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How Slate Milk Unlocked The Power of Personalization with Robust Reviews

Dec 15, 2022 | 6 minute read

How Slate Milk Unlocked The Power of Personalization with Robust Reviews

Lindsay Kolinsky

Director of Marketing

Slate Milk is a successful subscription-based DTC brand that offers high-protein chocolate milks and lattes that provide delicious sources of strength and energy to health-conscious individuals worldwide. Some people may be familiar with the company from their appearance on the hit show, Shark Tank. And although Slate Milk didn’t end up making a deal with the sharks, the company went on to see massive growth.

But they didn’t just stop there—with help from ecommerce solutions provider, Trellis, Slate Milk established a new Shopify store complete with elevated branding and site functionality that enhanced the experience for customers. 

But there were still areas that needed to be addressed in order to continue to scale.

Solving the SKU Variant Problem with Robust Reviews

When Slate Milk approached another review platform to handle its customer reviews, the brand ran into a number of challenges, including a lack of support, as well as an inability to aggregate reviews among individual product variants. 

For many DTC brands that have products with multiple versions, i.e., different flavors, etc., establishing SKU variants for each version is essential when it comes to categorizing and tracking the success of those products. 

Their inability to allow multiple SKU variants meant that Slate Milk wasn’t able to discern what flavor was inspiring customers to leave a review. And with no way of determining customers’ reactions to individual product variants, it became challenging for the brand to personalize the customer experience.

Should we send this customer a standard retention email? A subscription up-sell? Understanding how consumers felt about individual product variants was the only way Slate Milk could answer these important, brand-building questions. As such, Trellis Partner Manager, Marcus Ohanesian recommended introducing Okendo into Slate Milk’s tech stack to help solve their SKU variant problem, as well as harness the insights from reviews to create more personalized customer experiences.

The brand worked with Okendo to differentiate reviews among individual variant IDs so it was clear which flavor was being reviewed. Today, when customers go to review Slate Milk the team can gather important data about individual product variants, while also building trust by showing customers that the brand wants to understand their experiences. 

Unlocking Personalization Through Zero-Party Data

Slate Milk’s current roster of flavors includes classic chocolate, dark chocolate, french vanilla, vanilla latte, and mocha latte. The company also offers a variety pack which is its highest-selling product. And because customers now have the ability to say what their favorite flavor is when reviewing the variety pack thanks to customer attributes, the team no longer has to guess which SKU inspired them to leave the review in the first place.

With a more intelligent social proof system in place, Slate Milk started using Okendo’s integration with Klaviyo to make segmentations based on star ratings and customers’ favorite flavor and update their email flows accordingly.

“These updated flows have made it incredibly easy to offer relevant content to the right customer at the right time,” said Ron Lubin, Sr. Marketing Manager at Slate Milk. This is particularly useful for flows where the customer purchased a variety pack and then tells us their favorite flavor of the pack.” 

He added: “Now when we reach out to customers to inquire about a second purchase or a potential subscription, the data we get from those follow-up emails can be used to engage with customers in more relevant and personalized ways.”

And with 79% of consumers saying that personalized brand experiences in the form of product recommendations, relevant offers, and personalized communication are an important component of their shopping experience, this goes a long way for the brand. 

So, by asking customers what their favorite flavor is and gathering other zero-party data from them, Slate Milk is able to add some flavor to its marketing content.

But flavor isn’t the only reason consumers are attracted to Slate Milk, which means there’s a lot more data to glean. For example, here’s what one satisfied customer mentioned in their review of Slate Milk: “Typically, I would always grab a $10 protein shake and a $4 cold brew after a morning workout. Now I have all of that in one for under $3.”

In addition to identifying their favorite product, the reviewer also called out the cost-saving element of Slate Milk, and also implied the importance of Slate’s products as part of their health routine. Having this information allows the brand to further personalize its flows and marketing in a way that accounts for the specific needs and behaviors of its customers.

The Power of User-Generated Content

Since partnering with Okendo, Slate Milk has seen much higher open rates on their first and secondary review request emails (50% and 52% respectively), as well as a higher click rate at 9% for both first and secondary emails. And thanks to Okendo’s dynamic review capabilities, new site visitors are greeted by a plethora of reviews that not only include the standard five-star review and the customer’s favorite flavor, but user-generated content (UGC) in the form of photos and videos of the product.

As Ron puts it: “When I shop online, I’m mainly looking for the reviews with pictures and videos because they help me visually connect with the product. UGC makes it easier to make more informed purchase decisions.”

This aligns with data that found that 87% of consumers say that UGC included in product reviews improves their value in informing their purchase decision.  

As Marcus notes, “Not only is this a more cost-effective and low-lift way to market your product, but it’s also more authentic than highly polished photos and videos produced by a brand.”

However, UGC is not only limited to pictures and videos from consumers. Slate Milk has also made the most out of Okendo’s Q&A widget. For most merchants, it’s impossible to predict every question that consumers will have about your brand. But by leveraging Okendo’s Q&A widget, Slate Milk has been able to avoid another guessing game by publishing answers to their customers’ frequently asked questions. 

Creating a More Effective Marketing Strategy with the Power of Reviews 

Every brand likes to see lots of five-star reviews, but if those reviews don’t provide the type of insights that allow you to create a more personal and efficient marketing strategy, then you’re leaving an enormous amount on the table. 

As Slate Milk has come to realize, today’s innovative forward review platforms like Okendo allow brands to gather rich sets of actionable data that allow them to treat customers as individuals and tailor the experiences they have accordingly. Now, that’s refreshing.

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