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Blue Apron unrolls grocery delivery management via iOS app

Subscription service Blue Apron is unrolling a new iOS application that enables users to manage their weekly grocery deliveries, customize their menu and watch how-to videos while preparing meals.

The Blue Apron app is designed to show off its seasonal recipes, provide utility to customers using its food delivery service and add a social angle to sharing favorite meals and recipes. As more millennials become reliant on their mobile devices in the kitchen, culinary marketers would be well-suited to ensure they have a strong commerce angle in their apps to maximize potential revenue.

“We decided to launch our mobile app to further our mission of making incredible home cooking accessible; the app allows us to do so by providing our customers with a personal cooking companion,” said a spokesperson for Blue Apron, New York. “Through the mobile app, our home-chefs can manage their account, invite friends to try Blue Apron with the invite a friend feature, and share photos of their Blue Apron recipes directly to their social media accounts with fun photo filters .

“The mobile app also highlights all of the educational cooking content and enhanced recipe pages we create at Blue Apron – customers and non-customers alike have access to hundreds of Blue Apron recipes and how-to videos. The personalized cooking experience that the mobile app provides makes it easier and more fun for our home chefs to cook incredible meals with Blue Apron.”

Cooking companions
Consumers can engage in a slew of activities within the new Blue Apron app, including searching its entire recipe collection and sharing favorite with friends and family via Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, email and SMS.

This is a prime example of how social media outreach can yield a greater number of users, as customers’ friends will be likely to click through to the recipes and may become inspired to download the app themselves.

Blue Apron’s culinary team curates 10 new recipes each week, showcasing the most popular seasonal dishes. Each recipe is accompanied by a how-to video that consumers can watch by propping up their smartphone on the kitchen counter.

Users whose meals turn out well can tap the app’s camera feature to show the food-friendly filters and special effects that can be applied to photos, such as captions, stickers and animated steam.

Blue Apron is also integrating its weekly delivery service into the app, enabling customers to manage their weekly deliveries and review upcoming meals. They may customize their menu to their liking, update delivery information and choose the most ideal delivery schedule.

App users can also review meals after finishing and send their feedback to Blue Apron.

“Utility apps, ones that bring unchallenged value, are among the most used,” said Jeff Hasen, founder of Gotta Mobilize, Seattle. “But the cooking space is among the most crowded in the app stores.”

Mobile utility
Mobile is an optimal communication channel for cooking brands as well as food and beverage marketers to leverage.

Millennials are increasingly relying on their smartphones for help in the kitchen, as 59 percent claim they cook with their tablets or smartphones nearby, according to a new study from Google (see story).

The report, commissioned alongside Kraft Foods and mcgarrybowen, found that 59 percent of consumers in the 25 to 34 age range cook with their mobile devices handy, while those over 35 are most likely to use a print recipe for guidance.

This constant reliance on smartphones means that culinary marketers have an optimal targeting opportunity for relatively large amounts of time.

Brands can offer app users a discount for future product purchases based on the amount of time spent interacting with their content. If marketers do not offer their own branded items, they may find success in teaming up with a third-party company and selling some of their own relevant products to cooking enthusiasts.

The key piece of advice for culinary marketers is to ensure that their apps add value to the crowded space and offer calls-to-action to drive further engagement.

“Sure, mobile users turn to these every day for recipes, cooking tips, and wine pairings, but what is an app maker to do to differentiate?” Mr. Hasen said. “A recipe and video in an app are common.

“Where is a contest, a celebrity tie-in, or a breakthrough social sharing option?”

Final Take
Alex Samuely is an editorial assistant on Mobile Commerce Daily, New York