New York-based startup Food52, the crowdsourced cookery website co-founded by food writer Merril Stubbs and erstwhile New York Times food editor Amanda Hesser, moved into the e‑commerce space this month with the launch of its new online shop, “Provisions.” Marrying an online shop to web content is a relatively new development in the e‑commerce world, as many jobbing e‑commerce managers can testify; and when that web content centers on delicious food, Hesser and Stubbs can bank on stomach juices guiding their customers’ clicking fingers.
Why foodie e‑commerce managers will love Provisions
The Provisions store is cleverly integrated with the Food52 website. As Hesser explains, “If you wanted to make a cocktail, you might need a cocktail shaker, you might need a how-to on what kind of ice you need, how to crush it, or how to make a sugar syrup for your cocktail. You also may need glass tumblers to serve your cocktail in.”
That’s the kind of advice that Provisions delivers in the form of links and images right under the relevant item on Food52. The products available from Provisions also link back to relevant articles and recipes on Food52 and, eventually, the advice, recipes and Provisions products will be integrated across the entire Food52 site.
A short history of success
Food52 was born in New York in 2009 with the express aim of creating a new community for foodies – people who are passionately interested in making culinary delights but who aren’t necessarily professionals. Bravely taking on established giants in the food recipe space like Allrecipes.com, its canny fusion of crowdsourcing and curation helped it gain the traction that other new contenders in the space had failed to develop, giving them all a new home in the process.
Hesser says that she and co-founder Merissa Stubbs soon found that the site’s strong editorial voice, distinctive tone and visual impact was the key to making crowdsourcing “effective and scalable.” Aspiring e‑commerce managers can hardly fail to be impressed by its success: early funding came on the back of a book deal with Harper Collins, followed in 2010 by a $750,000 seed round. Then in early 2013, with plans to move into e‑commerce already clearly in site, Food52 bagged a tidy $2.75 million in Series A, much of which has gone into funding the e‑commerce venture.