On a recent podcast episode, we were joined by Gautam Gupta, the CEO of NatureBox. NatureBox is a subscription service for snacks made with high-quality, simple ingredients. Gautam struggled with poor eating habits at a younger age, but he later became educated on the importance of nutrition (and even managed to lose 70 pounds over the course of 6 months when he changed his diet!).
Gautam started NatureBox out of a personal passion for wanting to provide an accessible and affordable way for people to be able to have snacks shipped directly to their door. He had relevant experience in the e-commerce field and saw the success of other subscription services such as Netflix, so he knew he could start a company to ensure snacking never had to be boring again.
In the interview, we spoke with Gautam about how his company connects with customers through advertising, surveys, and user tracking in order to provide them with the best possible experience. We also spoke with him about how he chooses to execute new strategies and big ideas.
Connecting With Customers Through Advertising
NatureBox advertises through Facebook and other display platforms, but they were really able to connect with their audience through advertising on podcasts. Podcasts are an intimate platform that allow the person delivering the ad copy ample time to explain exactly how a service like NatureBox works. Since it’s a subscription service, it can be a little complicated to explain in just a few seconds, but given some time to breathe, the concept can be expanded upon and the benefits can be highlighted.
Podcasts hosts are often the ones reading the ad copy, so they can personally endorse the product and possibly share a story about a time they have used a product like NatureBox. This allows the audience to feel a closer connection to the product because it is being endorsed by someone they listen to on a weekly (or daily) basis!
Connecting With Customers Through Surveys
Gautam is a believer that customers are excited to provide their feedback on services and products that they are using. Whether this is on the phone or in person, all a company needs to do is ask for feedback!
NatureBox starts with focus groups for initial feedback, and then will move eventually to surveys in order to test their hypotheses. The data that is found in these surveys can often provide a huge shortcut in terms of decision making. This saves both time and money in determining which direction to head in.
Connecting With Customers Through User Tracking
NatureBox also utilizes several tools that allow them to track how users move through their site. This allows them to confront areas of confusion on their site or improve their dropout rate (customers leaving the site partially through a checkout without completing a purchase).
Executing the Plan
Deciding exactly how to best connect with customers is much easier said than done. For all of the examples above, the team at NatureBox had to decide exactly how they were going to allocate resources and which jobs they were going to prioritize. So how exactly do Gautam and his team decide where to go and how to execute their plan?
Gautam emphasizes that big ideas should be tried first, and then optimizations and minor adjustments can be made further down the road. For example, instead of changing the threshold for free shipping from $50 to $60, swing a little bit bigger for something that will move the needle further. The NatureBox team found through research that the “subscription” model of auto-shipping every month was still scaring people off to a certain extent, so they came up with the idea to make auto-shipping optional. This was a bigger idea that led to a larger impact on their business than a change of the threshold for free shipping.
In the example above, the research surrounding the nature of people being wary of auto-shipping was a key component in being able to pull off the big idea. In a related field, the NatureBox Team will often do what they refer to as a “Painted Door Test.” This is basically a call to action on their site or through an email that is more or less a test page (a “coming soon” page for a product, for example). Here, they can monitor how many people clicked on this landing page and entered in additional information if there is an additional call to action on the landing page. The data gathered from these studies can often paint a clear picture of where resources should be allocated next, and it is far less expensive than building out an entire new web product.
NatureBox excels at connecting with its customers through advertising, surveys, and user tracking. Tackling the “big ideas first” allows them to make impactful moves for the betterment of their customers, and then course correct as they move forward. Gautam has fostered an environment that is passionate about making the conversation between customer and company a two-way street. connecting with
Gautam can be reached directly through his LinkedIn account. Don’t forget to check out some recent episodes of the Hawke Media Podcast (including episodes on creating a simple, hyper-effective website) and the Hawke Media Blog. If you don’t use iTunes, you can listen to every episode here.