Digital Transformation: The U.S. Election and Domino’s Pizza

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I have a simple question to ask this week: what if a truly innovative retailer were in charge of the election process? How different might things be?

With just days to go until the U.S. election, we’ve all seen the reports of people standing in line to vote for five hours or more. Those same lines were an issue in Wisconsin’s April 7 election — but in the more than six months that have passed since then, nothing’s changed.

You might say, “Sure, but the government’s constrained by bureaucracy and regulations, and they have to satisfy the needs of all these different parties…” But aren’t those the same excuses that get in the way of change at every company? “I can’t do that, it’s too difficult, it’s someone else’s job, it’s not my issue, I’m just in retail operations, we’re siloed.”

In retail just as in government, this is the system we have — and when the system clearly doesn’t work effectively, we all look at each other and say, “Wow, it really should be better.” But all too often, even though we have enough collective brainpower to fix it, nobody steps up — and so we end up accepting mediocrity.

If you’re predisposed to weigh obstacles more than you weigh opportunities, you’re not going to be successful.

And as a result, in many states right now, you have a better chance of tracking your pizza delivery than you do of tracking your vote.

In fact, Domino’s Pizza is a great example of the kind of turnaround we’re all capable of if we take decisive action.

Back in 2009, Domino’s was rocked by a viral video showing its employees contaminating food about to be delivered to customers. The company responded decisively. They acknowledged the failing and apologized — and positioned it as an opportunity to get better, doing everything from improving their ingredients and recipes to leveraging digital technology to transform the customer experience.

Domino’s Zero Click app now allows customers to order a pizza in 10 seconds — open the app and your favorite order is automatically placed after a 10-second countdown. Or just tell Google Home, Amazon Alexa, or a Samsung Smart TV to place your favorite order — or send a single text or tweet — and your pizza is on its way.

The company now offers seamless tracking throughout the order process, its digital sales are growing every year, and its stock price has skyrocketed. As company chief digital officer Dennis Maloney put it, “We used to be a pizza company that sells online, and we needed to become an e-commerce company that sells pizza.”

(We at The Industrious are huge fans of what Domino’s did — if you have any questions about the Domino’s case study, please do reach out to me.)

So as we in retail struggle to handle the challenges of the pandemic, if you feel the outlook is hopeless, there’s a lesson here: you already know where things are going to go if you leave them as is — and you have very little to lose by making big, bold changes in a positive direction.

Think like Saks Fifth Avenue — or Lululemon — or the company we just completed an RFP for — and take confident, decisive steps in response to the challenges you’re facing.

Finally, with just days to go until the U.S. election, your vote is your business, but it’s also your obligation: even if you can track your pizza delivery more easily than your vote, please do vote.

I would love to hear from you directly here with any questions or thoughts, or click here to download our white paper on responding to the challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Written by

A geek with a retail operations and customer experience background

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