Pizza Hut today touted its digital milestones from 2013, including surpassing the $1 billion mark in digital sales. The company's website, PizzaHut.com, facilitated nearly one-third of all U.S. orders, either via desktop computer, mobile or apps.
"We recognized early on that our consumers were spending more and more of their time online, so we moved quickly to be there with them," CEO Scott Bergren said in a news release. "As they moved toward mobile versus the home computer, we were there to greet them. Digital ordering is still in its infancy and we are intent on making the experience great for our consumers."
Pizza Hut also launched an app for Xbox 360 in April, with high-def graphics, voice commands and hand-motion recognition through Kinect. Additionally, Pizza Hut's mobile apps went through a major upgrade in 2013 and are available on 95 percent of smartphones, including Android, iPhone and Windows Phone.
"Our technology team is one of the most robust and skilled in the world," said Bergren. "They've continued to push out advancements in our digital system solely to make the ordering process easier for our consumers."
More orders came in through digital channels in 2013 than any year in Pizza Hut history, and approximately 50 percent of all digital orders for Pizza Hut came through a mobile device, with the greatest growth coming via the Pizza Hut mobile site, not just the apps.
"Consumers are becoming more and more comfortable with purchasing products via their mobile phone, and we've seen that across our system," said Kurt Kane, chief marketing officer, Pizza Hut. "It's only going to continue to increase, just as the more traditional ordering by desktop computer continued to grow in the late 2000s."
Focusing on 2014
Pizza Hut plans to intensify its digital focus in 2014. Among a host of technology advancements planned is a "new, sleeker" PizzaHut.com for desktop users.
"Simplicity and speed are the most common requests from our online ordering customer, and we've addressed that with our new site," Bergren said. "No company offers the wide variety of digital experiences than we do at Pizza Hut. Not just in the U.S., but around the world."
Email and social will also be part of the plan. The company said its Hut Lovers email program has members "well into the eight figures and grows by the day as more benefits are added, including exclusive deals, free cheese sticks when members sign up and free cinnamon sticks to celebrate birthdays."
"Our Hut Lovers email program continues to be one of our most effective 'push' communication tools, while our social media channels are our best way to engage daily with loyal fans," said Caroline Masullo, director of Digital Experience, Pizza Hut.
Read more about online and mobile initiatives.