(Arke VP of Strategy Margaret Wise discussed how businesses stay relevant during an era of digital disruption at a March 21 meeting of the P&G Alumni Network Atlanta Chapter. Here’s a synopsis of her thoughts on Domino’s success. You can also watch her complete presentation on video.)

When I think about delivering on a brand promise and contemplate ideas around disruption, I think about Domino’s Pizza.

I love Domino’s. I love pizza.

In fact, I’m going to let you wonder. I may or may not have worked in the 1980s taking orders for Domino’s pizza somewhere in the Atlanta area. Suffice to say, Domino’s is a very relevant example to me.

Feeding Desires of Digital Natives

Because you know who also loves Domino’s? Digital natives.

Digital natives love Domino’s, especially the company’s online pizza-tracker that came out in 2008. The pizza tracker shows you the exact location of your pizza.

Digital natives love that because they want to know where everything is at all times — from their pizza to their Uber vehicle to the products they ordered from Amazon. With all they do, they want complete transparency. Domino’s understands that. It’s made itself relevant to a whole new generation of pizza lovers by reinventing itself with digital technologies.

Over the past decade, the company has continually innovated.

Back in 2009 when Domino’s launched its mobile app it claimed it was a mobile-first business. Now it says it’s an AI-first business because it has a number of innovations geared around artificial intelligence technology. For example, it has voice-based ordering technology, similar to Apple’s Siri.

Domino’s Focuses on Digital

Domino’s has really embraced digital opportunities as part of its business strategy. In fact, back in 2011, it set a goal to increase digital sales from just over 20 percent to more than 50 percent by 2015.

Why? Because Domino’s found digital orders are more profitable and produce higher customer satisfaction ratings.

So to get more people ordering Domino’s online it created a new suite of ordering technology. Called Domino’s AnyWare, it includes ordering with a tweet, a text, Ford Sync, Smart TV’s, and smart watches.

As the company explained, it brought ordering to the devices and platforms people already use everyday rather than making people go to Domino’s. In 2015 Domino’s even announced you could order a pizza by tweeting an emoji.

A Master of Digital Transformation

So what is Domino’s today — a pizza restaurant or an e-commerce company? And what’s coming next? One thing: Driverless car pizza delivery.

Ford and Domino’s are testing a specially equipped Ford Fusion that comes not only with self-driving technology but also an oven. The challenge: It’s still working out how to get the pizza from the car to the door since there’s no driver.

Challenges aside, Domino’s is mastering digital transformation. It’s totally changed from what it was when I worked there in the 1980s, taking orders over the phone.

Now, when you think about customer expectations and what you have to do for your customers, think about Domino’s. The experiences it offers are setting expectations for customers everywhere.

If Domino’s can give customers all of this technology with a $20 pizza order, you better believe customers will expect it in other businesses environments, especially for higher priced products and services.

Realities of Customer Experience

Every time we have an amazing digital experience, it raises the bar on expectations. And it forces businesses to think carefully about customer experience and the customer journeys they offer.

Today, you have to think through every step of what customers expect. Consider this. Would you do your grocery shopping at a store that didn’t have shopping carts?

Even if the store offered great products and great prices, few shoppers would go there without shopping carts.

And you know, there is no return on investment (ROI) on shopping carts. They break. Some people take them out of the parking lot. They’re kind of a pain. You can’t draw an ROI.

But think about it. They are a key part of the grocery shopping experience. So it just goes to show if you miss one step in your customer experience, you’re going to lose customers.

Know Your Customers

So what do we need to do? First we need to think about your customers. Who are they?

Think through the voice of the customer. What do your customers want? And then think through how they define great experience.

So think about yourself and your business and the customers that you work with. You might consider demographics or you might consider buying behaviors.

Then, go out and do that voice of the customer research. Maybe you create small focus groups. Maybe you just pick up the phone and talk to your customers. Or you can even send online surveys.

The one thing to avoid is just gathering a bunch of marketing people in a conference room, sharing assumptions about your customers.

Walk In Your Customers’ Shoes

Put yourself in the shoes of your customers and go through the experience you offer them. How do they find out about you? How do they engage with you? What does the actual transaction feel like for your customers?

Look for friction points or gaps in the experiences you provide. What are your competitors doing that maybe you’re not? Is there disruption in your industry that you’re not addressing?

Maybe you can investigate opportunities for partnerships, which could help you innovative and stay relevant.

The key is to stay customer focused. Don’t just give them what works today. Anticipate what will keep them excited and loyal tomorrow.

Want to learn more about better brand experience? Email me for more information — and watch my full video presentation here.

About Arke

Atlanta-based Arke develops strategies and implements digital technologies for better brand experience for your customers.