Pizza Hut is celebrating 20 years of online ordering at CES and that just sounds wrong. 20 years?! Back in 1994, they launched their first digital ordering hub called “PizzaNet.” The first-ever online order was a large pepperoni, mushroom and extra cheese pizza and they’ve been going strong ever since. So strong that they think of themselves as an ecommerce company – 40% of their orders come through the online system, 50% from mobile.
Caroline Masullo, Pizza Hut’s director of digital experience told the LATimes that people were surprised to see a pizza company at CES but they shouldn’t be.
“If you’re going to be a big e-commerce player, this is the place to be. This is where all the companies are, and we need to be on the cutting edge for our consumers’ sake. So I think we should always have a presence.”
All kidding aside, the ability to order a pizza 7-days in advance is as radical as a car that reads your email to you while you drive. Both help you get things done more efficiently and ordering a pizza online is a lot safer than email in the car. Heck, you can probably order a pizza from your car using one of Pizza Hut’s dedicated apps. This past year, they added created an ordering app for the XBox360 giving gamers one less excuse to stop playing. Now, if only they can figure out a way to deliver digitally, they’ll have the market all sewn up.
The takeaway here is that almost every company is a tech company. Consumers want to do business digitally. That means booking appointments online, making contact through an app, tracking their accounts and orders without having to call a toll-free number. Big, small – the size of your company doesn’t matter. If you want more business you have to make it so.
Pizza Hut made over 1 billion in digital revenue in 2013. Computer, mobile, game console, car – they’re going to continue finding new ways to help consumers order when the craving hits.
Note, if you’re planning on ordering Pizza Hut on Super Bowl Sunday, be aware that this is their busiest day of the year. They expect to deliver more than 2 million pizzas so order early and be prepared to wait.