Blue Apron Relies on Referrals, Social Networks to Drive Food Delivery Subscriptions - eMarketer
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Blue Apron Relies on Referrals, Social Networks to Drive Food Delivery Subscriptions

February 18, 2015 | Retail & Ecommerce | Social Media | CPG


Matt Salzberg
Co-Founder and CEO
Blue Apron

Blue Apron is a subscription-based grocery service that delivers recipes and ready-to-cook ingredients to consumers. Matt Salzberg, the company’s co-founder and CEO, spoke with eMarketer’s Elyssa Goldberg about social media keeping Blue Apron connected to its customers and how households are changing the way they shop for groceries.

eMarketer: Can you tell me about Blue Apron?

Matt Salzberg: The idea came out of a personal need we had. Ilia Papas, one of our two co-founders, and I wished we could cook at home more often and try new recipes and ingredients. We found it inaccessible and expensive to go out and shop for everything we needed, find a recipe and cook a meal at home.

eMarketer: How do you come up with the recipes?

“It’s still a new concept for people to order their groceries from an ecommerce website.”

Salzberg: We recruited a chef, Matt Wadiak, who is our third co-founder. We have several chefs at the company from restaurants such as Blue Hill at Stone Barns, Chez Panisse and Oliveto. They invent, cook and create new recipes in the kitchen.

eMarketer: Who is the Blue Apron customer?

Salzberg: There are two big segments: young professional couples and young families with kids. We deliver all over the country, nationwide. We have customers in the suburbs, as well as in rural areas, who don’t have access to the same quality and diversity of ingredients that may be available in the city.

eMarketer: How do first-time customers find Blue Apron?

Salzberg: Customers hear about us from other customers or from social media. One of their friends who cooked a Blue Apron meal shares it on Facebook or Instagram because they are really proud of what they’ve created. Then others go to our website and sign up.

eMarketer: What is the biggest hurdle for first-time users to overcome?

Salzberg: Our service isn’t for everybody. If you want to get full as quickly as you can, you can order Domino’s [pizza]. For us, it’s about the joy of cooking.

It’s still a new concept for people to order their groceries from an ecommerce website. Building trust with customers is important to what we do. It’s helpful that many of our customers come from referrals from other customers, because they are trusting us to pick out produce to help feed their families.

eMarketer: Do you see yourself fitting more into the grocery or delivery space?

“Our main competitors are big grocery stores. We are working directly with farms. We’re cutting out the middlemen.”

Salzberg: We’re somewhere in between the two. The reason we call the company Blue Apron is because chefs around the world wear blue aprons when they’re learning to cook. It’s a symbol of lifelong learning and cooking.

We also think about ourselves as building a supply chain that’s disrupting the traditional grocery store model. Our main competitors are big grocery stores. We are working directly with farms. We’re cutting out the middlemen.

eMarketer: Blue Apron has a curated social media presence. How does that work, and which platforms best support your marketing efforts?

Salzberg: Our two biggest platforms are Facebook and Instagram. Food is visual, and Instagram is a great channel for us.

People like sharing their food because they’re proud of what they’re creating. Food is a personal thing for them.

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