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Last night Deal Hunter level 9′s (I am one of them) were notified that today Living Social would run a deal with Whole Foods. The deal, which is running right now, provides for a $20 gift card to Whole Foods for $10. Several tech blogs reported on the deal but there are three very, very interesting tidbits that none of them seemed to mention.
And a quick sidebar: for those that reported that LivingSocial sold “millions” of Amazon gift cards earlier this year, I call phooey on that. LivingSocial never reported a final number of gift cards that were sold. And any number that may have been reported needs to note total actual dollars because there were plenty of conga lines and many reporting buying hundreds of gift cards using all sorts of complex spreadsheets and user account models. I heard it took a very long time for LS to go back through and figure out which customers bought multiple cards. I do think both LivingSocial and Groupon have got a much better handle on the multiple order issues and I haven’t heard many boasting of ordering hundreds (or even tens) of Whole Foods certs.
Note #1 – Some of the talk with the deal hunters is that LivingSocial is sponsoring (or at least partially subsidizing) today’s deal with WholeFoods to be able to acquire new subscribers. I have emailed LivingSocial PR and will update this post if I hear back.
Note #2 – LivingSocial’s referral system is not currently available. The page where you pick up your referral code was removed yesterday afternoon. This leads me to believe even more that LivingSocial is in some way sponsoring today’s deal. You can still refer people to the deal and if you send in 3 referrals, your deal is free but this is not the same as their general referral system which would pay out nicely for some who share their links on Facebook today.
Note #3 – Deal Bucks, the system that LivingSocial uses to pay for referrals, cannot be used to pay for the Whole Foods deal. In speaking with some other experienced deal hunters, this may also indicate that LivingSocial is partially sponsoring the deal. The last time they either partially or fully sponsored a deal many believe was the Amazon deal earlier this year.
In Seattle, Amazon has been offering groceries for delivery since late 2007. They have apparently been slowing expanding the reach within Seattle over the past few months. The service, AmazonFresh, reminds me of FreshDirect in NYC. I used FreshDirect a few times while in NYC and the service was good but you trade a higher price for convenience. The buildings I lived in had “FreshDirect freezers” so you could get your deliveries while at work and the food would be kept at a safe temperature until you arrived home. It’s hard for me to provide feedback on pricing on AmazonFresh since I don’t live in Seattle. A quick search shows a 2-liter Coke for $1.99 and a bottle of All detergent for $6.99. These prices are significantly higher than purchasing at the supermarkets in Texas and New York.
What makes AmazonFresh really special is that you can also purchase a very large selection of amazon.com products which can be delivered with your food order for no extra charge. Amazon refers to this product lineup as AmazonNow! The AmazonFresh site notes, “Although Amazon.com founded AmazonFresh, AmazonFresh operates as an independent grocery delivery business.”
Below is the special deal AmazonFresh is running for Seattle residents. What I find very interesting about this deal is that they didn’t use LivingSocial (or Groupon) to manage this deal. I’ve been thinking a lot recently (and will write up a post this week) around whether large merchants like Amazon need to use the new crop of group buying services or if they can go at it alone. From what I can tell by looking at the deal boards, Amazon can push a deal without the group buying services.
For new AmazonFresh customers, Amazon is offering 50% off your first order up to a $50 discount. The catch is that the deal is only valid until tomorrow at 4pm PST and only valid for new customers. The coupon code is sunshine.
You know what I really miss…Kozmo! It was great to get a box of donuts and a movie delivered at midnight.
When it comes to chocolate candybars, my top 3 are Twix, 3 Musketeers and M&Ms. As of late I’ve been hearing more and more about new Internet startups that are creating completely custom chocolate bars.
Earlier this month Peter from Web2NewYork interviewed Carmen Magar from German-based CreateMyChocolate which just launched in the U.S. I’ve also spoken with a stealth chocolate startup based in Switzerland that will also be launching soon.
NY-based Chocomize launched last December and also provides a custom chocolate bar service. The Chocomize service was started by 3 students at Columbia University.
The ordering process is very easy – you select the type of Belgian chocolate you want (dark, milk or white) and then select your toppings. Below you can see some of the candy toppings which include Nerds and PopRocks. They even have vegetarian bacon. There are about 100 toppings in the following categories: nuts, seeds, fruits, herbs/spices, candy and decorations.
Some of the other wacky toppings include potato chips, cayenne peppers, beef jerky, good and plenty and cinnamon.
In my creation testing, the bars ranged from $5-10 which is on par with buying a chocolate bar at the Times Square Hershey and M&M stores and a bit more expensive than buying a prepackaged candy bar. Chocomize currently only ships inside the U.S.
Chocomize looks perfect for corporate events and customer thank you gifts – especially if they would create smaller size options.
What would you customize a chocolate bar with? Leave your perfect chocolate bar in the comments.
Check out the video below with John Nese. John is the proprietor of Galcos Soda Pop Stop based in Los Angeles. The video is from food site Chow although I found it via the Toddle blog. The video has nothing to do with Twitter or Facebook – nothing to do with so-called social media experts. It has to do with one thing…passion for your business. More importantly it has to do with knowing your business inside and out (watch how he can talk about nearly any of the soda bottles he has in the store). Lastly it shows how important knowledge of the industry that your startup is a part of (his talk about bottle redemption is quite interesting).
Continue reading “Passion For Your Business (video)” »
The king (no, not the Blogger King) has relaunched his website today. The new Burger King website apparently reflects the right, “brand aesthetic and attitude”. It’s worth checking the new site as there are a few interesting usability items I haven’t seen before.
The homepage offers sliders (not the tiny burgers) that allow you to customize what appears on the homepage. If you move all of the sliders to the left, it’s becomes the most simple option. I guess it goes along with the Burger King slogan of “have it your way”.
Regarding the usability of the new site, if you click an option, a “panel” appears on the left that opens when you rollover the Home tab. There appears to be no way to actually get back to the homepage. Seems a bit fancy for average Internet users – frankly it even confused me as the panel came and went when I clicked the home button. Why not send people back to the homepage instead of loading it in a panel?
The most interesting part of the new site is the ability to create a meal and view all of the nutrition facts. I’ve pasted an example below if you were to select a Double Whopper and a pack of chicken nuggets. You select your food items and it shows you the total nutritional facts for the meal. An interesting upgrade would allow a person to enter how many calories and/or fat grams they need to stay within and have Burger King suggest some options. Another interesting take would be to allow visitors to directly order their selections using a service like GoMobo.
I also like the new restaurant locator – much easier to use than the previous version. As a side note, there is a microsite dedicated to “Flame” which appears to be a burger-scented perfume available in the UK. Can you imagine getting on the tube and standing next to someone who smells like a whopper?
Boston-based Zeer describes their service as, “a food information resource that makes it easy to find safe food. It helps people save time, stay safe, learn particular diets and live better lives.” The service is basically a database of product information and reviews — think of it as a Yelp for food items. Zeer also offers communities around a variety of food topics including diets, health, allergies and lifestyles.
Today Zeer has announced the launch of “Zeer Select” which is a product directly specifically targeted to gluten-free foods. The service is launching with a database of 30,000 products with 500 new products added each week. Subscribers can search or browse the entire database to find specific products or browse by categories such as entrees, condiments, sauces, etc. The service also helps you find gluten-free alternatives for your favorite foods.
The service is offered at $14.99 a month. They should have noted the pricing details in the launch blog post as the post makes it seem like the Zeer Select service is free like the rest of the site.
Here’s a chart comparing the Zeer free and select services:
If one food wasn’t enough, today Scripps Networks announces Food2. Scripps already runs the Food Network and RecipeZaar websites which as of a year ago controlled 25% of the food category online. Scripps describes Food2 as, “Food2 scours the planet as well as local fast food drive-ins for the tastiest, seductive, most shocking and satisfying bites in the world of food and drink. Along with an outspoken, eclectic slate of food bloggers, Food2 mixes up cocktails, beer & wine, foodie challenges, recipes, how to’s, food porn and pop culture with a bunch of other elements we aren’t at liberty to discuss.”
It looks like the site was built in Jooma and has a variety of content categories including videos, recipes, tips, and a blog. What’s really interesting is that (it appears) they have kept the “celebrity chefs” from the Food Network off the site.
The site is setup to target the people in the 21-34 age bracket and they have Facebook Connect, Twitter along with a Facebook account. I wonder which social media expert they hired to get that going :-P
Food2 offers a lot of good content but the look leaves me wishing they added more polish. It seems a bit unfinished and too loose. We will have to wait and see how Scripps promotes Food2 across their network of sites – with proper promotion the site should receive a strong initial lift – but will there be enough to get people to stay for the long-term, especially when their other food sites are so popular.