Today’s announcement that Domino’s Pizza is launching a conversational, speech-enabled, virtual assistant within their mobile app is a huge milestone in mobility. There are two key reasons why I think you should be excited. First and foremost, this is just awesome. The days of experiencing that pang of anxiety, that tends to occur while driving back from work, when you suddenly realize the fridge is empty and that you’ve got two hungry kids waiting for you, are officially over. The next time this occurs, you’ll now be able to simply say “I’d like two extra-large Pizzas with extra sauce, pepperoni and mushrooms.” Done. Problem solved. No need to place a call to a noisy call center or fumble dangerously with that tap screen while driving.
The second, and more pervasive impact of Domino’s virtual assistant announcement, is that now a new standard for mobile consumer interactions has been set. I predict that in a few years from now, when virtual assistants within mobile apps are the norm, we’ll look back and see Domino’s as the catalyst that set an expectation amongst consumers for a conversational, efficient and human-like interaction within mobile apps. Yes, we have all experienced the benefits of virtual assistants in Smartphones. They help us send text messages, check the weather, and figure out the conversions between kilograms and pounds, but few of us have experienced virtual assistants within apps. Although there have been pioneers (such as USAA) that have brought the virtual assistant experience to their app, none has had the democratizing potential as Domino’s. Food for thought (pun intended), over 10 million Americans have downloaded the app and ordered Pizza on their smartphone. I predict that this number will continue to grow as word gets out that Domino’s offers an unparalleled experience that is not available anywhere else within the retail space.
Beyond increasing mobility, and efficiency, the virtual assistant offers something more. The virtual assistant offers the power of conversation, which can lead to a more enriching experience for the consumer as well as for the enterprise that offers it. A conversation can be personalized and meaningful for the consumer. The virtual assistant can offer relevant suggestions, for example, I suspect in the future we’ll see the Domino’s virtual assistant make suggestions such as “Brett, why not add a side-order of your daughter’s favorite chicken wings. I’m sure she’ll appreciate it.” The virtual assistant is simply replicating the type of interaction that we used to have, when we walked into a brick & mortar retail location and were greeted by a knowledgeable employee who recognized us as a frequent customer and provided helpful suggestions. In our digital world, we’ve lost that personalized and relationship based interaction with the enterprises we do business with. Fortunately, virtual assistants are changing that. The net result to the enterprise is an increase in sales conversions and an increase in average sale value. In order words, more customers and more money to be made per customer. And this is why I’m confident in my prediction that we’ll see virtual assistants in all of our apps very soon. Companies can’t afford not to.
Want a taste of the future? Download the latest version of the Domino’s app (available for free from the App Store on iPhone or the Google Play store on Android devices) and on your way back home today, order a Domino’s Pizza with the virtual assistant. The future is simply delectable.