Seamless Market Penetration
The market penetration strategy for Seamless is to focus on growth within larger cities. The company grew its brand in these areas by targeting working clients and students, optimizing mobile technology, and tailoring their advertising to the local area.
Seamless's Introduction to Market and Early History
- Seamless was introduced to the market in 1999.
- It was introduced in New York City as an online food delivery system that specifically targeted corporate clients such as bankers and lawyers who worked long hours.
- The system became available for use by the general public in 2015. The company was acquired in 2006 by Aramark and struggled against increasing competition.
- The company operated in 13 US cities and London by 2009. Their base of 1.5 million users was evenly split between consumer and corporate accounts at the time.
Market Penetration Strategy
- The Seamless market penetration strategy appears to have multiple elements, which are described below in greater detail. The strategy overall includes focusing on major cities, greater emphasis on the consumer market, and mobile technology updates.
- The company received $50 million in financing in 2011 to focus on penetration into the consumer market. Company spending for this move went into advertising, acquisition of other brands such as MenuPages, and application updates.
- The brand was operating in 27 cities in 2011. These included New York, London, Boston, Chicago, San Francisco, and Los Angeles. Their YouTube channel also showed operations in Washington, D.C.
- With the acquisition of MenuPages's mobile app system and menu capabilities that year, the company planned to expand to more than 50 cities worldwide and considered mobile sales a key element of growth.
- 15% of Seamless orders came through mobile devices in 2011. This was significantly up from 1% in 2010. Now more than 50% of Seamless orders are placed using a mobile device.
- Their video media campaign in 2012 shows that the company hosted promotional events at universities in several large cities. The universities shown included Boston University, University of Pennsylvania, UCLA, and Cal Berkeley.
- The company was operating in more than 40 cities by 2013. A company official stated that expansion decisions were based on demographic considerations and consumer demand. The company was mainly focusing on expansion in the United States.
- Seamless became a GrubHub brand in 2013. Its expansions after this time become somewhat difficult to determine. Most expansion-related press releases by GrubHub do not list specific brand-level market expansions.
- Seamless was operating in many large metropolitan areas in 2015, including Boston, Chicago, Houston, Miami, Los Angeles, New York, Philadelphia, San Francisco, and Washington, D.C. Their market expansion plans were primarily limited to larger cities. The company was a market leader that year in gross sales for online food delivery.
- Seamless is currently operating at a consumer level in more than 600 cities. Forty of these cities have the additional capability of corporate ordering.
Brand Growth in a Highly Populated City: New York City
- Seamless serves more than 50,000 restaurants nationwide. More than 11,000 of those restaurants are in the Greater New York City area.
- Seamless has grown to be "New York's largest and favorite takeout app" and "an iconic New York brand." Their initial focus was on facilitating corporate ordering by bankers and lawyers.
- Seamless was launched in New York City in 1999.
- Their website advertised free coffee events for workers throughout Manhattan in 2009. Most of their users at this time were New York residents. The company continued these coffee events in various areas of New York City in 2011.
- The brand had a firm hold in New York City by 2014. New York City was the country's largest market for online food ordering at the time.
- The company added an Amazon Alexa feature in 2017 designed to cater to on-the-go New York residents. Seamless also ran ads showcasing the diversity of the city's restaurants that year.
- The company places advertisements in New York City's taxis and subways. It also buys outdoor signage in the area and runs television commercials specifically geared toward New York City residents. The Seamless website lists New York City as a specific browsing category, separate from all other cities, on its web page.
Brand Growth in a Highly Populated City: Los Angeles
- The company's market penetration strategy in Los Angeles appears to be targeting students and corporate workers.
- Seamless has operated in Los Angeles since at least 2009. A video of their website at the time shows that the brand offered 25% off coupons to users who made successful referrals to others in Los Angeles.
- Seamless appeared to target the student population of Los Angeles during its 2012 campaigns. There are two UCLA-specific videos on the company's YouTube channel.
- A 2012 video shows that the company used flyer/mailer coupons to promote mobile orders. During the same year, the brand's video media campaign shows that the company hosted a dance marathon promotional event at the University of California Los Angeles.
- The volume of orders in Los Angeles more than quadrupled in 2012.
- Los Angeles is one of the 40 cities nationwide where Seamless facilitates corporate ordering. This may be due to the fact the city has the 3rd largest business district in the US.
Seamless is owned by GrubHub Inc. Information about the company was sourced from the Seamless website. The research team also gathered Seamless-specific details from the GrubHub website. Due to the Seamless brand's twenty year history, it was necessary to use sources from several years ago to find information on how Seamless grew its brand from the company's introduction to the present day. There was not much historical or market penetration information available on the company website. However, there was some related information on the company's current and former YouTube channels. Videos on these channels were used to get a sense of the brand's promotion strategies and market expansions. Articles from 2009 to 2015 were also consulted to glean further details about the company's market penetration at that time.