Domino's Easy Pizza Ordering and Chargebacks

With consumers expecting some online orders to arrive in hours, not days, it's harder than ever to strike the right balance between "easy" and "secure."

The Domino's pizza chain created quite a stir this month by announcing a new "zero clicks" app for ordering pizza. Once you set up the app and tell Domino's your default order for pizza, your smartphone can order the pizza for you. OK, you do have to open the app all by yourself. But once you do, the app automatically places the order in 10 seconds unless you cancel.

It sounds like a great idea until you stop and think for a moment.

New call-to-actionHave you ever accidentally dialed a phone number? Has anything every pressed on your smartphone screen and opened an app without you realizing it? Maybe you've given your phone to your bored child to play with on occasion.

Thanks to Domino's, any of those normal occurrences could result in a driver showing up at your door with a pizza you didn't want, but which you have already paid for through the app. You might not even be home when it arrives, since you didn't know you ordered the pizza in the first place. So we have the perfect circumstances to create unhappy customers and unhappy drivers.

It probably won't be long before Domino's management is unhappy too. Because when customers realize they've been billed for pizzas they never wanted, what do you suppose they'll do? They won't likely call Domino's. Instead, they'll call the credit card company and dispute the charge.

When customers realize they've been billed for pizzas they never wanted, what do you suppose they'll do?

Maybe Domino's figures that it's worth the price of a few chargebacks if it means a big boost in sales. Maybe management got swept up in the marketing department's enthusiasm and hasn't realized the potential downside. But when enough customers start disputing charges, and when enough pizzas have to get tossed out because the customers refused delivery, Domino's is likely to make some discreet changes to its app.

For any business that wants to make it easier for customers to place orders, this is a development worth watching. Every company needs to strike a balance between "easy" and "secure." That challenge gets harder every year as customers get used to receiving packages from in hours instead of days.

Manage Chargeback In-House Or OutshoreDomino's will need to pay close attention to the numbers: How many customer are opting out of the app, how many customers are filing disputes, and the number of complaints that appear in social media. It also will be important for the company to respond on social media and see that customer problems are properly taken care of.

As Computerworld observed last year when the app was being test-marketed in the United Kingdom, Domino's has never been about the pizza; it's about convenience and speed. But when an app can automatically order a pizza that the customer doesn't want, that creates the potential for a major inconvenience.

Every company needs to strike a balance between "easy" and "secure." That's getting harder.

It's hard to believe problems didn't surface in the test marketing. And it's even harder to believe that Domino's wouldn't take some extra steps to educate its customers before they download the app. But you won't find any of words of caution on the Domino's website.

The site does a great job explaining how to set up a profile, create a standing pizza order, and even how to use a coupon. It doesn't say anything about how to avoid unwanted orders or resolve such problems quickly.

Then again, it could be a matter of how you choose to interpret the wording on the page where Domino's introduces the app: "It’s easy. Maybe too easy. You’ve been warned."

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