BloomThat: Subscribe & Save

I’ve used BloomThat on a few occasions and have been incredibly pleased with both the quality of the service and the freshness of the flowers. Prior to BloomThat, flower shopping was a pain — i was overwhelmed by the number of options (most major retailers have dozens of choices for every occasion imaginable) and frustrated by the costs of express delivery (often paying 20-30% more to send the flowers two days after purchase). BloomThat has a handful of well-crafted SKUs and same-day delivery that’s included in the, affordable, cost of the flowers.

After already having seen customers purchase flowers at a rate 3x the industry average, BloomThat can continue to grab marketshare from the large flower retailers by considering some of the following:

Subscribe and Save Program: Customers can sign up for monthly flowers to save x% per bouquet. This feasibility of this is dependent on:

  • current cost of good sold/margins
  • the magnitude of the discounts
  • the distribution of purchases (SKUs purchased and number of bouquets purchased per customer)

Customized email reminders: For those who aren’t yet ready to subscribe and save, BloomThat can provide an option to subscribe to email reminders for special days of the year (anniversaries, birthdays, gradations, etc.). These dates can be set by each customer.

Delivery tracking: Bicycles can be equipped with GPS tracking devices (iPhones) that allow customers to easily track the delivery in real-time on the website or mobile app.

Expansion in different markets through partnerships: By partnering with ride-sharing companies like Uber and Lyft, BloomThat can expand its reach in cities without San Francisco-like weather.

While I’m sure the company isn’t resting on its laurels (pun intended), BloomThat can continue to reshape the flower delivery industry by providing customers with value-adding features like the ones above.

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Transaction Analysis Using Simple

Simple is an electronic-only banking service that launched in the summer of 2012. I became a Simple customer shortly after, in August of 2012, but used it as a satellite account for the first year, mostly because a credit card served as a much better form of currency for a college student with a meager income than did a debit card.

Last November, shortly after I graduated from college, I made the switch from my Chase banking services to Simple. I appreciated the prompt notifications I received every time my card was charged, the Goals feature that automatically deducted money from my ’Safe-to-Spend’ amount, and the application’s ability to automatically, and correctly categorize expenses. However, the depth of the transactional data was by far the most important reason for the switch, as data can help identify and reshape behavior. Here’s a simple example:

I spend many of my weekends in San Francisco visiting my girlfriend. Thus, I’d naturally expect to see a large portion of my expenses originating in the state of California. Despite those expectations, the chart below surprised me:

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60% of my daily expenses over the past three months originated in California. With a few more clicks, I found that 56% of those transactions are attributable to taxis. Uber’s clearly made calling a cab a little too easy. While I don’t mind spending ~$1,000 on restaurants over a three-month period, I can definitely find a way to cut down on the $1,380 I spent on cabs during the same time span. Furthermore, approximately $840 of the $1,380 was spent on cabs to and from the airport — I now try to rent Zipcars or use the BART.

Some may say that analysis was relatively simple and could have been performed with other financial tracking services, such as Mint. Here’s something that may not have been as simple to do with traditional banking and expense-tracking services:
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The above is a chart that breaks out my spending by twenty minute chunks of time. There are two major chunks of the day during which I spend money: 2:30p through 6p and 7p through 2a. Combine that chart with the below and I get a sense for the times of the day when I should be wary of pulling out my Simple card.

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A natural extension of this would be to plot transactions by day of the week and by day of the month.

Simple already has a ‘Reports’ feature that allows you to search for transactions by category, time, location, and amount. However, the current feature simply lists transactions — individuals are much better at recognizing patterns when data can be visualized: in charts and graphs. Simple would be much more useful if it allowed for customized searches that produced data visualizations. While my analysis was Excel-based, it looks like Simple currently has the technology in place to do the same automatically. The ‘daily,’ ‘weekly,’ and ‘monthly,’ line graphs that are generated could be modified for other purposes.

Individualized data analysis is the next step in commercial banking. Helping individuals make sense of their spending in a meaningful and actionable way can help transform behavior. An individualized monthly report that graphically portrays spending trends that matter to each customer — without the effort associated with the maintenance of a Mint account — would add tremendous value to Simple customers. I would love to help think through this product should the Simple team be interested.

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iBeacon Integration at Wrigley Field

iBeacon is an indoor positioning system built by Apple that uses Bluetooth Low Energy to relay signals from a base station sensor to a mobile device in its vicinity. The sensor can read information from the device and send content back to it based on that information. This content is delivered through a mobile application that generates location-based push notifications.

Estimote, is an early-stage vendor of iBeacon-capable hardware. The ‘motes’ essentially serve as communication tools that send and receive signals to and from smartphones in their sensory range. The range of a ‘mote’ can be as close as four inches or as far away as 200 feet.

Below is a list of ballpark applications for the sensors:

For Fans:
Get to your seat/nearest exit — iBeacon can help fans locate where they currently are relative to their seat, and in the process, can help them find the best path to their seats. This can also help fans leave the ballpark once the game ends by displaying the nearest exit, the exit closest to a particular train stop or bus station, and the ballpark path with the least amount of traffic.

Browse the ballpark menu — the entire menu can be accessed and ordered through a ballpark application. iBeacon can show fans the vendors nearest them that offer the item that they’re looking for, and orders can be placed from the comfort of a seat, only to be picked up at one’s convenience.

Browse the souvenir stands — the entire catalog of souvenirs can be accessed and ordered through a ballpark application. iBeacon can show fans the vendors nearest them that offer the item that they’re looking for, and orders can be placed from the comfort of a seat, only to be picked up at one’s convenience.

Interactive ballpark map — fans can choose to opt in to location based notifications that would provide information about locations of note: the marquee, the statues around the ballpark etc. iBeacon can help welcome fans once they enter the ballpark, ‘Welcome to Wrigley Field, home of the Chicago Cubs. Here are today’s lineups.’ 

Interactive and location-based games — guess the attendance game can be played by fans in the stadium with the app. Those who win can be entered into a raffle/given a small coupon. Additionally, fans in a random section with the app will be given coupons for food/merchandise/tickets.

For Business:
Track fan movements

  • track where fans congregate
  • track which vending stations need additional employees/food/merchandise items
  • reduce traffic within the stadium by using iBeacon to intelligently map a path for fans that takes into account other fans
  • track fan engagement by inning, score, and weather

Loyalty program — can figure out how frequently fans return; begin to target users who attend games frequently, and provide them with special services/discounts.

Data — the data collected on fan movements and purchases (from ballpark and souvenir ideas above) can be analyzed for ways to better engage fans by demographics (age, gender, frequency of visit, etc.).

The Cubs could work with Estimote, or competitors, in order to formulate a strategy for effective hardware placement around the ballpark. The cost to implement this technology on a ballpark-wide basis would largely be a one-time hardware and installation cost. The Estimote team recommends a three-sensor setup per xxx square feet of space. A three-sensor pack costs $99. Wrigley’s interior area is approximately xxx square feet — resulting in a hardware/installation cost of $xxxx.

While Major League Baseball is currently testing this technology in certain ballparks — notably Citi Field* — it may be years before the Commissioner’s Office is ready to implement this on a league-wide basis. Additionally, given that Wrigley will be undergoing significant changes in the upcoming years, this initiative could be placed within the framework of the new ballpark. 

Location-based technology will not only increase fan engagement and convenience, but also provide business operations more robust data by which to evaluate pricing and marketing decisions. I would love to help think through this project should the Cubs’ business operations team be interested.

Appendix:
http://techcrunch.com/2013/09/29/mlbs-ibeacon-experiment-may-signal-a-whole-new-ball-game-for-location-tracking/
http://searchenginewatch.com/article/2324297/iBeacon-Goodbye-Showrooming-Hello-In-Store-Purchase

Hardware providers:
Estimote: http://estimote.com/
Sensorberg: http://www.sensorberg.com/

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