订阅

多平台阅读

微信订阅

杂志

申请纸刊赠阅

订阅每日电邮

移动应用

商业 - 科技

内容+美食+电商:美食媒体网站Food52如何以小搏大

Erin Griffith 2014年08月14日

互联网媒体创业公司如何以小搏大?作为一个美食社区,Food52的秘诀就是“内容、美食、电商”三合一。实践证明,做一项让100个用户深爱的产品,要强于做一个让100万人仅仅只有点喜欢的东西。

Food52的主页

    在2009年的时候,美食网站Food52还有一些独立小众网站的格调。这个美食网站是由《纽约时报》(TheNew York Times)前美食作家阿曼达•海瑟和梅利尔•斯塔布斯创办的。除了很多拍得非常漂亮的美食图片、很容易上手的教学视频之外,网友们围绕各种美食话题的争论也异常热烈,比如做馅饼的时候应该用哪种油,或者应该怎样熔化焦糖等等。网站上提供的食谱都经过了精心的编辑和审核。普通会员的烹饪水平要比《瑞秋美食秀》(Rachael Ray)的观众强多了。

    因此,这个网站很快拥有了每月100万次访问量的粉丝群。但跟AllRecipies.com这种拥有3000万次月访问量的网站相比,Food52只不过是一盘小菜。

    2013年,海瑟和斯塔布斯决心改变这种局面。在A轮融资中,她们从贝塔斯曼数字媒体投资公司(Bertelsmann Digital Media Investments)等风投机构那里融资200万美元。“内容+电商+社区”成了Food52的特色业务模式,而且海瑟和斯塔布斯也认为,这家小而有特色的美食社区完全有机会走得更深、更远。

    如今这家公司已经拥有28名员工,并且搬到了一个半是厨房、半是办公室的办公场所。这里到处都是一盘盘用来测试味道和拍照的美食。(在最近一次实地访问中,该公司的员工正在拿一整条烤鱼和冒着汽泡的鸡尾酒当点心,而烤辣椒的辣味让我忍不住咳嗽起来。)

    Food52也非常注重利用额外的资本来扩展业务。比如一年前该公司推出了一个名叫Provisions的网站,主要销售美食的附属器具和保健产品,比如Food52用来展示美食的厨房用具,另外还有油盐酱醋等等。另外还有一些非常小众的独家器械,比如一柄非常实用的价值585美元的“香槟剑”,以及用来存放鸡蛋的“保鲜帽”等。

    Provisions上线后,Food52的业务就随之实现了充分循环。内容融合食谱,食谱融合商店,商店库存又被融合到网站的“收藏”部分。这个部分的功能有些像图片网站Pinterest,可以让用户在同一个地方保存食谱、文章或者打算购买的商品。

    这个动作似乎已经见到了成效。现在该网站每月已拥有360万名独立访客,比去年的170万增加了几乎一倍。电子邮件订阅数也从去年的65万上涨到今年的150万,提高了一倍多。另外从去年四月至今,该网站分享的菜谱数量已经达到27,000份,整整增长了三倍。

    更乐观的是,仅仅在一年时间里,Provisions就贡献了Food52的毛收入的三分之二(其余部分来自广告)。凭借3万多名购物者的贡献(其中有一半人已经成了回头客),该公司有史以来营收入第二、第三高的两个星期都是在今年夏天实现的。对于这种受季节性影响比较明显的电商业务来说,这实在是了不起的成绩。海瑟表示,Food52的顾客也很年轻,其中半数以上不满34岁——尽管该网站商品都属于需要花费“居民可支配收入”的范畴。

    最令人惊讶的是,在Provisions上卖得最火的商品类别,居然是与烹饪没有任何关系的“存储与组织”类商品,比如洗衣篓和干衣球等等。许多热门商品只在Food52上独家销售,这再次说明了一个所有年轻的电子商务公司都应该明白的道理——如果你把东西拿到亚马逊上卖,你就会输得很惨。这就是为什么Food52要销售专门手工定做的冰桶、用黑芝麻做成的独家调料、海盐、海带、斯汤普敦咖啡旅行套装等别具一格的商品,对了,还有花环,海瑟表示:“人们几乎疯狂地喜欢花环。”

    Food52的下一个商机是设计自己的产品,目前该公司已经开始与一些厂商展开合作。比如它与纽约手提包公司MZ Wallace合作开发了一款定制的农产品购物袋;与设计师克里斯蒂娜•韦伯合作开发了一系列擦拭杯盘用的抹布。另外该公司还利用了海瑟的出版业背景,打算今年与十速出版社【Ten Speed Press,隶属于兰登书屋(Random House)子公司皇冠出版社(Crown Publishing)】合作,出版四五本烹饪书。

    在美食网络社区领域,Food52仍然是一个小社区。但是随着数字媒体市场变得愈发细化,Food52凭借其独特的内容和积极参与的用户群,已经成为一家极具魅力,颇有价值的公司。到目前为止,该公司在营销方面的投资很少,但它的用户群仍然在稳步上涨,而且保持了很高的参与度。海瑟表示:“并不是说我们觉得:‘噢,增长太慢了。’我们认为,要保持品牌的声誉,就要对增长方式保持深思熟虑、小心谨慎。”对于小众网站来说,做深比做大更重要。或者用另一句创业界流行的格言来概括:做一个让100个人深爱的东西,要强于做一个100万人仅仅是有点喜欢的东西。(财富中文网)

    译者:朴成奎

    In 2009, Food52 had a level of sweet, indie appeal. The cooking site, which was founded by former New York Times food writer Amanda Hesser and Merrill Stubbs, featured well-shot food photos, friendly how-to videos, and fervent community debates on which fat to use in a pie crust or the best way to melt caramel. The recipes were curated and vetted. The members were more sophisticated than your average Rachael Ray fan.

    For all of this, the site was soon rewarded with a monthly audience of more than a million people, as measured by unique users. Yet compared to a site like AllRecipies.com—monthly audience: 30 million—Food52 was small potatoes. (Heirloom fingerling potatoes, no doubt, but small all the same.)

    In 2013, Hesser and Stubbs decided to change that. The pair raised $2 million in a Series A funding round from Bertelsmann Digital Media Investments and others to become a digital foodie force. Content plus commerce plus community was the business model du jour, and Hesser and Stubbs saw an opportunity to go deeper with their small but engaged community.

    The company grew to 28 employees and moved into a new kitchen-office hybrid space, laden with plated dishes from test recipes and shoots. (On a recent visit, its staff snacked on a whole roasted fish and fizzy cocktails, while I coughed on the fumes from some pungent roasted chili peppers.)

    Food52 also used the additional capital to expand into commerce. A year ago the company launched Provisions, a website that sells the accessories and lifestyle products that accompany its recipes, such as the cookware in which Food52 has used to display its recipes and pantry items like sauces, oils, and salts. There are plenty of esoteric accessories, too, like a very necessary $585 champagne saber and tiny knit hats for eggs.

    With Provisions, Food52 goes full circle. The content integrates the recipes, the recipes integrate the store, and the store’s inventory is integrated into Collections, a Pinterest-like part of the site that lets users save recipes, articles, and items for purchase in one place.

    The move appears to be working. Food52 now has 3.6 million monthly unique visitors, up from 1.7 million a year ago. Email subscriptions have doubled from 650,000 to 1.5 million. The number of recipes has increased threefold since April of last year to 27,000.

    Better still: One year in, Provisions has grown to make-up two thirds of Food52’s gross revenue. (The rest comes from advertisements.) With 30,000 shoppers, half of which have become return customers, the company hit its second and third-highest revenue weeks this summer, a rare feat for a seasonal commerce business. Its customers are also younger—more than half are under the age of 34, Hesser says—despite the “disposable income” nature of the site’s products.

    The biggest surprise? Provisions’ top-selling category isn’t even cooking-related. Storage and organization items, such as laundry baskets and dryer balls, lead the way. Many top-performing items are sold exclusively by Food52, affirming the lesson every young e-commerce company learns: If it’s sold on Amazon , you’re going to get beat. Which is why Food52 sells custom hand-blown ice buckets, an exclusive spice blend of black sesame, ocean salt and seaweed, and Stumptown coffee travel kits. Oh, and wreaths. “People go nuts for wreaths,” Hesser says.

    The next opportunity for Food52 is to design its own products, which the company has already explored in partnership with its vendors. Food52 has created a custom farmer’s market tote bag with MZ Wallace, the New York handbag company, and a set of tea towels with 52 stripes with designer Christina Weber. The company is also returning to Hesser’s publishing roots in a deal with Ten Speed Press, an imprint of Random House subsidiary Crown Publishing, to create four to five cooking-related books each year.

    In the world of food-related online communities, Food52 is still tiny. But its boutique appeal, bolstered by unusual content and a genuinely engaged audience, seems to be valuable as the digital media landscape becomes increasingly fragmented. The company has invested very little in marketing thus far, but its audience is growing and staying highly engaged. “Its not that we are like, ‘Oh slow growth,’” Hesser says. “But we feel like the way we maintain our brand is by being thoughtful and careful about how we grow.” For niche websites, it’s better to go deep than wide. Or to use another popular startup maxim: It’s better to build something that 100 people love than something that 1 million people only kind of like.

 

我来点评

  最新文章

最新文章:

500强情报中心

财富专栏