Newly independent e-commerce player may catch the eye of Groupon, LivingSocial, etc.
Seamless Web, the restaurants e-commerce provider, is rebranding as Seamless in a move designed to underscore its new focus on mobile. Twenty percent of the $400 million worth of orders it projects to process for local eateries this year will be through smart phones, the New York-based company told ClickZ News.
"We'll do over 1 million mobile transactions this year, which is phenomenal because just over a year ago we didn't have an iPhone app," said Seamless CEO Jonathan Zabusky. "We are seeing mobile as a way to acquire new customers, as well a great complement to the web experience."
Interestingly, the 12-year-old company doesn't have a daily deals platform to complement the online ordering system and constant hand-holding it offers merchants in 26 U.S. cities and London. Customer care for the 7,000 restaurant using the service is available 24/7.
"We have a local sales and relationship management force in each of the cities we cover," Zabusky said. "[We have] people who have a deep knowledge on a neighborhood-by-neighborhood basis."
The infrastructure is in place to make Seamless a one-stop shop for restaurants' digital marketing needs, including deals. Restaurants will soon likely tire of being inundated with sales calls from Groupon, LivingSocial, Google Offers, Facebook Deals, Yelp, BuyWithMe, etc. Such restaurants would seem more likely to chat about deals with the salesperson who is also their point person for regular e-commerce. But Seamless doesn't plan to launch a deals platform.
So wouldn't it makes sense for one of the big deals players like Groupon or LivingSocial to buy out Zabusky so one of them can offer restaurants a simpler way to get all of their digital needs met? In an increasingly crowded space, it could give one of the players a significant leg up.
Seamless may be poised to consider acquisition offers. Last month, the company became independent again, spinning off from food service company Aramark.
When asked about becoming an acquisition target, the Seamless CEO said, "We think from a corporate development prospective, there will be a lot of potential partnerships to evaluate over time. Right now, it's about driving consumer demand with a focus on mobile."
Seamless has 1 million registered users and 300,000 downloads of its iPhone/Android app, as well as specific data that the Groupons and LivingSocials of the world cannot boast. When users order delivery or pick-up online or via mobile, what appetizers, entrees and drinks they prefer is captured.
"Amex knows where you are eating," Zabusky said. "But in our case, we have that transaction at an item level which helps us become more predictive about consumer preferences."
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Christopher Heine was a senior writer for ClickZ through June 2012. He covered social media, sports/entertainment marketing, retail, and more. Heine's work has also appeared via Mashable, Brandweek, DM News, MarketingSherpa, and other tech- and ad-centric publications. USA Today, Bloomberg Radio, and The Los Angeles Times have cited him as an expert journalist.
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