In its second-largest acquisition, Amazon buys the company for $970 million.
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In addition to making K-cup coffees and teas exclusive to the site, Green Mountain extended the line by offering K-cup brewers from Keurig, which Green Mountain acquired in June. “Line extensions are a great way to expand the web store, because so much can be added without having to buy the shelf space,” says Freeman Evans.
It also means that Green Mountain can grow its web sales faster than one cup at a time.
A rare site
If an online shopper is looking for meat-or lobster tails, potatoes au gratin or molten chocolate cake, for that matter-Omaha Steaks is a premier destination. And the company has made sure everyone knows that.
Omaha Steaks is one of the best when it comes to marketing via every possible avenue-direct mail, e-mail, print and television advertising, and plenty of online partners like Amazon.com, AOL, MSN Shopping and Yahoo Shopping. An active affiliate program also seems to be ensuring that online consumers think of Omaha Steaks when they think of steaks at all: monthly visitors are up more than 50% since the beginning of the year.
The company was selling meat online as early as 1990 through the Compuserve service, back when commercial use of the Internet was a no-no. Omaha Steaks went on to open one of the first web stores ever, as well as one of the first storefronts on America Online. The experience shows on the site.
When one asks people to shell out double the supermarket price (or more) to get meat in the mail, not only must the meat itself be ambrosial, the ordering experience must be utterly painless. And that indeed is what Omaha Steaks ensures. In addition to its signature hunks of beef, the company has branched out into seafood, poultry, pastas, side dishes, sauces, seasonings-even pet treats. Site menus are simple and clear. For the beef neophyte, there’s a guide to buying the right steak, plus detailed instructions and recipes for cooking it, and a free downloadable cookbook. And once a customer has placed an order, it’s easy and quick to check the status. A sister site, A La Zing, offers complete prepared meals, for prices that fall about midway between going to a restaurant and cooking from scratch.
According to shopping search engine Bizrate’s user ratings, the company is delivering: its record of reviews is riddled with smiley faces, especially for its on-time delivery record and customer support.