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Domino’s Site Crashes During Pizza Giveaway, Chain Blames “Bad Apple” Customers

September 21st, 2011

Was it highly anticipatable that something like this would have happened? It’s a very difficult decision, because it seems absurd to instruct marketers to make their campaigns anything less than as powerful as possible. But with sites at risk of crashing entirely, it might be an instruction that you might have to give.

Ironically, the site crashed on the same day that Domino’s issued a statement saying it sold $1 million—in one week—through its new iPhone/iPod Touch application, which itself is only three months old. It wouldn’t say which week the $1 million in revenue was logged.

A million dollars of orders in a week is decent for any mobile app. Given that Domino’s sells about $125 million worth of pizzas during a typical week—and it’s not clear if those mobile sales were on top of existing sales or if the app was merely cannibalizing sales, shifting phone orders to mobile (which would still be a very good thing, profit-wise)—the impact is not clear.

But the mobile statement Domino’s issued had an interesting line, attributed to the chain’s chief marketing officer, Russell Weiner: “The most exciting thing about reaching these accomplishments so quickly is that the Domino’s App is still in its infancy.” The implication of the comment was that if it’s doing this well now—after a mere three months—imagine how well it will do down the road. That’s not necessarily a fair prediction.

With any new mobile app—especially one with a lot of bells and whistles and maybe pepperoni—there’s going to be the gee-whiz factor. The novelty of the app may attract a lot of people. The question is whether the functionality and convenience of the app keeps those users using it six months later. That’s why it’s important to know which week it was. We have a hint in that the chain said it had made a total of $1 million in revenue from the mobile app in the first 28 days since the app’s June 8 launch. Therefore, the $1 million-in-one-week week has to have happened since mid-July. The date is a little fuzzy, because the app was launched June 8, but customers weren’t told about it for a week. It seems likely that the first week—before it was announced—would have had minimal traffic.


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