In its effort to position itself as the UK’s “Etsy for foodies”, LoveYourLarder has launched a revenue share scheme allowing publishers to earn money by linking to relevant products, thus supporting the smaller independent food producers that the company works with.
Soft-launched in late 2010, LoveYourLarder can perhaps be best thought of as an online version of a farmer’s market, enabling foodies to discover and buy hard-to-find ingredients or “artisan” food and drink from independent producers in the UK.
Hence the reference to Etsy.
Since I last checked in with the company, the marketplace has grown from 70 producers to over 150 and now lists over 1,500 products, up from 500. In addition, the UK startup launched a subscription service in January called LarderBox — five site-picked items for a set monthly fee — of which it’s sold over 1,000 boxes.
Commenting on the new affiliate scheme, which is specifically aimed at food bloggers and recipe sites, founder Tristan Watson says that he’s “excited about how this can help content producers earn money without having to display AdSense”, which he notes, despite Google’s best efforts, can be poorly targeted, while CPC and CPM rates are dropping.
“We give each producer a 5% affiliate commission on referrals that lead to sales – so with an average order value of £25 they’ll earn around £1.25 – much better than they’ll get from AdSense”, he says.
Which may well be true, but depends on whether or not the click actually leads to a purchase. But if the links are in support of a recipe, for example, then the synergy is a good one and readers will be “highly motivated to make a purchase”, says Watson.
Zooming out a bit, Watson says that the food industry “has been late to adopt new technology” but sees the success of services like Housebites as well as the recent acquisition of Foodzie as evidence that there is a lot of potential to change the way consumers purchase food and, presumably, their eating habits.
LoveYourLarder’s subscription service is a curious example – I recently took delivery of my first ‘LarderBox’ and while I’m enjoying the cake, honey, artisan chocolate and other gastronomic pleasures, I’m not sure I can be persuaded to commit to a serendipitous purchase of this nature every single month. The broader marketplace in which LoveYourLarder acts purely as a middle person, enabling consumers to connect directly with and buy from producers, may be a better model. But then there’s still a need for discovery, which I think is the key to growing the artisan food industry online.
In terms of funding, LoveYourLarder is a graduate of the Difference Engine accelerator program, and has received a £150,000 investment from Northstar Ventures. The company says it’s in the process of raising their next funding round.