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Feeding Your Brand: Three Strategies for Driving Revenue in the DTC Food & Beverage Market

Jan 31, 2023 | 8 minute read

Feeding Your Brand: Three Strategies for Driving Revenue in the DTC Food & Beverage Market

Lindsay Kolinsky

Director of Marketing

Over the past few years, rapid growth and technological innovation in the ecommerce space has led to a thriving direct-to-consumer (DTC) food and beverage industry. 

But as a new data privacy landscape takes shape alongside evolving consumer preferences and needs, many brands are tasked with reimagining their marketing strategies to promote continued growth, drive revenue, and make their products stand out in an increasingly complex environment. 

In this blog, we’ll use insights from our recent webinar, “Feeding your Brand: How to Excel in Food Food & Beverage Online” to explore how DTC food and beverage brands can maximize consumer engagement and make positive, data-driven marketing decisions that drive revenue in the face of the challenges outlined above

Generating High-Impact Reviews 

Unsurprisingly, online reviews are an absolutely critical component of any ecommerce business. In fact, research shows that 99.9% of customers read product reviews before making a purchase, and these customers are willing to spend up to 31% more on a brand that has excellent reviews. 

But social proof is even more important for online-exclusive food and beverage brands, as first-time customers naturally can’t try the product until it arrives at their doorstep. As Steph Carcamo, Customer Experience & Support Operations Manager at conversion optimization platform Justuno, says when speaking about the power of reviews and other user-generated content, it’s a way to make sure that taste and those other senses that don’t translate well through ecommerce, are still driving traffic to your website.

However, it isn’t as simple as providing a space for customers to leave feedback. For one thing, consumers today are less likely to volunteer information if the process isn’t as frictionless as possible. Moreover, equally as critical as the impact of the reviews themselves is the quality of data that can be generated from them.

Here are just a few ways to increase engagement, remove friction, and maximize the generation of actionable insights from the review process using the Okendo platform:

Highlight key selling points with product attributes

You can’t expect every customer to provide in-depth feedback describing both their individual experience and the specific attributes of your product. However, using the Okendo platform, you can integrate product attributes directly into the review process, allowing customers to rate their experience with your product based on customizable features, such as flavor, ingredient quality and value. 

Customer attributes, product attributes, and a user-generated photo of a vanilla birthday cake

Food & Beverage brands like Aloha are using Okendo to highlight key selling points of their products by making it easy for customers to rank them during the review process. This means the team doesn’t have to just hope that their customers specifically write about important selling points and gives potential customers a clear view into how reviewers rate attributes such as flavor, ingredient quality, value, nutrition and packaging.

Learn about your buyer with customer attributes

The more you know about your customer, the easier it is to personalize your outreach efforts to increase conversions and drive sales. With Okendo, you can present a few simple questions to new customers about their individual needs, which not only makes it easier to collect actionable zero-party-data (ZPD), but allows the potential buyer to filter and access reviews from other customers that share their preferences. 

Companies like Golde, a superfood beverage, are using Okendo’s customer attribute capabilities to collect consumer data around age range, benefits, and best uses. When a customer gives a review they can select from product benefits such as digestion, energy and mood, and highlight how they use the product ,ie., smoothies, coffee replacement and more. 

Similarly, Slate Milk, the subscription-based DTC brand that sells high-protein chocolate milks and lattes to health-conscious individuals worldwide, is also taking advantage of customer attributes. Using Okendo, their customers can leave a review for their variety pack and highlight which flavor is their favorite thanks to customer attributes. This also means the Slate Milk team no longer has to guess which SKU inspired them to leave the review in the first place. The team unlocked a prime opportunity to ask their happy customers to subscribe to their favorite flavor or build their own box experience. As Shannon O’Boyle, Marketing Director at Smartrr says, “this gives customers a reason to stay engaged, increases exposure across your products, and drives AOV through personalization.”

Generate more reviews and user-generated content with incentives

73% of consumers say they would be motivated to submit a review if offered an incentive, whether in the form of a coupon code, loyalty points, or a gift card. Beyond generating more reviews, incentives can be an effective driver of future purchases and work to improve customer lifetime value. With Okendo, you can easily integrate incentives into the review process, and even offer tiered rewards in exchange for reviews that include user-generated content (UGC) like photos and videos. 

Generating as much UGC as possible is critical in the social-media age, as it creates a sense of authenticity and provides the kind of social proof you simply can’t get with traditional, professionally staged photoshoots of your food and beverage products. 

Leveraging Micro-Surveys to Gain Customer Insights, Personalize Campaigns 

As marketing strategies are updated to reflect new privacy restrictions regarding the collection of customer data, it’s increasingly important to find new and effective ways to learn as much about your customers as possible. And while the use of post-purchase and other micro-surveys certainly isn’t new, many food and beverage brands have yet to mine this strategy for the full spectrum of its benefits. 

Using surveys to unlock the post-purchase lifecycle potential

According to Carcamo, “A lot of the time we can be a little bit shy to ask our customers for some more information or feedback. But once you have their attention, and if they’re showing that intent by being on your website, they’re already showing that they’re somewhat into your brand. The worst thing they can say is no.”

The Okendo platform makes it easy to leverage micro-surveys at each point throughout the customer journey, and to use the insights gained to drive revenue and consistently improve both customer experiences and the effectiveness of marketing and outreach campaigns.

Here’s a few ways you can use micro-surveys to help your Food and Beverage brand:

Monitor customer satisfaction

A 5% increase in customer retention has been shown to increase revenue by anywhere from 25-95%. With Okendo Surveys, a simple net promoter score (NPS) survey can be used to monitor customer satisfaction by asking customers how likely they are to recommend your product, and following up with questions such as, “Do you plan on purchasing this item again in the future?” Having an accurate gauge of how your customers are responding to your product is crucial for informing how you should proceed with developing or marketing that product in the future. Understanding where your customers are purchasing your product from, whether that’s mass retailers, grocery stores, convenience stores, or online from your website is also crucial to understanding where your inventory should exist long-term. 

Two survey follow up questions asking, Do you plan on buying from us again? And, Where do you want to buy Tightrope tea?

Learn customer preferences to personalize campaigns

Post-purchase surveys can be an unrivaled asset when it comes to generating actionable zero-party data. But beyond merely generating insights, Okendo allows you to aggregate the data from both surveys and reviews into a customer profile, which can detail anything from preferences and product use to key demographic information. These customer profiles can then be used to segment your customer base for targeting broader offerings such as subscriptions , or to send personalized messages and promotions via email or SMS. In a market where customers can’t taste your product before purchasing, having this information will help you make better recommendations.

As Rachel Saul, Co-CEO and Chief Strategist at Chelsea & Rachel Co. explains, this is particularly important to remember as brands place more emphasis on Customer Lifetime Value (LTV) and turning one-time shoppers into longer-term brand fans. “One of the most underutilized strategies is personalization,” she says. “These things are really important to be able to reengage your customers along the way.” 

Make real-time adjustments to marketing spend

Perhaps most importantly, the insights generated from post-purchase surveys allow you to more accurately evaluate your overall marketing efforts. For example, by maximizing customer engagement with How Did You Hear About Us (HDYHAU) surveys at checkout, you’re getting a constant stream of feedback as to which campaigns have been the most effective. This allows you to adjust your marketing spend (and effort) in real-time, and ensures that future campaigns are created and driven by actual, customer-sourced data. For online food and beverage companies whose marketing cuts across online and offline channels, this is particularly important. For instance, with HDYHAU surveys brands can get insights from customers such as “tried it with a friend” or “tried at a sampling event festival,” allowing them to direct energy and resources towards areas that are producing results.

Unlock the Power of Integrations

Finally, it’s critical that the solutions your brand chooses to implement integrate seamlessly with other valuable tools in your tech stack, such as your email/SMS and marketing automation provider, or managed subscription platform. This is an integral aspect of Okendo’s platform as the aggregated zero-party data from both reviews and surveys can be utilized in a number of creative ways to increase conversions and encourage repeat purchases.

For example, after moving to Shopify Plus, Amora Coffee turned to Okendo to leverage our integrations, one of which is with Attentive, the text messaging marketing solution. Integrating Attentive with Okendo gives you the ability to send review requests by SMS to customers who opted into receiving text messages, while still targeting other customers with review request emails. You can also set up reminders to increase your chances of collecting reviews from customers.

Using Attentive with Okendo, Amora Coffee achieved a 4.43x relative increase in conversion rate, a 216% relative rise in review completion, and a 39% increase in review generation via SMS.

With 3X higher revenue per message than one-way messages, conversational two-way text messages are redefining how brands communicate with customers at scale. By enabling merchants to send more personalized content to customers and opening up new avenues for gathering actionable insights, Okendo’s strategic integrations with tools like Attentive supercharge food & beverage brands’ abilities to drive customer engagement, create richer customer profiles and boost revenue.

Help your food and beverage brand stand out in a competitive market and drive revenue with reviews, personalized marketing, and micro-surveys that help you better understand your customers’ wants and needs. 

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