Did you know that you can have a conversation with &pizza? Not just about a support issue or to order a pizza — you can do those too — but you could just text them to say hi or see how they’re doing. It’s just one of the ways &pizza uses technology to connect with customers. And I don’t just mean “connect with customers” in the marketing buzzword way; they are a shining example of legitimate one-to-one connection with their customers.
Technology as a way to do things
Darien Bates, the Head of Technology at &pizza, joined us for the Data & Acquisition Week at Signals 20 from &pizza’s Washington, D.C. location. A walk-the-line pizza company, &pizza has 39 locations across the Eastern Seaboard of the U.S., and, once ordered, can make your customized pizza in just three minutes.
What’s really interesting is to see a pizza company that’s so invested in data and technology. They are not interested in marking the technology, or as Darien puts it, “technology is a way to do things, not a thing to do,” they are interested in using the technology to make the pizza restaurant experience as seamless, personalized, and frictionless as if the customer was in the store.
Just listen to Darien explain how customers can use contact them. They can do it by the app or website, as with most websites, but also by just texting a shortcode. This one shortcode can sign customers up for the loyalty program immediately and give them an immediate offer that they can use in-store right away.
A COVID transformation in just 3 days
Up until the pandemic hit, &pizza was pretty diversified in how customers ordered and got their pizza. They saw 15% of sales come through native channels like their app or website, 20% come through third-party delivery companies, and the rest of that traffic was inside their store. Then COVID hit and suddenly 100% of their orders were coming through their digital channels.
&pizza had already started to digitally transform their company — they wanted to make the experience of ordering through a digital channel as simple as possible. They prioritized three things in their transformation, they wanted to have: a system that was able to easily scale, that could do many things (not just those they wanted now, but also in the future), and for the experience of the whole process to be like it was in the shop. All of this had been slated to take 6-12 months, but instead took place over three days — including a menu change
What they look for in a technology partner
&pizza truly lives and breathes personalization. Darien speaks of &pizza’s mission to personalize everything to the customer, from their pizza toppings to their orders — and to do this, they needed the right technology partner.
&pizza collects a lot of data and they need that data to work within different systems. They needed it to pull it in and out, to transfer between systems. They wanted a company that was mature and had the resources to innovate now as well as being an asset in the future. They were able to accomplish these goals with Cheetah Digital.
This article was first published by Cheetah Digital. Permission to use has been granted by the publisher.