In the very first podcast show we did we asked prominent CPG and DTC personalities to stop thinking like a brand and start thinking like a customer. We asked them to put their customer hats on.
In the inaugural episode we had Eli Weiss (then at Olipop and has now joined Jones Road Beauty) on the podcast to think like a customer and he went deep on what makes him a "annoying customer."
Prefer to read the highlight? We got you. Below are some of the biggest things that make Eli tick as a customer.
Eli explains why he wants pits to be filled by a brand rather than establishing a peak.
In the podcast we reference a book called The Power of Moments by Dan and Chip Heath. Eli explains the concept of pits and peaks from that book as what establishes a baseline. The average of the amazing experiences you provide with the worst ones.
As a customer Eli wants those pits to be filled before you peruse creating the memorable one-off moments.
You know, mostly forgettable is actually a desirable state for most businesses. It's like, you got what you paid for. You're in, you're out. You, you ordered jeans, you got jeans. And that's not a bad thing. The first thing you need to do is fill the pits and then you can focus on creating peaks.
It's not that the peaks aren't important but the default experience has to work to the point where you almost don't notice it. As Eli said mostly forgettable is what most shoppers are looking for. The baseline experience was exactly what I was hoping for. Once that's in place its ok to start looking for the WOW moments.
Eli lets us in on a secret... He's not a DTC shopper
Well... he later elaborated that he doesn't buy food and beverage DTC. Here's why Eli doesn't shop online for those items, it's the same reason a lot of us don't.
"I wanna taste it. I wanna love it. Most of the time, it's not cheaper online than, than it is in store. So I'm more likely to pick it up off the shelf, put it in my cart, and take it home rather than wait a week and be at the mercy of FedEx and whoever else might get involved until that gets to me. So I'd say that for me as a shopper, um, it's not always as convenient as it can be."
Like most of us in CPG I followed that question up with what could a brand or retailer do to make shopping for grocery easier and more enjoyable online for him as a customer.
Eli raised a really good point that there are pros and cons to both and that retail and DTC actually feed each other depending on his preferences as a customer.
"I think what we're seeing is we're seeing a flywheel in both directions where people will pick something up in whole foods, try the beverage, say, wow, I love it. Let me get this by the case. Or the other way where somebody will try something DTC and be like, I don't know if I wanna get a case of this. I'd rather just pick it up whenever I'm in the mood. So I think having both options is super interesting."
I have to agree with Eli here. As a customer I wan't both options. I use retail to try something and when I'm ready to commit I want to buy it quantities that aren't usually available at the grocery store.
Shipping and unboxing should match the product bought.
As a customer Eli expects the experience he has receiving the product he bought to match the price point he paid. When buying something from Ali Express it's ok that it takes weeks to arrive because that was the expectation going in. Contrast that to a luxury item which you would expect to arrive in a day or two.
"When I'm buying something from a designer brand, and it's like a $200 pair of jeans. I would expect that to be here in two or three days, not in a week."
Eli also shared that he feels similarly about the unboxing experience. If you aren't a designer brand he isn't expecting to have an extravagant unboxing experience. He would actually prefer that you put the cost associated to that towards faster shipping. The speed at which something arrives is more important than the box.
"Brands spend so much of their contribution margin on the box. But then they ship with UPS Short Post, or DHL, whatever it is. And it's like, now it takes 10 days instead of three, but it's a nicer box."
This comes back to the peaks and pits we started off this post talking about. Its not worth trying to create an amazing experience (a peak) if the basics are covered (pits filled in).
Eli answers whether he is subscribed to anything as a customer.
On almost every episode of Customer Hat, the topic of subscription comes up and I love asking whether guests are subscribed to anything because the answers are usually so polarizing.
"I would say I am subscribed to Netflix and HBO and some of the other digital subscriptions. For food and beverage. I believe I am currently subscribed to zero but I do replenish things? A subscription aside from why it's good for a brand, which is very clear. The exciting thing for a consumer is being part of something larger being part of a community, obviously getting that discount, and then the dependability, I think those are the important pieces."
Subscription is such a good topic for getting CPG operators to take their brand hat off and put their customer hat on. The benefits of something like a subscription program are so clear to "us" the brand but when we think of them as a customer we start to figure out where the value truly lies.
Eli goes much deeper on what he looks for in subscription and customer experience as a customer himself.
Obviously we cant share everything covered in a 36 minute podcast in just over 1,000 words. In the full conversation Eli goes much deeper on how he feels about CX and subscription as a shopper.
You can listen to that full conversation here.
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