Skip to main content

Voice is the future

As marketers, we can be too quick to chase innovation for innovation’s sake. Open the trade press, attend any marketing conference or read Twitter and we are bombarded by shiny new digital tools and platforms.

The buzz may tempt brands in but too often they fail to deliver on the promise and before long become white elephants in their own right – Google Plus, Interactive TV, AI, 3D – the list is long!

At Just Eat our focus is on connecting customers with the restaurants – and the food – they want around the world at any time of day or night, any day of the week.

Our 29,000 UK restaurant partners, be they a local curry house, an up-and-coming healthy cafe or a national brand such as KFC, are our lifeblood and everything we do is focused on delivering on that partnership. From a marketing perspective this means we need to continually find ways to connect our customers with our restaurant partners through whatever platform the consumer wants to use to find them.

Voice and Chat are two such platforms and far from being irrelevant innovations they are consumer platforms with real potential. For us as a business and a brand, they are platforms we are using to not only engage with customers but to drive food orders too.

Facebook has been telling anyone who’ll listen that Facebook Messenger has huge potential – be that as a customer service channel, a brand engagement channel or a transactional channel – and our initial forays into Chat and Messenger seemingly back up that argument.

Together with our social media agency, Byte, we launched our Facebook chatbot in 2016 as a proof point of our rebrand. The rebrand was to establish Just Eat as having the best, biggest and broadest choice of food in Britain and we used the Facebook chatbot to give our customers inspiration about what they might want for dinner. We’ve continued to evolve and improve the bot – it now enables you to order simply using emojis. We have also used it to amplify our core marketing campaigns and in last year’s sponsorship of The X Factor we relaunched it as a chatbot for fans of the programme.


Since launch, we’ve had more than 50,000 users but what is most impressive is almost one-third (29%) of those users have gone on to order. It is also incredibly sticky, with the average user on it for more than two minutes – we have one user who checks in with our chatbot every day!

We’ve been able to use insights from the way people use the chatbot to improve our proprietary customer service bot, which resides on our apps too. This has helped us identify some of the most common “help” cases customers are likely to contact us about and the language and dialogue they use to do that.

Voice is as interesting as Chat but not as advanced. Just Eat was one of the first to launch “Skills” on Amazon Alexa and we continue to evolve our Voice proposition. You can reorder your favourite takeaway simply by asking Alexa and for the World Cup we created a special feature to enable you to “group order” from a small number of restaurants. It’s fair to say our Voice activity is not as advanced as Chat – but the potential is huge. Our biggest use of Alexa at the moment is by customers who have placed their order via another device asking where their food is. This will no doubt evolve.

The question people ask Alexa or Google most is can they listen to their favourite radio station or streamed music via Spotify? Voice’s time will come – it just needs to find out what its killer app or usage is.

In time, Voice will become the digital concierge of our lives and for us to become THE food app, we need to ensure we’re at the forefront of this Voice revolution.