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Blog/Tiffin Q&A: Bridging the Attribution Gap with Effortless In-Store Offers

Tiffin Q&A: Bridging the Attribution Gap with Effortless In-Store Offers

Q&A with Tiffin from Aisle

Aisle allows brands to turn any marketing channel into an attributable, verified in-store purchase when customers text a photo of their in-store receipt to Aisle and receive a cashback reward within 24 hours. Brands can also leverage Aisle to retarget submitted customers with additional redemption reminders, winback flows, and more.

Tiffin, CEO and Founder of Aisle, sat down with our team to share his insights on how DTC brands can bridge the data attribution gap between DTC and retail. Let’s dive in.

Q: Thanks for chatting with us today, Tiffin! We’re stoked to hear more about what you and the Aisle team are up to. I’d love to know, what inspired you to create Aisle?

Tiffin: My boss back at Super Coffee would say ’Tiffin, you’re spending all this money on ads and you can’t tell me who’s buying in-store?’ After hearing that every day for two years you’re like, I’ve gotta solve this problem. We had no idea who our in-store shoppers were, we had no idea why they were buying, and most importantly, we didn’t know how to get them to rebuy. And if you think about all the tools that existed, all the cashback apps that tried to solve the problem of how to activate someone in-store, they didn’t work for two reasons. The first was user friction, and the second was that all of the current solutions weren’t built by people in the [ecomm] space. There’s no customer empathy.

Q: For brands that have traditionally kept their DTC and retail channels separate, why should these omnichannel players care about creating a bridge between the two in their overall strategy?

Tiffin: A lot of people will give you a much sexier answer and use lots more buzzwords, but very simply it’s because you can sell more units. I avoid using words like “connecting the online shopper and in-store shopper” or “omnichannel attribution” because at the end of the day, what matters is providing these brands an opportunity to sell more in-store because it’s going to be their retail and units per store per week that get them acquired. 

Aisle allows brands to turn any marketing channel into an attributable, verified in-store purchase when customers text a photo of their in-store receipt to Aisle and receive a cashback reward within 24 hours.

Explore Aisle’s Features

Q: Do you think a direct-to-consumer brand must have a retail presence to get acquired or to have a competitive edge, then?

Tiffin: I’m going to speak to what I know. When I was at Super Coffee, DTC was a nice accelerator and made revenue bigger, but at the end of the day, the questions we were being asked were ‘Did you sell in Walmart? Target? Sprouts? Did you sell in Middle America?’. DTC brands will win on the coasts, LA, NYC, but can you sell to Karen in Wisconsin who goes to church every Sunday? If she’s buying her stuff in-store and she’s buying your product, you have a much better chance. Look at Essentia Water which got acquired by Nestlé – they didn’t get bought because Patrick Mahomes talked about it on their Instagram. It’s because of the crazy volume they were moving at retail.

I’m the biggest believer in DTC, but ultimately, if you’re a consumable, you’ve gotta get into the big box retailers.

Q: Hypothetical: Let’s say your brand boosts spending on Facebook Ads, and you see a low ROI on the platform but a spike in retail purchases at the same time. On one hand, you could assume there’s some cause/effect relationship there, but at the same time there could be any number of other factors at play, like if there was a shift in end-cap displays or the sales team had a big week. With so many attribution factors to consider, how can brands develop a cross-DTC-and-retail attribution strategy that doesn’t rely too heavily on assumptions? 

Tiffin: Good question. For us on the DTC side, it’s very easy to point to something and attribute it, like changing a button on a PDP and then it converts better. But think about you as a grocery shopper. On one hand, you literally can’t assume because any number of things can change from store to store. Did the shelf packer display the product right? Were we on a store promotion? Was the product expired or even put out on the shelf? There are factors you can’t even begin to model there. Or even if your brand runs a Superbowl commercial and you run the ads based on zip codes and see a 20% lift – even then, you’re just guessing, right? There can be a legitimately limitless amount of stuff that influences retail success that I don’t even think it’s worth it. But the short answer is you can’t make any assumptions because they’re all wrong.

Q: So what you’re saying is that, in regards to retail, there are so many factors that you can’t possibly have a sustainable direct attribution model.

Tiffin: Exactly. With DTC you control every part of it, you can control what percent of traffic goes where, what percentage of the population that lands on your site will see this page, and more because you’re essentially the traffic director. You’re in control. But with retail, you just hope and cross your fingers. There’s some directional stuff, but beyond that, you’re just taking a guess.

Q: Where does Aisle step in to solve that attribution problem, then?

Tiffin: Verified purchase. We say hey, take a picture of your receipt and send it to us and get cashback. That’s proof that a person saw an ad, scanned a QR code, or clicked a widget on your website, put in their phone number, and now we know 1:1 where a shopper came from, right down to the ad placement. So the short answer is that instant verification from the rebate gives us the proof to 100% tell you where a customer came from.

When Meta provides incrementality lifts, I think that’s kind of like hocus pocus. For us, at any time we can export their transactions, which shows you the customer ID, when they converted, and what store they purchased at down to the zip code. So when brands overlay Aisle’s transactional data with store-level sales data like IRI, SPINS, or Nielsen, the connection is incredibly clear. There were no assumptions or hypotheses. Is it this person, yes or no? Is that data reflected in the units per store per week scan data?

Q: If a subscriber cancels their DTC orders but starts buying at retail, do you view that as a good, bad, or neutral thing?

Tiffin: I always like to put myself in the brand operator’s perspective. I’m going to say this is Tiffin coming from Super Coffee, not Tiffin from Aisle. I think Tiffin from Super Coffee doesn’t care, because at the end of the day, going back to units per store per week, that person might say I don’t need my subscription anymore but now is picking up a bottle a day at their local store. At the end of the day, revenue is comprised of wholesale, retail, DTC, etc. It doesn’t matter as long as that person continues to buy.

I also don’t believe in this whole death of DTC thing. DTC will still be here, people will still shop on Amazon. Shoppers are gonna want to buy where they want to buy. It’s just more convenient.

And customers like Karen in Wisconsin will probably have a higher lifetime value. She’ll be buying it every single day. People on average go to three to four different grocery stores whether per week, or per month, what people like is variety, but it’s still a habit. You want that person buying in-store because they’re gonna buy from you every single day. Right? Like me with some energy drinks that I love, all my energy drink brands, I drink them all the time, and I’m not buying them online, you know.

So there are a lot of brands that are running pop-ups that are like “Do you want $20 off online, or do you want a BOGO in-store?” They’re allowing users to pick.

Q: How can DTC brands use a solution like Aisle to keep subscribers retained or maximize the value of their digital subscription program without inadvertently losing them to retail?

Tiffin: I believe there’s a better chance of a customer going from DTC to in-store, I’m not sold on in-store to online yet. Right now it’s a one-way attribution channel. People will go from DTC to in-store but people in-store like in-store, they’re not going to DTC. We’ve had some brands give some crazy offers online, like 50% off, an amazing deal, and nobody takes it – because nobody needs four things of toothpaste. But to answer your question, we surprise and delight. Aisle can be placed right in their subscription portal and brands can offer a BOGO deal as a loyalty perk retention play.

The second thing is knowing that churn is going to be inevitable, so instead of waiting for them to churn, let’s give them another option and also track attribution. Let’s say someone is going to cancel because they have too much coffee, you don’t wanna offer them 15% off – they’re literally telling you that they have too much. Instead, let’s say hey, sorry about that, thanks so much for letting us know. Here’s a free bottle of coffee you can redeem in-store. Now, at least if the customer churns online, it’s because they wanted to buy in-store, and we know that because they converted on a surprise and delight offer

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Blog/Ashvin Melwani Q&A: The Keys to High-Scale Subscription Acquisition & Retention

Ashvin Melwani Q&A: The Keys to High-Scale Subscription Acquisition & Retention

We all know A/B testing promotional offers is critical for acquiring new customers in general, but what most brands don’t realize is that it’s just as critical for subscriber retention, too. We’ve seen it pay massive dividends for our brands on Stay.

Health & wellness brand Obvi is an awesome example of this strategy in action, and we were lucky enough to grab some time with their Co-Founder/CMO Ashvin Melwani to get some first-hand insight into their testing journey. Spoiler alert: they used promotion testing to increase their conversion rate by 85%!

Let’s dive into the interview.

Q: Thanks for the time today, Ash! Let’s jump right in. What are some of the most effective ways you’ve acquired new subscribers?

Ash: What we’ve done really well is showcasing the benefits of being on subscription: always 30% off, always free shipping, free cancellations, and free gifts. We’re also currently sourcing some more premium free gifts, and I think once we have that, giving a free gift at subscription will help increase the opt-ins a lot.

Q: What tactics are you using to reduce subscriber churn?

Ash: It’s been almost surprising how much offering a free gift or otherwise incentivizing someone to stay has been so effective. Offering free gifts where our biggest churn period was, from order one to two, helped us close that gap by like 85%.

“It was crucial getting customers past the second order to help us reduce churn risk and increase lifetime value. The ability to A/B test gifts and upsells throughout the subscriber journey allowed us to accomplish just that.”
— Ash Melwani, Co-Founder & CMO, Obvi

Read Obvi’s Case Study

Q: How do you determine what isn’t working for customers who do churn?

Ash: That’s with the cancellation surveys — and we discovered our top three biggest reasons for churning were 1) I can’t afford it, 2) I have too much, and 3) I don’t like it.

Q: What do you do to address customers’ price objections?

Ash: Price-wise, there’s a delicate balance between being able to offer a little bit more of a discount, because it has to financially make sense — and you don’t want to devalue the brand too much. The juice has to be worth the squeeze.

Q: Can we dig in deeper? How you decide whether or not to discount?

Ash: I think discounting is fine, but if you’re constantly seeing a 20%-25% discount, no one’s going to buy at just 15% off. You have to be careful with that. I’d rather do free gifts or some other value add. Plus, there comes a time when you also have to back up and say, ‘Is there enough value in this product to justify the price?’ and ‘Is the product attracting the right audience?’

Q: For customers who say they have too much product; what do you do to keep them?

Ash: You have to ask, ‘Is this a brand issue?’ Essentially, if you should be taking a product every day, why aren’t you? From there are you attracting the right consumer? And are we communicating the benefits well enough?

Q: And finally, for people who aren’t digging the product… what do you do there?

Ash: That’s not something you can address right away — but it is something you can deal with over time as a brand. That said, giving customers the option to swap flavors does give them the opportunity to, if they don’t like one flavor, try another one they might like better.

Q: Final question… Can you talk a bit about the importance of the subscriber experience?

Ash: When switching over from our previous provider to Stay, the biggest thing we realized was how important the customer experience really is. It affected so many other things. A better customer portal means less customer service inquiries, which means more time for quality answers for more pressing issues. So customer service in general has improved. Second, churn drastically reduces when customers can come in and find what they need on their own. And the final piece is personalization by customer segments — that’ll be our next big focus.

Ashvin Melwani is Co-Founder and CMO of Obvi, one of the world’s fastest growing health and nutrition brands. Since launching in 2019, Obvi has surpassed 250K customers globally, all while bootstrapping its way to $40 Million in sales in just 40 months. 

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Blog/Jess Cervellon Q&A: Building Great Subscription Experiences

Jess Cervellon Q&A: Building Great Subscription Experiences

So much of retention is about the customer experience — and when it comes to all things customer experience, Jess Cervellon is the queen. VP of CX at Feastables and a consultant on all things CX and retention, she’s got a LOT of thoughts on what differentiates the good from the great. Let’s dive in to our interview.

Q: Thanks for taking the time to drop some insight for us! Let’s just dive in with subscription acquisition. What tactics work best for turning one-off purchasers into subscribers?

Jess: What I’ve noticed working best is really emphasizing your subscription’s value props and utilizing user generated content to build that story.

Q: Can you give an example of what that looks like in practice? 

Jess: You have to communicate why consumers need your product on subscription and what they can do if it’s consistently in their home. A protein powder brand I work with leverages every piece of content in front of non-subscribers to tell the story of why they need the product in their pantry and how to use it regularly — whether it’s on Instagram, via email, whatever… not just on the PDP.

Q: Once a customer has subscribed, what’s the most important element of the experience from there?

Jess: You have to push consumers to go use the customer portal and service their subscriptions on their own. The two most important elements there: 1) Teach the consumer how to use the portal, and 2) remind them at regular touchpoints to manage every aspect of their subscriptions. You can have a dope experience, but if you’re not training your consumer to actually utilize that experience, it’s gonna go in the trash.

Q: Amazing. Final question: What’s the best customer experience you’ve had recently?

Jess: It was with Jolie Skin Co., the showerhead brand. I went into it wanting to have this on subscription because I wanted to just constantly change my filters and not have to think about it. But it just didn’t work for me. So I emailed them and asked to cancel the subscription. They were like, ‘Oh yeah, don’t worry about it, we refunded you and canceled — but don’t send it back to us, give it to a friend.’ Because of that experience, even though I churned out, I ended up referring them to several of my friends, who then referred to other people.

Q: Love that. It’s a great example of how powerful a good experience can be, even if it’s relatively simple.

Jess: Yeah, if you’re thinking about the experience with your customer, and what your customer would say to their friend to refer them to you, then you’re going to get customers who want to be with you. From an acquisition point of view, not even just with subscriptions but acquisition more broadly, if you have a dope experience, a customer — even if they don’t want to be your customer anymore — can still be a brand advocate.

Jess Cervellon, consultant and VP of CX at Feastables, helps businesses across a broad range of industries understand and improve the way they interact with their customers. She also co-hosts the Oopsie Podcast. Check out S2EP10, featuring our very own CEO and Co-Founder Gina Perrelli.

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We sat down with Tom and Kyle, Co-Founders of legendary agency PB+J, to gain their insights on all things subscriber acquisition, retention, and experience. Let’s dive in.

Blog/Team PB+J Talks 2023 Subscription Program Priorities

Team PB+J Talks 2023 Subscription Program Priorities

We sat down with Tom and Kyle, Co-Founders of legendary agency PB+J, to gain their insights on all things subscriber acquisition, retention, and experience. Let’s dive in.

Q: What are the biggest retention challenges for DTC brands in 2023? 

PB+J: Staying focused first on the value you bring to your customers. Everyone has retention goals right now, which is great and an important focus, but remember: your customers don’t buy to move your metrics. People buy to add value to their lives, and the byproduct of that value exchange is that your metrics move. It’s easy to lose sight of this (particularly if your brand is feeling the impacts of a gloomy market forecast.)

Q: How should brands be approaching turning a one-time buyer into a subscriber?  

PB+J: Three things. 1) Really – no, but actually – define and understand your Ideal Customer Profile (ICP). 2) Nail the post-purchase fundamentals (flows, customer support, etc.) in a way that feels like you’ve read your ICP’s personal notebook and then went and designed the entire customer experience (CX) just for them. 3) Focus on the long term value, for them. Why should they hand over their credit card to be auto-charged each month? What sort of irresistible value are you providing to be included in their monthly budgets?

Q: What are some examples of compelling subscription offers or incentives to entice potential customers to subscribe?

PB+J: Porsche Drive, multi-vehicle subscription: At pb+j we love looking outside ecomm for inspiration. There’s loads to learn in ecomm for great fundamentals (just ask Stay). But if you want something that challenges your thinking of what it means to understand your ICP, to solve for service and pain points that go beyond conventional thinking, go learn about Porsche’s multi-car subscription program. And while we’re all trying to convince people to subscribe for $45/mth, they’re nailing it at $4500/mth.

Q: Could you tell us about the role of customer experience, and what you think are some best practices for enhancing the overall customer experience?

PB+J: “People buy emotionally and rationalize intellectually” — how many times have you heard this? CX is the driver of how people feel, how they associate, and ultimately why they chose to Stay (see what I did there?). Enhancing your CX? Start and end with your ICP. Don’t overcomplicate it: focus on doing the core things they need and value really well. Then, add in just a few memorable moments, and you’re on your way to designing like Disney. (Also a great CX exercise: how might Disney approach this moment?)

Tom Collver and Kyle Dutka are the co-founders of pb+j, a full-service ecommerce agency built by industry experts and focused on your unique customers. They help ecomm brands with everything from business, content, and growth strategy, multi-channel creative, tech stack planning and builds, and so much more.

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Blog/Momofuku’s Kyle Seebohm Talks Subscriber Acquisition & Churn with Stay AI

Momofuku’s Kyle Seebohm Talks Subscriber Acquisition & Churn with Stay AI

One of the keys to retention, especially in subscription land, is continually anticipating and answering questions your customers may be asking themselves, like, “What can I do with this product?” “Why should I keep using it?” “How can I get better results?”.

This is just one of the things our team talked about with Momofuku’s VP of Growth, Kyle Seebohm. The whole convo is a peek into how the brand is thinking about subscription as a part of their growth story. Check out the interview loaded with Kyle’s expert insights here.


Kyle Seebohm
 is Momofuku’s VP of Omnichannel Growth Marketing. He started his career in consulting, then in 2020 moved in-house to consumer brands with a growth role at Quay Australia. He’s built his career around key skills across acquisition, lifecycle marketing and retention, and is now putting those skills to work at Momofuku.


Q: Thanks for sitting down with us, Kyle. We love the Momofuku brand and watching it grow. Can you talk a little bit about the current goals for your subscription program?

Kyle: Our biggest goal is trying to understand where and how subscription fits in our lifecycle, and the best place to message it for customers. In other words, balancing between pushing customers to subscribe on their first purchase, versus after they know what products they like. 

Q: What have been your most successful sources of subscriber acquisition?

Kyle: The biggest growth driver so far is our buy box on PDPs, whether it’s customers shopping our site who see the subscription value prop, or they tried it in-store and we haven’t seen them online yet, or shoppers who came via word of mouth. We’re also pushing subscription in our post-purchase marketing flows for customers who’ve purchased 2-3 times, reminding them of our subscription value propositions.

Q: Once you’ve got the subscribers, how do you keep them engaged with your brand and products?

Kyle: Educating them from the start helps them know exactly how to get the most out of our products. That makes us better able to increase the frequency of use. We want to give them inspiration versus just the core use case of opening up the bag and cooking per the instructions. And if they know they’re going to be using it more frequently, and they can use it in all these different ways, that strengthens the value proposition for subscription.

Q: How do you approach reducing churn and keeping your customers subscribed?

Kyle: The biggest thing we can do is make sure every shipment and every touchpoint is a great customer experience. So, that includes the messaging before each and every shipment, reinforcing the value proposition, and making sure that the delivery and fulfillment experience is very smooth.

Q: You’re also using Stay’s RetentionEngine to help with churn; what have you learned since implementing cancel surveys?

Kyle: RetentionEngine reinforced that one of the big reasons why people churn is because they end up buying too much, or buying in retail. We’re an omni channel brand, and one of the biggest questions that we’ll be facing is where subscription fits into that — thinking of ways we can increase our subscription value propositions will be really important.

Q: Now that you’ve been doing this for a while, what would you tell other brands to look for in subscription platform functionality?

Kyle: I would start with the service aspect — finding a partner that you trust and is going to give you the support that you need. We’re a smaller team and didn’t have the capacity to do it all by ourselves. Stay helped immensely. That’s honestly probably first and foremost for me.

From the functionality standpoint, you need a partner that’s forward-thinking about big picture retention questions. There are a lot of newer players in the space, so there’s going to be a lot more functionality built out in the coming years. Make sure your partner has that strategic vision.

Finally, of course you need all the table stakes functionality of seamless signup experience, the seamless portal, being able to report and visualize, and churn mitigation tools.

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Blog/Good Peeps Founder Shray Joshi Talks Subscription, Retention, and Customer Experience with Stay AI

Good Peeps Founder Shray Joshi Talks Subscription, Retention, and Customer Experience with Stay AI

Q: What are you seeing as the biggest challenges for retention and loyalty right now? 

Shray: One – sone people people don’t have a good product. Second – brands too often think of retention marketing as ‘What’s the next plan to promote to our customers, and squeeze the juice out of the LTV of our customers?’ instead of ‘How do we use subscription and retention channels to educate and inspire consumers on how to use our product?’

Q: What are some of the ways you’re doing that with the brands you work with?

A lot of our brands have seen improvement in their retention marketing through communicating with consumers as if they’re talking to a friend, conversationally telling them about how they can use the product and how it fits into their life. We’re planting those seeds in their minds, then from there they can decide how much they need to use that product.

Q: Narrowing down into subscription, what are some of the most successful subscriber acquisition tactics you’ve used?

Shray: It depends on the product category. You’re not going to upsell someone on a subscription to pasta sauce on their first trial. People don’t buy products that way. So it’s more about how to convert a loyal audience into buying on subscription because they just naturally have that buying cadence. So that’s where we’ll lean in. 

Q: What about with a product that’s intended to be consumed more regularly? How does that look different? 

Shray: If it’s a product like Kaged, which is a supplement brand, those are products you can buy in a high frequency, monthly basis. Those consumers may just straight up buy their first time on trial with a subscription product because they see the value in having that product every day. You don’t necessarily need to do education on why this fits into your daily lifestyle. It’s more about why Kaged is the one that needs to be there. 

Q: So, what’s been working for you?

Shray: Our hack is rather than trying to force everyone into your subscription business, decrease the trial to entry in the easiest way possible. Then, based on how they engage with the product, we then give them custom solutions to see if they’re right for subscription. If they are, then we think about how to build this long-tail engagement with you so they’re getting the utility of the product they’re getting on subscription, they’re also getting the content they’re most likely to digest. 

If you do a good job of educating consumers while they’re onboarding, they can go tell their friends about this new thing that’s improving their lifestyle, and here’s all the education and data behind it. 

Q: Where are the sweet spots in the customer lifecycle to upsell a one-off purchaser into a subscription?

Shray: It’s related to consumption frequency. Lean your marketing into a week or two weeks before someone’s about to run out, so it’s not like you’re being like, ‘Hey, you just bought this, do you want to buy some more?’ but it’s later in the lifecycle of them using it. That’s when they’re more likely to be prepared to make a decision about whether they liked it or not. We have to ask them to buy again at the right time, versus just being greedy and missing the mark. 

Q: Do certain channels work better for this than others?

Shray: Email and SMS are the easiest channels for this, all day. We see some brands trying to push their subscription programs on organic social and it just feels weird. Email and SMS are the bread and butter.

Q: So, once you have the subscriber, what are the key things brands have to do to deliver a great experience? 

Shray: Here are the three biggest things for me.

First, customizability in that the customer is able to swap and edit and make changes. Our generation is inherently non committal, so don’t make it feel like I’m forced into this contract where you make it impossible to cancel or figure out how to interact with your platform. 

Second is customizability in terms of flavors and products themselves. I don’t want the same stuff every month all the time.

Lastly, ease of use: Ask if they want to skip or send to a friend; if they still want to cancel, ask why they’re canceling, then call it a day. I don’t need to figure out the Pythagorean theorem if I want to cancel my subscription.

Q: OK, last question! If a brand comes to you and says they have a problem with subscription churn, what would you do next?

Shray: First, we do a diagnosis of the deeper reasons. Is it that they have too much of the product? They’re not taking it enough? They didn’t like it? Is the intro offer so insanely messed up that now people never want to pay full price? Then we go about auditing from the acquisition strategy to the retention, and from an email onboarding perspective, to figure out what to do. 

The most common reason people cancel their subscriptions is because they’re simply not using the product enough or they just don’t want more of it because they don’t know why they need it in the first place. So we do a great job of bringing them into the brand universe — or the product universe, for something that’s a little bit more transactional — and getting them to use the product by educating them on that.

Huge thank you to Shray for spending time with the Stay team!

You can follow Shray on Twitter or LinkedIn – and click here to learn more about GoodPeeps!

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