Let's Take A Closer Look

Explaining complicated subject matter simply since 1986.

Recent news is that Domino’s is testing public reaction to driverless delivery of pizzas. Except they’re not actually testing driverless delivery. For the tests, there are three people in the car – a driver to take over when necessary, an engineer to monitor the electronics, and a third person to observe the customer. The idea behind driverless delivery, they say, is to enhance the customer experience.

They say the customers are randomly selected.

But then they go on to say it won’t be random at all – customers have to agree to participate. So those who opt-in either like the idea, are curious, or want to be the first ones on their block. We expect to see an increase in sales due to the novelty of the experience.

The pizza will not be delivered to your door.

Instead, you have to go outside to get it. This would not seem to be an enhanced customer experience, especially when it’s raining or cold, or a long walk up the stairs and down the hall to your apartment.

The big customer advantage they’re touting is no tipping.

So here’s the trade-off: how many of us are willing to go outside to the car, key in a code, pick out the correct pizzas, drinks, and so on to save a buck?

Many think this is less about enhancing customers’ experiences than it is about getting rid of the costs of hiring, training, scheduling, supervising, and paying drivers. Domino’s says it isn’t so.

What they’re really testing, not to put too fine a point on it, is this:

Opt-in customers’ reactions to the novelty of coming outside to fetch your own pizza while being watched closely by three people sitting in the car.

Don’t most of us know people behave very unnaturally when they know they are being watched?

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