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Android app delivers 3,000 calories of joy

 
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May 21, 2014
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Craving a big, gooey 3,000-calorie Domino's pizza with the works? If so, you now have one more way to pay — if you have the right phone.

The pizza giant announced in late April that it will now accept payment via Google Wallet through its Android app.

So, your $600 iPhone will do you no good if you're hankering for, say, a Cali Chicken Bacon Ranch Pizza  and wish to pay for it with Google's “smart virtual wallet.”

But what's in it for you, Android users? In a word: convenience – if the app works, that is.

The Domino's Android app gets good reviews  overall, but some users have run into technical difficulties. One reviewer, whose pizza craving kept him trying to figure out the app for an hour, kvetched: “Horribly not user friendly!”  And one customer reported that an app malfunction resulted in a pizza with no cheese on half of it. (Employees had to remake her pizza, she wrote.)Click to email me

“Reviews including some technical issues for some users are a common part of doing this,” says Chris Brandon, a spokesman for Domino's. “For the most part, our apps work flawlessly, and provide an excellent experience to our customers.”

If the slight possibility of tech problems and accidental vegan pizza doesn't deter you, you can download the Domino's Android app at the Google Play store.

Domino's does have apps for iPhone and Kindle Fire,  but the Google Wallet capability is not part of those apps.

The Domino's apps let you order your pizza via smartphone or tablet from almost any of the more than 5,000 U.S. Domino's locations.

The Android app works with Android 2.3.3 and higher phones (in other words, about 3 years old or newer). When you order with the app and you're ready to pay, you just click the “Buy with Google” button.

You can sign up for a Google Wallet account by logging into your Google account. Or, if you've ever bought anything from the Google Play store, you already have a Google Wallet account, even though you might not know it. If you already have an account, your credit and/or debit card information is stored in it, so just pick the card you want to use. (Or, you can add a new one at any time.)

Via the Domino's app, you can then watch your pizza's progress as it gets assembled, baked and then sent out for delivery (or set aside for pickup.)

Domino's is trying to tempt consumers to try its new payment method (and a new menu item). Customers who pay for an order of $10 or more with Google Wallet between now and June 15 will get a free order of Domino's new Specialty Chicken.

So, what is Google Wallet, anyway, and why is it big news that you can use it to order a Domino's pizza?

While virtual wallets won't kill off plastic credit cards any time soon, they do offer consumers the convenience of storing a slew of debit, credit, gift and store loyalty card information in one place.

One downside of Google Wallet: Only some devices are supported, and even fewer offer tap-and-pay functionality, where you basically just touch your phone and hold it up to a payment terminal to complete a transaction.

For users who do have a phone with tap-and-pay capability, Google Wallet allows you to pay at the checkout in a brick-and-mortar store (at least at any one of the “hundreds of thousands” of merchants that accept it) or online. Your card information is encrypted and stored in your Google account, which is protected  with a PIN. Via Google Wallet, you also can manage your loyalty program memberships (by scanning existing store loyalty cards or joining new programs via the app). You also can get and redeem special offers and track your purchases.

And, finally, there's one more con to the Google Wallet/Domino's partnership: Research shows that less concrete forms of payment — including credit cards — can lead to more spending. So, what happens when you combine almost effortless payment (if the app works as intended) with a 3,000-calorie Chicken Bacon Ranch Pizza? Let's just say it could spell trouble for your wallet, as well as your waistline.

“With digital ordering as a whole, we do see a bit of an increase in ticket,” Brandon says, adding that that's probably because customers get to see more menu items on a screen than they would if ordering over the phone.


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