Specialty Food Magazine

JUL-AUG 2012

Specialty Food Magazine is the leading publication for retailers, manufacturers and foodservice professionals in the specialty food trade. It provides news, trends and business-building insights that help readers keep their businesses competitive.

Issue link: https://www.e-digitaleditions.com/i/68592

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Page 37 of 207

but really did not know what Foursquare was about," recalls Hille. After some investi- gation, he verified himself as the head of the establishment on Foursquare and began to manage the restaurant's page on the site. By logging in to this page, he could now see how many people were checking in and dining at his restaurant and who the loyal customers were. "In a sense, Foursquare became the de facto host for our regulars: Instead of having to rely on a trained manager to recognize who they were, we had Foursquare." The first promotion Hille created was rewarding Northern Spy Food Co.'s mayor with a $25 gift certificate to the restau- rant. Subsequent and standing promotions include a drink on the house—either a glass of wine or beer—for every third check-in. Hille's latest Foursquare Flash Special aims to boost lunch business: The first 10 people to check in at lunch Monday through Friday get the restaurant's counter cake or daily pastry free. Hille says around six percent of all his customers check in via Foursquare every month. "We are only rewarding a small amount of customers who are loyal. And our freebies never get out of control or excessive. Four or five free drinks a week—or a couple thousand dollars a year—I budget it into a Flash-Sale Sites: Groupon and LivingSocial Growing as fast as Facebook and Twitter are social e-commerce sites that offer discounted flash sales while helping merchants pull in revenue, quickly broaden their marketing reach and, with luck, gain new, loyal customers. "These sites can have better, more immediate results than placing an ad somewhere," says Anna Zoitas, owner of The Artisanal Kitchen (theartisanalkitchen.com), a web-based provider of small-batch specialty items such as olive oil, coffee, jam, pasta and vinegar, including 2011 sofiTM Silver Finalist Aceto Balsamico de Modena–Purple Label. "People who purchase a deal will actually try your product." Zoitas has advertised on both Groupon and LivingSocial—pioneers and front-runners of the social e-commerce game—with mostly positive results. Her first venture with Groupon proved successful but with a few hitches. After hearing how the owner of her local gym attracted many new customers via a Groupon deal, Zoitas decided to give it a try. She offered two bottles of olive oil with free shipping, at a deep 50 percent discount. "I wasn't expecting much of a response," she says. Within three days of the live deal, Zoitas was hit with 1,400 orders. "It totally exceeded my expectations and I was not prepared to do so much volume that quickly." Zoitas sold almost 18 times more merchandise on her Groupon deal than with her LivingSocial offer but experienced more add-on sales with those customers who spent with LivingSocial. "I believe the free shipping enticed more people to buy," she says. "But when you offer free shipping be aware that you will take a loss." Each deal requires a lot of trial and error, she notes. Having gained some repeat customers, Zoitas plans to run more promotions. She looks at it as a marketing expense. In the long run she hopes to gain loyal customers and eventually drop the flash-sale method. In the short term, sellers get the added ben- efit of receiving the email addresses of the deal buyers, allowing further direct market- ing to new customers. marketing cost," he says. He keeps track of the discounts, mostly comped drinks, both at the server end (when customers show the server they have checked in) and in book- keeping, where it is coded in as a Foursquare promo. "This way I always know how much stuff we're giving away." Hille shares some advice for other mer- chants who want to offer Foursquare pro- motions. "Don't be timid about it. Go big: a free drink, a free dessert, something that a customer really experiences," he says. "The freebie itself is a marginal cost in the overall scheme, and the true cost is only a fraction of the retail price." TIPS FOR EFFECTIVE FLASH-SALE SITE PROMOTIONS Anna Zoitas The Artisanal Kitchen t #VEHFU PGGFST JOUP NBSLFUJOH FYQFOTFT UP NBLF VQ GPS QPUFOUJBM MPTTFT WJFX JU BT BO JOWFTUNFOU UP HBJO OFX DVTUPNFST t %PO U GPSHFU UIBU UIFTF TJUFT UBLF B DVU PGUFO B IFGUZ POF MJLF (SPVQPO T QFSDFOU t 4UBSU XJUI B EFBM ;PJUBT TVHHFTUT *U T B TNBMM DPNNJUNFOU GPS UIF NFSDIBOU CVU B TVCTUBOUJBM EFBM GPS UIF DPOTVNFS t &OUJDF DVTUPNFST UP VTF B DPVQPO SJHIU BXBZ CZ DSFBUJOH B TIPSUFS SFEFNQUJPO UJNF GSBNF The Artisanal Kitchen offered two bottles of olive oil with free shipping through Groupon at a deep 50 percent discount. Within three days, it was hit with 1,400 orders. It exceeded expectations and the online market wasn't prepared to do so much volume that quickly. JULY/AUGUST 2012 31

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