Will Alexa get customers cooking with Blue Apron?
When users of Amazon’s Echo Show smart display device want to order a meal kit from Blue Apron, the task is simple enough. And now, if they need instruction preparing the meal, they can ask Alexa for help.
Late last year the meal kit company partnered with Alexa to make a selection of offerings available for order through Echo Show devices without a subscription, according to a press release. Additionally, any Alexa user can now leverage the voice assistant-based step-by-step cooking instructions for Blue Apron’s two-meal and four-meal recipes. Blue Apron plans to expand its partnership with Alexa throughout 2022 as part of a plan to double its number of partners overall.
In the years after its 2012 founding, Blue Apron became a much talked about darling of the then fledgling meal kit space. Enthusiasm for the company waned, however, as more entrants entered the field and consumer interest for the sometimes pricey kits cooled. The brand had its initial public offering in June of 2017 and, by December of 2018, was trading below $1 per share, with investors registering concerns over high marketing costs and customer churn, according to CNBC.
Blue Apron and meal kits in general experienced a bump in adoption in 2020, as the pandemic confined people nationwide to their homes.
Before the unexpected pandemic tailwind, Blue Apron was already trying to partner its way to a new customer base. In 2019, the brand announced a partnership with WW, Inc., formerly Weight Watchers International, Inc., to collaborate on meal kits suited to the WW Freestyle program. Blue Apron told The Washington Post that the move marked a shift away from “acquiring customers one at a time.”
Amazon Alexa has been playing a growing role in people’s household habits as the tech giant has begun embedding the cloud-based voice assistant in devices such as coffee makers and air fryers.
Customers have not, however, been adopting the tool for making purchases at the rate once anticipated, with experts pointing to the lack of a screen as the cause for hesitance. This may explain why the Echo Show, Amazon’s screen-enabled Alexa device, was the one chosen to enable customers to purchase Blue Apron meal kits à la carte.
- Blue Apron Now Available with Amazon Alexa – Blue Apron/BusinessWire
- You can now get Blue Apron for under $1 — not the meal kit, but the company’s stock – CNBC
- Is the coronavirus pandemic sparking a meal-kit comeback? – RetailWire
- Is Blue Apron smart to pin turnaround hopes on Weight Watchers alliance? – RetailWire
- One way Blue Apron is looking to turn itself around in 2019 – The Washington Post
- Why does Amazon want a branded TV? – RetailWire
- Connected coffee makers that help you save time – The Gadget Flow
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: Will the recipe guidance and one-off ordering via Alexa benefit Blue Apron’s business? What will Blue Apron and other meal kit providers need to do to maintain the sales momentum created over the past two years, once the pandemic has subsided?