Day Drinking

Today, we're here to talk about day drinking otherwise known as drinks you sip on during the work week.

We thought it was pretty interesting that our CEO, CTO and CMO all prefer different morning drinks... none of which are a regular cup of joe. 

On any given day our CEO, Andrew, can be caught at a juice bar. This guy loves fresh juice. When he's in San Francisco you can find him at Raw Juice where his drink of choice is the Motherload. If he's in Boston, he will swing by Revolution Juice for the Sweet Beet. Finally, if he's zooming through NYC you can catch him grabbing Charcoal Lemonade at Pressed Juicery.

rawjuice

Our CTO, Tommy, is less complex as his go-to drink of choice is... water! We're not here to knock water, the health benefits are amazing and he's making a much better financial choice. However, we admit the team has tried to get him to expand his horizons (to no avail). Naturally, we had to inquire about his favorite places to grab water: 

waterislife

Our CMO, Morgan, cares about one thing; caffeine. Her number one go-to when she needs to hit the ground running is a doppio with a splash of chocolate. Don't know what a doppio is? It's two straight shots of espresso, and one way to say "good morning!". Next up, sugar-free redbull. She claims this is a once a week thing when she really wants to buckle down, but sometimes we're sure she's sneaking a few more in.

doppio.jpg

So what's your morning drink of choice? What snaps you into gear during your afternoon lulls? Let us know on any of our social channels; Twitter, Facebook, Instagram.

Mother's Day Prep

Mother's Day is two weeks away, and we want to first, remind you, and second, make sure you're prepared. We've got some pretty awesome mom's across the Benja crew and we've put together a list of all the things they want, hoping they'll help you out too.

1. Dogeared "Mom" I Love Mom Necklace
Unless you know your mom already has a staple necklace that she refuses to ever change, this is a great option. Even if you've never seen your mom wear a necklace, safe bet that she will start wearing one if you send it for Mother's Day. Dogeared has a lot of great products, but this one is our favorite.
 

2. Nambe Cheese Block with Knife and Spreader
If your mom is the hostess with the mostess help her out with some more great pieces to have when guests show up. We love Nambe products and the magnetic tools on the side of this cheese block are always a unique conversation piece. Not to mention, you know mom has everything to entertain, so you don't want to get her a piece that's hard to store. 

3. Dear Mom Mug
If you've got some competitive siblings, or maybe you're the competitive one, this gift is for you. There are quite a few options out there, but this one spoke to us. We're always fighting for the #1 spot with mom, don't kid yourself, so let her be reminded of you each morning when she sips on her coffee/tea.

4. Fitbit Alta HR
Our mom's love tracking their steps. Some of them go on long walks each morning and want to know exactly how far they went and also want to beat the previous day if only by a few steps. If you want to go above and beyond, get two and start competing. Fitbit's are always a win, and the Alta has tons of interchangeable bands to accessorize with. 

5. Seasons of Life Note Card Assortment Pack
We'll end with our top sentimental choice, stationary. If you want to do it up big, order this set directly to you, keep half of the cards (and envelopes) and send the other set off to mom and include 12 postage stamps. This will take a tiny bit of continued work, but you can send the first note with her set and promise to write each other once a month for the next year. She will swoon, and you'll have won Mother's Day. You're welcome.

Order now and make sure mom has something to open up on Mother's Day! If you need more ideas, send a message to support@benjaminapp.co and we'll help you find the right gift.

Top Alexa Skills

We've talked about Alexa on some of our social channels, in fact, our CEO has even written up his take on technology that's always listening. Today, we just want to share how we use Alexa on a daily basis because we think she's pretty cool. 

  1. Booking Trips
    This skill is primarily beneficial if you currently use Kayak to book your trips. Alexa can actually check prices on a trip you've set. For example, you can say "Alexa, what's the best priced ticket to go from SFO to LGA?" Even cooler, if you're not sure where your next vacation is you can say " Alexa, ask Kayak where I can go for $350." Whether you're daydreaming of a vacation or know exactly where you're going, try it out.
  2. Order a Ride
    You can ask Alexa to order you an Uber or Lyft! If you have locations set in your app it's even better because you can say "Alexa, order me an Uber from home to XRC Labs." Some of you may know how precious an extra 60 seconds or so is when getting ready to head out the door. 
  3. Sports Update
    You all may know about this one, but it doesn't make us love it less. You can setup your favorite sports team within your Alexa app and anytime throughout the day you can say "Alexa, give me my sports update." When you follow different sports and different teams you don't always want to wait to scroll across their tweet's or click through ESPN, so just have Alexa give you the rundown.
  4. Wine Lovers
    Love wine? Want to love wine? Want to impress someone who loves wine? MySomm turns Alexa into your own sommelier. You can ask Wine Gal what to pair with the cheeseburger you just ordered or something a little more in-line like, "Alexa, ask Wine Gal what goes with roast chicken." You can also activate What Beer for those who prefer beer pairings.
  5. Help in the Kitchen
    MyChef is built to be your sous chef. This skill definitely requires the most effort on the users part to become useful, but once you have it setup it's pretty cool. You can add items to your shopping list, which you can access on your phone once you're at the store, you can also find recipes based on what you have available in your kitchen. Once you have all your pantry items in the app you can even ask things like "Alexa, what's expiring soon?" so you can decide what to cook first.
  6. Skill Finder
    It's exactly what it sounds like; a new way to easily discover Alexa’s newest and top skills. After all, she has over 10,000 skills and you probably use tons everyday that we've never even heard of! So you can have SkillFinder tell you the skill of the day or even what the top skills in the catalogue are.

We want to hear about the skills that you find most useful, so catch us on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram to let us know!

Our Favorite NYC Spots

During the accelerator program at XRC Labs, we spent about 4 months in New York City. Although we can't say that all our favorite spots ended up being "hidden gems," they're places that we'll definitely get back to when we're visiting the city next. 

We were constantly on the hunt for great brunch, and on top of that, avocado toast [at a great brunch spot]. We finally found it at Jack's Wife Freda who came through big time. 

Pictured: Avocado toast w/ cherry tomato jam, pickled carrots, and za’atar and a side of fries. Green Shakshuka; 2 baked eggs in a green tomatillo shakshuka served with challah toast.

Pictured: Avocado toast w/ cherry tomato jam, pickled carrots, and za’atar and a side of fries. Green Shakshuka; 2 baked eggs in a green tomatillo shakshuka served with challah toast.

A few of us here at benja love to cycle, yeah, spin classes. We knew there had to be something spectacular in NYC, and boy did we find it when we came across IMAX Shift in Dumbo. This studio has built their design within an IMAX Movie Theater so you're riding right there with whatever or whoever is on the screen. We were lucky enough to catch their Music Video Ride -- highly recommended. 

Here's a shot of the studio, when it's go time the lights go down and the screen lights up your ride. 

Here's a shot of the studio, when it's go time the lights go down and the screen lights up your ride. 

You've seen the cookie dough place all over Facebook or maybe the crazy milkshake place or maybe you've been drooling over cronut's (trust us, they're all pretty great too) but there's a bakery that you just can't miss...LeVain Bakery. We've never seen a cookie baked quite this way, it's almost like scone meets cookie meets whoa. So take a stroll through Central Park, probably prepare to wait in line, and get you some cookies. 

Pictured: Chocolate chip walnut cookie. 

Pictured: Chocolate chip walnut cookie. 

We love comedy shows, and we went to quite a few in the city but none as unique as BATSU!. To start, Batsu in Japanese means "punishment". Four warriors compete in comedic challenges to avoid electric shocks, paintballs, a giant egg-smashing chicken, and many more hilarious and jaw-dropping punishments. Not to mention a friend we were with lost a challenge and had to dress up as a ballerina on stage. As if St. Mark's Place isn't lively enough, Batsu is a must if you're in the area.

Pictured: Four comedians face-off in a comedic battle

Pictured: Four comedians face-off in a comedic battle

We ended our trip by going to One World Observatory. First and foremost, this was our favorite New York City experience. To be inside a building that was built upon a city rising back up is not only extremely touching but wildly inspiring. We got the opportunity to go at sunset and the view was beyond anything we could have imagined. Intertwined with the memories and the tributes was phenomenal technology; the elevator experience, the first time you "see forever", the iPads that tell you about each building and so much more. This is an absolute must.

Pictured: (left) sunset view (right) night time view.

Pictured: (left) sunset view (right) night time view.

Thank you again to XRC Labs for hosting our office space, connecting us to amazing mentors and aiding in our continued growth and success. 

New York City, we'll be back.

Benja joins forces with XRC Labs

We have a big announcement: we're proud members of the latest cohort at the XRC Labs accelerator program in New York City.

XRC Labs is an accelerator for the next generation of disruptors in the retail and consumer goods sectors. Their mission is to foster companies and products that change the face of retail and consumer goods fulfillment in a rapidly changing marketplace using design thinking. The XRC Labs vision is to be at the forefront of change, disrupting the conventional system of supply chain, promoting the best experience for consumers and producers, and creating an ecosystem that matches partners for success. 

Enter Benja

XRC is Providing workspace on the campus of Parsons, access to capital, mentoring, and operational support for entirety of their 10-week program.

XRC is Providing workspace on the campus of Parsons, access to capital, mentoring, and operational support for entirety of their 10-week program.

We are amped to not only be a part of the program but to work alongside 7 other companies who were also accepted as a part of this cohort: 29th Century, Cartogram, CheckOut, Ella, Lacelook, Snappy, and Ziel.

  • 29th Century; for e-commerce businesses who can’t find or afford their own data analytics team, 29th Century provides an AI-powered virtual data analyst to help them make better decisions.
  • Cartogram; provides indoor location services to businesses. Built natively into the Google Maps platform, Cartogram’s software services work together to create an end-to-end in-venue experience to drive revenue, enhance customer experience, and lower overhead for businesses.
  • CheckOut; uniting online sales and conversion strategies with brick and mortar retail for a complete and immersive customer experience in physical stores.
  • Ella; positioned to fill the void in the women’s skincare market, as a female-focused lifestyle brand. Ella provides an elevated product and brand experience, sourcing high- quality ingredients tailored to the needs and identity of women.
  • Lacelook; building a powerful AI- backed visual search technology for visual-oriented products such as fashion goods – clothing, handbags, shoes, etc. – and helping consumers get real-time shop-the-look results and compare prices across brands and retailers.
  • Snappy; an app that makes it extremely easy to send a thoughtful and personalized gift but with all the advantages of a gift card – offering choice for recipients and simplicity for senders.
  • Ziel; a platform that enables any lifestyle company to expand the reach of their brands into activewear. Ziel provides a turnkey solution to bring high-quality, eco-friendly performance apparel to market. The service platform includes custom design with on-demand production

We have a number of major developments coming between now and the conclusion of the program in March, and we can't wait to share the success stories that come from this experience. 

Addressing Digital Delivery Questions

Over the course of the past year, we've successfully executed digital delivery campaigns on behalf of Starbucks, Spotify, Panera Bread, Hulu, Pandora One, and Uber. These are some of our most popular items and each time we launch one such campaign, we're inundated with some version of this question: "why does it take (period of time) to deliver a digital gift code?"

The purpose of this post is to share our new digital delivery item policy for 2017 and to explain, in complete detail, why this is a necessary step in our process.

WHY THE DELAY?

The digital delivery space - especially gift codes, gift cards, and coupons - has a collossal problem: fraud. Since these items have a high liquidity value (meaning that they are easy to sell/flip for cash), digital deliveries are common targets for fraudsters. 

The most common way that this happens is that an individual comes into possession of a credit card that doesn't belong to them - sometimes it's stolen, sometimes they guess numbers until they hit gold - and they purchase a large amount of digital delivery items. These "carders" then immediately sell the items on a secondary market for cash. 

When the original cardholder realizes what has happened, they call their bank or credit card company and file a chargeback. 2-3 weeks later, our payment processor reverses the transaction and investigates the matter which almost always results in the company losing the funds that they had sold in the first place.

This means that the fraudster gets away with the amount they were able to liquidate the goods for, the original cardholder gets their money returned to them, and the merchant is left eating the cost of the damage done. This is commonly referred to as carding. We don't like this, and our payment processor doesn't like it either, as it impacts their ability to do their job.

OUR STANDARD PRACTICE, EXPLAINED 

In addition to technology-based safeguards to prevent high-risk transactions from happening, we have instituted a fulfillment process designed to make it difficult for fraudsters to pull off a carding attack.

The simple answer is to delay the delivery of all orders for new customers by 2-4 weeks. This way, if a digital delivery item is purchased with a stolen credit card, we will likely know before the code is delivered. 

If you are an existing or previous customer, you may request a manual review by e-mailing support@benjaminapp.co. In some cases, we may be able to issue digital delivery items ahead of schedule for such customers.

As always, we are happy to address any specific concerns or questions that you may have about these campaigns. Contact us on Twitter (@thebenjaminapp) or via e-mail at support@benjaminapp.co. 

Introducing..."Gift Mode"

This holiday season we wanted to give you an easy way to shop for friends and family, so we came up with "Gift Mode". 

 

"Gift Mode" will allow you to easily switch between shopping for yourself and shopping for others just by telling us a little about the person you're shopping for. The way you do this is simple; tap in and out of the gift box in the upper right hand corner of the screen.

 

The above gallery depicts the order in which you can enter and exit "Gift Mode" (from left to right):

  1. When you first login, you're in your own profile (or will be asked to create your own profile) to start shopping for yourself. You'll notice in the upper right hand corner there is a white gift box with a blue background. 
  2. If you click that gift box, you're heading into "Gift Mode": "You're entering gift mode! Shopping for your mom, sister, or mister? Whoever it is, the more details you can provide, the better the deals we can load up."
  3. You'll then be brought to the "Interests" page for the person you've shopping for. Tell us what they're into!
  4. The last thing you'll fill out for your giftee is info about who they are? Gender and sizes. 
  5. Then boom! You'll now being seeing deals for the person you're shopping for. Swipe left to pass and swipe right to purchase. You'll know you're in gift mode because the gift box in the upper right hand corner now has a white background. 
  6. When you're ready to exit gift mode and go back to shopping for yourself, simple tap the gift box in the upper right hand corner again: "Leave gift mode? All done with shopping for others right now? No problem. just remember you'll lose this profile and will start fresh when you're ready to shop for someone else again."

On top of this, we're releasing a ton of gift-worthy deals every day. We've got some big surprises ahead, so make sure you've downloaded the app and if you'd like to subscribe to our e-mail list, click here. 

Here's a few of our favorite items to gift:

Multicolor LED Bike-Wheel Lights

Google Chromecast Media Streamer

Kaleidoscope Adult Coloring Books and Pencils Set (4-Pack)

We're excited to share this functionality with you and would love to hear your feedback. Please reach out via any of our social channels below or e-mail us directly at support@bejaminapp.co.

Happy Holidays!

Santaaaa, I know him!

We're welcoming December with open arms and getting ready for the Holiday's. Maybe you celebrate some of the Holiday's below, or maybe something else!

  • Saint Nicholas Day
  • Fiesta of Our Lady of Guadalupe
  • St. Lucia Day
  • Hanukkah
  • Christmas Day
  • Three Kings Day/Epiphany
  • Boxing Day
  • Kwanzaa
  • Omisoka

However you celebrate, we're pretty excited and want to make sure we have deals to carry you through it all. In order to start ramping up for the Holiday's though, we realize there are probably a few items you could use ASAP.

Because it's fine to have Elf on repeat starting December 1st.

Because it's fine to have Elf on repeat starting December 1st.

Not to mention, the time is always right for some hot chocolate.

Not to mention, the time is always right for some hot chocolate.

Finally, potlucks are a'coming people, time to start whipping up cookies with these holiday cookie cutters!

Finally, potlucks are a'coming people, time to start whipping up cookies with these holiday cookie cutters!

Moving right along, we've got some deals we've been holding out on (it's for good reason, we promise). Think delicious food, TV on the go and your favorite tech product that is named after a fruit.

Which leads us to our gift to you. For a limited time, we're offering 3 different discounted Benjamin gift card options:

  1. $25 gift card for only $20
  2. $50 gift card for only $40
  3. $75 gift card for only $55

The deals expire Sunday, December 4th at midnight and we're confident you'll have plenty of products to use em' up on. There's no limit on how many you can purchase, however, you can only use one per deal which really means you get a better deal on more deals, ya know?

Finally, we've got a holiday refresh coming to The Benjamin App next week. We're aiming to make gift giving as easy as shopping for yourself, so stay tuned. 

A Thankful Thanksgiving

We wanted to write a short Thanksgiving post and include some things we're thankful for. This year, our team is spread out from California to Texas to Florida and one all the way in India.

So first of all, we're thankful for safe travels and the ability to be with people we love in some pretty cool places. 

We're also thankful for family. This includes our parents, grandparents, siblings, friends that have turned into family and of course our fur babies.

We love our Goldendoodle's. Pictured above is Buddy and Rocky. 

We love our Goldendoodle's. Pictured above is Buddy and Rocky. 

Next, we're thankful for everyone who works on this holiday. Thanksgiving literally could not be possible without the grocery stores that stay open to get us the forgotten things like cranberries.

Insight into those who work on Thanksgiving. Seriously, you guys rock.

Insight into those who work on Thanksgiving. Seriously, you guys rock.

Which leads us to tables full of fabulous food. We're thankful to be fed and blessed with a wonderful Thanksgiving meal (admittedly, whether we helped cook it or not).

Lastly, we're thankful we get to do something we love. We get to skip out on Black Friday here at Benjamin because we provide Black Friday worthy deals year round. 

Skip the crazy stores and just shop on The Benjamin App.

Skip the crazy stores and just shop on The Benjamin App.

So thanks for tuning in...we're wishing you a wonderful Thanksgiving! Cheers to you and yours!