Pizza ordering just isn’t what it used to be.
As consumer preferences change and advancing technologies introduce an array of new channels and purchasing opportunities, the times and places in which consumers sit down to order a pizza have also drastically changed.
Though the TV may not seem like a huge contextual commerce opportunity, Papa John’s sees things differently.
Anne Fischer, senior director of digital innovation at Papa John’s, explained that digital innovation has enabled technology to change the dynamics of the fast-food environment and provided new options and opportunities that didn’t even exist years ago.
For Papa John’s, Fischer said that means utilizing technology to enable better customer experiences by paying attention to the ever-evolving needs and preferences of those customers.
In the case of TV, Papa John’s is using Apple TV to transform the small screen into a direct commerce channel for its customers.
Delivering For Streaming
While movie nights have always served as go-to occasions for sitting back and enjoying a pizza, Fischer said the growing popularity of streaming services and devices have provided a new opportunity.
The opportunity, that is, to bring customizable online ordering to Apple TV.
Fischer pointed out that a new series dropping on Netflix is now also a new ordering occasion for Papa John’s. The company is providing a way to be a part of those moments by introducing an app on Apple TV that allows customers to order and pay for a pizza directly from the device. Instead of people huddling around a computer or mobile device or even calling to place an order, the app projects the capability right onto the TV screen.
“In this instance, it’s very seamless,” Fischer said. “Essentially. you’re able to sit in that living room, order the pizza and then, before you’re even through that first show, have the delivery driver show up at your door and hand you your pizza. Then, you’re right back into that experience again.”
“For us, it’s just really being organically part of that larger customer experience.”
The idea was drawn out of insights Papa John’s heard from its customers about the new ways they want to be able to take advantage of interacting with the company and ordering pizza.
Fischer noted that, in talking through the new Apple TV opportunity, it was important to also ensure that customers could maintain access to saved and previous orders, as well as the ability to create their own personalized orders through access to the entire menu.
“Through our partnerships with the NFL and the MLB, we know that live sports continue to be very popular and a major pizza ordering occasion,” she said. “We see a role for that in the future just as much as we do today, but we’re also seeing this explosion happening of these streaming devices, and so, we want to be there as well, and I think Apple TV was a good first foray into that.”
Where Pizza Meets Payments
In addition, Papa John’s found that customers wanted to make sure the payments network was secure and their card information was not compromised. Working with its partner, Vantiv, to power the payments experience, Papa John’s offers a secure connection for the app at all its 3,300 retail locations in the U.S.
Papa John’s is no stranger to experimenting with digital payments.
The U.S. pizza chain recently introduced a new digital solution that enables customers to easily split up their pizza bill on any mobile or online order. The PayShare payment option, which is powered by Venmo, was reportedly the first of its kind for the pizza industry.
Fischer said that Papa John’s has also tested the Google hands-free payment option, accepts PayPal and just announced the addition of Visa Checkout as a payment method for its customers as well.
“We’re really looking to make online ordering as convenient and quick as possible for our customers, and we’re seeing that they are looking for more alternative payments beyond just the traditional methods, so we’re there to meet the customer and make those options available to them,” she added.
The opportunity to provide alternative payment methods online has been shown to make a difference from the consumer’s perspective, to the point that merchants that cannot fulfill the expectation may risk losing out.
Papa John’s has seen the value that alternative payments can bring to its online ordering experience, Fischer explained, adding that the company will continue to explore new payment options as its customers’ preferences evolve.
But Fischer also emphasized that Papa John’s is not looking to chase technology or innovate just for the sake of innovation.
“It’s really about creating a quality customer experience, so as new opportunities become available for us to improve that customer experience, that’s where you can expect us to be,” she said.