The D2C Challenge Is Solved With A Mix Of Personality, Authenticity

Seiya Vogt, head of growth at Boxed, like a Costco online. Growth marketing is on all digital channels. 

Alex Stankiewicz, CMO and head of online sales,: ALOHA, protein powders, plant based. Oversee all of marketing, social, PR, partnerhsips, innovations, online sales.

Jordan Deodato, head of growth, BarkBox, lead business for Bark. BarkBox, monthly deliveries of great dog experiences to hundreds of thousands. Built on being a dog-centric brand. Responsible for user acquisition across trad and digital channels. 

Moderator Jessica Peltz–Zatulove, partner, MDC Ventures: Where are the efficiencies?

Seiya: there wasn’t an online solution for wholesale goods. 20-pack TP, initially we thought target areas where big boxes weren’t. But we see more coverage in areas where there Are B&M companies. People want to save time, have solution online. Ripe, right time.

Alex: health and wellness was crunchy, niche, not totally mass. It is more today. Having high-quality foods, affordable, no soy, no gluten. Progressive for its time. Cool vibe, down to earth, authentic. Disruptive and continues to be.

Jordan: pet industry has been impersonal. No personality. But relationship with dogs are colorful, unique, super personal. Founders not seeing that type of personality in Petco, Walmart. Looking at $72B industry, knowing people wanted convenience, personal touch. Built toys that dogs could pick up by mouth. All treats specific to allergies dog may have.

Jessica: Packaging, content, how important is content, building community of early users?

Alex: content, community are everything, target is 35 to 45 yo women. Having our website with products but also articles and information to explore. Active on Instagram, unique content, influencers. Active on LinkedIn as well. Constantly generating content, giving consumer fun, engaged ways to communicate with brand. Regularly tap into our tribe, gather insight, use that to shape our marketing with partnerships, social, ecommerce.

Seiya: a lot of overlap in our audiences, 25 to 30 women, tapping into what’s important to them. Feel strongly to cater to audience, we cover the pink tax. Box pays the tax for our customers. Across the website, done some PR about it.

Jordan: customer service is the “happy team.” Your dog is like your child. If you have an issue with a product, our response has to be personal. Everyone on team is a dog parent. Available through every type of communication. Respond to all comments on social. Subscription business, it would be easy to close door on them, but it’s more about being authentic.

Alex: We are consumer-centric, care about our customer. Field events, CX, social keep us engaged. Can make updates, changes quickly. DM’d us earlier this week, raving about protein bars, lower sugar, jazzed about it. Fun having CX plugged into our team, we can share on social.

Seiya: we make it extremely easy to get what you want. Proud of user experience. Shopping as fast as Amazon Prime with no shipping fee. If they need for a party on the weekend, they can rely on us. Hurricane, we told customers we’re sorry, we can’t get it to you. We got in front. Customer could decide when to order.

Jessica: transparency, accessibility, personalization expected by customers. How do you scale that? Tools? 

Jordan: Our happy team is larger than our corpporate office in New York. Based in Ohio. Investing in that is important for us. Chatting, having robust data around every interaction. Personal conversation built off tech and data we’re investing in. Having the chat box on the site. One click to chat. 

Seiya: We routinely release features that we think our data can inform a purchasing decision. Smart Stock Up to understand how many people in family, what kind of events, getting back in front of customer, engaging through our data. Gets around scaling issues.

Jessica: KPIs, metrics to assess?

Jordan: NPS is one we look at constantly. Net Promoter Score, rank 1 to 10, growth of how users feel about your products, brand. See that correlate in terms of retention rate. How quickly we can respond to customers. 

Alex: We monitor NPS, too, calls, average response time, sentiment. Verbatims to review as a team monthly. 

Jessica: Tools in tech stack you can’t live without?

Seiya: we’re lucky to have a strong data science team, build dashboard. Use Parascope. Planters Cheese Balls sold insanely. Being able to understand quickly when product is a hit.

Alex: Shopify Plus, really cool app, feel phone buzzing, updates every time sale comes through. Level of information very focused. What we can do to create customer audience segments.

Jordan: Parascope, Amplitude just implemented, lots of bells and whistles. Social monitoring tools, things happen on social big buzz for dog world. Take advantage of those moments in time.

Video of this session will be available here tomorrow.


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