NEW YORK: Domino's Pizzas, the pizza delivery business, has embraced digital to the extent that this channel now contributes almost 40% of sales, a leading executive has said.

Michael Lawton, chief financial officer, told a Morgan Stanley Global Consumer & Retail Conference that the business had invested heavily in technology and that there had been "huge numbers" of downloads of the company's different apps. As a result over 95% of mobile devices were able to access Domino's system to place orders.

The major benefit of this, he said, was that people were more likely to return. "They like the experience better than being on the phone, they see the full range of products that we sell," he said, suggesting that they would buy products other than pizza when a menu was in front of them.

He also explained that Domino's was increasingly shifting from print to digital, whether that was paid search, banner ads or social media. "That is definitely the way consumers want us to communicate with them," he said.

The typical pizza customer was young and engaged with digital and social media, he noted. This had the added benefit of enabling the company to talk to customers about innovation and changes over time "without just having to launch new products into the system".

An example of how Domino's franchisees are utilising social media was provided earlier this year by Ramon DeLeon, a marketer for six Chicago stores. He told an ad:tech conference how he had leveraged social media to build consumer relationships, including filming a delivery in the middle of a blizzard and photographing and uploading pictures of college events that stores delivered to.

"Don't be boring," he said. "Advertising is the cost of being boring. Your content must provide a vision of what's next. Every brand needs a wow. You need to give people a wow to share."

Lawton further outlined how marketing at a national level had increased as franchisees had backed the head office marketing department on numerous occasions with increased contributions so that they were now paying 6% into the national ad fund.

"Overall, they [franchisees] may have kept the marketing dollars the same or may have dropped them a little bit but more important is that by putting them at the national level we get … both cost effective spend and also efficient spend," he said.

Data sourced from Seeking Alpha; additional content by Warc staff