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GrubHub Seamless hops on foursquare to scale mobile ordering

February 3, 2014

Foursquare's iPhone app

GrubHub Seamless is bypassing the challenge of getting consumers to download a standalone mobile application to order food with a new built-in feature within the foursquare app.

Foursquare’s app now pulls in more than 20,000 restaurants that offer online and mobile ordering from GrubHub and Seamless’ separate ordering platforms. As mobile becomes the preferred way for consumers to place food orders, GrubHub Seamless hopes to leverage foursquare’s fairly large audience to acquire new members.

“It’s just another way that GrubHub Seamless is helping diners order takeout whenever, wherever and now however they want,” said Allie Mack, spokeswoman at GrubHub Seamless, Chicago.

Dine on mobile
Icons of both Seamless and GrubHub appear on foursquare restaurant pages that offer online ordering, and consumers can click-through to view the delivery menu on a landing page that pulls in the companies’ mobile sites.

Users then have to either log-in or create a GrubHub or Seamless account and can place an order from the landing page without leaving the foursquare app.

A tip and specific instructions for the meal prep can also be added to an order before it is submitted.

A restaurant page featuring Seamless ordering

GrubHub and Seamless merged in May 2013 to create a bigger digital offering (see story).

The feature is available in foursquare’s iPhone and Android app and on the Web.

The goal behind the foursquare integration is clearly aimed at making it easier for consumers to order their favorite food, but what is interesting about the initiative is that both Seamless and GrubHub have invested significantly in their own branded apps versus relying on third-party apps in the past.

The branded apps are often the focal point of both Seamless’ and GrubHub’s marketing.

In January 2013, mobile represented 40 percent of Seamless’ orders. This was primarily coming from iOS devices (see story).

When consumers place an order through the landing pages within the foursquare app, there are not any calls-to-action to download either of the apps, possibly missing out on a bigger opportunity to convert a foursquare user into a loyal app user.

The ordering page

Building a comprehensive app

The new GrubHub Seamless initiative also points to how foursquare is evolving from its roots as a check-in service to more of an all-in-one app.

As the daily deal space has dwindled down significantly in the past few years, foursquare has constantly been churning out new services and ad options for marketers.

In May 2013, foursquare rolled out an app update with new search features that let consumers find restaurants nearby to them on a more granular level (see story).

The app has also broadened the number of advertising opportunities to let marketers target specific groups of consumers based on their intent.

One of those types of ads was rolled out in July that let marketers target consumers who have already checked-in to a location. Initial brands using the service included Toys “R” Us and Diageo (see story).

Local check-in apps such as foursquare, Yelp and shopkick still have a ways to go in scaling and driving repeat app usage, which is evidenced by the GrubHub Seamless news.

“For Grubhub and Seamless, which are already established in online and mobile food ordering, foursquare’s user base and restaurant selection build an effortless breaking point for driving more orders from mobile,” said Yichan Wang, marketing specialist at Aurnhammer, New York.

Ms. Wang is not affiliated with GrubHub Seamless. She commented based on her expertise on the subject.

“On the other hand, foursquare can boost user activeness by meeting the large demand of mobile food delivery, so this is definitely a win-win decision,” she said.

Final Take
Lauren Johnson is associate reporter on Mobile Commerce Daily, New York 

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