not be 100% accurate).

What does this mean for other companies and entrepreneurs?

Domino’s isn’t the first company to do this. Parcel delivery services have offered tracking numbers for years, and both Uber and Postmates are built largely on the idea that you can see the exact location of the vehicle.

I think the key is to identify areas where customers feel helplessly uninformed…and inform them. This is a relatively easy way to differentiate yourself from your competitors.

What does this mean for Kickstarter creators? 

There are a number of potential applications for creators. Here are 3:

  1. Regularly post project updates featuring progress bars.
  2. Share the ocean freight vessel numbers with backers and link to marinetraffic.com or vesselfinder.com.
  3. Make sure that your fulfillment company uses tracking numbers (and that they actually send those numbers to customers when the products depart from their facility).

What does this mean for tabletop game publishers?

One method I’ve used for a few years now is to feature a comprehensive status bar list for all in-progress products in our monthly e-newsletter (it’s also always available here). I use InDesign to make it. I’ve heard from our fans and followers that they really like being able to see the status of these products (even though it’s sometimes frustrating if a product they’re excited about isn’t moving along faster). Fantasy Flight has something similar.

I also keep retailers informed about the status of products in a private monthly e-newsletter. Customers order the vast majority of products through retailers, so it’s really important for those retailers to have accurate timelines.

***

How do tracking apps and status updates impact your views of a company? Can you think of some examples I’m missing here?

This series features innovative strategies from non-Kickstarter, non-tabletop game businesses as they might apply to creators and entrepreneurs.

11 Comments on “Track the Pizza (Business Brilliance #5)

  1. To tie in with your quoted article and trust, in my experience the worst progress you can share is none. Good progress is good. Reporting on slow progress or issues at least shows you’re involved in the project, you know what’s going on, and you’re working to fix the parts that aren’t working. Both of these cases build trust, either that you can perform well or that you can handle problems when they crop up. No information gives the impression that you either don’t know what’s going on or are hiding something, both of which erode trust in your ability to accomplish goals.

  2. This method was invented long before that. I head a story about a tall New York Hotel. Customers would complain about how slow the elevators were. They hired a special consultant. The next day the work was done and people praised the hotel for speeding up the elevators. They just added mirrors, inside each elevator and beside the doors.

    The floor display next to elevators do the same job. This technique was probably invented in another form thousands of years ago.

    I wonder if the Domino’s App is for real, or it is just a timer for each step when you place the order. A watched pot never boils unless it’s made by Domino’s.

    Any way, Jamey, am I correct?

    Eat a shoe = Dogs theme
    Peregrine = Bird watching or bird breeding theme
    Clay = Sculpting theme

  3. I know for me, the worst part about waiting is not knowing when something is going to actually happen. Most people like to be able to plan ahead. Like if you’re waiting to get picked up, and you know they’ll be there in 15 min, then you can productively use those 15 min doing something else. But if you don’t know if they’ll be there in 5 min or 30 min, you just stand around waiting, and can’t really use your time productively because you could be interrupted at any time when they arrive. For games, if you know it will arrive in x month, then you can plan ahead, get a group together to play it soon after, and get hyped about it… if you have no idea when it will be released, it sort of gets forgotten about and when it actually arrives, you’re like “oh… well, anyone want to play this?”.

  4. I just saw your status bar when I looked to see what you had coming out next. Pretty great! In the world of presenting… and apparently gaming, a visual is always nice to tell the story. In your case it goes beyond a specific product and explains the whole lot of Stonemaier activity.
    BTW, we use the Dominos app frequently. On a busy night at the pizza joint the wait can be quite long even on a phone placed order. I’d rather sit at home and let the app tell me when it’s getting close to done.

  5. A great article as always but I would hesitate to agree that the information the app gives you doesn’t lead to a sense of control. Before you would be left wondering exactly when it would turn up, potentially discounting an activity, episode of a program or game on the off chance it would be interrupted. Therefore the extra information can help inform a decision, aiding choice, that allows you to “better use” your time. By extension that is giving you more control over the time spent.

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