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The Customer Marketing Playbook: Strategies for Driving Fast and Sustainable Growth with Superfans

Mar 4, 2024 | 24 minute read

The Customer Marketing Playbook: Strategies for Driving Fast and Sustainable Growth with Superfans

Megan Wenzl

Content Marketing Manager

In the ecommerce environment of 2024, brands are up against a series of challenges that are a result of recent years of significant changes. Inflation, the release of Apple’s iOS 14, and an unprecedented surge in the ecommerce industry have caused fierce DTC competition, rising acquisition costs, and evolving consumer expectations. To overcome these challenges, brands must focus on strategies to grow fast while also succeeding in the long term.

One strategy that’s proven to work? Creating and leveraging Superfans with customer marketing.

Customer marketing focuses on strengthening relationships with current customers to enhance loyalty, drive repeat business, and promote brand advocacy. By personalizing and enhancing the experiences of existing customers, brands can increase retention rates and transform loyal customers into Superfans.

What is a Superfan?

Superfans are customers who are highly engaged with your brand. They have high lifetime value and a level of social influence and trust. Superfans are also willing to collaborate with your brand on activities that help bring in new customers. How can you build engagement to create a community of these customers?

The journey starts with creating positive experiences from the moment a customer interacts with your brand. This means experiences like getting a referral from a friend or family member the customer trusts and then heading to your store to read reviews from other customers. Once they are more engaged, the customer can take your quiz to help guide them to the right product based on their needs. When they buy your product, you can increase engagement even more by collecting zero-party data through experiences like reviews and surveys to personalize their experiences. To further boost engagement and lifetime value, you can reward customers with a loyalty program, providing rewards as a thank you for engaging with your brand in activities such as leaving a review or making a purchase. This leads the customer to ultimately promote your brand through word-of-mouth, referrals, reviews, social media and more — becoming a Superfan.



In this guide, we’ll discuss how to acquire more customers, build strong customer relationships, and improve experiences across the entire customer journey. With experts from some of the most innovative Shopify apps, we provide real examples of how brands like Pillow Cube, Love Wellness, and Bloom Nutrition build a community of Superfans to boost acquisition and retention while keeping costs low, driving fast and sustainable results.

Increasing Engagement and Loyalty with a Consolidated Customer Marketing Platform

Megan Wenzl

Content Marketing Manager

Customers are looking for more than products. They’re looking for experiences and relationships with brands. They’re also looking for social proof like reviews from other customers who’ve used your products and interacted with your brand, or referrals from their friends and family. 95% of customers even say reviews are an important factor when making a purchasing decision, according to research by Okendo.

Pillow Cube, a company providing side sleepers with pillows, mattresses, and other bedding products to help customers get better sleep, uses Okendo to strengthen their customer relationships with one consolidated customer marketing platform for Reviews, Quizzes, and Referrals.

The combined tech stack allows Pillow Cube to keep all of their data in one place and saves the team valuable time and money. Lane Olson, Marketing Director at Pillow Cube, says, “A big part of our decision in choosing Okendo was the ability to have a full suite of products in one place.”

The reviews on Pillow Cube’s site provide high-quality social proof with customer attributes that highlight the customers’ age, the position they sleep in, and why they bought the product. This helps shoppers make easier purchasing decisions while engaging the customer who purchased the product — helping the customer feel part of a community.

One way to personalize the experience for shoppers who land on your site is to implement a product recommendation quiz, especially when you have different variants of products to choose from. Pillow Cube built a quiz using Okendo to provide pre-purchase education to its customers, helping them find the right product for their unique needs. The team at Pillow Cube also uses data from quizzes and reviews to inform new product releases, pricing, and timing on promotional periods.



Using Quizzes, Reviews, and Referrals, together, Pillow Cube creates and leverages their Superfans to grow fast and efficiently for the long term. The results prove it. Using Okendo for their customer marketing helped Pillow Cube grow its revenue year-over-year, with a 27x ROI.

Olson says, “Using Okendo’s products together helps us create and leverage Superfans. It starts with Quizzes to get customers the right product for them. Once they love the product, they leave a review. When they leave a review, they recommend it to a friend or family member through Referrals.”

Leverage Logistics to Drive Loyalty

Your fulfillment strategy gets orders on doorsteps – but it can do so much more for your brand.

By optimizing how you fulfill and ship orders, you can create a customizable delivery experience that serves as your competitive advantage. Implementing these best practices in your logistics can help you delight your customers and stand out as a brand worth coming back to.

Distribute Inventory for Fast & Affordable Shipping

2-day shipping is table stakes for ecommerce shoppers. A cost-effective way to offer that is by splitting your inventory across multiple strategically located fulfillment centers placing inventory closer to more customers, minimizing your average shipping distance. This reduces transit times and costs, so your customers get the quick, inexpensive (or even free!) shipping they expect.

Curate Unforgettable Unboxings

When customers open their packages, you have all their attention – so take advantage of that moment to wow them with a memorable experience. Use custom boxes and poly mailers to give each order a polished look while showcasing your brand, and include personalized touches such as marketing inserts and gift notes to surprise and delight customers.

Meet Customers Where They Shop

Make it easy for customers to stay loyal to your brand by selling on the channels they use. Whether it’s brick-and-mortar retailers like Target, online marketplaces like Amazon, or social platforms like TikTok, scaling into the right channels lets you get in front of customers and stay top-of-mind.

Bloom Nutrition leverages these strategies to deliver a premium customer experience – one that’s helped them build a multi-million dollar business.

“Bloom has blossomed into a 9-figure brand with a devoted customer following.”

Early on, Bloom’s founders partnered with global fulfillment and supply chain platform ShipBob to create a post-purchase experience customers would come back to again and again. They started by transforming their packaging from brown boxes to branded ones containing marketing inserts and even gift notes (all of which ShipBob supports). As they grew, Bloom distributed their inventory across four of ShipBob’s dozens of US fulfillment centers to keep shipping costs and times low, and partnered with retailers like Target to get their products on physical shelves. With these optimizations driving customer loyalty, Bloom has blossomed into a 9-figure brand with a devoted customer following.

Increase Lifetime Value with a Subscription Program

Shannon O'Boyle, Director of Brand Marketing

Director of Brand Marketing

More often than not the terms “Superfans” and “subscribers” can be used interchangeably. Recognizing that a strategic subscription strategy is the ultimate response to surging competition, escalating acquisition costs, and soaring customer expectations, For Days has emerged as a trailblazer in the realm of sustainable fashion thanks to their community of Superfans.

Dedicated to the noble cause of eliminating clothing waste and fostering a positive impact on both people and the planet, For Days introduced a revolutionary subscription product and rewards program: the Take Back Bag. This eco-friendly bag serves as a conduit for customers to contribute to the reduction of the staggering 85% of used clothing and textiles that end up as waste in landfills.

The brilliance of this subscription program lies not only in its environmental mission but also in its potential to create Superfans. The Take Back Bag is not just a vessel for used clothing; it rewards subscribers with a Closet Cash credit to incentivize repeat purchases and opens the door for more recurring revenue. Initially offered as a one-time purchase, For Days quickly saw the potential for a deeper and more lasting connection. Leveraging the innovative capabilities of Smartrr, they seamlessly transitioned the Take Back Bag into a flexible subscription model, available for 1, 3, or 6 months.

“The brilliance of this subscription program lies not only in its environmental mission but also in its potential to create Superfans.”

The impact of this transformation was nothing short of extraordinary. In just two months, the Take Back Bag subscription turned thousands of existing customers into loyal subscribers, demonstrating a remarkable increase in Lifetime Value (LTV). By cementing a consistent cadence in their customers’ lives, the subscription model not only drove more purchases through the Closet Cash rewards program but also rallied an entire community of Superfans united by their passion for sustainability.

The success story of For Days extends beyond financial gains. The For Days community diverted an astounding 3 million garments from landfills, resulting in a remarkable 24 million tons of carbon emission reduction. For Days is a testament to the profound impact that subscriptions can have on driving both fast and sustainable growth, showcasing how turning existing customers into Superfans can be a catalyst for positive change.

Giving Customers the Ability to Try Products Risk-Free

Samantha Busch

Growth Lead

TryNow is a transformative tool for brands seeking to cultivate and mobilize their community of Superfans. TryNow.com is the leading Try Before You Buy platform for Shopify’s fastest-growing brands. One of TryNow’s brands is Billy Reid, a brand that has experienced a high increase in TryNow Customer Lifetime Value (LTV), showcasing the platform’s profound impact on fostering brand loyalty and driving revenue growth.

Try Before You Buy (“TBYB”) empowers shoppers to experience products in the comfort of their homes. TBYB not only enhances the customer experience but also plays a pivotal role in converting hesitant shoppers who might otherwise remain on the sidelines. The ability to try products risk-free builds a bridge of trust between the brand and the consumer, reducing purchase anxiety and increasing the likelihood of conversion.

Billy Reid’s success story underscores how TryNow becomes a catalyst for Superfan creation. By offering a seamless and risk-free trial experience, Billy Reid has not only elevated customer satisfaction but has also fueled the development of a highly engaged and loyal customer base. Superfans, thrilled by the brand’s commitment to customer-centric practices, are more likely to share their positive experiences, effectively becoming brand advocates. TryNow even shares unfiltered shopper feedback with all of the brands on their platform. Billy Reid shoppers constantly express their love for the “Try Before You Buy” feature. They find it convenient, practical, and a great solution for online shopping. It allows them to try multiple sizes and styles before committing to a purchase.



Superfans become integral to Billy Reid’s growth strategy. TryNow, therefore, not only converts shoppers but also nurtures a community of empowered brand advocates who will likely purchase more and purchase again.

Partnering with TryNow, Billy Reid was empowered to cultivate a shopper experience that delights customers and drives incremental revenue. Billy Reid’s impressive increase in TryNow Customer LTV highlights the platform’s pivotal role in creating and mobilizing Superfans. By offering a revolutionary Try Before You Buy experience, TryNow not only converts hesitant shoppers but also fosters a community of highly engaged and loyal customers who actively contribute to the brand’s growth.

Reach the Right Customers at the Right Time

Thomas Walker

Partner Manager

One effective way to create brand Superfans is to use Okendo Surveys and Attentive together. With Okendo, you can tap into customers’ candidness and gain a deeper understanding of how your brand can better serve their needs. And where does Attentive come in? By helping you reach the right customers and potential shoppers where they are—on their phones—at the right time, and with personalized messaging to increase survey participation.

Love Wellness is a prime example of this strategy’s success. For instance, when customers expressed a desire for more sustainability, Love Wellness created a survey to explore practical solutions. They considered various options, such as switching from plastic to glass bottles and raising prices to cover costs. However, none of these ideas resonated with their audience. So, the team went back to the drawing board and came up with a solution that customers ultimately loved: jumbo sizes.

To convince customers of the benefits, Love Wellness highlighted advantages like reducing shipping costs, using fewer boxes, and recycling fewer bottles per year. The response was overwhelmingly positive, with customers eagerly embracing the idea of jumbo sizes. As a result, Love Wellness began producing these larger sizes.

“This personal connection with customers is the most rewarding part of the process and fosters a strong bond between the brand and its Superfans.”

Finally, to complete the customer feedback loop, Love Wellness leveraged Attentive to offer those who responded to the survey the opportunity to be the first to shop the new sizes. This step not only closed the loop but also allowed Love Wellness to express their gratitude by saying, “We made this because of you. You asked for it, and it’s here.” This personal connection with customers is the most rewarding part of the process and fosters a strong bond between the brand and its Superfans.

Creating Relevant and Credible Product Discovery Experiences

An effective, low-touch way of tackling both retention and acquisition is to implement personalized product recommendations across key parts of your ecommerce store, and supplement these with trusted product ratings.

Luxury makeup and skincare brand, and long-term Nosto client, Ogee, has a number of product recommendation campaigns that leverage the Nosto x Okendo integration to highlight the products’ star ratings as a means of building trust and boosting conversions.

The Homepage Experience

On its homepage, Ogee has a recommendation banner that dynamically updates depending on whether a visitor is a returning shopper or is new to the store.

Returning Visitors

Returning visitors are recommended a personalized set of products based on their previous on-site behavior, such as their browsing history, category affinities, and products they’ve previously added to cart or purchased. Targeting this segment allows Ogee to retain these shoppers’ interest, while encouraging them to convert.

The result: 54% increase in conversions (vs. site avg.)


First-time Visitors

If a shopper is new to the store, however, a ‘best-sellers’ fallback is shown—pulling in products that have had the most views within the previous 8 hours. This exists to inspire new shoppers with popular items from the brand in an attempt to acquire/convert them.

The result: 78% increase in conversions (vs. site avg.)


The PDP experience

On top of the homepage experience, Ogee also implemented strategic product recommendations across their PDPs. These use a ‘relationship score-based’ algorithm, powered by Nosto’s AI, that establishes similarities between the viewed product and additional products within Ogee’s catalog, highlighting upselling opportunities.

The result: 81% avg. increase in conversions (vs. site avg.)



By layering product ratings into these recommendation campaigns, not only is Ogee surfacing the types of products that individuals are likely to convert on—but they’re also providing the social proof that lends shoppers the confidence to convert.

Aside from surfacing product ratings within recommendation campaigns, merchants can also use Nosto in conjunction with platforms like Okendo to inform their merchandising decisions. For instance, brands can dictate the visibility of their products across the likes of search results and category pages, boosting well-rated products to increase conversion-likelihood, or burying low-rated products to minimize returns.

How an Impact-Driven Marketing Strategy can Drive Customer Acquisition and Loyalty

Customers today are expecting more from their favorite brands, especially amongst the younger generations. As customer expectations evolve, the demand for transparency, social responsibility, and authentic commitment from brands is growing.

To meet these customer expectations and cultivate loyalty, many brands are finding success through social impact. When a company leads with purpose, consumers are 76% more likely to trust that company, and 72% more likely to be loyal to it.

ALOHA, a USDA Certified Organic plant-based protein company, has seen this firsthand. Since their founding, they have been driven by their commitment to sustainability and nutrition, and have built a loyal community of customers as a result.

ALOHA’s success is not only a result of quality products, but also in their ability to engage customers through meaningful social impact initiatives. To bring their impact initiatives into the customer journey, ALOHA enables donations on online purchases in support of Kupu, their partnered nonprofit.

Kupu is Hawaii’s leading youth-focused non-profit, offering dozens of free programs to children who want to learn more about environmental restoration and land stewardship. As a B-corporation and certified climate-neutral business, supporting these programs is an important demonstration of Aloha’s commitment to its purpose, community and namesake.



ALOHA’s give-back program extends beyond transactional contributions—it’s a holistic approach to integrate charitable giving and impact-driven messaging throughout their business model.

ALOHA uses their website and marketing channels to educate customers about their philanthropic commitments. Through their dedicated impact page, customers can learn more about their impact efforts, their commitment to becoming climate neutral, and their other nonprofit partnerships.



ALOHA has found that customers who are aligned to their giving initiatives are more likely to be loyal to the brand, as demonstrated in higher retention and order value. Being able to identify these tangible metrics gives ALOHA the opportunity to invest more time and energy in building an active community from their donating customers, leading to deeper, more intentional conversations.

Social impact extends beyond one-off efforts to do good; it’s a dedication to lead with purpose and identify opportunities to integrate positive impact throughout your customer marketing. When your customers recognize that your approach is grounded in core values rather than a pursuit of quick wins, they are more likely to be receptive and engaged.

By leading with their values and demonstrating their commitment to social responsibility, ALOHA has been able to turn loyal customers into lifelong brand advocates.

Leveraging Social Proof for Acquisition and Advocacy

Gabrielle San Nicola

Senior Agency Partnerships Manager

With their unique flavors of sparkling water, Aura Bora understands how to tap into the power of social proof to stand out in a crowded market. Not only do they effectively mobilize their community of Superfans, they also get other top brands to recommend Aura Bora products to customers after checkout.

One key aspect of Aura Bora’s strategy is their community-driven approach. They have a powerful brand identity across all of their marketing platforms, from their website to social media. This consistency allows consumers to connect with the brand on a deeper level and fosters a sense of belonging within the Aura Bora community.

They then leverage the power of their Superfans by showcasing their rave reviews. This both validates the quality of their products and encourages new customers to engage with the brand and become Superfans themselves. To take it a step further, they use Okendo Referrals to incentivize their Superfans to then refer their friends.

“They then leverage the power of their Superfans by showcasing their rave reviews.”

In addition to this community-driven approach, Aura Bora also taps into a “brand halo” effect to find new customers. With DiscoFeed, Aura Bora advertises their products on the order confirmation pages of other premium brands as post-purchase shopper recommendations. This strategic placement lets them reach customers at the point of sale, gaining exposure to a highly engaged audience with high purchase intent.

It also lets shoppers discover Aura Bora as a recommendation from a brand they already know and love. Aura Bora, in turn, recommends other well-known brands on their order-confirmation page. Being associated with other top brands in this way instills trust with shoppers and nudges them to try something new.

By using social proof in multiple ways – showcasing positive reviews, driving word-of-mouth referrals, and advertising alongside premium brands – Aura Bora has created a powerful marketing flywheel that leads to a self-sustaining cycle of customer acquisition and brand loyalty. They are perfect inspiration for other brands looking to leverage social proof to create Superfans of their own.

Driving Repeat Business with a Mobile App

Alex Rosas

Marketing Manager

In the fiercely competitive ecommerce landscape, brands competing at the top must deliver great products AND a winning customer experience. No pressure. With that, brands grapple with some serious challenges of increasing competition, soaring acquisition costs, and ever-growing customer expectations. To rise above these challenges, we’re seeing smart brands shift towards CX-driven marketing strategies to cultivate community specifically prioritizing the mobile user audience. That’s why 2024 will be all about offering a unique and VIP experience with a mobile app to strengthen relationships with existing customers to bolster loyalty, stimulate repeat business, and foster brand advocacy. The dream, right?

True Classic is a prime example of a brand who prioritizes their Superfans. The True Classic team is laser-focused on sales numbers, paying close attention to gross margins per customer and repeat purchase rate. As with most ecommerce businesses, high customer acquisition rates mean keeping those customers is vital to overall success. Even though they had plenty of other successful marketing channels, they knew a mobile app would add to their retention stack. With such a big focus on retaining their customers, the True Classic team zeroed in on a holistic approach to marketing. They knew retargeting is about more than an SMS or paid ad—it was about incremental touch points across the brand. The True Classic team knew from their competitors that an app creates more stickiness for their best customers, giving them a place to go for a superior mobile experience that’s curated to the shopper. They wanted an app because push notifications can deliver the right message at the right time to the right person.

“By providing an experience that surpasses competitors and makes customers feel special, True Classic is on a trajectory to convert loyal customers into Superfans who actively contribute to brand advocacy and acquisition.”

Adam Hutton, Associate Director of Owned Media at True Classic, emphasizes the importance of a CX-first approach to instill trust and cultivate a community-like shopping experience. “Our goal was to get people in a curated experience. When you’re on the website, you may have a browser pop-up, or you’re distracted by another tab. [An app] is a very personalized, curated shopping experience for the customer that is a more frictionless shopping experience.”

True Classic is all about personalization which is why they power product reviews on the app with Okendo, a cornerstone of the team’s customer marketing strategy. Hutton highlights the essence of authentic social proof that people enjoying a product can significantly influence potential customers. In his words, reviews “instill trust in the consumer around the product’s benefits and create a positive environment where they feel like they’re shopping in an actual store with other customers while on the website and the app.” With reviews, True Classic gathers vital product feedback for continuous improvement and utilizes high-quality content such as images, videos, and UGC to enrich its website and social channels with dynamic content.

The app’s product reviews help prioritize intentional and personalized customer communication. Okendo integrates seamlessly with Tapcart, the mobile commerce platform for Shopify Plus brands, and provides a VIP experience to True Classic’s best customers. Hutton notes that the app’s Product Display Page (PDP) is strategically built to ensure easy access to reviews, offering users an experience on par with the website. The partnership aligns seamlessly with the brand’s commitment to customer-centricity since the app’s real estate is always within reach and the UI/UX has the highest conversion impact. Also, the app becomes a hub for tailored content, delivering precisely what customers seek, whether exclusive deals, new product launches, or tailored style tips.

By providing an experience that surpasses competitors and makes customers feel special, True Classic is on a trajectory to convert loyal customers into Superfans who actively contribute to brand advocacy and acquisition. “A mobile app is like an exclusive club because customers can get things they can’t get anywhere else like exclusive app-content and offers — the experience itself is better than a competitor, which makes people feel special and important”.

So you agree… you think investing in CX strategies up-front is worth it because it will lead to long-lasting brand success. In a landscape where customer marketing is pivotal to success, True Classic’s strategy is a testament to the transformative power of nurturing and mobilizing Superfans.

Building Customer Trust with Personalized Experiences

Jess Cervellon

Kustomer Evangelist

Consumers have more options than ever. Every time they go online or walk into a store, hundreds of brands are competing for their attention. Offering an amazing product isn’t enough in today’s hyper-competitive landscape. To truly win customers, brands must go above and beyond, delivering an exceptional customer experience that leaves a lasting impression and keeps them coming back. One of the most effective strategies in achieving this is through personalization.

Personalization serves as a cornerstone in establishing trust and a genuine connection between the brand and the consumer. When executed effectively, it has the potential to transform ordinary customers into Superfans who not only remain loyal but become brand evangelists. It’s your responsibility to discover untapped opportunities for personalization in the customer journey. The best way to do this is by analyzing data obtained from various customer touch points including post-purchase surveys and chatbots. Feastables implemented personalization through interactive, personalized surveys by Okendo and AI chatbots. These personalization tactics paid off; Feastables saw a 20% surge in repeat purchases and a notable 15% increase in CSAT scores.

“The lesson here is clear: never underestimate the transformative impact of personalization on cultivating Superfans.”

The lesson here is clear: never underestimate the transformative impact of personalization on cultivating Superfans. In a world where consumers are overwhelmed with choices, personalization can help streamline decision-making and ultimately make customers feel like they have a special relationship with your brand. As the digital landscape continues to evolve, the ability to tailor the customer experience on an individual level will remain a pivotal factor in winning customers and giving brands a competitive edge.

Increase Engagement with Content and Pop-ups

Brands typically have many customer groups to consider. The customer group that someone falls into can help dictate what it will take to make them some version of a ‘Superfan’. And part of what it will take is a quality engagement strategy on your website, over a period of time.

Step 1 is on the content side. You create Superfans by giving them something to talk about. SaunaSpace does an excellent job at this with their guide on NEAR-INFRARED. With this, a customer discovers tons of nuggets that support reasons to purchase. But wait, you can’t just expect visitors to stumble upon your goodies, you must put this content in front of them in the form of pop-ups and give them actions to take after. Consider this a personal shopper mode enabled.



Step 2 in your quality engagement strategy is to proactively show how much you value Superfans. Value should be delivered in these foundational pop-ups on-site:

  • Welcome pop-ups
  • Exit/cart abandonment pop-ups
  • Dynamic banners
  • Post-purchase pop-ups (return visitors or the actual confirmation/order-tracking pages)

The engaging pop-ups that you enable on site—like a spin to win that lets a return customer pick their free gift after X purchases—show just how in sync you are with their shopping experience. Talk about using data for good! Interactions like this bloom into advocates for your brand left and right, and customers are more likely to engage with your pop-ups later on.

SaunaSpace has a high-performing pop-up campaign called “Create a ‘Super Sauna’ Now”. When targeting customers with this, we’ll see CLV and AOV improve, and engagement data that tells us more about post-purchase behavior. They also ensure a frictionless checkout with a 1-click add to cart function in the pop up too. Their campaign makes their product more diverse by offering an option to cut sauna sessions in half! Not only do they deliver another way to use their product, they also get the data on those visitors that engage and those visitors that do not.


Harnessing Customer Marketing Strategies to Grow Faster and More Efficiently with Superfans

The creation and leveraging of Superfans is the most sustainable way to fast growth and long-term success. Superfans engage in activities that promote your brand, while being loyal to your brand over the long term, providing high lifetime value. But in order to create a community of these customers, you need to have the right tech stack in place to implement a customer marketing strategy — one that engages customers with personalized experiences across the journey, so that customers enjoy buying from you and communicating with your brand.

By using these brand examples as a guide, you can implement the tools and strategies outlined here to acquire more customers, build stronger relationships to retain more customers, and improve experiences across the entire customer journey to create and leverage your most loyal customers – your Superfans.

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