The year was 1994. The sounds of Ace of Base’s hit single “The Sign” were blaring from cassette players across the country, baseball went on strike, figure skating generated soap-opera headlines, a gallon of gas cost a dollar, and at the box office, life was like a box of chocolates. The mix of positive, negative, and downright scandalous pop culture happenings of 1994 turn 20 this year, but perhaps none have had the lasting impression on American behavior as the click of a computer mouse in Santa Cruz, California, that same year.
It was there, during the early stages of the World Wide Web, that a man logged on to PizzaHut.com to an electronic storefront known as “PizzaNet” and, according to the pizza brand, made the first ever online purchase: a large pizza with pepperoni, mushrooms, and extra cheese from Pizza Hut. The online pie purchase set the stage for e-commerce, while setting Pizza Hut on a path of digital innovation.
To celebrate the 20th anniversary of that online transaction, Pizza Hut is offering up a new online deal: From January 1–10, all medium and large pizzas at menu-price are 50 percent off when purchased online by Hut Lovers members. Current Hut Lovers members are eligible for the deal, and anyone can join the club by signing up on the brand’s website. Customers can also experience the original Pizza Hut online ordering experience by visiting PizzaNet.net.
The technology used to make online ordering a reality on PizzaNet evolved into a more current-generation web-ordering experience that launched for a handful of restaurants in 2001. That led the way for nationwide online ordering at PizzaHut.com in years to follow.
In 2003, customers could place orders up to a week in advance online, making planning for the big football game easy. Pizza Hut began reaching consumers in a new way in 2007, becoming one of the first national pizza companies to launch a Facebook page, where the brand now has more than 10 million fans.
As online sales began to pick up, to the tune of $1 billion dollars by 2008, Pizza Hut launched an ordering app for the iPhone in 2009. The popularity of the app led to similar versions for Android smartphones and the iPad, as well as a revamped mobile web ordering experience. In 2013, Pizza Hut took it a step further with an ordering app for Xbox 360, fueling gamers across America with the first tangible good ever offered within the Xbox Live marketplace.
As a result of advancement across the plethora of Pizza Hut platforms, digital orders have increased 100 percent since 2009. Mobile ordering, the fastest growing division within digital at Pizza Hut, has grown by 4,000 percent in the last three years. In 2013, Pizza Hut surpassed $6 billion in all-time digital sales.
The advertising campaign celebrating the brand’s digital leadership and announcing the 50 percent off deal is led by a new commercial featuring none other than ‘90s sensation Ace of Base and their hit “The Sign.”