Hungry for a hot pizza? Starting next week, pizza lovers in the United States will be able to tweet their orders to Domino’s, one of the largest national chains.
Patrick Doyle, the CEO of Domino’s, says ordering pizza through Twitter will be a five second process. “It’s the epitome of convenience,” he told USA Today.
According to USA Today’s Bruce Horovitz, Domino’s Twitter ordering system will make it the “first major player in the restaurant industry to use Twitter, on an ongoing basis, to place and complete an order.”
The move has already created buzz in the press. After all, the prospect of being able to order pizza with a tweet is a nifty concept. The icing on the cake: Domino’s will reportedly allow frequent customers to complete a Twitter-based purchase by tweeting nothing more than a pizza Emoji. How cool is that?
But is it possible that the Domino’s initiative could be more than a PR boon? Could it hint at a more transactional future for social media?
While the idea of social commerce is nothing new, turning social platforms like Twitter and Facebook into bona fide platforms for commerce has proven somewhat challenging. While there’s little doubt that many companies are using social to drive sales, completing sales within the social experience itself has proven to be an elusive goal.
But if any company can do this, a pizza chain like Domino’s just might be the one. The company has invested tens of millions of dollars in technology and now employs more than 250 IT staff. A big part of what they do: trying to make it easier for consumers to order pizza.
As USA Today’s Horovitz notes, Domino’s has built ordering capabilities for a number of devices, including smart televisions and smart watches. And in addition to Twitter, the company might be eyeing other social networks, including Facebook and Instagram. In this respect, “Domino’s has become something closer to a tech company that sells pizza.”
One challenge for Domino’s and other companies that seek to make social transactions a mainstay of their business is that they can’t expect the platforms on which these sales occur to give them a free lunch forever. While Twitter applauded the Domino’s announcement, stating “our hope is that advertisers will keep innovating this way,” if these efforts are successful, it seems unlikely that Twitter wouldn’t want to figure out a way to capture a piece of the action.
That might not be a huge problem. After all, if tweet-to-order reduces friction and can profitably increase the size of the pie for Domino’s, added transaction costs might be tolerable. But companies that follow the pizza chain’s lead should be prepared for this possibility and figure out ahead of time whether their margins can support a social sales model that isn’t free.