HTML5, the doom of the drive-through?

Summary:Domino's Pizza Enterprises dumps Flash to build HTML5 growth engine.

A shift to HTML5 has become part of Domino’s Pizza Enterprise’s global growth strategy. It could even spell the end of the drive through, according to chief executive Don Meij.

Domino’ss Pizza Enterprises is the master franchisee for the US pizza chain in parts of Europe including France and the Netherlands as well as Australia and New Zealand. Last week it announced it had bought 75% of Domino’s Japan.

The shift to HTML5 will mean customers no longer need to have Flash installed to order through the Domino’s website, opening it to users of the iPad and making it friendly on smartphones.

However, Domino’s continues to offer dedicated apps for the iPhone, Android as well as a Facebook app.

“We have successfully rolled out our new online ordering platforms using HTML5 technology, greatly enhancing the customer experience and our ability to interact with customers,” the company’s annual report (pdf) says.

“We expect the move to HTML5 along with a more aggressive online marketing campaign to deliver substantial growth in our network sales in FY13/14.”

The shift is part of a global surge in corporate adoption of HTML5. Analysis by digital agency Incore last month indicated 153 Fortune 500 companies have already migrated.

Domino’s expects the shift to boost online sales from 50% of total sales now to 80% over the next three years.

Announcing the results, Meij said Domino’s was providing customers with greater accessibility and flexibility around ordering platforms.

“We have made it a strategic priority over the past 12 months to be more accessible to our customers through a comprehensive range of online ordering interfaces, including improved platforms to showcase our product range, all using HTML5 technology, a new iPad and Facebook App,” he said.

The new website was launched last month in Australia and New Zealand after six months of development with agency Thoughtworks. It will be rolled out in the Netherlands later this year.

While a spokeswoman said a launch in Japan was not scheduled, Meij is banking on the new platform to give Domino’s an edge in that tech obsessed market

Earlier this year, Meij even went so far as to question the future of the drive-through in the mobile era.

“You can place the order on a smartphone, track it, and time it so you get home, so why would you waste your life sitting in a drive through?” he said.

A spokeswoman said there were no major problems with the old Domino's site, but that’s not a view shared by one New Zealand customer.

Last year Brennan McDonald slated the old Domino’s site saying it failed to put the customer first and to make ordering the focus of the site.

“My friends and I were shocked at how a major business … could fail to create a positive user experience,” he wrote. “One of the features of the Domino’s ordering process in Flash is a timer that shows how far along your pizza is in the process. It crashed in the middle of it!”

The spokeswoman said the new website aims to save customers time.

“It’s intuitive, easy to navigate and removes the need to have Flash installed. Additionally the site is now device agnostic, so the ordering experience will be tailored to each customers’ online device – giving customers control no matter where they are or what they are doing.

“Obviously if customers are finding the ordering process efficient and easy to use, they are likely to order more frequently and will be pleased with the experience.”

Topics: Web development, E-Commerce, Mobility

About

Rob O'Neill is a writer for CBS Interactive based in Auckland, New Zealand covering business and enterprise technology for ZDNet. He has previously worked for IDG, The Sydney Morning Herald and Melbourne's The Age as well as various business titles, most recently editing the Business Sunday section of New Zealand's weekly national news... Full Bio

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