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How Pizza Hut improved online conversion

Only a year ago Pizza Hut’s website was not responsive, took six seconds to load and often couldn’t cope during its Saturday night peak. Now after a significant redesign and a focus on conversion rate the fast-food brand’s European website is fit for the digital age.

Speaking at the Millennial 2020 event in London, Stephen Croix, CMO at Pizza Hut Europe, describes how the brand cancelled all its agency contracts, bringing them in-house and rebuilt its web presence from the ground up.

“We redesigned the whole website, we put everything in the bin and started again,” he said, noting how Pizza Hut’s load time is now a much quicker 1.7 seconds – ready for Google’s SEO changes next month which will see faster websites ranking higher in mobile search.

“Now it’s fully responsive and we’ve decluttered the whole experience and we’re 100% focused on the transaction – anything that keeps the consumer away from ordering a pizza in an easy way was removed – and it took the traditional marketer some time to digest that.”

The 60-year-old brand reduced the number of clicks it takes to buy a pizza in half and its conversion rate subsequently increased by 100% – from 20% to 30%.

Changing internal ways of working

“We’ve also disrupted the way we’ve measured success,” explained Croix. “We came from a place with a huge metric of KPIs – as human beings we love to measure things – but we bought it down to one KPI to measure conversion rate, because ultimately it’s the only thing that matters.”

Croix said the impact to his team was fantastic, allowing them to decide autonomously about anything – “if it doesn’t drive conversion rate, don’t do it.”

Pizza Hut also rolled out a new way of working internally to become more agile. The MVP (minimal viable product) concept ensured that the brand bought its digital concept out to market much quicker.

"If it doesn’t drive conversion rate, don’t do it"

“When we started we had one store connected [to the website], one pizza to order and for one device [the iPhone],” he said. “We tested, learnt, iterated and gradually rolled out to 700 stores in the UK and expanded the whole menu and to all devices.

“We’re not rolling these new ways of working into marketing – it’s changing the world and I’m a big big fan of that.”

Big innovator

Last month, Pizza Hut extended its IT support partnership with Retail Assist to help improve the in-restaurant experience. Pizza Hut has already rolled out new ordering and point-of-sale (POS) technology during its extensive refurbishment programme, and the company says it has seen the amount of IT-related downtime reduce dramatically in recent years.

It has also revealed a new payments app through a partnership with Mastercard, which will allow UK customers to order, pay and split bills when dining at its restaurants.

Meanwhile, at this year’s Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, Pizza Hut unveiled a partnership with Toyota, which resulted in designs of a self-driving concept vehicle called e-Palette, which cooks pizzas as it drives to its delivery address.