While I’m not a huge fan of either multi-nationals or takeaway pizza, I can’t help but admire Dominos who have reported that online sales now account for over 69% of its UK delivery orders, up 25% from £103 million. That’s impressive growth in what is a highly competitive industry. Their success also demonstrates how digital and social media aren’t viewed as optional add-ons for many restaurants, but are now placed at the very heart of how they market, sell and serve.
Dominos: Digital Strategy
Dominos’ online success is the result of placing new technology and social media at the very heart of its business. Dominos understand their customers better than most brands in the food sector. They know their customer base are very strong users of the internet and social media so they develop their business – from taking orders, marketing to their customers and hiring staff – via digital media.
Every part of the Dominos customer journey, from brand awareness to sale and customer service, has a very strong digital dimension. If you search for ‘pizza delivery Belfast’ the brand are highly visible on Google search engine results for that particular phrase, making it more likely for a potential customer to click through to a website of their local Dominos franchise. Critically they also make it very easy for customers to select and buy from their websites. In contrast to many food businesses that sell online, Dominos has a fast and efficient e-commerce process that makes it easy for people to buy from them.
But it’s the brand’s use of PR and social media that really sets it apart. Facebook and Twitter, two of the most important social media sites, lie at the core of Dominos’ marketing. Dominos recently celebrated its 50th anniversary by offering customers 50%-off pizzas in a campaign that culminated in a record week of sales for the brand. They were able to use Facebook advertising to micro-target their main audience, and encourage them to visit a dedicated Facebook app where they could use an online voucher for a local franchise. The viral nature of Facebook and Twitter were also leveraged as people shared the competition online with their own social media friends.
Mourne Seafood and Social Media
It’s not just global brands using digital media to grow and retain customers. Mourne Seafood Bar are one of the real success stories in the Northern Ireland restaurant scene. They use social media effectively to communicate with customers and promote their restaurants, which include the Mourne Seafood restaurants in Belfast and Dundrum, Home Popup in Belfast and The Belfast Cookery School.
For Mourne Seafood, using social media had a number of distinct advantages over traditional media. According to Bob McCoubrey, Co-Owner of Mourne Seafood Bar “Twitter is a direct, fast and free way to promote the restaurants and we use it to advertise new menus, promote deals and offers, as well as for customer service queries.”
Through its Facebook page, Home Popup features regular updates on new menus and engages with its customer base. The restaurant is steadily growing its Facebook fans who can see regular posts from the restaurant in their Facebook news feed. The restaurant also benefits from the viral nature of social media as their Twitter followers and Facebook fans often share their content online. For example, if Home Popup posts a new offer or dish, fun photo, or interesting comment, their social media followers will sometimes share these posts on their own Facebook page or retweet them on Twitter.
One of the reasons why Mourne Seafood Bar are so successful on social media is that they don’t use it to exclusively focus on promoting products and offers. The content posted on Twitter for example varies widely from posting quirky photos of their makeshift ‘Oyster’ Christmas tree to questions on New Year resolutions. As Bob McCoubrey says “You don’t want to bore people as a business; you have to mix it up a bit and also show people you are a human being.”
Paul McGarrity is Director of Octave Digital, a digital marketing agency helping business to benefit from online marketing www.OctaveDigital.co.uk