Domino’s is about to put its ordering bot, Dom, to a big test. Just ahead of Super Bowl weekend, the pizza chain is rolling out the ability to order off its full menu via Facebook Messenger – even if you haven’t already set up a pre-configured “pizza profile.” The update means it will be easier for more casual Domino’s customers to give the bot a try, as an alternative to ordering via the phone or online.
This isn’t Domino’s chatbot debut, to be clear. The company’s AnyWhere ordering platform has been helping customers order via alternative channels for well over a year. In spring 2015, for example, the company launched a way to order pizza via Twitter. It has since added support for other emerging platforms, like Apple TV, Google Home, Amazon Echo, Ford Sync, SMS, Samsung Smart TVs, smart watches, an in-app voice assistant, and more.
However, the problem with the way AnyWhere-powered ordering worked in the past, is that it required customers to first create a Domino’s account, where they enter in their personal information and then establish something called their “Easy Order.” This Easy Order is your favorite, most frequently ordered pizza or other menu items. Initially, when ordering from any of these connected platforms, this was all you could request – there was no way to browse the menu.
Later, Domino’s added support for re-ordering your last pizza through some AnyWhere-connected apps.
But with the Messenger bot update, you can now interact with the bot, “Dom,” to order off the full menu. The change, though seemingly minor, goes a long way towards the usability of an e-commerce focused bot like this.
As Domino’s confirms to us, there’s no longer a requirement for the bot’s users to have ever ordered through Dom or Domino’s before. The bot itself will ask you for the necessary personal information, like your address and phone, for instance.
There is, however, a big caveat – and hopefully one that will be addressed in time. If you’re placing a delivery order via Dom, you have to pay in cash. C’mon, cash? No one uses that anymore! Especially not the sort of early adopter crowd that would think ordering via chatbot is cool.
The Messenger platform that launched last fall added transaction capabilities for chatbots. However, transactions were in limited beta at launch. Perhaps, pizza bots didn’t make the initial cut?
The pizza chain said that Messenger payments is something it’s looking into for the future, though.
In addition to delivery, you can also place carryout orders through Messenger. In that case, you pay with the method of your choice when you arrive at the store.
Domino’s says that Super Bowl Sunday is one of its busiest days of the year, and it expects to sell over 12 million pizzas across the U.S. on game day, which is five times more than a typical Sunday.
So while an online bot seems a little silly, the ability to free up phones and keep the website from slowing under a heavy load of traffic on a high-volume day like this could actually impact the company’s bottom line – assuming, of course, that some customers actually end up using alternative ordering mechanisms, like Messenger.
To try out Dom for yourself, you can visit Domino’s Facebook page, or you can do a search for “Domino’s” in Messenger.