S3 E20: Leveraging partnerships to expand into retail while not cannibalizing DTC sales with Josh Knopman (VP of Growth & Digital Product, Blueland)


On this episode of Retention Chronicles we’re joined by Josh Knopman, VP of Growth & Digital Product at Blueland, an eco-friendly cleaning products brand designed to save you money and space without any plastic waste. On this episode, Josh and Mariah discuss:

  • how to develop proper eco-friendly products,
  • the topic of greenwashing and how Blueland ensures they aren’t,
  • collecting signatures for the EPA,
  • designing with consumer research in mind,
  • expanding into retail with partnerships like Costco,
  • buying online vs retail,
  • using geo targeting to protect against cannibalizing DTC,
  • defaulting subscription to 3 month renewals,
  • & more!

Be sure to subscribe to our pod to stay up-to-date and checkout Malomo, the leading order tracking platform for Shopify brands.

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This transcript was completed by an automated system, please forgive any grammatical errors.


product, subscription, consumer, work, feel, brand, plastic, costco, customers, experience, talking, focus, retention, purchase, months, shipping, cognizant, retail, dive, dtc


Josh Knopman, Mariah Parsons

Mariah Parsons 00:04

Hi there, I'm Mariah Parsons, your host of retention Chronicles. Ecommerce brands are starting to shift their strategy to focus on retention in the customer experience. And so we've decided to reach out to top DC brands and dive deeper into their tactics and challenges. But here's the thing, we love going on tangents. And so with our guests, you'll often find us talking about the latest trends, as well as any and all things in the Shopify ecosystem. So go ahead and start that workout or go on that walk and tune in as we chat with the leading minds in the space retention Chronicles is sponsored by Malomo. A shipment in order tracking platform, improving the post purchase experience, be sure to subscribe and check out all of our other episodes at go. malomo.com. Hello, everyone, and welcome back to retention Chronicles. today. I'm so so so excited for our guests that is joining us, Josh, thank you for making the time. Super excited to have you on here. This is actually a second time that you've come on the podcast. So I'm excited to talk all about that. Get new learnings from you. Because it's been I think you were on season one if I remember correctly, so it's been almost a year now. Doesn't seem like it, I think actually way over a year. But yeah, super excited to have you. So thank you for making the time today.

Josh Knopman 01:30

Yeah, thanks for having me back.

Mariah Parsons 01:32

Yeah, of course. Okay, so we're going to get started in case anyone hopefully you heard Josh's previous episode, but in case you haven't, we'd love to just kick off with your background catch us up and what you've been doing for the past. I don't know probably like more like a year and a couple months now. Probably like five months or so. So that'd be great to start with your background.

Josh Knopman 01:53

Yeah, a really awesome experience here at Blue land. For those who don't know, blue land is coming up on I believe Yeah, just four years already and in two weeks launched in I believe 2019 on Earth Day really a brand focus on eco accessibility so develop you know truly innovative refillable to start off cleaning products. So think cleaning sprays, hand soap, you know, things like that, that you know, when you when they shipped to you are primarily water right and they are like let's take the water out of the equation, let's develop this tablet form factor and that was really the foundation of the business since then was able to get that tablet form factor to other things like laundry and dishwasher it's been really popular and develop a really innovative powder based one as well for different products. And so you know, they were on Shark Tank a couple of seasons back, you know, got a deal with Mr. Wonderful Kevin O'Leary, which was very exciting. Yeah, yeah, it's been it's been off to the races ever since then. So yeah, really excited to be part of the team here. Currently, the Vice President of growth and digital product focus primarily on our direct consumer business, but also our more recently, our Amazon business as well.

Mariah Parsons 03:11

So fun, so much to dive into. I feel like too, with it, just like tablet form of things I've been seeing that, I don't know, really, when the shift was, I feel like it was probably around COVID of just like, when a lot of DTC brands were like more on my radar and just like growth in general in the E commerce space, but being able to see like all the little tablets and everything that you're able to do to like reduce just shipping water in, you know, these different mixes that we have, and like plastic bottles is so fascinating to me. So I can't, I'm a big fan of blue land haven't made myself excited to dive into the details here. But I wanted to ask first, so how has it Okay, so blue land? Obviously, like your mission is, is is it correct me if I'm wrong? Is it like going Ico has never been easier, right? Like you said Ico accessibility, which is so such like a great thing. And I want to dive into that. So can you tell us more about like the founding story I know on social media, your founder is like very, very involved. So just before we dive into things, can you give us like a little bit more background as to, you know, like, where that mission comes from? Why it's important, whatnot.

Josh Knopman 04:31

Yeah, so yeah, we have two amazing co founders. And they really, really been focused on the sustainability, plastic free eco accessibility. And I know for our CEO in particular, it came about as she was having her first child and she was doing so so much product research and just finding out so much and plastic and microplastics being in literally everything and just was trying to, you know, make sure she was, you know, everything from the product she clean with, which is, you know, top of mind for blue and of course, was doing the best by kind of her her kid there. And so yeah, we're the founders have really positioned us and focus on is that accessibility component, right. So there are, you know, several, you know, lots of lots of ego brands out there. And for them, the mission was really at the center, and they said, you know, we want to make this, you know, not something that takes all these extra steps, or all these things that are a lot of extra work, you know, we want to help make this for the mass consumer at a price point that is on most of our products competitive with kind of a standard, you know, CPG brand, and one that does not take a lot of effort. And so at the beginning, for our main products, the whole mantra was filled, dropped clean, you know, you put your water, you know, from your tap water there, you drop in the tablet, and it dissolves, you're ready to go. And something that doesn't require too much more effort. And one also, that's quite effective. And so they really spend a lot of time on certifications of, of course, the materials of the product, but also the efficacy of the product tested by independent third party labs versus kind of traditional CPG products.

Mariah Parsons 06:17

Okay, that's really interesting, like more of the product development, and see, like getting those certifications to make sure like all the things that you're testing, you know, all the quality of the product is there. And I also think it's really interesting. And it seems timely as well like having a kid and wanting to make sure that you know, at all, all the things that you're exposing your child to and just like adults as well, super important to make sure we're not exposing ourselves to anything that's harsh, or any, like toxins. And I think it's really interesting to see like, because I think growing up, like, I know, I have the perception of like, something has to be a really, really harsh chemical or toxin in order to be efficient. And I feel like we've started to see that change where it's like, you don't need things to be, like, you know, almost like toxic waste, like need to be disposed of in a special way, in order to have something that is very high quality, very sanitizing. Yeah, so it's interesting, because I feel like I've seen more like at home remedies and like stuff like that, where people like, there's a lot of natural or more natural, better for you ingredients that you can be using to clean rather than, you know, all this stuff that is manmade. And, you know, probably maybe not the best for us to be inhaling, and I feel like Leland is finding that balance of, like you said, like new materials that are able to be tested, still really, really efficient, and better for you better for the environment. I think it's just a better direction to be headed in personally, and I know, just from like, when I use products that I feel better about for like myself and the planet, the experience is it, it is just more pleasant to go through and like clean, which I don't know about you, Josh, but like cleaning, you know, try and be really great about it sometimes not so much. You know, it's hard to like, block out some time to really, really, really clean, you know, your apartment or your living space, like every couple of weeks or so. But I think it makes it easier when you know, there's less potential for harm, like to yourself or to the environment. Definitely. So now I want to go into more of an educational piece. So we've been talking about the quality of blue line products, can you and I think a big part of just the industry in general is educating like, what those harsh chemicals might be which ones you're not supposed to be exposing yourself to. And now that at least this is my how I would like describe is like now that it's becoming more important to the consumer, I see more brands, maybe more traditional brands, who are recognizing that that's where the market is going. That's where consumers are caring about and greenwashing products or, you know, like their branding and their messaging is like, you know, non harmful or like all natural or blah, blah, blah, whatever the messaging is, but it but the quality of the products isn't up to where you would want them to be like it's sort of misleading. So can you can you share with our audience about greenwashing and kind of your you know, how you've how you take that in the industry and then like how you see blue land as being different from maybe following just the kind of the virality of greenwashing.

Josh Knopman 09:58

Yeah, yeah, so it's definitely Something that's, I would say always on our minds. And I think from the beginning, you know, I mentioned before, but we're actually a B Corp as well. And our founders have focused on everything, especially in the sourcing process and the way the products are made, and often making them more expensive or time consuming choices from product development standpoint, to ensure that, you know, we these are not greenwashed products. And so you know, we had a really awesome campaign in q4 of last year, about PVA polyvinyl alcohol. And so, you know, when you are using, you know, I won't name a brand, but a pod to do your laundry, or something like that, or more recently, things that have been, you know, perhaps viral, or the sheets as well. Those contain PVA and, and, you know, oftentimes, the microplastics can go from there kind of get into the water system. And so with that, we worked on an educational campaign in the midst of q4 and all the craziness there, to educate people about it, and also collect signatures for a petition for the EPA, and I'm trying to remember how many when 10s of 1000s, I think of of signatures, we blew past our early numbers on that. And I've been in discussions with the EPA actually about, you know, the importance of of regulation, you know, for for things like this, and so we definitely tried to be on the forefront and are very thoughtful on how we develop our, you know, products, when we say plastic free and talking about our tablets, our refills, like there's truly, you know, no plastic and that is, you know, legally verifiable, not something kind of, uh, all the brands, unfortunately, take that level of transparency.

Mariah Parsons 11:48

Yeah, that's awesome. I didn't know that you all were inactive conversations with EPA after getting those signatures? Can you? I mean, up to the level that you obviously can disclose, can you tell us more about just like, why you want to meet why it's bad for microplastics, obviously, to get into our water system, how that affects our health and the planet's health just like generally, in case someone is listening and isn't familiar.

Josh Knopman 12:16

Yeah, yeah. So definitely not as much my area of expertise there. But I think, you know, anecdotally, I think something a fact that I heard as part of this campaign that was stunning to me, was that the average person eats a credit cards worth of plastic. And I want to say it's a week, I want to say it's a week, I'll triple check that one. But it's from those microplastics, obviously, you're not eating, you know, plastic. And, you know, you see it in, you know, ocean life, the amount of micro plastics, or even larger plastics that are found in fish and things like that. And you're consuming all of that. And so, you know, there are some studies on kind of the side effects and things from that. But I think we just try it as part of the campaign to also just visualize just like, you know, all of those microplastics and everything kind of adding up.

Mariah Parsons 13:11

Yes, yeah. Yeah, that's perfect. I mean, I'm by no means an expert in the space as any like, either. And so I think it's great to have a visual visualization. I feel like I've seen that as well, I can't remember. And it might have honestly been on your page, but I can't remember how, yeah, the time period of like, how much plastic is consumed, or like that credit card? Visual visualization, but I know, it's, it kind of seems like out of this world because, right, it's like one of those things that you can't see or like, you know, you're not actively eating plastic, right. So like to think about another another way is kind of crazy. Okay, so I know, we've been talking about just more of the importance laying the foundation for why blue land was started and what you all are doing. And so now I want to talk more about just the messaging in general. So like, how you convey that to your to your base, and one of the things that I love and we just did a case study with you all so I was having fun creating quite literally graphics for the case study. But your imagery is so beautiful, right? It's like this light blue color and you have all like glass containers, no plastic goes back to that. And recyclable materials and it's when I think of blue and like the fun DTC branding, right, like very playful. So what's what's How do you look at when you're talking about growth and everything that you are specializing in? How are you looking at how that imagery plays into growth and appealing to your consumers?

Josh Knopman 14:56

Yeah, we definitely say from a brand perspective it Is are from a marketing perspective is very brand first. And so yes, you know, most of our products have what we call forever vessels. So a forever spray bottle forever pump for your hand soap or a 10 to hold your tablets for dishwasher, or things like that. And and just about all of them are made out of metal or glass we have a certain are spray bottles actually Triton plastic that was to ensure you know, minimize break ability with that one. But the whole thing is that you only get it once and you refill it the non plastic refills. And so yeah, you know, making it and alluring product from the beginning was definitely with the way it was positioned and branded top of mind. And we wanted to make it something that people want to have. And so you know, whether you want to keep it out on your countertop, or keep it out, like some people do, you know, for Prop spray cleaners, but you think of like something like your hands. So for instance, with like, that's obviously, you know, very out and a key part of your decor as well. And so, you know, since launching our original, we've come out with more than a half dozen different designs, you know, from collaborations with artists to collaboration with Disney, to specific designs that we made, kind of based on some consumer research we did. And so at any given moment, we'll sell, you know, several of those on the site. And so yeah, I think across the board tried to develop products that, you know, people also, you know, really want to use and are, you know, good to look at. But also now as we expand further and retail can stand out on the shelf as well.

Mariah Parsons 16:33

Yes, yeah, I want to dive into that retail just in a second. But before then, so you said that you like you had some consumer research and that that you had certain designs that were influenced? So I'm curious, if you had to say, was it more like the look and feel of the products that that consumer research was going into? Or was it more of the like product design itself? Like? How Yeah, would you say that there was a difference in like terms of like, okay, like the marketing strategy, perhaps behind the products or the actual design? And like, yeah, like looking, not looking feel because I use that for marketing, but like the actual product design of like, how you're rolling out these new collaborations?

Josh Knopman 17:23

Yeah, I've definitely seen both. If you take the product like hand soap, it was more of course, we're looking for call outs on anything we can improve about the product. With you know, foaming hand soap, the most difficult thing is obviously the pump itself. But yeah, what kind of designs that people be looking for. But then also, you know, our most recent expansion was personal care mid last year. And with that was body washing facial cleanser, and it was powder based. And something, you know, we want to be really cognizant of in order to have it really, you know, fit within our mission is the accessibility piece. And so we didn't want to wear you know, you combine them and had to wait a long time or this or that. And so what the team really zeroed in on, you know, through consumer research was, I believe it was 10 seconds or less, it has to mix. And so you take the water, you take the powder mix, and all sudden you have a gel, just like the gel, you would use for you know, perhaps a standard more traditional bodywash. And something that is accessible and easy, but not something that's overly burdensome, and going back and forth with consumer testing, but also the surveys to figure out kind of where where that point was, was definitely really critical.

Mariah Parsons 18:33

Yeah, okay, that's really interesting, because I don't think I thought about it. So until now, like, I have the body wash. And I remember, like, it was so easy, but when I'm going through the process of actually making it like, I'm not thinking like, oh, like, what if this took so long? Like, would I be bothered by it? Because it just wasn't even a thing, right? Like, it was just, it was quick. So it wasn't one of those things that I really had to think of. So I'm kind of sitting here just digesting that of like, how many iterations you might have went through to get to that point. How many things you're looking at where it's like, okay, we don't want it to take too long that someone wouldn't would be deterred from using the product. So that's really interesting that you kind of landed through those surveys and customer research at like 10 seconds you want it to mix which thinking about just from like, chemical standpoint not knowing a ton. I'm sure there was like a lot of conversations internally with your team around. How do we make sure that each part of the product is hitting and like, part of that is like either getting a phone like getting a mixture to foam or to mix? Well. Quickly, it would be super, super interesting to like, see how Yeah, like the different iterations of product that you all must have went through?

Josh Knopman 19:56

Yeah, definitely a huge a huge part of development. process and definitely, I think a huge unlock for the space as well. Combining those is Yeah, from I'm definitely not not a not a scientist from our chief innovation officer who literally is the amount of prototypes and things that they had to go through to unlock this was was insane. Yeah,

Mariah Parsons 20:19

yeah, super interesting. Okay. Well, thank you for entertaining that question. Now we want to dive more into getting into the retail space, because obviously, I know, we were talking about the DVC side of the branding, and it carries over into retail and just the brand in general. So very exciting. You all launched in Costco. Can you tell us more about that? I know, you mentioned before we hopped on the call that you all now are nationwide. So give us give us the rundown on all the exciting stuff there. Because who doesn't love Costco? Right?

Josh Knopman 20:53

Yeah, exactly. Exactly. So yeah, it's definitely, you know, has been on our radar for a while, and we did a test, you know, I think mid late last year, and, you know, a small number of primarily California Bay Area locations. And we just kind of blew through the sales forecasts. And we really wanted to prove that with Costco. You know, it's, it's a club channel, it's very focused on price. And, you know, how can they get the best deal developed a custom SKU, at a really, really competitive and affordable price for them. And really just work to drive that sell through and so expanded very quickly across regions. And now, yeah, really excited to be nationwide with them with our toilet bowl cleaner, which has definitely been a runaway hit of a product across the board there. And, yeah, it's really been incredible to see. And we've done everything from supporting with, you know, perhaps our more traditional channels of email, SMS, and Facebook, to also working with influencers to activate it and drive awareness of our organic social, and then everything from you know, in person demos by a mix of our own employees and staff and some third parties that we contracted with, to really help drive home, you know, you know, the product, what a great deal it is, and how its environmentally friendly. And actually a fun fact was something we've learned through that product was people were a little confused of where in the toilet, you put the toilet bowl cleaner. It's just a Catholic. Yeah. And so it, we called it a toilet cleaner. And people were wondering, oh, you just put it like in the back of the toilet, and it kind of just fizzles and dissolves. So you actually you're supposed to put it in the in the bowl, just like you would, you know, a standard cleaning product. So we actually renamed the product to toilet bowl cleaner across Costco and direct consumer and Amazon and really worked as we update the packaging across the board to reinforce kind of where it goes and help to avoid additional consumer confusion on that.

Mariah Parsons 23:00

Oh, that okay, that's I'm so glad you shared that because yeah, I I wouldn't have like my first reaction is to use the product were like in the bowl where you all intended it to be used but I could see like someone being confused with like, putting it in the that like the tank and yeah, exactly my knowledge extends to so that's a really Yeah, that's a really great example of how you got like used was so was it someone like in like, just from the demos, the in person demos like people were confused there. And then that kind of traveled from retail to DTC and across the brand.

Josh Knopman 23:43

Yeah, it was definitely it was some feedback we've we've gotten before, but I think, you know, we had everyone from our head of retail to our co founders, both co founders, I believe, to several employees working for like hours and hours and hours. And just in the amount of anecdotes around that same point that they heard was just insane. And I think all of that together. Everyone kind of got back was like, Okay, we really should take another look as we refreshed packaging and things like that. So yeah, another great consumer insights touch point.

Mariah Parsons 24:15

Okay, okay. Yeah, that's really interesting. Um, that's such a good story, right? Because it's one of those things I feel like when I've, it doesn't come up a ton on this podcast. But when I talk to various guests that have found through consumer reviews or consumer research that something is confusing. It's one of those things where it's like, like grass is not grass is always greener, but Hindsight is 2020. Right? Where it's like, oh, okay, that like, that makes sense. I could see how the numbers you know, if there's enough numbers to support a good chunk of consumers possibly being confused by this and it's something you want to look into. Do you know anything? Um, I know this is more the retail side. But do you know anything behind like, where your team was looking at numbers, like how many people is like a great enough? A sizable chunk of people to like, push this notion forward and change the branding versus like, deciding if it was more of a minority who might have been confused, like, do you happen to be privy to any of that information?

Josh Knopman 25:28

Yeah, it's a good question. I don't know the exact number for this one. And it definitely was more, I would say consolidation of anecdotes, but a fairly high quantity of those. And I think that, you know, was something that I think the team was open to, it doesn't fundamentally change the name of the product, right? Ultimately, like, if we're trying to drive equal accessibility, but people don't understand how to use our product, it kind of defeats the purpose or the didn't think it doesn't work, because it's being used incorrectly, like, that's ultimately on us as a brand to fix. And so yeah, I think something that that was one of those cases where we tried to be as data driven and quantitative as possible. But we're qualitative data, you know, once you once you get a certain amount is incredibly helpful.

Mariah Parsons 26:14

Yeah. And to like, that's one of those things that is harder to measure, I'm sure, especially as you're bridging, like in person, and, you know, online, like trying to quantify that if you're just, you know, sometimes you just gotta trust your gut, stuff like that, where it's, you might not have the exact numbers that support something, but just to be like, I feel like this is just a tweak, right? Like, it's not changing a lot. Probably very helpful and important in the long run, it makes a lot of sense. You also mentioned, like supporting the retail experience through email and SMS, and you know, like influencer online strategy, which I know is more in terms of what we've talked about in the past just more of the area with online and DTC. So can you give us more details around like, what that looked like if someone purchased with you how, like similar or dissimilar is the experience when you're buying in retail, in, you know, in store versus online, e commerce shop?

Josh Knopman 27:19

Yeah, it's been an interesting journey for that one, you know, coming from our traditionally direct consumer business and having all the data and a lot more flexibility of controlling as much of the purchase process as possible. I think with this when we tried to be smart of you know, whether it was at the beginning, you know, when we were in a small number of more Bay Area locations really being tight on Geo targeting being cognizant of cannibalization to our direct to consumer business, being cognizant of, you know, same with if we're activating influencers, really, also really tight on the geo side of that. And I think just trying to open it up as another possibility for someone. So you know, we want to be accessible in the way that you buy our product as well, for a lot of people. That's the direct consumer channel. And that's a subscription that you can get from our site, which has been hugely successful. Others, it's Amazon, you know, as they build their broader carts, you know, across the board. And for others, you know, like my dad who goes into Costco, I want to say, three times a week, he calls it the happiest place on earth. For him and all the many, many Costco shoppers, it's extremely convenient for them, and accessible for them. And so yeah, just tried our best to, you know, expand there.

Mariah Parsons 28:37

Yes, yeah. I mean, I feel like my dad would also say, say the same thing about Costco that or Home Depot, I feel like, we always like grew up, like my, my mom would be like, go take the kids, go take them to Costco, do the run, take them to Home Depot. More just entertaining. So definitely relate there. And it is it is fun, like I I'll go to Costco and you got to make like an experience out of it. Which I was just talking about a previous guest, or with a previous guest about like Ikea kind of the same way. Like it's like he can make a day out of it. Right. So that makes sense. And I wanted to ask you as well. So I've heard the that through DTC and E commerce, you just get more details around the customer and can understand the journey a lot better than in retail. But in terms of growth strategies, and we can shift more into the E commerce side of the of blue land now, how are you thinking about when you're talking about, you know, like wanting to be accessible for everyone? How are you thinking about those growth strategies? They're, like, cross sell upsells how what's your approach at Blue LAN to like, how you're trying to expand that customer base?

Josh Knopman 29:53

Yeah, yeah. So I think for us, you know, we've expanded pretty rapidly into A lot of different categories or subcategories, you know, we launched focus on cleaning sprays, and then very shortly after his hand so and since then other things I've come out are, you know, laundry, including oxy booster, dish washer, but also kind of more countered. So, the toilet bowl cleaner I mentioned, as well, and most recently the personal care line. And so with that, we have a lot of opportunity for cross sell. So, you know, some of our most popular use for new customers or those that are, you know, the kits or the combinations to help get a sense of, you know, which products they'd like our clean Essentials Kit has been our best seller, or one of our best sellers for a long time, which is our cleaning sprays in hand soap. And then from there, you know, it's really our job to, you know, figure out how much cross category penetration we can drive. And so whether that's on the initial purchase, you know, upfront bundling, and being cognizant of everything from free shipping minimums, how we merchandise the site, to our subscription program, to post purchase, driving awareness of the other categories that they may not be aware of, and working to, you know, encourage that, you know, props on that second purchase expanding categories, because, you know, in all direct consumer businesses shipping is one of the largest expenses by far, and when you're able to increase that box size and other couple items, and other 1020 Whatever dollars, that's where the unit economics get, you know, exponentially better for the business. And so that's where we focus on as well of, you know, each of these products will help reduce one's plastic consumption, you know, across the board in their, in their respective categories. And we have some, you know, we'll call maybe dark green customers, who will, you know, subscribe the, across all the categories and buy a tremendous, tremendous amount. And then some that are more fond of light green, or perhaps earlier in their eco journey, cognizant of their eco impact, but perhaps not buying, you know, eco everything are not as clear where to start, we want to also be there for that customer. And so yeah, really driving the awareness and the cross sell across our different categories has been really critical for us.

Mariah Parsons 32:16

Yeah, that that's super interesting. I haven't, we haven't had a guest come on and talk about, like, just the shipping logistics of trying of wanting more products per box to make a more efficient sale or to make a more efficient, like shipping logistics, you know, get saving on gas and plastic or not plastic, but packaging. Is there, like, is there kind of like a magic number to that? Or is it really just more products in a box is better? Like, I don't, I'm not privy to, you know, like certain box sizes and what weighs more and all that stuff? But I'm curious about it, do you? Do you happen to know where that breakdown is?

Josh Knopman 33:01

Yeah, it varies by brand. But you know, for us, I'll give an example. You know, our shipping minimum is now $45. And so shipping minimums in general, tend to bump up your average order value quite a bit, it's, it's usually your strongest tool in the arsenal there. And now, we did increase it to 45, early last year, and saw a OVS increase as well. But I think you see this across the board, you know, I think you saw Amazon Fresh out of the huge AmazonFresh customer, especially during COVID. You know, they had a free delivery fee for so long. And then all of a sudden, now they started phasing in delivery fees at certain bounds. Same with, you know, go puff, which is big in New York and some cities. Same with DoorDash, UberEATS, GrubHub, all of those, you know, each one has its magic number. I think for a lot of those companies, it's like $20, for like a DoorDash or something, it's usually higher for you know, a direct consumer brand. But there is that point where it just makes an exponential difference to your bottom line as a business do you think need to think about, you know, balancing that and at the same time for us, we're also happy to, you know, ship less packages to people big initiative we have right now is, you know, our subscription program has been so successful, we sometimes have people who, you know, start off with a subscription to our laundry, tablets, and then start a subscription for toilet later. And now they're receiving two different packages, you know, two different times it's like, how can we consolidate that further our Eco mission, but also drive cost savings. And so those are kind of a lot of initiatives that we think across the board and it's really nice because it's it's a really nice overlapping Venn diagram for our mission, but also for what's what's best for the business. And we always talk about building you know, we're a business focus on sustainability. But in order to fulfill that mission, we also need to be a sustainable business and how we manage our unit economics.

Mariah Parsons 34:54

Hmm Yes, I love that. That's that's a fun way to draw Like distinction between having your eco initiatives and then also having your strategic initiatives to help the business and like help continue, or help to further what you all are doing so that you know, the businesses are sticks around so that you can continue to do so. That's a great point around someone, you know, you gave the laundry and I think it was a personal care example. But whatever products that someone is using the subscription buying experience with how are you? Are you just like looking at you? Are you using like a technology to try and consolidate those? Can you tell us more about that? Because that's also been something that hasn't come up before on this podcast? So can you give us more of like, the tactical approach that you're using?

Josh Knopman 35:50

Yeah, and I'll say the the other side of the balance, which is really interesting is everyone's really high repeat customer rates. And they want to see, okay, how are these cohorts maturing at month three, how many customers have purchased month six, whatever. And all of these other factors affect that. So if you sell more upfront, chances are, it's going to take them longer to repeat, but your initial average order value will be higher, same way. And if subscription, it's like, well, you're gonna see more spikes on certain cadences, like for us three months is our default on that. And so, you know, the technology side is something we're working with one of our partners recharge, who powers our subscription on figuring out, it's something that we're close to, and I think should roll out this quarter. But we've also done other steps such as, you know, several months back eliminated one and two month subscriptions, because the cost of sending that, you know, every month or every two months was was quite significant. And we would much rather send, you know, a little more product a little less frequent. And so send enough product, you know, and frequent enough that we're definitely on people's minds, and we're able to fulfill, you know, their refill needs, but also, you know, be cognizant of, you know, when you send so so often as well, the cost is is really astronomical. So yeah, mix of our data systems to identify how big the opportunity is, and then working with our technology partners on on rolling that out.

Mariah Parsons 37:18

Yeah, I'm glad you answered. Why the first the why the three months was the smallest or whatever you said, the default subscription cadence because I was curious, I was like, I wonder if you've done more consumer research, or if it was more towards the strategic approach to it just makes more sense and is more cost efficient, as to why you have that three month cadence. And to I feel like one of the things that when we talk about subscriptions is like trying to find that balance between when someone needs more product, but like not being overwhelmed by a subscription as well, because I feel like some some people are always gonna want subscription, you know, diehard subscription consumers, some people are not like you said, there's the repeat. purchasers who just like to have it are a more active buying experience, where they're choosing when and where and how much product they're getting. And then there's like, I feel like a lot of people who are maybe not diehard, on like either side, where they're like, oh, something's I like having a subscription for some things. I like choosing when and where I get the products. So I feel like three months because usually it is a month to month basis for subscription. Three months, it makes sense from wanting to still be at the top of someone's mind where it's like, okay, they're on our subscription, we want to make sure that they know they're on our subscription plan, and having that branding in that product be there. But then also wanting to make sure that you all are doing what makes sense, in like, the best ways the most amount of ways possible. So that's, that's really interesting to hear that you went from having like the one and two month options to now using three months as your default.

Josh Knopman 39:16

Yeah, it's been it's been an interesting one. And I think it's you want to offer consumers choice, but you don't want to drive too much decision fatigue. So it's always a balance there. I come back to my time when I was at quip, you know, the oral care company and for that. We luckily had, you know, Ada guidance, American Dental Association guidance, which was you're supposed to replace your bristles every three months. And so it kind of was default, so we can rely on their guidance and they built everything around that quarterly subscription. And so for us, it was interesting because we had so many options and we're continuously trying to figure out how can we, you know, narrow it enough so people are, you know, get it, you know, we base these off of our use which data that we have from, you know, a tremendous amount of customers. But also, you know, often in the flexibility, if you subscribe, you can delay you can skip, you can do all that stuff. And so, you know, how can we narrow it in and try to offer the best experience? We can?

Mariah Parsons 40:14

Yeah, yeah, that makes a lot of sense. And I think, I think we got on this topic, right, talking about cross sells and upsells, and catering to your buyers experience. And I think that makes a lot of sense, what you're saying, if you want to find that flexibility with how someone likes to purchase. And I, I, I see the value, obviously, I mean, we, we talked about it a lot on here of just catering to if someone's a subscriber, if someone's a repeat purchaser. And I know a big part of that is the post purchase experience. So I would love to dive into that more. Because I know, obviously, you can segment the experience based off of what kind of consumer you have. So can you walk us through kind of the experience that someone could expect base based off of if they're subscribed, if they're a subscriber, or if they're a repeat purchaser with blue land, like what that journey looks like?

Josh Knopman 41:08

Yeah, and that's something in the last six to 12 months, we've really worked to differentiate. And so yeah, historically, we were effectively a subscription business and the fact that we're refillable, and a lot of people treated it like that, to your point, you know, there's always a subsection we offer bulk, where it's like, they like coming back for bulk don't like being opt in to subscriptions. And we've worked now over time, continuously trying to improve the kind of segmented user journeys and so for those who do not opt in the subscription, we do try to gently push them towards it after purchase those who are in subscription, try to drive, you know, additional cross sell on the subscription, make them aware kind of fully how it works. And for us as well, I remember something last year, you know, we are selling multiple countries, we have multiple shippers, and we've also shifted, you know, to to which kind of shipping companies that we contract with, and some definitely have, say, you know, less appealing experiences than others. And that's obviously where, you know, Malomo got started here. And, and for us, the timing actually was quite perfect, because we were migrating kind of to a different shipping partner, at the same time that the entire team was extremely worried about how that experience would be for our customers. That was I think about the month he joined. And so that's where we really brought in the logo. And as well, as a, you know, this kind of gives us the best of both worlds, we give them that, you know, branded experience that they would expect from Blue LAN for us, we really focus on the how it works piece for our different products. And now we're working to help, you know, differentiate it even more to have more diverse content for subscription versus one time, and help make it feel like a more and more personalized experience as well. Because all the retention touchpoints are just so so critical. Whether it's driving awareness of new products, collecting customer feedback, anything like that, it's it's, you know, you really take that amount of attention and try to utilize it as best you can.

Mariah Parsons 43:15

Yeah, yeah. And I would say to now, like, it's, it was so funny with the timing that you brought up, like, I think it worked well, obviously, with you joining the blue land team. And obviously, then being familiar with Malomo. And seeing, hopefully, I mean, the importance of the space and just from a consumer standpoint, that you have so much attention that while someone is waiting for their package, right, like they're actively eager to have something have the product at their front doorstep. So it makes sense that you want to capitalize on that attention, and also further what your brand stands for, and what the, you know, the product itself can be used for and I know like a big part of and we are talking about this with the toilet bowl cleaner example of like educating the customer and making sure that when the product arrives, you know how to use it so that you can hopefully avoid someone you know, maybe misusing it and not seeing the value in the product because they're like this is not working, even though it's not how the product is supposed to be used. So what would you say? So we talked about segmenting the experience. And generally, I think generally is a great word and from what I've seen gently making someone aware that you have a subscription program that if they want to go that route, they can you know, up to the consumer of course, but what are you trying to show to your customers in addition to you know, the programs that they can be involved with while shopping with blue land. What else are you sharing like on your branded tracking page? In addition to like, education or Around how your products work.

Josh Knopman 45:04

Yeah, so definitely that education piece, I believe kind of connecting to our blog a lot. We actually are some of our blog pages are some of our most highly trafficked pages, you know, shortly after some of our shopping ones that really dive in, you know, into some very, you know, specific Ico topics, or ones that are just kind of home hacks or things like that. Try to, you know, showcase those to people. And, yeah, we have some definitely a lot of navigation back to our site, and as well as our kind of chat bot, on main chat bot on there as well. And so, definitely on our minds to continuously improve that the rest of our full digital product experience, but yeah, definitely, you know, feel that it is one of our retention channels, there's only so many effective retention channels out there. And so we're really excited to partner and to continue, I think, to utilize that, and, you know, continue to bring it tighter and tighter across the board, you know, into our full retention. structure there.

Mariah Parsons 46:13

Yeah, well, thank you. I mean, we we love working with you and your team are awesome as well. So I feel like we have to reciprocate that super excited for the partnership. I know. I feel like there's just a lot of innovation in this space in general, but especially with our partners with just being able to, like think through different things and be like, Oh my God, what if we like put this on? Or like include this new blog post, which you said, you know, are highly trafficked? Or like, what is what is this? Perhaps this tweak that we can make that would make a difference? Playing around with all those things is so exciting and why I imagine we're both sitting here. So I know we're coming up on time. I've one more question for you. What is one thing now, you know, you've been through the process twice of implementing Malomo, of recognizing the space and having it be a part of your retention strategy. So I was curious to hear, just because we haven't had someone who's now come through the podcast twice, like what's something you've learned through going through the process twice? Like, what's something maybe looking back a couple years or a couple months? Something that you now know, that you wish you might have known earlier?

Josh Knopman 47:28

Oh, that's a good question.

Mariah Parsons 47:30

Putting you on the spot, making it work those last couple of minutes.

Josh Knopman 47:34

Yeah, I think they're, I think a lot of brands inevitably have a lot of systems, you know, we have dozens of Martex, you know, platform partners, and most other brands do as well. But I think the integrations and tying them together are critical. And so for us, you know, as we work to pull in all of our emails, and that includes transactional emails from Shopify, that includes emails from recharger subscription partner and get everything consolidated in Klaviyo. Having that visibility, and the flexibility is so huge. And the sooner you do it, and the more visibility you have, you can optimize them to a certain extent, and learn from the customers, a lot of the time, those emails are kind of essentially blocked in Shopify, you don't really get analytics, you have the default thing, it looks fine, you don't really need to worry about it. But you know, you don't learn that a small tweak to a subject line or you know, perhaps updating the footer, a few other things can drive incremental clicks to your website, and potentially in frontal purchases as well. And so, you know, on the Malomo, fry, it was really interesting to see, you know, also just how the platform has evolved. And so you know, now with the kind of more self serve tools and things that you offers, for Shopify merchants, you can get a v1 up incredibly quickly, very, very quickly, one of the faster definitely implementations of any martec partner that I've worked on. And so the ease of it, and getting that v1, and being able to work on it and evolve it over time, is really, really cool. And I think I know, our lifecycle team is especially a huge fan of the problem orders and how Alonso is taking a really thoughtful approach to to those and helping empower brands like us to make sure that those customers, you know, are informed and have, as you know, good of an experience, find everything, you know, as possible and surfacing that in so I know that's something we've been really excited to be a part of on the beta side and in work to expand as well.

Mariah Parsons 49:42

Yes, yeah. Oh, that's wonderful. That makes me very happy to hear. Yeah, launching problem orders. Couple couple months, maybe, maybe, yeah, a couple of months back was very, very exciting just on our front getting to go to market with it, but I'm very happy to hear that. Thank you for sharing You know, you put I put you on the spot. So you crushed that. But this has been an absolute absolute pleasure to have you back, Josh. Hopefully we'll get to continue to do it again and continue to iterate. But thank you for making the time today to do so.

Josh Knopman 50:13

Yeah, always enjoyed discussions. Thanks.