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Domino's rewards customers for buying pizza -- even from its competitors

Posted at 5:46 PM, Jan 30, 2019

Domino's is chasing new clients by rewarding them for eating pizza — even if they buy it from a competitor.

The promotion is designed to "bring new customers into the fold," Kate Trumbull, VP of advertising at Domino's, told CNN Business.

People who want to participate have to download the Domino's app and sign up for a loyalty program. They use the app to scan a pizza — even if it's home made, purchased at a different restaurant or just a toy that looks like a pizza — and get up to ten points per week. Once customers hit 60 points, they become eligible for a free Domino's pie.

Domino's plans on honoring 100 million points — nearly 1.7 million pizzas altogether. Customers can only redeem the prize once. Domino's is hoping that once people give it a shot, they'll come back for more.

The app uses artificial intelligence to identify pizza as pizza. It's "the first time Domino's is using AI technology like this," said Dennis Maloney, Domino's chief digital officer, in a statement.

Both Domino's and Pizza Hut vie for customers with flashy promotions . Often, they use the deals to help highlight their technology. Domino's has tested delivery by drone, and uses hotspots to deliver to parks and beaches. Pizza Hut has developed bluetooth-enabled sneakers that let you pause your TV and order pizza with the push of a button.

It took about six months to build the technology needed to recognize images as pizza, Trumbull said. Domino's is "always trying to innovate around technology to make the experience for consumers easier, simpler, more convenient," she noted.

The promotion is a way for Domino's to "create news and excitement around their brand," said BTIG analyst Peter Saleh, adding that the company is also "trying to accelerate the adoption of their loyalty program."

Fast food companies use their apps to learn more about what their customers want and try to build loyalty. Recently, Burger King tried to lure customers to its app and troll McDonald's by selling one-cent Whoppers to customers in close range of a McDonald's.

The Domino's promotion starts on Saturday, the day before the Super Bowl, and will run for 12 weeks.