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NEW YORK - As part of a rebranding effort, NYCTOGO.com, a New York-based online marketplace of restaurants and specialty food stores, this week upgraded its site technology and benefits for consumers, and changed its name to Delivery.com.
The new brand will support and establish Delivery.com as an extensive network of local merchants in the country, enabling restaurants and food sellers to reach millions of consumers by conducting business via the Internet, according to Paul Geller, Delivery.com c.e.o. and founder.
"We've experienced a 50 percent increase in our volume of orders since last year, with very little in the way of advertising," Geller told Progressive Grocer. "We did acquire a company called homedelivery.com, which brought us some business, but this represented only a small fraction of our overall growth -- approximately 10-15 percent. We've been adding users and orders organically at this rate for a few years, as word spreads. Consumers know we're the easiest and most efficient way to place meal orders for delivery, and our network of participating restaurants and merchants grows every month."
Delivery.com has approximately 500 member restaurants, from Khyber Grill to other highly rated New York City neighborhood haunts, to local favorites Katz's Delicatessen and Veniero's, to burger and sandwich shops such as McDonald's, Quiznos, and Ranch 1. Consumers can also place mail or delivery orders through specialty and gourmet food sites, including Beluga Caviar, Dean & Deluca, Fifth Avenue Chocolatier, Grace's Marketplace, New York Steak and Seafood, and ABC The Cigar Store. Approximately 6 percent to 7 percent of its members consist of supermarkets.
The new site features a "MyDelivery" tool for consumers to customize and manage their accounts. Currently, consumers can search the Delivery.com database of participating merchants by restaurant or merchant name, zip code, cuisine, or other keyword. They also have the opportunity to reference and contribute Zagat-style scores in rating aspects of their experience with restaurants on the site. Consumers can sort by any of these criteria in narrowing their choices, and even edit ratings they've already made.
The Delivery.com site also maintains users' order histories and enables creation of a "Favorites" list, making the process of repeat orders more efficient.
All orders placed by consumers through Delivery.com are valid toward the DeliveryPoints program, through which consumers can accumulate points to receive assorted prizes. For only $14.95 annually, consumers can upgrade to or join the Gold Plan to collect points even faster, and to exchange them for cash or airline miles. Current prizes include movie tickets, an iPod Mini, Netflix subscription, Nintendo GameCube console, t-shirts, dinner certificates, a Dell computer, and a Sony Trinitron TV.
Geller said he believes that loyalty programs work much better online than in a brick-and-mortar environment. "It is easier for them to monitor their progress online," he said. "Every time they come to the site they see how many points they have accumulated, and whenever they place an order, their new totals are displayed. It's also easier to see the prizes or cash that they can exchange points for. This serves to engage them more in the program, especially for something like food ordering, which you can potentially do with great frequency."
Delivery.com provides corporate accounts for businesses' use in placing delivery and catering orders, including financial management tools. Companies that pay for or reimburse staff or client meals are able to pay a single bill per month to Delivery.com rather than one to each restaurant ordered from, and get many useful reports related to their food ordering.
Private-label Delivery.com applications and interfaces are available for participating building owners and property managers, restaurants, and other entities.
Future expansion plans for Delivery.com include further development of regional merchant networks in Boston and other cities around the country, and also in many college markets. "We actually have restaurants in Boston operating now, and we get orders there every day," Geller said. "We have just begun making an effort to get more restaurants, grocers, and other merchants in the area, which will be followed by a marketing program to users."
-- Joseph Tarnowski